Niger–Congo language of the Igbo people, mainly spoken in Nigeria
Phrasebooks > Igbo phrasebook

Igbo (ásụ̀sụ̀ Ìgbò) is a Niger-Congo language spoken primarily in Nigeria. There are between 18 and 25 million Igbo speakers living primarily in southeastern Nigeria in an area known as Igboland. Igbo is a national language of Nigeria and is also recognised in Equatorial Guinea. Igbo is made up of many different dialects which aren't mutually intelligible to other Igbo speakers at times. A standard for Igbo called 'Igbo izugbe' has been developed. Igbo is written in the Latin alphabet introduced by British colonialists and missionaries. Secret societies such as the Ekpe use nsibidi ideograms to write Igbo and other languages around its area of influence. Nsibidi is an ideographic writing system used for over 500 years.

Igbo is spoken widely in West and West-Central Africa and is a national language of Nigeria and a recognised language of Equatorial Guinea.
An Ókárá Ẹ̀kpẹ̀ resist-dyed with nsibidi symbols.

Major cities where Igbo is most spoken include Onitsha, Enugu, Owerri (oh-weh-reh), Port Harcourt, and Asaba (in Igbo, ah-hah-bah).

Through the transatlantic slave trade, the Igbo language has influenced many creole languages in the Americas, especially in the former British Caribbean, including islands such as Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Variations of Igbo known as Suámo can be found in Cuba. Igbo is spoken by a significant number of people on Bioko island in Equatorial Guinea, formerly known as Fernando Po, and in micro-communities in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, and it is also spoken by recent migrants of Igbo descent all over the world.

Pronunciation guide edit

Igbo is a tonal language with a high, mid, and low range, in addition there are rising and falling tones. Accents is used to indicate the high and low tones; an acute accent such as 'ó' are used for high tones, and a grave accent such as 'è' is used for a low tone. There are further accents that indicate nasal or backed vowels. The lower dotted accent such as 'ọ' combined with a grave accent ('ọ̀') is used to indicate a low backed vowel, and an upper dotted accent such as 'ė' or a lower dotted accent with an acute accent ('ọ́') is used for a high backed vowel. The trema (¨) such as 'ö' or a simple dot underneath is used for a mid backed vowel. Other diacritics include the caron (ˇ) for rising tones, the circumflex (ˆ) for falling tones, and the macron (¯) for down-steps or long vowels.

Vowels edit

Vowels in Igbo are very similar to those in English when there is little tone stress on them. Most of the times vowels in Igbo are written with accents indicating this tone.

vowel English equiv. vowel English equiv. vowel English equiv. vowel English equiv.
a like 'a' in "father" e like 'e' in "get" i like 'ee' in "seen" low tone nasal 'i'
o like 'o' in "coat" low tone nasal 'o' u like 'oo' in "pool" low tone nasal u

Consonants edit

Consonants do not have a tone in Igbo apart from 'n' and 'm' which are the only letters that can be written with accent marks.

consonant English equiv. consonant English equiv. consonant English equiv. consonant English equiv.
b like 'b' in "bit" d like 'd' in "dim" f like 'f' in "feline" g like 'g' in "give"
h like 'h' in "hinge" j like 'j' in "jelly" k like 'k' in "kettle" l like 'l' in "limb"
m like 'm' in "mint" n like 'n' in "nit" ñ like 'n' "drink" p like 'p' in "pit"
r like 'r' in "rent" s like 's' in "seam" t like 't' in "tea" v like 'v' in "villa"
w like 'w' in "win" y like 'y' in "yield" z like 'z' in "zink"

Common diphthongs edit

diphthong English equiv. diphthong English equiv. diphthong English equiv. diphthong English equiv.
ch like 'ch' in "cheese" gb an explosive sound not found in English, but a 'b' sound is made while shaping the mouth for 'g' gh like 'gh' in "ghost" gw like 'gw' in Welsh "Gwyn"
kp not in English, but a 'p' sound is made while shaping the mouth for 'k' kw like 'q' in "queen" nw like 'w' in "wag", but nasal like a baby crying ny like 'ny' in "canyon"
sh like 'sh' in "ship"

Grammar edit

Igbo is considered an agglutinative language. A number of affixed phonemes denote the tense of a verb in addition to the other modifications of a verb root; an example using òjéḿbà, "traveller", can be split into the morphemes: ò, pronoun for animate and inanimate objects or "he, she", verb meaning "travel, walk, embark", ḿbà "town, city, country, foreign lands, abroad" resulting in "he/she/it-go[es]-abroad".

Nouns in Igbo have no grammatical number and there are no gendered pronouns or objects. Igbo grammar generally maintains a subject–verb–object clause order; mádụ̀ àbụ́ghị̀ chúkwú, "human[s]-[it]is[not]-God", "man is not God". Adjectives in Igbo are post-modifiers, although there are very few Igbo adjectives in the closed class; many so called "adjectives" in Igbo are considered nouns, especially when the word is a pre-modifier like im ágádí nwóké transliterated as "elderly man". Igbo features vowel harmony between two vowels and commonly features vowel assimilation where a preceding vowel influences the articulation (or the elision with /a/) of the next such as in ǹk'â, "this one", analysed as ǹkè "of" and â "this". Igbo syllable shapes are CV (consonant, vowel) which is the most common, V, and N which are syllabic nasals, there are also semi vowels like /CjV/ in the word bìá (/bjá/) "come" and /CwV/ in gwú /ɡʷú/ "swim".

Igbo dialects are roughly split into a Northern Igbo (NI) and Southern Igbo (SI) class which is defined by the area in southeastern Nigeria where Igbo is spoken. Further classification can split the Northern Igbo dialect into an Inland Western Igbo dialect (areas around Onitsha and Awka), a Northeastern Igbo dialect (around Abakaliki) and a Western Igbo or Niger Igbo dialect (Asaba to Agbor); the Southern Igbo dialect can be split between a South Central or Inland East Igbo dialect (around Owerri and Aba), an Eastern or Cross River Igbo dialect (around Arochukwu and Afikpo), and a Riverine or Niger Delta Igbo dialect (around Bonny Island and Port Harcourt). In reality there are dozens of Igbo dialects all with their own subtleties and the farther one dialect group is from the other, the less they'll probably be able to understand each other. In response to the possible difficulty of Igbo speakers understanding the opposite extremes of the dialects to theirs, a Standard Igbo dialect (Ìgbò ìzùgbé) has since evolved from the early 20th century and is the standard used for official uses and education. In practice, Standard Igbo has no population base in the Igbo speaking world and is largely ignored except for in formal education. There has also been much criticism and rejection of the constructed language, with accusations of inauthenticity, difficulty, and bias towards dialects that were chosen in the forming of the dialect.

Addressing people edit

Greeting others

Using special greetings when addressing elders of the society and those generally significantly older than you is expected in Igbo society. In smaller communities such as villages, it is also expected of non-elders to greet every elder whenever you first see them in a day. Here are some of the greetings used between different levels of the society.


kèdú (kay-DOO)
the most common formal greeting equivalent to 'hello'
ǹdêwó (in-DAY-WOAH)
A formal greeting that can be used to greet anyone
má-ḿmá (MAHM-MA)
this is the most common polite term when addressing an elder or important person in society, this is used alongside the persons name and an honorific
ǹnộ (in-NOORE)
a greeting mostly used in the northern part of Igboland


ǹdâ (in-DAH)
can be an equivalent of 'what's up'
ánị̄ (AH-NEE)
more direct, used only by friends, insulting if used on someone older than the greeter
ọ̀lị́à (aw-LEE-yah)
more direct, mostly from a friend to a friend
ọ̀gị́nị́ kwánụ́/gị́nị́ mẹ̀rẹ̀ (aw-GEE-NEE KU-WA-NOO/GEE-NEE meh-reh)
very direct and informal, literally 'what's happening'.


There are greetings usually made to a group of people which can also be used to boost morale.

Kwénù (QUAY-noo)
The most common group greeting, used only by males.
Dǎlụ́'nụ̀ (DAH-LOO nooh)
Meaning literally 'thank you all', this can be used by anybody.

In Igbo society there are different ways of addressing people depending on their status in society. In order to show good manners and politeness, Igbo speakers are expected to use honorifics to address those who are significantly older than them (usually those old enough to be an uncle or grandparent, and fittingly, 'uncle' is sometimes used as an honorific). Here are some of the basic honorifics used in Igbo society.

māzị́- (MAH-ZEE)
The most basic honorific for males, about equivalent to Mister. Mazi Ibekwe: Mister Ibekwe
dâ- (DAH)
The most basic honorific for females, about equivalent to Misses, Miss, and most similar to madam or ma'am. Da Mgbechi: Madam Mgbechi
dê-dè- (DEH-deh)
Another honorific for males, usually used in an informal setting, may be seen as the male equivalent of 'da', it has no equivalent in English, but is similar to saying 'big brother'. It is usually shortened to 'de'.
ìchíè- (ee-CHEE-ye)
literally elder, used to address male elders.
ńzè- (IN-zay)
a noble title for males found in the northern parts of Igboland.
lộlọ̀- (LOH-loh)
can be interpreted as 'dane' or 'dutchess', a title given to the wife of a titled man.

Those younger than you can be called by their gender — 'nwóké', meaning "male"; 'nwânyị̀', meaning "female"; or 'nwá' (WAHN), meaning child. This form of address can be patronising.

Reading and writing edit

The Igbo language was first inscribed with ideographs known as nsibidi which originated in the Cross River region of Africa. Nsibidi symbols were used to represent ideas and oftentimes specific objects. British colonialism from the late 19th century till 1960 has wiped away nisbidi from general use and has led to the introduction of the Roman-script-based orthography known as ọ́nwụ́ which developed from several revisions of Roman orthographies in the 19th century and early 20th century. The first book written in Igbo was an Ibo-Isuama primer by Bishop Ajayi Crowther, a Sierra Leonean creole of Egba-Yoruba descent in the 19th century. As a tonal language, the Latin script has been modified to fit the different tones and sounds of the Igbo language.

Igbo-language literary works have been few since colonialism introduced an alphabet. Literature in English by Igbo writers on Igbo society, however, have achieved international acclaim. The most popular of these books, Things Fall Apart, written by author Chinua Achebe, deals with the subject of colonialism and the destruction of Igbo society in the late 19th century.

The Igbo languages' tonality may be confusing at times, but it is important: Homonyms are differentiated by the way that the tones are expressed. Diacritics are used to signal tones in written Igbo along with other special characters such as the dot over (˙) and underneath (.). /akwa/ is a notorious homonym in Igbo which can be interpreted in different tones as /ákwà/ ('cloth'), /àkwá/ ('egg'), /ákwá/ ('cry, crying'), /àkwà/ ('bed'), /àkwà/ ('bridge').

Written Igbo edit

Indomie noodles advert in Igbo, Abia State

There are hundreds of Igbo dialects and Igboid languages spoken by different clans and former nation-states. The high variation and low mutual intelligibility between many Igbo dialects has been a hindrance to written Igbo and Igbo literature over the years. This has led to the development of a standard form of Igbo known as 'standard Igbo' or Igbo izugbe. This standard form was based on dialects around the central parts of Igboland. Although it is was created to boost Igbo literature, it received a little bit of backlash and opposition from Igbo speakers such as author Chinua Achebe, who see it as artificial and prefer to speak their own dialects. Igbo izubge is the standard used in the curriculum of Igbo language studies, and an Igbo lingua franca.

Phrase list edit

Basics edit

Common signs

Although most signs in the Igbo-speaking areas of Nigeria may be in English, it will still be helpful to learn some of these signs in case you find your self in a more rural community.

Mèpòrù (may-poe-roo)
Mèchiélé (MAY-chi-EH-LE)
Ọ̀bụ̀bà (aw-boo-ba)
Ḿfụ́fụ́ / Úzọ Èzí (MM-FUH-FUH / OO-zor AY-ZEE)
Nú (NOO)
Dọ̌ (DOOR)
Ḿkpóchí (IM-PAW-CHEE)
Ụ́mụ̀nwōké (OO-mooh-WOAH-KAY)
Umunwañyi (OO-MOO-wa-yi)
Ihe Nsọ (I-HYEAH IN-saw)
Ndêwó. (n-DAY-WO)
Hello. (informal)
Kèdú. (keh-DO)
Hello. (casual)
Ǹdâ. (in-DAH)
Nnộ (n-NORH)
How are you?
Kèdú kà ímẹ̀rẹ̀? (keh-DOO kah E meh-reh)
Fine, thank you.
Ọ́ dị̀ ḿmá. (AW dee iM-MA)
What is your name?
Kèdú áhà gị́? (keh-DO AH-ha GEE)
My name is ______ .
Áhàm bụ̀ ______, or Áfàm bụ̀ (: AH-ham boo _____ or AH-FAHM boo.)
Nice to meet you.
Ndêwó. (n-DAY-WOAH)
Bīkó. (BEE-KOE)
Thank you.
Dālụ́/Imẹ̄lá. (DAA-LOO/EE-MEH-LAH)
You're welcome.
Ǹdêwó. (in-DAY-WOAH)
Éeyi, Ëhh. (ey, AEH)
Ḿbà . (iM-bah)
Excuse me. (getting attention)
Biko, chètú. (BEE-koe, CHE-too)
Excuse me. (begging pardon)
Biko, é weli íwé. (BEE-koe, A WELLI E-WAY)
I'm sorry.
Ndo; Gbághàrám. (n-DOH, BA-gha-RAM)
Kà ómésíá. (kah O-MEH-SI-YA)
Goodbye (informal)
Kà ányị́ húní. (ka AN-YEE HOO-NEE)
I can't speak Igbo [well].
À náḿ à sụ́ Ìgbò [ọ̀hụ́má]. (ah NAHM ah SU eegboh [aw-HOO-MAH])
Do you speak English?
Ị̀ nà sụ́ Bèké ? (ee nah SOO beh-KEH[bae-KEH]?)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
Ọ di onye nọ nga nweríkí súfù bèké? (OR dee on-yeh NOR in-GAH weh-RI-KI SUH-foo beh-KEH?)
Nyéḿ áká! (YEM AH-KAH)
Look out!
Lèmá kwá! (lay-MAH KWA)
Good morning.
Ututu Ọma . (oo-TUTU oh-mah)
Good evening.
Ngbede Ọma . (MM-GBAEDAY oh-mah)
Good night.
Kà chí fọ̌. (ka CHI FOE)
I don't understand.
À ghọ́tàghìm. (ah GAW-tah-gim)
Where is the toilet?
Ké ébé ḿkpóchí dì? (keh EH BEH MM-K-PO-CHEE dee)

Problems edit

Body parts

ísí (EE-SEE)
íhú (EE-HUE)
ányá (AHN-YAH)
ńtị̀ (IN-tih)
ímí (EE-MEE)
ákpị̀rị́ (AHK-pee-REE)
àgbà (ahg-bah)
ólú (OH-LOO)
úbú (OO-BOO)
ugwùlùgwù (ooh-gwoo-loo-gwoo)
úkwù (OO-kwoo)
ihü áká (EE-HUE AH-KAH)
nkwekọ áká (nn-kweh-koh AH-KAH)
m̀kpị́sị́ áká (mm-KPEE-SEE AH-KAH)
áká (AH-KAH)
ǹkù áká (in-koo AH-KAH)
ị́kẹ̀ (EE-keh)
àkpàtà (ahk-pah-tah)
íkpèrè (EEK-peh-reh)
úkwụ (OO-KOOH)
ọ̀kpà (oh-k-pah)
Leave me alone.
Háfụ̄m áká. (HAH-POOM AH-KAH)
Don't touch me!
Ẹ́mẹ́tụ́lụ́ḿ áká! (EH-MEH-TOO-LOOM AH-KAH)
I'll call the police.
Á gàm ị́ kpọ́ ńdị́ ùwé ójíé. (AH gahm EE PORE IN-DI ooh-WEH OH-JEE-YEAH)
Poleesi/Uwè ojié! (poe-LEE-see/OO-way oh-JEE!)
Stop! Thief!
Kushí! Onye óshi/ohi! (koo-shee! OH-NYE OH-shi)
I need your help.
Á chom kí nyém àkà. (AH chom kee nyeah-m AH-KAH)
It's an emergency.
Ọ bu ihnyé óbì ọsịsọ. (OR boo i-hi-yeh OH-bee OH-si-sor)
I'm lost.
À mághim ébém nọr. (AH MAH-gim EH-BEH-m NOR)
I lost my bag.
Akpám è fuólé. (ak-pam EH FU-OH-lay)
I lost my wallet.
Àkpà égóm è fuólé. (ak-pah EH-GOME eh FU-OH-LAY)
I'm sick.
Àhụ nà anwụm. (ah-HOO NAH woom)
I've been injured.
Á meruolam àhú. (AH MEH-RU-AW-LAM ah-hoo)
I need a doctor.
Onye ògwò orịá kam chọ. (OH-yeh OH-gw-oh OH-ri-ya KAM chor)
Can I use your phone?
M nwèríkí jítú fonu gí? (IM weh-RI-KI JI-TOO fo-nu GEE)

Numbers edit

1 One
Ótù/Ófù (OH-too/OH-foo)
2 Two
Àbụ́ọ́ (ah[ae]-BWORE)
3 Three
Àtọ́ (ah[ae]-TOH)
4 Four
Ànọ́ (ah[ae]-NAW)
5 Five
Ìsé (ee-SAY)
6 Six
Ìsî (ee-SEE-ee)
7 Seven
Àsâ (ah[ae]-SAH-ah)
8 Eight
Àsátọ́ (ah[ae]-SAH-TAW)
9 Nine
Ìtôlú /Ìtenani (ee-TOE-LOO) /(ee-TAE-naH-ni)
10 Ten
Ìrí (ee-R[L]EE)
Man in traditional Igbo dress carrying an ekwe (a type of drum)
11 Eleven
Ìrí nà ótù (ee-R[L]EE nah OH-too)
12 Twelve
Ìrí nà àbụ́ọ́ (ee-R[L]EE nah ah-BWORE)
13 Thirteen
Ìrí nà àtọ́ (ee-R[L]EE nah ah-TOH)
14 Fourteen
Ìrí nà ànọ́ (ee-R[L]EE nah ah-NAW)
15 Fifteen
Ìrí nà isé (ee-R[L]EE nah ee-SAY)
16 Sixteen
Ìrí nà ìsî (ee-R[L]EE nah ee-SEE-e)
17 Seventeen
Ìrí nà àsâ (ee-R[L]EE nah ah-SAH-ah)
18 Eighteen
Ìrí nà àsátọ́ (ee-R[L]EE nah ah-SAH-toh)
19 Nineteen
Ìrí nà Ìtôlú (ee-R[L]EE nah ee-TOE-LOO)
20 Twenty
Ìrí àbụ́ọ́ / Ọ́gụ́ (ee-REE ah-BWORE / AW-GUH)
21 Twenty one
Ìrí àbụ́ọ́ na ótù (ee-REE ah-BWORE nah OH-too)
22 Twenty two
Ìrí àbụ́ọ́ na àbụ́ọ́ (ee-REE ah-BWORE nah ah-BWORE)
23 Twenty three
Ìrí àbụ́ọ́ na àtọ́ (ee-REE ah-BWORE nah ah-TOH)
30 Thirty
Ìrí àtọ́ (ee-REE ah-TOH)
40 Forty
Ìrí ànọ́ / Ọ́gụ́ àbụ́ọ́ (ee-REE ah-NAW / AW-GUH ah-BWORE)
50 Fifty
Ìrí ìsé (ee-REE ee-SAY)
60 Sixty
Ìrí ìsî (ee-REE EE-SEE-e)
70 Seventy
Ìrí àsâ (ee-REE ah-SAH-ah)
80 Eighty
Ìrí àsátọ́ (ee-REE ah-SAH-toh)
90 Ninety
Ìrí Ìtôlú (ee-REE ee-TOE-LOO)
100 Hundred
Ńnárị́ / Ọ́gụ́ ìsé (IN-NAH-REE / AW-GUH ee-SAY)
200 Two hundred
Ńnárị́ àbụ́ọ́ (IN-NAH-REE ah-BWORE)
300 Three hundred
Ńnárị́ àtọ́ (IN-NAH-REE ah-TOH)
400 Four hundred
Ńnárị́ ànọ́ / Ńnụ̀ (IN-NAH-REE ah-NAW / IN-nuh)
1000 Thousand
Púkú (POO-KOO)
2000 Two Thousand
Púkú àbụ́ọ́ (POO-KOO ah-BWORE)
3000 Three Thousand
Púkú àtọ́ (POO-KOO ah-TOH)
10,000 Ten Thousand
Púkú ìrí (POO-KOO ee-RE)
100,000 A hundred thousand
Púkú ńnárí (POO-KOO IN-NAH-REE)
1,000,000 Million
Ńdè (IN-day)
100,000,000 A hundred million
Ńdè ńnárí (IN-day IN-NAH-REE)
1,000,000,000 Billion
Ìjérí (ee-JAY-REE)

Time edit

ógè (OH-gey)
ùgbúà / kita (oog-BU-wa) / (kee-TAH)
óméziá (OH-MEH-ZEE-YAH)
dū (DOO)
dā (daah)
ụ̀tútụ̀ (ooh-TUH-tuh)
èhíhìè (ey-HEE-hye)
ḿgbèdè (IM-beh-deh)
ùrúlúchí (oo-ROO-LOO-CHEE)
ábàlì (AH-bah-lee)

Clock time edit

Élékéré (AY-LAY-KAY-REH)
six o'clock in the morning
élékéré ìsî nà ụ̀tụ́tụ̀ (AY-LAY-KAY-REH ee-SEE-ee nah oo-TUH-tuh)
nine o'clock AM
élékéré ìtôlú nà ụtútụ (AY-LAY-KAY-REH ee-TOE-LOO nah oo-TUH-tuh)
èhíhìè nàbọ (ey-HEE-hee-yay nah-BOH)
one o'clock PM
élékéré ótù nàbọ (AY-LAY-KAY-REH OH-too nah-BOH)
two o'clock PM
élékéré abuọ nàbọ (AY-LAY-KAY-REH ah-BWORE nah-BOH)
ètítì ábàlì (ay-TEE-tee AH-bah-lee)

Duration edit

Ńkéjì (IN-KAY-jee)
Mkpìlìkpì ógè (im-pee-lee-pee OH-gey)
Àmànị̀ (ah-mah-nee)
Ụ́bọ̀chị̀ (OO-boh-chee)
Ízù (EE-zoo)
Ọ́nwạ́ (AW-WAH)
Áfọ̀ (AH-fore)

Days edit

Ịzu afia/ahia - Market week

The traditional week in Igbo speaking communities consists of 4 days, each is indicative of a particular market of many different communities. The market days were established by the god-like Eri, an important Igbo ancestor of the 1st millennium AD. Market days are very important to various Igbo communities as they are used to mark major events in the community. Each community is assigned a special day for their market; in a village group no other markets are to be held on a particular villages day. The names of the market days are also used for cardinal directions in some Igbo communities.

These traditional market days are:

àfọ̀/àhọ̀ (ah-four)
corresponding to the north
ǹkwọ́ (in-KWOR)
corresponding to the south
èké (ay-KAY)
corresponding to the east
órìè / óyè (OH-ree-yeah)
corresponding to the west
tâ, ụ́bọ̀chị̀ tâ (TAH, OO-boh-chi TAH)
ńnyáfụ̀, chí láránị́ (IN-YAH-fuh, CHI LAH-RAH-NEE)
échí (AY-CHEE)
this week
ízù ǹkâ (EE-zoo in-KAH)
last week
ízù láránị́ (EE-zoo LAH-RAH-NEE)
next week
izù nabia (ee-ZOO nah-BYAH)
Ụbọchị úkà (oo-BOH-chi oo-KAH)
Mondè (MOHN-dae)
Tusde (toos-dae)
Wensde (WENS-dae)
Tosdè (TOHS-dae)
Fraidè (FRY-dae)
Satde (SAHT-dae)

Months edit

Oguaro/afọ - Traditional calendar

The calendar of the Igbo people is known as Oguaro or Oguafor (lit. 'counting of the years'). Month in Igbo is ọnwa (lit. 'moon'), year is 'afọ'. The traditional Igbo year has 13 months which are usually named after their position in the year; most are named after a religious ceremony or after a certain deity such as Ana the mother alusi (deity, 'Northern Igbo' dialect) of the earth. The traditional 13 month calendar is rarely used in Igbo society, instead the Gregorian 12 month calendar is used. Below are the months of the year in the traditional 13 week Ọ̀guụ́árọ̀ calendar of the Ǹrì Ìgbò community and their Gregorian equivalents. Many Igbo communities have variations of the 13 month lunar calendar reflecting their own traditions and holidays, including different dates for marking the New Year and different names for the months. The Ǹrì Ìgbò calendar however is one of the oldest and is historically influential. The calendar is in it's 1014th year as of February 2013.

Months (Ọ́nwạ́)
Gregorian equivalent
Ọ́nwạ́ M̀bụ́ (AW-WAH mm-BOO)
3rd week of February
Ọ́nwạ́ Àbụ́ọ́ (AW-WAH ah-BWORE)
Ọ́nwạ́ Ífé Èké (AW-WAH EE-fay ay-KAY)
Ọ́nwạ́ Ànọ́ (AW-WAH ah-NAW)
Ọ́nwạ́ Ágwụ́ (AW-WAH AHG-WOO)
Ọ́nwạ́ Íféjíọ́kụ́ (AW-WAH EE-FAY-JEE-AW-KOO)
Ọ́nwạ́ Alọm Chi (AW-WAH AH-LOHM chi)
August to early September
Ọ́nwạ́ Ilo Mmụọ (AW-WAH EE-low MM-MORE)
Late September
Ọ́nwạ́ Ànà (AW-WAH ah-nah)
Ọ́nwạ́ Ókíké (AW-WAH OH-kEE-kAY)
Early November
Ọ́nwạ́ Ájânà (AW-WAH AH-JAH-nah)
Late November
Ọ́nwạ́ Ede Ajana (AW-WAH AY-DAY ah-jah nah)
Late November to December
Ọ́nwạ́ Ụzọ Alụsị (AW-WAH oo-ZOR AH-LUH-SEE)
January to Early February

The Gregorian calendar is translated into Igbo either by naming the twelve months by their position in the calendar, or by using loan words from English.

Ọ́nwạ́ M̀bụ́, Januari (AW-WAH mm-BOO, JAH-noo-wa-ree)
Ọnwa Abuọ, Febureri (AW-WAH ah-BWORE, FEH-boo-way-ree)
Ọnwa Àtọ, Machi (AW-WAH ah-TOH, MAH-chi)
Ọnwa Ànȯ, Eprulu (AW-WAH ah-NORE, AY-prool-oo)
Ọnwa Ise, Me (AW-WAH ee-SAY, MEH)
Ọnwa Ishii, Jun (AW-WAH EE-SHE-e, JOON)
Ọnwa Asaa, Julai (AW-WAH ah-SAH-ah, JOO-lai)
Ọnwa Asatọ, Ogost (AW-WAH ah-SAH-toh, AW-gost)
Ọnwa Itoolu, Seputemba (AW-WAH ee-TOE-LOO, SEP-tehm-BAH)
Ọnwa Iri, Oktoba (AW-WAH ee-REE, OK-toe-BAH)
Ọnwa Iri na Ótu, Novemba (AW-WAH ee-REE nah OH-too, NO-vehm-BAH)
Ọnwa Iri na Abuọ, Disemba (AW-WAH ee-REE nah ah-BWORE, DEE-sem-bah)

Seasons edit

There are only two seasons in the Igbo homeland; the dry season and the rainy season. There is also a dusty trade wind known as harmattan that blows throughout West Africa.

Rainy season
Ùdù ḿmírí (oo-doo MM-MEE-REE)
Dry season
Ọ́kọ́chì (AW-KOH-chee)
ụ́gụ̀rụ̀ (OO-goo-loo)

Writing time and date edit

The Igbo have adopted the Western way of writing the time and date, most of the times dates are written as they would in English speaking country's (dd/mm/yyyy) or (yyyy/mm/dd). These are some of the terms for date and time in Igbo.

Áfọ̀ (AH-fore)
Áfọ̀ ìrí (AH-fore ee-REE)
óchíê (oh-CHEE-YEAH)

Colours edit

colour attribute, emit (v.)
chä (CHAH)
It is...
Ọ́ dị̀... (AW dee)
It is coloured...
Ọ́ nà chá... (AW na CHAH)
ójī (OH-JEE)
ọ̀chá (aw-CHA)
ntụ ntụ, gre (in-TOO in-TOO, GREY)
mmẹ̀-mmẹ̀, úhìè (m-MEH-m-MEH, OO-hee-ye)
àlùlù, blú (ah-loo-loo, BLOO)
èdò, ògùlù, yélò (ey-doe, OH-goo-loo, YEAR-loe)
ńdụ̀-ńdụ̀ (IN-doo-IN-doo)
ḿmánụ́ ḿmánụ́, órènjì (AW-cha MM-MAH-NOO MM-MAH-NOO, OH-rehn-jee)
òdòdò (oh-doe-doe)
ńchárá,bùráùnù (IN-CHA-RA, AKH-pah-im-manu, bu-RAWN-noo)

Family edit

Igbo art outside a shrine in the village of Umudege
Ńnà (NN-nah)
Ńnẹ́ (NN-NEH)
Older brother
Nwáńnẹ́ḿ nwōké (WAHN-NEHM WOAH-KAY)
Older sister
Nwáńnẹ́ḿ nwânyị̀ (WAHN-NEHM WAHN-yee)
Younger brother
Nwáńnẹ́ḿ nwōké ńtà (WAHN-NEM WOAH-KAY NN-tah)
Younger sister
Nwáńnẹ́ḿ nwânyị̀ ńtà (WAHN-NEM WAHN-yee NN-tah)
Nna nna/nne (NN-nah NN-nah/NN-NEH)
Ńnẹ́ ńnẹ́ (NN-NEH NN-NEH)
dêdè / dê (DEH-deh / DEH)
Dâ, àntí (DAH, ahn-TEE)
Dí (DEE)
Nwínyè (WEE-yay)
Nwá nwōké (WAHM WOAH-KAY)
Nwáḿ nwânyị̀ (WAHM WAHN-yee)
First son
Ọ́kpárá (AWK-PAH-RAH)
First daughter
Àdá (ah-DAH)
Middle son
Ụ̀lụ́ (ohh-LUH)
Last child
Ọ́dụ̀ nwá (AW-doo WAH)
Nwá nwá (WAH-WAH)
Ọ́gọ̀ (AW-gawh)

Transportation edit

Bus and train edit

How much is a ticket to _____?
Égó òlé ka tiketi nke na ga _____? (AY-GO oh-LEY kah tee-keh-tee dih in-KAY nah gah)
One ticket to _____, please.
Nyem ótù tiket nke na ga _____, biko. (YEHM OH-too TEE-keht in-KAY NAH GAH _____, BEE-COE)
Where does this train/bus go?
Ébé òlé ka ụgbo igwẹ/bosu nka na ga? (AY-BOW-LAY kah oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-soo in-KAH nah GAH)
Where is the train/bus to _____?
Ébé òlé ka ụgbo igwẹ/bosu dị, nke na ga _____? (AY-BOW-LAY kah oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-soo dee, in-KAY NAH GAH _____?)
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
Ụgbo igwẹ/bosu nka, ọ nà kúshí na _____? (oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-soo in-KAH, aw nah KOO-SHEE nah _____?)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
Mgbe òle ka ụgbo igwẹ/bosu nke na ga _____? nà fú? (mm-beh OH-LAY kah oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-su in-KAY nah GAHH _____?)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
Mgbe òle ka ụgbo igwẹ/bosu nkè gi ru _____? (mm-beh OH-LAY kah oog-bow EE-GWEH/BOR-su in-KAY GEE- ROO _____?)

Directions edit

The city of Enugu
élú (AY-LOO)
nàlà (nah-lah)
nà élú (nah AY-LOO)
okpúrù (oak-KPOO-roo)
nà íshí, nà ihü (nah EE-SHEE, nah EE-HUE)
nà àzú (nah-ah-ZOO)
How do I get to _____ ?
Òtùòlé kǎm gi rú ______? (oh-too-oh-LAY KAHM GEE-RUE)
...the train station?
...ébé ụ̀gbọ́ ígwè nà kụ́shị́? (AY-BAY oohg-BOW EE-gweh nah KOO-SHEE?)
...the bus station?
...ébé bọ́s stéshọ̀n? (AY-BAY BOS STAY-shon?)
...the airport?
... ẹ̄pọ̀tụ̀? (EH-poh-too?)
...énú ànị? (AY-NOO ah-nee)
...àzú obodo? (ah-ZOO oh-bow-doe)
...the youth hostel?
...ụlọ úmù ndi yut? (ooh-loh OO-moo IN-DEE YOO-t)
...the _____ hotel?
...ébé hotel _____ ? (AY-BAY hoe-tell)
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?
...ébé ndi mbiàmbiá Amerika/Kanada/Ostrailia/Briten? (AY-BAY IN-DEE mm-byah-BYAH...)
Where are there a lot of...
Ébé olé kà Í gí nwétá óké... (AY-BAY oh-LAY kah EE GEE WEH-TAH O-KAY)
...ébém gi hï? (AY-BEHM GEE HEE)
...úlọ nri? (OOH-loh in-REE)
...úlọ mmányá? (OOH-loh IM-MAHN-YAH)
...sites to see?
...ébé nlènlé kwánú? (AY-BAY in-lehn-LAY KWA-NOO)
Can you show me on the map?
Ì gi zim òtú úzọ/map? (ee GEE zeem oh-TOO OO-zor/MAH-pu)
okpóló ilo (ohk-PO-LOK ee-LOW)
Turn right.
Gbá na áká nri./Gba raitu. (BAH nah AH-KAH REE./BAH RAI-too)
Turn left.
Gbá na áká èkpè./Gba leftu. (BAH nah AH-KAH ehk-peh./BAH LEHF-too)
áká nri, áká Ikéngà, raitu (AH-KAH REE, AH-KAH ee-ken-gah, RAI-too)
áká èkpè, leftu (AH-KAH ehk-pe, LEHF-too)
straight ahead
gàwá na ihü (gah-WAH nah EE-HUE)
towards the _____
nọ̀ nà ụ́zọ̀ _____ (noh nah OO-zor)
past the _____
gáfè _____ (GAH-fay)
before the _____
nà ísí _____ (nah EE-SEE)
Watch for the _____.
Lèmá kwá _____. (leh-MAH KWAH)
ábọ́, jonkshon (AH-BOH, JONK-shon)
òlìlé anyanwü, àfọ̀ (oh-lee-LAY AHN-YAH-WOO, ah-four)
nlédà anyanwü, ǹkwọ̀ (in-LAY-dah AHN-YAH-WOO, in-kwor)
ọwụwà anyanwü, èké (OH-WOO-WAH AHN-YAH-WOO, ay-KAY)
ọdịdà anyanwü, órìè (oh-dee-dah AHN-YAH-WOO, OH-ree-yeah)
élú ụ́gwụ (AY-LOO OO-GWOOH)
ụ́kwụ́ ụ́gwụ (OO-KWOO OO-GWOOH)

Taxi edit

Éess, Tasi! (AY-see, TAH-see)
Take me to _____, please.
Wèrém gá _____, biko. (way-REHM GAH _____, BEE-COE.)
How much does it cost to get to _____?
Égóle kọ di Í jé _____? (AY-GO-LAY KOH dee EE JAY _____?)
Take me there, please.
Wèrém jé ébé áhü, biko. (way-REHM JAY AY-BAY AH-hoo, BEE-COE.)

Lodging edit

Do you have any rooms available?
I nwere ụla di? (EE weh-reh oo-lah dee?)
How much is a room for one person/two people?
Egole kọ di maka ótu madu/madu abụo? (AY-GO-LAY core dee mah-kah OH-too MAH-doo/MAH-doo ah-bu-wor?)
Does the room come with...
... ọ di na ụla? (aw dee na oo-lah?)
...ákwà àkwà edinà? (AH-KWAH ah-kwah EH-dee-nah?)
...a bathroom?
...ụlà I sa ahu? (OO-lah EE SAH ah-HOO?)
...a telephone?
...telefonu? (teh-leh-FOE-nu?)
...a TV?
...Tivi? (TEE-vee?)
May I see the room first?
I nweriki hu ụla nke na otu mgbe? (ee weh-REE-KEE HUH oo-lah nn-kay na OH-too mm-gbay?)
Sign of a hotel in the city of Aba
Do you have anything quieter?
I nwere ihe dajụgo? (EE weh-reh EE-HEE-NYEH DAH-JOO-GO?)
...ukwu? (OO-KWOO?)
...di ọcha? (DEE aw-CHA?)
...di ọnu ànì? (DEE aw-NOO ah-nee?)
OK, I'll take it.
Ngwanu, kam wèré ya. (NN-GWA-NOO, KAHM way-RAY YAH)
I will stay for _____ night(s).
M gi nọ nga ábàli rúrú _____. (MM GEE NORE nn-GAH AH-bah-lee ROO-ROO _____.)
Can you suggest another hotel?
Ọ di hotelu ozor? (aw dee hpe-TEH-loo aw-ZOR?)
Do you have a safe?
I nwèrè ebe ha na kpachi ihe ndi madu? (ee weh-reh AY-BAY HAH nah PAH-CHI EE-HEE-NYE NN-DEE MAH-doo)
...akpata mgbachi? (...ahk-kpah-tah mm-bah-chi?)
Is breakfast/supper included?
azị ùtútù/nni anyasi ọ di? (AH-ZI ooh-TOO-tuh/NN-NI ah-nya-see aw dee?)
What time is breakfast/supper?
Mgbe ole ka ha ne weta azị ùtútù/nni anyasi? (MM-beh oh-LAY kah HAH nay WEY-TAH ah-zee ooh-TOO-tuh/NN-NI ah-nya-see aw dee?)
Please clean my room.
Hicha ụlam biko. (hee-CHAH oo-lah BEE-coe)
Can you wake me at _____?
I nweriki kpọtem na _____? (ee weh-REE-KEE POH-TEHM nah...)
I want to check out.
M chori chekuwe awutu. (MM chore-REE CHAY-KWOO AHW-too)

Money edit

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars?
I na ná dọla ndi Amerika/Ostreliya/Kanada? (ee nah NAH-RAH DOH-lah IN-DEE...)
Do you accept British pounds?
I na nárá pandu ndi Buriten? (ee nah NAH-RAH PAHN-deu IN-DEE boo-REE-ten?)
Do you accept credit cards?
I na nárá kuredit kadu? (ee nah NAH-RAH keu-REH-DEET KAH-deu?)
Can you change money for me?
I na tuwari ego? (ee nah TOO-WAH-REE AY-GO?)
Where can I get money changed?
Ebe ole ka ha na tuwari ego? (eh-BOW-LAY kah HA nah TOO-WAH-REE AY-GO?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me?
I nweriki gbanwe cheki turavulas nkem? (ee weh-REE-KEE BAH-WEH CHAY-kee too-RAH-VEU-LAHS in-CAME?)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed?
Ebe ole ka ha na gbanwe turavulas cheki? (AY-BOW-LAY kah HAH nah BAH-WAY too-RAH-VOO-LAHS CHAY-kee?)
What is the exchange rate?
Gini bu ekuschenji rétụ? (GEE-NEE boo ay-keu-SHEE-CHANGE-jee RAY-too?)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?
Ebe ole ka ha na wefuta ego (ATM)? (AY-BOW-LAY kah HAH nah WAY-foo-TAH AY-GO?)

Eating edit

What do you say...

Thank you, please and sorry can be useful in any society. The Igbo forms of these phrases are as follows.

Ndo (in-DOE)
In Igbo society, ndo is usually used to console someone whenever something bas happens to them, for example someone may say ndo to you if you trip over, but it generally isn't used to apologise, only in some cases.
Biko (bee-coe)
'please', can also be used as an equivalent of 'excuse me'
Imeela (ee-MEH-lah)
Literally 'you've done it', this is used as a term for gratitude, if someone brings you a meal, this would be a term to use.
Daalu (DAH-LOO)
'thanks', this is the most similar to the English 'thank you' and is the most polite
Jisike (jee-SI-kay)
Literally 'use strength', this term is used to show support for someone's hard work; if you see a cook working hard in the kitchen, you can say jisike, usually with a honorific, or if not use their gender ('nwoke' for male, 'nwaanyi' for female), so it would be 'nwaanyi jisike', and you will get a response like 'oh!' which is an expression of acknowledgement.
A table for one person/two people, please.
Biko, tebulu ótù madu/madu abuọo. (BEE-COE, TEH-boo-loo OH-too MAH-doo/MAH-doo ah-boo-AW)
Can I look at the menu, please?
Biko, kam hü menyu. (BEE-COE, KAHM HOO MEN-yoo)
Can I look in the kitchen?
M nweríkí hü ekwü? (mm weh-REE-KEE HOO EH-kwuh)
Is there a house specialty?
Ọ dì íhnyé nani ha ne shi nga? (aw dee EE-HEE-YEAH NAH-NEE HAH nay SHEE in-GAH?)
Is there a local specialty?
Ọ dì ihe ori ha ma ndi ebe nka màkà? (aw dee EE-HEE-YEAH oh-REE HAH mah IN-DEE AY-BAY in-KAH-ah mah-kah?)
I'm a vegetarian.
M bu vegitériyan. (MM boo veh-gee-TEH-REE-yen.)
I don't eat pork.
À nam e ri ánú ézì. (ah-NAHM eh REE AH-NOO AY-zee.)
I don't eat beef.
À nam e ri ánú efi. (ah-NAHM eh REE AH-NOO AY-FEE.)
I only eat kosher food.
Nani ori kosha kam ne ri. (NAH-NEE oh-REE COE-sha KAHM neh REE.)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard)
I nwereiki me ka ọ di ùfè, biko? (ee weh-REE-KEE MEH kah AW DEE oo-feh, BEE-COE?)
fixed-price meal
Rụ ọnụ ori. (rooh AW-NOO oh-REE.)
a la carte
Ihnye ori di (EE-HEE-YEAH oh-REE dee)
azị ūtụtù (ah-ZEE oo-TUH-tuh)
azị efìfìe (ah-ZEE eh-fee-fi-yeah)
tea (meal)
kwòze (kwòze)
azị anyàsì (AH-ZEE ahn-yah-see)
Ugba and Okporoko — dried fish and oil bean seeds
I want _____.
M chọrọ _____. (MM chore-roh.)
I want a dish containing _____.
M chọrọ órí _____. (MM chore-roh OH-REE)
ánú ọkúkọ (AH-NOO aw-KOO-koh)
ánú efi (AH-NOO ay-FEE)
ánú éwú (AH-NOO AY-WOO)
azụ (AH-zoo)
ánú ezi (AH-NOO AY-ZEE)
sọseji (SOH-seh-jee)
chizu (CHEE-zoo)
jí (JEE)
àkwá (ah-KWAH)
saladu (SAH-LAH-doo)
(fresh) vegetables
abụbo (ndụ) (ah-boo-bore (IN-doo))
(fresh) fruit
ạkpạ, mkpuru osisi, frutu (ndụ) (ah-kpah, im-POO-roo OH-SEE-SEE, FROO-too (IN-doo))
achicha (ah-chee-chah)
tosutu (TOE-SU-teu)
índomi (IN-DOE-mee)
osikapa (aw[oh]-see-kah-pah)
ǹsàlà, súpu (in-sah-lah, SOO-poo)
stew/soup (like gumbo)
ófé (OH-FAY)
pepper soup
ófé ǹsàlà (OH-FAY in-sah-lah)
àgwà (ah-gwah)
May I have a glass of _____?
M nweriki were otu ágá ùgèbè _____? (mm weh-REE-KEE WEH-REH OH-too AH-GAH oo-geh-beh _____?)
May I have a cup of _____?
M nweriki were otu ágá _____? (mm weh-REE-KEE WEH-REH OH-too AH-GAH _____?)
May I have a bottle of _____?
M nweriki were otu kalama _____? (mm weh-REE-KEE WEH-REH OH-too KAH-lah-mah _____?)
Nmili Ukwa, a beverage made of African breadfruit
kọfi (KOR-fi)
tea (drink)
ti (tee)
ùmì ósísí, jusu (oo-mee OH-SEE-SEE, joo-soo)
(bubbly) water
mmiri ọgbụgbọ (mm-MEE-ree aw-gubu-gubor)
mmiri (mm-MI-ri)
biye (bee-YEAH)
red/white wine
waini ufie/ọcha (WINE-nee OO-fi-yeah/aw-CHAH)
May I have some _____?
O kam nweturu _____ ntakiri? (aw KAHM WEH-TOO-ROO _____ IN-tah-KEE-REE?)
ńnú (IN-NOO)
black pepper
ósò oji (OH-sow OH-JEE)
bọta (BOR-tah)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
Biko, onye nọ nga? (BEE-COE, oh-YEAH noh in-GAH?)
I'm finished.
E mechalam. (EH MEH-CHAH-LAHM)
It was delicious.
Ȯ dị otó. (AW dee oh-TOH)
Please clear the plates.
Biko, nwefu efere ndia. (BEE-COE, WAY-foo AY-FAY-RAY IN-DEE-yah.)
The check, please.
Ógwọ, biko. (OH-GWOR BEE-coe.)

Bars edit

I want to drink...
Á chọm Í ñụ _____ (AH chore-mm EE g-NOO _____)
Do you serve alcohol?
Ì nè ré ḿmáñyá? (ee NAY ray mm-MAN-YAH?)
Is there table service?
Hà nè ché tébulu? (HAH neh CHAY TEH-boo-loo?)
A beer/two beers, please.
Ótù ḿmáñyá/ḿmáñyá abụo, biko. (OH-too MM-MAHN-YA ah-BWORE, BEE-COE.)
A glass of red/white wine, please.
Nkalama ḿmáñyá mmẹ mmẹ/ọchá, biko. (NN-kah-lah-mah MM-MAHN-YA m-MEH-m-MEH/aw-CHAH, BEE-COE)
A pint, please.
Ótù paint, biko. (OH-too pah-int, BEE-COE)
A bottle, please.
Ótù aba, biko. (OH-too AH-BAH, BEE-COE)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.
_____ (ḿmáñyá ȯkụ) na _____ (ihe é jị à gbagwa ya), biko. ((MM-MAHN-YA AW-KUH) nah _____ (EE-HEE-YEAH AY jee ah g-BAH-GUAH YA), BEE-COE.)
stawt (STAH-woot)
wiski (WEE-skee)
vọ́dkà (VOHD-kah)
rộm (ROHM)
ḿmáñyá ọ́kụ́ (MM-MAHN-YA AW-KUH)
palm wine
ḿmáñyá ǹgwọ̀, ḿmáñyá ṅkwú (MM-MAHN-YA nn-gwor, MM-MAHN-YA NN-KWOO)
mmiri (MM-MEE-REE)
drinking water
mmiri ọñuñu (MM-MEE-REE aw-nngoo-goo)
club soda
clubu soda (CLAW-boo SOE-dah)
tonic water
mmiri tawniki (MM-MEE-REE TOH-nee-kee)
orange juice
jusu òlòlma (JOO-SOO aw-loh-mah)
íhyẹ́ ọ́ñụ́ñụ́ (EE-HEE-YEAH AW-NGOO-NGOO)
soft drink
mínàrà (MEE-NAH-rah)
Coke (soda)
Kôkù (COE-koo)
Do you have any bar snacks?
Ị̀ nwẹ̀rẹ̀ íhyẹ́ há bà táàtá? (ee weh-reh EE-HEE-YEAH HA nah TAH-TAH?)
One more, please.
Ótù ọ̀zọ́, bíkó. (OH-too aw-ZOR, BEE-COE)
Another round, please.
Wètáriá háníle, biko. (weh-TAH-RI-YAH HAH-NEE-LAY, BEE-COE)
When is closing time?
Mgbe ole ka Í nè méchí? (mm-bay oh-LAY kah EE nay MAY-CHEE?)
Má mmá nụ̀! (MA MMA-noo)

Shopping edit

Igbo garment
Do you have this in my size?
Ì nwẹrẹ ihëa na àsàm?/Ì nwẹrẹ ihëa na amàm? (...)
How much is this?
Égó olé ka Ihe á di? (AY-GO o-Lay KA I-HYEN AHH DI)
That's too expensive.
Ọ dì óké ọnü. (OR dee okay or-NU)
Would you take _____?
Ì gi wéré _____? (ee GEE WAY RAY)
óké ọnü (OH-KAY AW-NOO)
ọnü ànì (AW-NOO ah-nee)
I can't afford it.
E nweghim Í ki golu ya. (ay WEH-gim EE-KEE GO-LOO YA.)
I don't want it.
À chom I ya. (AH chom E ya.)
You're cheating me.
Ì na è fébém na ányá./I na ẹ mérém mu jobu. (EE neh FAY-BAY-M NAH AN-YAH./EE neh MEH-REH-MOO JOH-bu.)
I'm not interested.
Ányám à nọghị nga áhü. (AHN-YAH-M ah noh-gee in-GAH-hoo.)
OK, I'll take it.
Ngwanu, kam weri ya. (in-gwah-noo, KAHM weh-REE YAH.)
Can I have a bag?
Ì nwẹrẹ àkpà? (ee weh-reh ahk-pah?)
Do you ship (overseas)?
Ì nè réfù ihnye na ùfèsì? (ee neh REH-foo i-hee-yeah nah oo-feh-see?)
I need...
M chọrọ... (MM chore-roh...)
...údé ézé. (OO-DEH AY-ZAE.)
...a toothbrush.
...átụ́. (AH-TOO.)
...ihnye àhú umunwanyi tamponu. (ee-hee-yeah ah-HOO OO-moo-WAH-yee TAM-poh-noo.)
...ńchà. (NN-cha.)
...ńchà ńtùtù. (IN-cha IN-too-too.)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen)
...ihnye íshí ọwuwa/ihnye nwéfu ihnye ölulu. (EE-HEE-YEAH EE-SHEE oh-WOO-WAH/EE-HEE-YEAH nn-WEH-foo EE-HEE-YEAH ooh-loo-loo.)
...cold medicine.
...ȯgvụ óyí. (OG-voo OH-YEE.)
...stomach medicine.
...ȯgvụ áfȯ. (OG-voo AH-FOUR.)
...a razor.
...aguba. (ah-goo-bah.) umbrella.
...òché anwü. (oh-CHE AH-wooh.)
...sunblock lotion.
...udè màkà ánwú. (ooh-day mah-kah AH-WUH.)
...a postcard.
...postu cad. (POE-STU cahd)
...postage stamps.
...stampu nke ózí. (STAHMP-oo n-KAY OH-ZEE)
...batiri. (BAH-TEE-ree)
...writing paper.
...akwukwọ i de ihe. (AH-KOO-KWOH EE DEH EE-hee-yeah)
...a pen.
...biki. (BEE-kee)
...English-language books.
...Ákwúkwó há dèrè nà bèké. (AH-KOO-KWOH HAH day-ray nah bay-kay)
...English-language magazines.
...Ákwúkwó magazin nke bèké. (AH-KOO-KWOH mah-gah-ZEEN in-KAY bay-kay) English-language newspaper.
...nuspepa hé dèrè na bèké. (NOOS-peh-pah HEY day-ray nah bay-kay) English-English dictionary.
...dishonari bèké. (DEE-SHON-NAH-ree bay-kay)
...a mask.
...ihü ékpo. (EE-HUE EK-POE)
...ihe òménàlà. (EE-HE-YEAH oh-MEH-nah-lah)

Driving edit

Expressway in Onitsha
I want to rent a car.
Ḿ chọ̀rị́ gō mótò. (MM chore-RI GOO MOE-toe)
Can I get insurance?
Á chọ̀m̀ íkíké mótò? (AH cho-mm I-KEE-KAY MOH-toe)
stop (on a street sign)
kụ̀shị́ (koo-SHEE)
one way
ụ́zọ̀ ótù (OO-zoh OH-too)
chāḿ ụ́zọ̀ (CHAAM OO-zaw)
no parking
É nyèdòlù (EH ye-do-loo)
speed limit
ézú ọ́sọ́ ụ́zọ̀ (EH-ZOO AW-SORE OO-zor)
gas (petrol) station
ụ́lọ́ petrol (OOH-LAW peh-TROLL)
petrol (peh-TROLL)
deezulu (DEE-zooloo)

Authority edit

I haven't done anything wrong.
Ọ̀ dị́ghị̀ íhyéḿ mẹ̀rẹ̀. (aw DEE-gee EE-HYEM meh-reh)
It was a misunderstanding.
Ọ́ bụ̀ ọ́ghóḿ. (AW boo AW-GOM)
Where are you taking me?
Ké ébé í nè dúfūm? (KAY AY-BAY EE neh DOO-foom)
Am I under arrest?
ị̀ nà tụ́ḿ ńkpọ́rọ́? (ee nah TOOM IN-POH-ROH)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.
Á bụ̀m ónyé ḿbà Amirika/Osuterelia/Briten/Kanada. (AH boom OH-NYE M-bah)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.
Á chọ̀m̀ ị́ hụ́ ńdú òché ḿbà Amerika/Osutralia/Britain/Kanada. (AH chore-m ee HUH IN-DIH oh-CHAY MM-bah...)
I want to talk to a lawyer.
Á chọ̀m̀ ị́ hụ́ ónyé íkpè. (AH chore-m EE HUH OWN-YAY EEK-pay)
Can I just pay a fine now?
M̀ nwèríkí kwụ́ ụ́gwọ́ ńrá ùgbúà? (mm we-REE-KEE K-WOO OO-GWOR NN-RAH oo-BU-wah)

Expressions and particles edit

Like many African languages Igbo is a very expressive language that makes use of a lot of exclamations in its daily use. Some of these are included:

-kwánụ́ (KWA-NOO)
This is usually added to the end of a question to make something inclusive.
-ụ̀kwá (ooh-KWA)
'as well'
similar to 'kwanu' but is added at the end of any sentence for the same effect.
èwó! (ay-WOAH)
'oh no!'
An exclamation that can be made out of exhaustion, either from laughing at a joke or when work is done, realising a mistake, like leaving the lights in the house on all night, or any other terrible event.
Chínēkè! (CHEE-NAY-kay)
Chineke is 'God' and is a common expression used for the same purposes as 'Jesus' often is in English.
ó! (OH)
'Okay, all right'
A exclamation that often means agreeing with something, although it can sometimes be used as sarcasm, a common situation where this is used is when someone is arrogant in their knowledge of something. It is often used on its own, but can be attached to another word, e.g 'Chim o!' meaning 'my spirit'.
héwù! (HEY-woo)
An expression used in a shocking tragic moment.
Ọ́ dị̀kwà égwù (AW dee-kwah EH-gwoo)
Sometimes used to show absolute rejection of something.
tụ̀fíàkwà (too-FEE-ya-kwa)
'God forbid!'
Extreme rejection or opposition of something, usually followed with clicking fingers over the head as to rid oneself of the thing in question. This is often a reaction to an abomination.
Chínēkè é kwélé ị́hyẹ́ ọ́jọ̄ (CHEE-NAY-kay EH KWEH-LEH EE-HEE-YEAH OH-JAW)
'God will not allow a bad thing'
An exclamation made out of shock when a bad thing happens.

Learning more edit

This Igbo phrasebook has guide status. It covers all the major topics for traveling without resorting to English. Please contribute and help us make it a star!