Everything You Need To Learn Igbo
Igbo is a Niger-Congo language spoken by over 25 million people worldwide, most of whom live in Nigeria, West Africa. It’s one of the three major languages in Nigeria, alongside Yoruba and Hausa.
Igbo and Yoruba have a common origin, but while there are some aspects of the languages that are similar, they’re not mutually intelligible today.
Due to the Transatlantic slave trade, Igbo words can be found in different dialects across the world, including in languages used in the Caribbean and South America. For instance, you can find Igbo words in Jamaican Patois and Brazilian Portuguese.
Igbo is a tonal language, with many words having several meanings depending on their pronunciation. This means that for you to gain fluency, you’ll need to spend a good deal of your time listening to native Igbo speakers and familiarizing yourself with the different tones.
As with most African languages, regardless of the number of speakers therein, there aren’t many Igbo learning materials available for English speakers. We’ve listed what we could find, and hope that this is sufficient for you to start learning this intriguing language.
Igbo Language Learning Books
A good place to start learning Igbo is with an Igbo course book or textbook that covers all the bases like vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and so on. The beauty of such books is that you’ll be able to build a strong foundation in Igbo before moving on to native-language material, like books or Nollywood movies.
A good, concise English-Igbo dictionary and phrasebook will be invaluable in your quest to learn Igbo. It will allow you to look up all the new Igbo words you come across, and you’ll learn the most popular phrases and expressions that native speakers use.
Igbo Children’s Books
Another great way to get comfortable with the Igbo language is to read children’s books in Igbo. While these will be written with shorter sentences than regular books, they’ll give you a good idea of things like sentence structure and word order, plus they’re usually accompanied by cute pictures that might help you remember tricky words.
Check out the bilingual English-Igbo kids’ books that come with dual text, as these make it easy to follow the story even if you’re unfamiliar with many of the Igbo words.
Igbo Digital Courses
With an Igbo digital course that’s taught through audio and/or video, you’ll learn correct pronunciation, and things like grammar and sentence structure will be infused in a more natural way.
Igbo e-courses are great for getting you speaking quickly, and would suit anyone who will be traveling to Nigeria in the near future, as you’ll be able to get a decent command of the language before you arrive.
Udemy’s Igbo course is a comprehensive audiovisual course that comes with an impressive 6.5 hours of video instruction plus downloadable worksheets to help you practice your skills. You’ll get lifetime access to the course and all updates, and you’ll be able to learn online or offline, from almost any smart device.