On this page/Sur cette page... (hide)
The linguistic lineage of Igbo (sometimes spelled Ibo):
Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Igboid, Igbo. (Ethnologue)
Igbo is both the name of a language cluster as well as the name of the largest language within the cluster. That is to say, the Igbo language cluster is subdivided into: Igbo, Ika, Ikwere, Izii-Ezaa-Ikwo-Mgbo, Ogbah, Ukwuani-Aboh-Ndoni. (Ethnologue)
Igbo is the major language of south-eastern Nigeria. Igbo is spoken indigenously in the states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Delta, Edo, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers. (However in Benue and Edo, it is a minority language.) The related Igboid language, Ekpeye, is spoken in two states, Bayelsa and Rivers. (Unijos)
There is a lot of uncertainty with regard to the exact number of speakers. Most published works give conflicting numbers, and looking for an exact number from the Nigerian government is really of not much help, as the number from the government has always been subject to politically motivated alterations. 18,000,000 (1999 WA) (Ethnologue); 25,000,000 (Eze and Manfredi 2001)
According to Ethnologue, speakers of Izi-Ezaa-Ikwo-Mgbo number 593,000 (1973 SIL).
There are individual efforts in Igbo dialectology; Ubahakwe (forthcoming: see bibliography) includes a survey of Igbo dialects. (Webbook) [needs update]
According to Ethnologue, dialects include: Owerri (Isuama), Onitsha, Umuahia, Orlu, Ngwa, Afikpo, Nsa, Oguta, Aniocha, Eche, Egbema, Oka (Awka), Bonny-Opobo, Mbaise, Nsuka, Ohuhu, Unwana. 30 dialects vary in inherent intelligibility. The standard literary form is developing based on the dialects of Owerri and Umuahia, omitting the nasality and aspiration found in those dialects.
Also according to Ethnologue, Izi (Izzi), Ezaa (Eza), Ikwo, and Mgbo (Ngbo) constitute an additional dialect cluster.
Igbo is a national language, also widely used in primary schools as a medium of instruction. (Webbook)
According to Ethnologue: Official language in the southwest [sic - presumably mean the southeast of Nigeria]. The main trade language of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo states. Used for government notices.
Igbo has an official orthography established in 1961; everything published in Igbo is in this orthography. (Webbook) It is Latin-based, with several diacritic characters, and is known as the Onwu orthography.
The standard written form of Igbo is based on the Owerri and Umuahia dialects and has been in use since 1962. (Omniglot)
G. C. A. Oldendorp, a German missionary, was the first person to produce a book containing material written in Igbo, which consisted of a few words and phrases. His book, Geschichte der Mission der Evangelischen Bruder auf den Carabischen (History of the Evangelistic Mission of the Brothers in the Caribbean), was published in 1777. The first book in Igbo, Isoama-Ibo a primer, was produced in 1857 by Samuel Ajayi Crowther ... (Omniglot)
There are some recent efforts that deviate more or less from the Onwu orthography.
The "Igbo language & ICT" message board has a sample at http://www.quicktopic.com/17/H/tCcDxVXHgQxN (see especially messages 8-10, 46). This is summarised here:
a, b, ch, d, e, f, g , gb, gh, gw, h, i, ị, j, k, kp, kw, l, m, n, nw, ny, ṅ, o, ọ, p, r, r, s, sh, t, u, ụ, v, w, y, z
Alphabets as reported by Hartell (1993) and presented in Systèmes alphabétiques:
Sample texts on the "Language Museum" site:
Unicode fonts with the Extended Latin Additional range are necessary.
Some are discussed on the "Igbo language & ICT" message board at http://www.quicktopic.com/17/H/tCcDxVXHgQxN
Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/igr.htm
None yet, though there is a translation effort underway by Linux2Igbo. [need update and info on other efforts]
The Motherland Nigeria has some items on Igbo: http://www.motherlandnigeria.com/languages.html
"Igbo language & ICT (fonts, keyboards & applications)" message board, http://www.quicktopic.com/17/H/tCcDxVXHgQxN
"Linux2Igbo · Linux Translation Project for Igbo," http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Linux2Igbo/
"Igbo Accent Codes" (TLT, Penn State Univ.) http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/international/bylanguage/igbo.html
Eze, Ejike & Manfredi, Victor 2001. "Igbo" In Facts About the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Garry, Jane, and Carl Rubino. Languages: Past and Present. New York/Dublin: H. W. Wilson Press.
Omniglot, "Igbo (igbo)," http://www.omniglot.com/writing/igbo.htm
SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Igbo," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=ibo
______, "Izi-Ezaa-Ikwo-Mgbo," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=izi
SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp
U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php
University of Nigeria, Jos (Unijos), Department of Languages & Linguistics, http://www.uiowa.edu/intlinet/unijos/nigonnet/nlp/regions.htm
Wikipedia, "Igbo language," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igbo_language