Cultural Exploration

Hi everyone, this is finals week for me so I feel like my head is about to explode. I’m taking a few minutes away from studying for myself in order to try a cultural experiment, or exploration if you will. From now on, I am going to write my posts in two languages; first in English, then in Igbo. It won’t translate directly of course, as you should know that English and Igbo are not parallel languages, nor should you expect them to be so, but I will try my best to convey my meaning twice in the simplest way possible. Learning, or speaking another language second to your own is something that we should all feel empowered to do. Too many people feel it’s too late to throw themselves into a language because they didn’t study one in school; with companies like UKLP offering tutored lessons on languages, we have no excuse as to why we can’t learn!

I am doing this because I made a promise to myself to speak Igbo more. I went to a multi ethnic boarding school, and I have always admired how my Yoruba and Hausa friends spoke their language fluently, inserting few to no English words as they went. Igbo people unfortunately, are not the same way. It seems to me that the number of children that are able to speak fluent Igbo diminish each year. Somehow I get the feeling that we are the only one of the major tribes that somehow feel ashamed of our language, or feel that it is inferior to English and other global languages.

Igbo is NOT inferior to ANY language in this world. It is JUST AS GOOD as English, Yoruba, Chinese etc. I think it is very important for Igbo people to come together and create an Igbo Academy whose main function will be the development of new Igbo words to describe all the new and wonderful things in our world today. These days we find ourselves resorting more and more to English words or at best, bastardizations of English words because we have no words for these things in our own language. Other languages have governing bodies that come up with new words for new things that appear in our society, and thus perpetuate themselves while our language inches towards death and relegation to the dusty corners of anthropological libraries.

I would like to be able to run into a fellow Igbo person anywhere in the world and happily launch into a conversation in our beautiful language, and better yet, I would like to do it without the inclusion of a single English word. So on that note, I would like to say a BIG thank you to my best friend and blogger: Multi, for buying me this much cherished Igbo dictionary over Thanksgiving break. I love it more than any piece of jewelry…. maybe not as much as a new pair of shoes.. but hey!

New Igbo word of the day:

Agbayi ukwu – Shoes 😀

Lacking Igbo word of the day (needs to be developed):

Fashion 🙁 🙁 🙁




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  1. Standtall

    I dont believe any Language is inferior. God is a planner. A great one at that. All languages r beautiful. What I am grateful for is having a middle language to communicate with pple that dont speak mine. Could have being Igbo and it would have been equally lovely!

  2. Lolia

    I can’t believe you realized that there’s no igbo word for fashion lol
    mmm say “that which we wear”
    or how do you say “clothes” that could work too

  3. sugabelly

    @poeticallytinted: Lol, I just realised that there isn’t a word for “You’re Welcome” in Igbo. Or is there?

    @Standtall: True, but I was trying to put English down either. After all I’m typing in it right now. I was emphasizing though, the purity of each language and how other languages in the world develop themselves by finding new words for new things while our language stays static because we simply bastardize English words rather than developing our own uniquely Igbo words.

    @Lolia: hmm… okay, That which we wear would be ‘ife ai ne yi” and clothes are ‘akwa’.


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