Igbo Live



Level: Basic/Silver (12 hours)

This level is for those who want to learn how to make simple conversations in Igbo language.

  Topic Content
1 Introduction to Igbo language

1 hour

A brief introduction to Igbo language. Places where Igbo language is spoken, e.g. Nigeria, Cameroon, etc. Dressing, e.g. special top called Isiagụ with the red cap(okpu uhie) with the trousers, okpu agụ, mkpanaka, akwa, kpụrụkpụrụ ọlamma,gele, etc. some igbo names, e.g. Amarachi meaning Grace, Ejima is the name given to a set of twins, etc.
2 Igbo alphabets

2 hours

a; aka (hand), b: bolombolo (baloon), ch: chọta(find) d: dọkịta (Doctor), etc.

Teachers should ensure the correct intonation of the alphabets and allow students repeat them till a level of accuracy is reached.

3 Differentiating letters with similar sounds

1 hour

b, gb,kp etc.

Teacher should allow students to reproduce these sounds with examples.

4 Greetings in Igbo language

1 hour

Common greetings in igbo language and how to respond


5 Names of food and food items in Igbo Language

1 hour

·         Ofe Onugbu, oha, akazi, akpu, ofe okro, nkwobi

·         Abacha(African salad), ukwa(afriacan breadfruit)

·         .

6 General names to address people in Igbo

1 hour


For example, friend, brother, sister, father. Etc



7 Name of places

1 hour


Market, school, house, etc


8 Name of things

1 hour

Pen, pencil, shoe, clothes
9 Action words

1 hour

Go, come, look, etc
10 Simple conversations

2 hours

Listening and responding to simple sentences.

Level:  Intermediate/Platinum (12 hours)

This level is for those who want to take their Igbo speaking skill to the next level. Those who have completed the basic course or those who have previously learnt how to make simple conversations in Igbo language.

  Topic Content
1 Igbo alphabet

1 hour

Revision of the Igbo alphabet
2 Vowels(Ụdaume)

1 hour

Oral vowels: There are eight oral vowels

A, E, I, Ị, O, Ọ, U, Ụ.

NOTE: The vowels with kpọm (“dots/points”) under them are pronounced differently than the vowels without them.


Teachers will ensure students repeat each vowel accurately with given examples.

3 Vowels II (Ụdaume II)

1 hour


There are eight phonemic vowels in standard Igbo. The vowels, their phonetic description and examples of Igbo words where they occur are shown below:

a /a/ open front unrounded vowel áká ‘hand’, àkwá ‘egg’, àlà ‘land’

e /e/ half-open front unrounded éké ‘python’, égbé’ ‘kite’, éféré ‘plate’

i /i/ close front unrounded vowel ìtè ‘pot’, ìsé ‘five’, ìrí ‘ten’

ị /ɪ/ half-close front unrounded vowel ị̀gbà ‘wooden drum’, ị́kpà ‘to weave’

o /o/ half-close back rounded vowel òròmá ‘orange’, ótù ‘one’, ólú ‘neck’

ọ /ɔ/ half-open back rounded vowel ọ́kụ́ ‘fire’, ọ̀kụ́kọ̀ ‘fowl’, ọ́nụ̄ ‘mouth’

u /u/ close back rounded vowel ùgwù ‘honor’, élú ‘up’, ùdó ‘peace

ụ /ʊ/ half-close back rounded ụ́sụ́ ‘bat’, ázụ̀ ‘fish’, ánụ́ ‘meat’



4 Digraph letters  (Mgbochiume/Mkpụrụ mkpi) in the Igbo alphabet.

1 hour

Digraph letters: There are  (9) different digraph letters in the Igbo alphabet are as follows

Ch, Sh, Gb, Gh, Gw, Kp, Kw, Nw, Ny

Note: you will go through these to learn more about how these letters are pronounced

5 Consonants  are classified according to the place of articulation with examples.

Consonant I

1hr 30mins

Labial: kp /kp/ voiceless labial-velar plosive e.g kpọ́ ‘call’, kpụ́ ‘mould’, àkpà ‘bag’

gb /gb/ voiced labial-velar plosive e.g: gbàá ‘kick’, àgbà ‘jaw’, ìgbé ‘box’

Alveolar: t /t/ voiceless alveolar plosive tá e.g ‘chew’, tòó ‘praise’, átụ́rụ̄ ‘sheep’

d /d/ voiced alveolar plosive e.g dèé ‘write’ dàá ‘fall’, ńdụ̀ ‘life’

Palatal: ny /ɲ/ palatal nasal e.g nyàá ‘drive’, nyé ‘give’, ányá ‘eye’,ènyò ‘mirrow’

y /j/ voiced palatal approximant  e.g yọ́ ‘beg’, yá ‘him/her/it’, m̀yọ̀ ‘sieve’

6 Consonant II

1hr 30mins

Velar: ṅ /ŋ/ velar nasal eg. ṅụ́ ‘drink’, áṅá ‘cane’, áṅụ̄ ‘bee

Labio-velar: nw /ŋw/ labialized velar nasal e.g nwụ́ ‘die’, ọ́nwá ‘moon’, ènwè ‘monkey’

Glottal: h /h/ voiced glottal fricative hụ́ ‘see’, há ‘they’, àhụ́ ‘body’, áhà ‘name’

7 Intonation

1 hour

The Igbo language is a register tone language with three level tones which are high tone, low tone and downstep tone.  they are marked using [ ́ ], [ ̀ ], and [ ] ̄ respectively. Examples of Igbo words bearing the tones are shown below:

HH ísí ‘head’

HL ísì ‘smell’

LL ìsì ‘blindness’

HH ákwá ‘cry’

HL ákwà ‘cloth’

LH àkwá ‘egg’ LL àkwà ‘bed/bridge’

HH échí ‘tomorrow’

HH élé ‘antelope’

LH àtọ́ ‘three’

LH òké ‘rat’

LL àjà ‘sacrifice’

LL àlà ‘land’

8 High tone

1 hour

Ụdaelu refers to vowels pronounced with a high pitched tone and it is usually marked with an acute accent slanting up from left to right ( ´ ).  

Teacher explains the position of the tonal sign and produces the sound and ensures students repeat it accurately with given examples, e.g.

ákwá – “cry” [high tone – high tone]


9 Low tone

1 hour

Ụdaala refers to vowels pronounced with a low pitched tone and it is usually marked with a grave accent slanting down from left to right ( ).

àkwà  – “bed” [low tone – low tone]

Teacher explains the position of the tonal sign and produces the sound and ensures students repeat it accurately with given examples, e.g.




10 Mid tone

1 hour

Ụdansuda refers to vowels pronounced with a mid pitched tone and it is usually marked with a horizontal diacritical mark called macron/macra (). The general rule (is that mid tone vowels must come after a high tone vowel. So mid-tone vowels are found in words with more than one syllable.


Teacher explains to students that this tone is usually unmarked except on nasalized syllables. Examples:

ḿmā – good  [mid tone ]



11 Tone drills

2 hours

Teacher explains that there are words with the same orthographic and phonological combination but are pronounced differently and also has different meaning. Example

ákwá – “cry”

àkwá – “egg”

ákwà – “cloth”

àkwà  – “bed”

Teacher and students practice some exercises on tonal placement.

Level: Advanced/ Gold (18hours)

This level is for those who want to master their Igbo speaking skills. It is for those who have completed the Platinum course or those who have attained a level of proficiency in Igbo speaking and reading.

  Topic Content
1 Igbo syllable I

1 hour 30 mins

The Igbo syllable structure is made up of the major structures. They are; Consonant + vowel = CV

e.g C + V = CV

d+i = di( husband)

h+ a = ha (They)

n + a = na (and, at, on, with)

y+ a= ya(his, him,it,her,he)

g+a =ga(Must, shall, should)


Vowel = V e.g.


Ịga(to go)




2 Igbo syllable II

1 hour 30 mins

The Internal structure of Igbo syllables: this consist of the ONSET and NUCLEUS.

The onset which is the initial sound in a syllable, can be formed by a consonant, for example: Name of persons

Kalu = Two syllables: Ka– lu

K= Onset

A = Nucleus

L = Onset

U– Nucleus

Mazi = Two syllables –


A= Nucleus



Names of Objects

TABILI (Table) – three syllables Te-bu-lu

T – Onset

E – Nucleus

B – Onset

U– Nucleus

L – Onset

U – Nucleus

3 Syllabic drills

1 hour

Teacher gives students some exercises to drill students on syllables.
4 Vowel assimilation in Igbo language (Olilo ụdaume)

2 hours

The Igbo terms for vowel assimilation is olilo ụdaume.
Igbo Vowel Assimilation
Vowel assimilation is where one vowel drops its sound and adopts the sound of the vowel that immediately precedes it or it immediately precedes. Vowel assimilation happens only in pronunciation, the words are not necessarily written as they sound.Example
onye isi sounds onyi isi in pronunciation when said at a normal speech pace.
onye - one, someone, person
isi - head, top, source, main
onye isi means chairman or one who heads..... [school, church, police, meeting, etc.]


5 Vowel deletion(nhichapụ ụdaume)

2 hours


Vowel deletion
Vowel deletion is where a vowel drops out, and the vowel that immediately precedes it or it immediately precedes is enough to convey the desired meaning. Vowel deletion happens in pronunciation, and can be written as they sound.Example
nwa oke sounds nwoke in pronunciation. The vowel 'a' drops out.
nwa - one/of
oke - male
nwoke means man
6 Consonant deletion(Ndapu Mgbochiume)

2 hours

Consonant delection
In consonant delection, consonant sounds are is omitted in conversation. The consonants are not omitted when written.Example
ọ bụ onye na-ekwu becomes ọ ọ onye neekwu (who is speaking). The consonant 'b' was dropped in the conversation. Note that there is also vowel assimilation from na-ekwu to neekwu.
★ kedụ ihe ọ bụ becomes kee ihe ọ ọ (what is it)
★ ọ nọghị ya becomes ọ nọọ ya (he is not around)
★ e meghị m ya becomes e mee m ya (I didn't do it)As a side note
Some of the words we know today might have come to us through assimilation and delection. For example, we have names like Akosa (Aka Olisa), Osakwe (Olisa kwe)
7 Consonant deletion II

2 hours

 More examples on Consonant deletion are as follows:


(1)Akwụkwọ  (book)

Aụkwọ    Kw(Consonant deletion)

Kw(Consonant that dropped)

(2)Ahihia   (grass)

Aịhia(Consonant deletion)

H(Consonant that dropped)


Aịza(Consonant deletion)

Z Consonant that dropped)

(4)Osisi( tree)

Oịsọ(Consonant deletion)

S(Consonant dropoped)etc




8 Igbo proverbs (Ilu)

2 hours

Igbo Proverb is short sayings that express thoughts and opinions, beliefs and superstitions, rules of everyday wisdom of the people. Proverbs describe different phenomena of life and historical events. Vast majority of proverbs has a double meaning - one clearly stated in a proverb, and the other - the crux of the matter, which derives from it, or is only implied, so it is said, "the proverb has hidden wise."

Igbo proverbs are taken directly from Igbo life, they are good in all respects, it can be recommended to anyone, not only to the native folk. Proverbs were written by people not intentionally, they arose naturally; caused by everyday life, they gradually multiplied, together with the historical course of the development of life. A good awareness of Igbo Proverbs and their meaning would undoubtedly lead to a deep understanding of the Igbo, their life philosophy, traditions, culture and way of living.


Proverbs are used by people of all ages and statures to tell others about the importance of something. People in the Igbo Tribe use proverbs everyday as they are an important part of their culture and traditions, and the art of conversation is regarded very highly throughout the clan.


Teacher gives examples of Igbo proverbs, literal translation and meaning.eg of Igbo Proverb – Gidi gidi bụ ugwu eze. English meaning - Unity is strength.

9 Igbo Idiomatic Expressions (akpaala okwu)

2 hours

Igbo Idioms are the ornaments and the jewelry that beautify the igbo language and make the listeners pay great attention to any talker that uses them. Such a person is held to a high esteem, They are words of wisdom part of which intelligence is measured in Igbo land, What butter is to bread, igbo idiom is to language and a speech in igbo that has no idiom is like soup without salt. The Igbos are known to be smart go ahead people, figuring out the meaning of idioms from infancy plays definitely a role in that.


Teacher gives examples of Igbo idiomatic expressions and their meaning.


10 Fun Drill

2 hours

Teacher drills students on the new Igbo skills they have acquired in this level.

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