Igboscholars International OF IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM, NIGERIA Vol.12, No.1, July, 2019

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Igboscholars International                                                OF IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM, NIGERIA

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IGBOSCHOLARS JOURNAL OF IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM Nigeria calls for well researched papers from authors in areas that borders on Igbo in relation to other people’s cultures. We welcome articles or proposals from all perspectives and on all subjects pertaining to Igbo, Igbo/African people’s and others’ relations on Public policy, Language, Religion, Philosophy, Education, Medicine, History, Economy, Sociology, Culture, Engineering, Business relations, Comparative politics, strategy and environment, etc. Submit manuscripts as e-mail attachment to the Editorial Office at: igboscholarsforum@yahoo.com or send two hard copies of your papers to any of the editors. Referencing style is MLA or APA. The Journal wishes to publish the results of her researches annually.


Onukwube Alex A. Anedo                                                                                                                                  Editor                                                                                                                                                                                         IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM NIGERIA                                                                                                              Department of African & Asian Studies,                                                                                                                     Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka,                                                                                                                              Anambra State – Nigeria                                                                                                                                                                              Phone:+2348037859249,+2348149225739                                                                                                                          e-mail:igboscholarsforum@yahoo.com;                                                                                                                               web: http://wwwigboscholarsforum.com.ng


Vol.12. No.1 July, 2019                                                                                                                                                      ISSN: 2476-843x







Igboscholars International Journal is one of the brain children of Igbo Scholars Forum born out of the zeal to get the young Igbo scholars together so as to start thinking like Igbo sons and daughters through paper publications, meetings and symposia. As a matter of fact, Igbo Scholars Forum was founded by Dr. Onukwube Alexander Alfred Anedo and born at the launching of a festschrift in honour of their life patron, Prof. Obed Muojekwu Anizoba (Ozonwa) on the 15th day of December, 2012. In his kind gesture, Prof O. M. Anizoba therefore established a website http://www.igboscholarsforum.com.ng   for them to use in telling the world who the Igbo people are, about their life, what they believe in and their relationship with people and other cultures of the world outside theirs. Other journal outlets through which this Forum wants to let Igbo people and their culture out to the world are Ideal International Journal and Ekwe International Journal which is solely written only in Igbo language. 

Onukwube A. A. Anedo, Ph.D.                                                                                                                         










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Consulting Editors:

  1. Dr. Mrs. Lizzy Anizoba Department of English and Litrature, Paul University, Awka – Nigeria                                                                                                          2. Prof. Sam Uzochukwu                                                                                                                                                                                      Department of Linguistics, African & Asian Studies, University of Lagos Nigeria                                                                                                               3. Prof Sheng Jia                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Department of Chinese Culture & Anthropology, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, P. R. China                                             4. Prof Yuhua Ji                                                                                                                                                                            Department of English language & Linguistics,  Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, P. R. China                                                             5. Prof B. Okolo                                                                                                                                                   Department of Languages & Linguistics, University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria                                                                                                          6. Dr. Gamini Ranasinghe                                                                                                                                                               Department of Archeology & Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri-Lanka                                                                                                                         7. Prof. Paul Ikechukwu Oguguo                                                                                                                                                                          Department of Philosophy, faculty of Arts, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria                                                                      8. Dr Babette Zoumara                                                                                                                                                                           Bank for Seeds and Solar Energy, Atlanta, Georgia,  United States of America                                                                                                    9.Prof. Mrs. Evelyn Ezinwanne Mbah                                                                                                                                                          Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian languages, Faculty of Arts,  University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria                                                                                                                                                                              10. Dr. Lucy Mgbemgasha Apakama                                                                                                                                            Department of Nigerian Languages, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria                                                           11. Dr. Nnamdi Obika                                                                                                                                      Department of Englis language and Literature Madonna University Okija Campus Anambra State                                                                      12. Dr. Donatus Epuchie                                                                                                                                      Department of Linguistics, Igbo and Other Nigerian Languages Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education Owerri Imo State Nigeria

Members of Editorial Board

  1. Onukwube Alex Alfred Anedo (Editor-in-Chief)

Ph.D. (African Culture & Civilization); M. A. (African Culture & Civilization); M.Phil. (Chinese Culture & Anthropology); B.A.Ed. (Ed/Igbo/Linguistics); N.C.E. (Igbo/Religion); Diploma in Chinese Studies. Senior Lecturer, Nnamdi Azikiwe Umniversity, Awka; Visiting Senior Lecturer, Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria

  1. Rev. Bro. Charles Ogbuchukwu Okeke

Ph.D; M.A. (ATR), B.D (Theo); B.Phil, PGDE, Dipl (Italian & French), Head of Department, Relious Studies, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, Anambra State, Nigeria, 

  1. Enyinnia Samuel Ikokwu

Ph.D, M.A; B.A. PGDE.(JOS). Specialist in Igbo Literature & Stylistics Department of Linguistice, Igbo & Other Nigerian languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria                                                                  

  1. Friday Ifeanyichukwu Ogbuehi

Ph.D; M.A. B.A Department of Religion, Trinity Theological College, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria.

  1. Deacon Ndubuisi Ogbonna Ahamefula                                                                                                                                  B. A. Linguistics M. A. Linguistics,

Department of Liguistic, Igbo & Other Nigerian languages, University of Nigeria Nsukka                                                                                                                                                                         6. Chinenye Viola Udeze                                                                                                                                                                                      Ph.D;(African Culture & Civilization), M.A.; B.A.Ed/Igbo/Lin                                                                     Department of Nigerian Languages, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria  7.Chimezie Okoye                                                                                                                                                                                B.A. (English) Secretary, Igboscholars Forum, Nigeria. Besing Books, No. 9 Wisdom   Avenue, Suleja, Niger State.                                                                                                                                                                 8.  Ben Nkemdirim Igbokwe                                                                                                                                           B.A. M.A. Ph.D. (NAU) African Culture & Civilization, School of General Studies, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria


©Igbo scholars’ forum, Nigeria 2019


                CONTENTS and  CONTRIBUTORS                      

  1. Comparative Analysis of Cross-Referencing In Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and Ọkasụsụ Igbo with A Special Reference to Synonym

Ndibe, Princess Ngozi

Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe in affiliation with

University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Awuzie, Uzodimma Ferdinand

Girls’ Secondary School, Uli. awuzieuzzy@gmail.com

  1. Aspects of Conjunction In Igbo: The Case of Nsukka-Ideke Dialect of Igbo

Ezebuilo, Comfort Nwuka

Department of Linguistics, Igbo and Other Nigerian Languages,, Faculty of Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

  1. Comfort.ezebuilo@unn.edu.ng
  2. Intercultural communication and International Cohesion: A study of Chinese and Igbo names exchange phenomenon 1Ahamefula, Ndubuisi O., 2*Odii, Benita C., 5Udechukwu, Chinwe N. 3Ezemoka, Augustina, 1Aboh, Sopuruchi C., 4Okoye, Loyce C., 4Ozioko Emmanuel, 1Nwachukwu, Adaeze P.                                               1Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages                                                                     University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 08034772290, ndubuisi.ahamefula@unn.edu.ng                                                          2 Fudan University, Shanghai & University of Nigeria, Nsukka. benita.odii@unn.edu.ng                                                                       3 Igbo Department, FCT College of Education, Zuba, Abuja. 08170567850                                                                                       4 Nnamdi Azikiwe Universities, Awka & Chinese Department/ Confucius Institute, UNIZIK, Awka.                                nenyeo@yahoo.com, 08160620484                                                                                                                             5 General Studies Unit, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus                                                                                         * Corresponding author’s email: ndubuisi.ahamefula@unn.edu.ng                                                                           4. Ethnicity: A Threat to Nigeria Nationhood: Social Studies Education as A Panacea                                                                 Ezeuzo Pauline U.                                                                                                                                                Department of Social Studies,   Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, Anambra State.                                                                                  5. Ịgba  Alụkwaghịm  N’ala  Igbo: Nwaanyị  Dịka  Osisi  Na-Ebu  Apa  Mma                                                                                                    Ogoo Ifeka                                                                                     Department of Ngalaba Linquistics and Igbo                               Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Ịgbarịam                 Anambra State                                                                                                                6. A comparative study of Igbo and Chinese lexemes and terms for clothes                                                                               1Ahamefula, Ndubuisi O., 2Okoye, Chinenye L., 1Nwachukwu, Adaeze P, 2Ozioko Emmanuel, 3Odii, Benita C., & 4Udechukwu, Chinwe N.                                                                                                                    1 Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 08034772290, ndubuisi.ahamefula@unn.edu.ng                                                                                                                              3Fudan University, Shanghai, China & University of Nigeria, Nsukka. benita.odii@unn.edu.ng                                                     2Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka & Chinese Department/ Confucius Institute, UNIZIK, Awka. nenye_o@yahoo.com, 08160620484                                                                                                                                  4 General Studies Igbo Unit, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus                                                              *Corressponding author email: adaeze.nwachukwu.197431@unn.edu.ng                                                  7. Ndụ Ndị Igbo: Etu Ha Si Eji Ilu Emedaobi N’ọgbaaghara dị N’Etiti Ha                                                                                                      Ogoo Ifeka                                                                                                                                                                          Department of Ngalaba Linquistics and Igbo                               Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Ịgbarịam                 Anambra State                                                                                            8. Modality: Can –sie ike qualify as a modal suffix, and ma and ka as modal auxiliary verbs in Igbo?

Uweazuoke, Aghaegbuna Haroldson, PhD

Department of Linguistics, Nnamdi  Azikiwe University,  Awka         

ha.uwaezuoke@unizik.edu.ng uwaezuokeha@gmail.com       

07038590552                                                                                         9. Value and Autonomy in Igbo Music Studies                                Umezinwa, Emmanuel Chukwemenam,                                     Department of Music Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.                        10. Igbo Philosophy of Life: Antidote to Culture of Death And Catalyst for Promoting Peaceful Co-Existence in Nigeria Aghamelu, Fidelis Chuka (Ph.D)                                             Department of Philosophy, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria, helen.fidelis@yahoo.com/aghamelufidelis@gmail.com 08160559569




















Comparative Analysis of Cross-Referencing

In Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and Ọkasụsụ Igbo

With A Special Reference to Synonym



Ndibe, Princess Ngozi

Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe in affiliation with

University of Nigeria, Nsukka


Awuzie, Uzodimma Ferdinand

Girls’ Secondary School, Uli





This study evaluates the comparative analysis of cross-referencing in the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and Ọkasụsụ Igbo, the Igbo metalanguage dictionary with a special reference to synonym. The study argues that English-Igbo lexicographers do not treat cross-referencing and a synonym in accordance with the lexicographic principles, as it is done in English monolingual dictionaries. Survey and qualitative research methods were used to examine various cross-reference formats in the selected dictionaries as regards to synonyms. Since cross-reference is treated with regard to synonyms only, the study has discovered that there are problems of inadequate use of lexicographic principles in the development of cross-referencing in English-Igbo dictionaries, while English monolingual dictionaries adequately apply them. To this end, the dictionary users follow the dictionary entries with ease, because if principles are not adhered to, then the motive for using dictionaries may become void, but effective when properly applied. Lexicographers mix the translation equivalents of partial and complete synonyms, thus leads to semantic misappropriations. Moreover, the study discovered that English-Igbo dictionaries are not extensively prepared to take care of every type of user, and project Igbo language to well acceptable standards in dictionary writing. The paper therefore recommends that emerging lexicographers should endeavor to apply cross-reference in their dictionary project, and pay proper attention to both complete and partial synonyms. Mediostructure is better expressed in the front matter for easy access to the user.

Keywords: cross-reference, lexicography, dictionary and synonym


A cross-reference is an indicator that explicitly and/or implicitly guides the users between different places in the dictionary or from places in the dictionary to places outside the dictionary in order to show the way to the information sought, or to supplement or deepen the way to the information already found (Svensen, 2009:388). It is an indicator (symbol) that effectively guides the dictionary user while sourcing for information in a given dictionary entries.                                

A cross-reference is located in a certain place in the dictionary known as the cross-reference point and is directed towards and guides the dictionary user to another place regarded as the cross-reference address. Depending on the position of the cross-reference point in relation to the cross-reference address, and depending on the perspective adopted, several types of cross-reference can be distinguished. When a cross-reference guides the user from one place in a dictionary entry to another place within the same entry, it is referred to as an entry-internal cross-reference, or when it guides him to a place outside the entry but inside the lemma (i.e. the headword) list, it is entry-external cross-reference. Also, when a dictionary user is directed from one placed in a certain dictionary component (for instance, the lemma list or a dictionary grammar) towards another place within the same component, it is seen as component-internal cross-reference. But when is directed from a place in a certain dictionary component towards a place outside the component question, but within the same dictionary, it is called component-external cross-reference.                                                      The dictionary structure connected with these indicators (cross-reference indicators) and their function is regarded as Cross-Reference Structure or Mediostructure. However, since the aim of cross-references is to guide the dictionary users to certain class of information within or outside the dictionary entries and components, the cross-reference structure may also be said to function as a kind of Access Structure. In print dictionaries, according to Svensen, (2009:389), cross-references performs trivial functions, which include; saving space, showing the way to the place where the information is to be found, and prevent loss of information.     Hence, the role of dictionaries is to present the contents to readers in such a way that the readers will gain understanding of the words that they are looking up. That is why Pei (1996:69) describes a dictionary as “… a list of the words of a language usually in alphabetical order with their meaning, often their derivations, and occasionally their histories.”

The importance and quality of dictionaries cannot be overemphasized as Gouws and Prinsloo (1999:46) indicate:

The first step towards the improvement of the lexicographic standard of dictionaries for African languages must be to do the groundwork right. Dictionaries are instruments of linguistic and communicative empowerment therefore lexicographers have to make sure that their intended target users receive an optimal linguistic presentation and aimed at the specific needs and reference skills of well defined users.

There are many types of dictionaries, such as monolingual, bilingual and trilingual dictionaries. What is of interest here is that cross-referencing is applied to all the above mentioned types of dictionaries. Cross-referencing in dictionaries is only applied to synonyms in order to avoid the repetition of translation equivalents. Crystal (1987:111) states that: “In twenty questions to ask when you buy a dictionary, question number 17 reads: Does it contain a list of synonyms? Question number 18 reads: Does it give useful cross-references to other related meaning?”

Cross-referencing is explained by Mphahlele (2001:26) as a lexicographic procedure, where a lexicographer refers the user from a reference position to a reference address. This is done by means of a reference entry and gives the user access to additional relevant lexicographer data.

From the above definition, it is evident that when synonyms are treated in a macrostructure of a dictionary, not all synonym pairs should be given comprehensive treatment. That is, only the lemma that has a high usage frequency should receive full lexicographic treatment. Crystal (1997:367) defines synonyms as follows:

A term used in semantics to refer to a major type sense relation between lexical items which have the same meanings are synonyms, and the relationship between them is one of synonymy. For two items to be synonyms it does not mean that they should be identical in meaning, that is, interchangeable in all contexts.

There are two types of synonyms: partial synonyms and complete synonyms. Partial synonyms are words that cannot replace each other in many contexts. For example, respect and honour. On the other handmplete synonyms are words which can replace each other in many contexts. For example, speak and talk.

The study focuses on how cross-referencing is treated in the monolingual dictionary English dictionary known as Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and the Igbo Metalanguage bilingual dictionary known as Ọkasụsụ Igbo.

Cross-referencing in many English-Igbo bilingual dictionaries has not been treated in a satisfactory manner. This seems to be the case because cross-referencing is not considered to be a crucial item by many lexicographers, as synonyms are not given full lexicographic treatment in English-Igbo dictionaries, whereas this type of treatment should be given to the most frequently used lexical items in Igbo language. For example:

Mbido ‘beginning’

Mmalite ‘beginning’

Ngwucha ‘end’

Njedebe ‘end’

Ebumnuche ‘objective’

Mbunuche ‘objective’

The comparative analysis of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and the Igbo Metalanguage bilingual dictionary known as Ọkasụsụ Igbo dictionaries, aims at assisting both dictionary users and lexicographers of Igbo language to realize the importance of cross-referencing in dictionaries, and which lexical items (words) should be awarded cross-referencing, particularly when dealing with synonyms.

Literature Review

There are a variety of scholars who attempted to study cross-referencing. Their works are relevant to this study, as therefore playn important role in this study. As far as the study of cross-referencing is concerned, much has not been done pertaining to its use in dictionaries. Many studies deal with synonyms and not cross-referencing per say. However, there are some authors whose works were useful to his study, namely Mphahlele (2001), Mojapelo (2004), Neilsen (1999), Gouws (1999), Atkins (1974).


A cross-reference is an indicator that explicitly and/or implicitly guides the users between different places in the dictionary or from places in the dictionary to places outside the dictionary in order to show the way to the information sought, or to supplement or deepen the way to the information already found (Svensen, 2009). It is an indicator (symbol) that effectively guides the dictionary user while sourcing for information in a given dictionary entries.

Atkins, (1974) sees cross-referencing as a practical guide for library retrieval that will indicate Cross Reference Index lists of subject headings drawn from six (6) sources. Each subject heading designates the terms used by each of the six sources, or it directs the reader to the most appropriate heading. The six sources are appropriate headings. The six sources are, namely (Atkins, 1974):

  • LC – The Library Congress subject headings are generally used in catalogues of college, university and research libraries.
  • SEARS – Subject headings are generally used in the catalogue of college, university and research libraries.
  • RG – The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature is an index listing by subject.
  • NYT – The New York Times Index, described as a “condensed classified history of the word as recorded daily in the newspaper” is useful for current events and comments up to date statistical information.
  • PAIS – The Public Affairs Information Service Bulletin indexes by subject, and sometimes by author, current books, pamphlets, Periodicals articles, government documents and other material in the field of economic and public affairs.
  • BPI – The Business Periodical Index lists by subject articles from selected periodicals in the field of accounting, advertising, automation, banking, communication, finance and investments.

All the subject headings are supposed to be arranged alphabetically. The subject heading should be in the form of (1) a SEE reference, and (2) a USE reference.

Atkins, (1974) emphasizes the point that a SEE reference directs the reader to look under equivalent term because the chosen subject heading is not ordinarily used by the six sources examined above. Apartheid – SEE segregation. He continue to state that “a USE reference means that the chosen heading is used by one of the six sources and the researcher is directed to one or more main terms which identifies other comparable and related subject headings and indicates their appearance in particular sources”. Anti-Semitism – Use discrimination.

The following is an example of the above-mentioned six sources as quoted from Atkins (1974), Gouws, (1999) states that, in the theory of mediostructure, a lexicographer cross-refers the dictionary user from a cross-reference position to a cross-reference address. This is done by means of cross-reference entry in which a cross reference marker is used, and it gives the user access to additional relevant lexicographic data.

Mojela, Mphahlele, Mogodi, and Selokela, (2006) assert that cross-reference relation is established between the cross-reference entry and cross reference address. In order to illustrate this, Gouws used an article that he obtained from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. The article in question deals with the lemma frog:

1: any various smooth-skinned we-footed largely aquatic tailless agile leaping amphibians. COMPARE toad.

From the example given above, the lemma toad is in the cross-reference position to the lemma frog.

Gouws further says that a variety of cross-reference markers are used in different dictionaries and often also in one dictionary. The lexicographer has to deal with three important types of cross-reference addresses namely: internal, external and dictionary external cross-reference addresses. These are explained below as follows:

The internal cross-reference address

An article that reflects an internal mediostructural relation assists the user to relate various micro structural entries employed in the same article with an internal cross-reference address. In such a case the mediostructural relation does not exceed the boundaries of the article. This type of cross-referencing is used to ascertain coherence between different microstructural entries in one article.

The external cross-reference address

The external cross-reference address exceeds the boundaries of the article. Two search domains can be identified for external cross-reference addresses. The external address can be located after elsewhere in the central list. Gouws highlights the fact that this mediostructural procedure links a text segment in a dictionary to a source outside a dictionary.

Another aspect that has received attention in Gouws’s analysis is the ‘back matter’.  The ‘back matter’ of the dictionary contains a bibliography of sources where more information regarding the terminology treated in the dictionary can be found. Many articles contain condensed bibliographical references. This is a useful strategy because the user is guided by means of a complete reference to the specific source. The condensed bibliographical reference in the article is clearly indicated by the cross-reference marker “Bibl”.

Cross-referencing consists of several elements, that is: the name of the reference which can either be the title or a general subject reference. He states that, if it is a chapter title or a heading, it should be in quotation marks. If it is the subject matter of the cross-referenced material, the reader should check it out. In that way, it may necessitate indicating the subject matter of the cross-referenced material. This article was of great help to this study.

Mphahlele, (2001) indicates that cross-referencing is a lexicographic procedure whereby a Lexicographer refers the user from a reference position to a reference address. This is done by means of reference entry, and gives the user access to additional relevant lexicographic data. According to Mphahlele, lexicographers should bear in mind that lexical items are part of the entire lexicon of a language. That is, the lemma should not be treated in isolation from other lexical items in the dictionary. To make sure that these lemmas are treated in co-ordination with each other, cross-referencing should be applied in dictionaries. He further states that the treatment of synonym lemmas shows the interaction between the related lemmas.

Mphahlele has used examples from Tsolwana’s dictionary:

cry – ukulila, ukukhala

lament – ukulila, ukukhala

Mphahlele is of the view that these articles create a serious problem because usage information does not have paradigm, and there is also duplication in these articles. Mphahlele corrected it as follows:

cry – ukulila (umundwan) akukhala (sizzle)

lament – BONA (see) cry

A co-ordination between these articles is displayed and this can make a user to realise that those words of a language do not function in isolation. Mphahlele‟s study is closely linked to the current study and it serves as a good reference.

Mojapelo, (2006) in his work concentrates mostly on synonyms in Northern Sotho/English bilingual dictionaries. When treating cross-referencing, Mojapelo has used Kriel‟s (1997) bilingual English/Northern Sotho dictionary:

kefa – hat

kuane – hat

Mojapelo proceeds by stating that lexical items kefa and kuane are complete synonyms and can therefore replace each other in many contexts. The lexicographer did not use cross-referencing method to show that the two articles are related to each other. The above articles should have looked as follows: kefa – hat


kuane – SEE kefa

The above treatment indicates that the two lemmas (that is, kefa and kuane) are in a synonymous sense. Mojapelo‟s evaluation is linked to the current study as she has also treated synonyms in bilingual dictionaries.

Neilsen, (1999); according to Neilsen, Cross-reference is the usage of synonymous or related information in a document from elsewhere, which is usually within the same work. In making such connections between related or synonyms, this connection or cross-reference is often abbreviated as X-ref, xref and, in computer science, XR. It is used to verify claims made by an author or to link the claim to a related piece of work. SEE also denotes a cross-reference in an index.

Reference numbers and footnote marks are traditionally examples of in-context cross-referencing, whereas index and reference lists are examples of out-of-context cross-referencing. Out-of-context in particular relies on the traditional, manually-produced indexes utilizing citation or subject. This was the mainstream text retrieval procedure until the advent of CD-ROM in 1985. Anyhow, Neilsen is credited to have objected to the wide spectrum of text retrieval or cross-reference and preferred to narrow it to the idea of transclusion, or simply quotation, aiming for text patchwork rather than retrieval. Xref can be used as a prefix to indicate a cross-reference that joins two tables together via a primary key. Cross-reference can also be important for several reasons, particularly in printed and online dictionaries. They form a network structure of relations existing between dictionary internal as well as external and different parts of data. A distinction can be observed between use-related and function-related cross-references. Cross-references also assist in showing hierarchical relationships between terms as well as sequential relations.

Therefore, dictionary compilers are advised to take a broader approach to cross-references in dictionaries as they directly link with other structures in dictionaries. Neilsen‟s work is related to the current research even though it focuses much on the online dictionaries.

Steele, (2005) looked on how cross-reference can help you to learn Microsoft Office Word 2003 in 24 hours. He gave an example of writing a manual or another reference document says you may want to include cross-references within those texts to refer the reader from one part of your document to another, and the cross-reference should be typed manually. He is of the idea that if you type manually section headings, figure numbers, will change and they will require you to update all of your cross-references. That will need updating field and, in that way. Word can update them for you as needed. The guide to cross refer is stated as follows by Steele (2005):

Word by default inserts cross-reference fields as hyperlinks, so if you are editing a document that contains cross-reference fields you can Ctrl+click them to jump to their targets. NOTE: if you want to insert cross-references headings, you need to format your headings, with heading style or outlines levels first. 1. Click the spot where you want the cross-reference to go 2. Choose insert, reference, cross-reference to display cross-reference dialogue box.

Even though this work deals with the cross-reference in Microsoft Word 2003, a reference from a certain position to a reference address is shown, it may serve as a guide to this study.


Lexicography according to Svensen, 2009 is “an activity which consists in observing, collecting, selecting, analyzing an describing, in a dictionary, a number of lexical items (words, word elements and word combinations) belonging to one or more languages”.

 Planning a dictionary

Planning a dictionary according to Field, 2014 comprises of the following:

  • Project plan

–Identifying the demand

–The time and funding needed

  • Dictionary plan

Having considered the following questions;

Which lemmas are to be included?

Which information types shall be present?

Should make following plans;

–Preliminary plan

–Pilot study

–Revised plan

–Final plan

Dictionary typology and purpose

  • What is the genuine purpose of the dictionary?



Dictionary types

  • Semasiological/Onomasiological

(From word to concept/from concept to word)

  • Synchronic/diachronic
  • Descriptive/normative
  • General/specialized
  • Monolingual/bilingual/plurilingual
  • Non-illustrated/illustrated/pictorial


  • Learner’s dictionary
  • School dictionary
  • Comprehensive dictionary

Function and organisation

  • Reception/Production
  • Monoscopal/Biscopal
  • Intended users: native-speaker dictionary, foreign learner’s dictionary

Format of presentation

Establish the principles for the structure in terms of;

Megastructure: relations and order of the front and back matter and the lemma sign list

Macrostructure: the order of and relation between the lemma signs in the lemma sign list

Microstructure: the order and relation between the information types given for each lemma.


One of the aim of this paper is to discuss how cross-referencing can be used to indicate synonyms. Given that synonyms are words that have the same meaning, and this meaning relation should be indicated in dictionaries and they have to be treated in relation to one another, the exposition based on cross-referencing regarding complete synonyms, partial synonyms. Synonyms are words that have the same meaning and this meaning relation should be indicated in dictionaries. According to Crystal (1987:20) synonym is:

A term used in semantics to refer to a major type of sense relation between lexical items which have the same meanings are synonyms, and the relationship between them is synonymy. For two items to be synonyms, it does not mean that they should be identical in meaning i.e. interchangeable in all contexts, and with identical connotations, this unlikely possibility is sometimes referred to as total synonym.

Types of synonyms

There are types of synonyms but, in this study, only complete and partial synonyms are dealt with.

Complete synonyms are lemma that can replace each other in many contexts. In this regard, Crystal (1999:340) states that “… it does not mean that they should be identical in meaning, or interchangeable in all context, – this unlikely possibility is sometimes referred to as total synonymy. One agrees with Crystal because most of the synonyms are close enough in their meaning to allow a choice to be made between them in some contexts, without there being any difference in the meaning of the sentence as a whole. Examples;

Full, entire, whole

All, gross, total

Intensive, exhaustive, thorough

Unlimited, unbounded, thoroughgoing, etc.

In Igbo, we have;

Mmechi, ngwucha, njedebe

Mbido, mmalite, isi mbido

According to the lexicographic theory, with special reference to complete synonyms, synonyms that can replace each other in many contexts, and the lemmas that are most frequently used should be given full lexicographic treatment, while the less frequently used ones receive cross-reference to the most frequently used, by means of the SEE/LEE reference marker.

Partial synonyms are synonyms that cannot replace each other in many contexts. According Mojapelo (2006:58), partial synonyms are: “The synonyms with partial identical meaning and can replace each other in some contexts.” Partial synonyms do not share every aspect of their respective meanings; therefore, they cannot be treated like complete synonyms. Examples are;

Deceased, dead

Indicate, show

Beautiful, good

Cheerful, happy

In Igbo, we have;

Nsogbu, ogbaaghara

Isiike, anuanu

Oganiihu, mmepe

Cross-reference with regard to complete synonyms

Cross-reference is used to make reference to complete synonyms as in;

He killed the snake with matchet


He killed the snake with cutlass

In Igbo, we have;

‘o ji okpiri gbu agwo’.


‘O ji osisi gbu agwọ’

According to the theory of lexicography, complete synonyms cannot be all given full lexicographic treatment; only the most frequently used lemma should be awarded full lexicographic treatment and the less frequently used lemma be given cross-referencing (Modiba, 2011). He pointed the following as synonyms pair in the work of Mojela, Mphahlele, Mogodi, and Selokela, (2007) titled Pukuntšu Dictionary:

 definition tlhalošo

explanation tlhalošo

 bodiidi poverty               

bohloki poverty 

predict akanya

propose akanya  

 action kgato/legato

step kgato/legato

  1. He killed a lion with an assegai.

‘O bolaile tau ka lerumo’.

  1. He killed a lion with a spear.

O bolaile tau ka lerumo’.

The above sentences are similar and the two lemmas assegai and spear can be used interchangeably without changing the meaning. As a result, a reference entry was supposed to have been given to the less frequently used lemma, which is assegai, and the full lexicographic treatment be given to the lemma spear, the reference marker for complete synonyms is SEE/BONA.

Cross-referencing with regard to partial synonyms

According to lexicographic theory concerning partial synonyms, a lemma that has more or many translation equivalents should receive cross-referencing from the one with fewer equivalents. They all receive full lexicographic treatment and a semicolon (;) is used with the translation equivalents, as pointed out by Modiba, 2011:

The following partial synonyms are treated:

deceased – mohu, hwilego, hlokofetše

 dead – mohu, hlokofetše 

 degree – kgato, boemo 

 step – kgato, legato, gata

 worship – rapela, direla

 pray – rapela

The above examples are all regarded as partial synonyms but Prinsloo et al, (1999) do not give some lemmas suitable treatment. This is the case because others were treated like complete synonyms, whereas their meanings or translation equivalents cannot replace each other in many contexts. The lemma that has more translation equivalents should be awarded cross-referencing that is opposite to the complete synonyms.

In example deceased and dead:

A dead animal

Phoofolo ye e hwilego

A deceased animal

Phoofolo ye e hlokofetšego

The above sentences are not the same, and the second one does not make sense at all. Therefore, the lexical items dead and deceased have been replaced in the correct synonym pair up partial synonyms. The translation equivalents that maintain a relation of absolute equivalence is mohu. In other words, the article of the lemma deceased should receive cross-referencing to dead, because the lemma deceased has more translation equivalents.

Many authors have attempted to write about cross-referencing but not in dictionaries. They have treated mostly computer studies which is a bit different to the current studies. The four authors whose works were of great importance to the current study are namely, Neilsen, Mphahlele Mojapelo and Gouws, because they have treated cross-referencing in dictionaries. Mojapelo and Mphahlele‟ work is closely related to the current research and helped to complete this research.


Since in Igbo language dictionaries, cross-referencing is dealt with in an unsatisfactory manner, it is thus vital that critical discourse be utilized in this study. The qualitative and survey research methods were used in this study as it gives clearer understanding of the topic under discussion. The researchers used the following methods to gather relevant information about cross-referencing in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and the Igbo Metalanguage bilingual dictionary known as Ọkasụsụ Igbo. This research method provided the researcher with second-hand information as it had been gathered by other scholars. The researchers selected the information needed in order to validate his study. The information was obtained from the dictionaries in review and works of earlier researchers, journals, theses, dissertations, books and the internet.

Data Presentation and Analysis

Various data from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and the Igbo Metalanguage dictionary known as Ọkasụsụ Igbo as regards to cross-references and synonyms were presented, analysed, and evaluated.

Cross-referencing and synonyms in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

Evaluation of explicit and implicit cross-references

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary has a lot of cross-reference indicators as it regards the synonyms. Such indicators include symbols, different font styles, big letters (all caps), abbreviations, etc. cross-reference usage uses abbreviations, symbols and caps to show semantic relationships.

Data 1

Data showing cross-references and synonyms as adapted from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Hornby, (2005)

  1. do.men noun 1 the part of the body below the chest that contains the stomach, BOWELS, etc. 2 the end part of an insect’s body that is attached to its THORAX – picture PAGE R21
  2. A-bomb noun = ATOM BOMB
  3. A,bominable ‘Snowman noun = YETI
  4. headset: HEADPHONES, often with a connected MICROPHONE
  5. volcano: a mountain with a crater (= large opening)
  6. defence (AmE) DEFENSE

The above examples of cross-referencing uses symbols and capitalization with different font style to make reference to the headword. In the example (a), a symbol was used to refer to where the picture of abdomen can be seen in page R21. Example (b) above used symbol = and caps with different font style ‘ATOM BOMB’ to refer to A-bomb.

Data 2

Data showing cross-reference indicating synonyms with the abbreviation, SYN

  1. about, prep., adj.

adv. 1 a little more or less than; a little before or after


  1. INFORMATION 3 to take sth into the mind and learn or understand it SYN TAKE IN
  2. INTEREST SB 4 to interest sb very much so that they pay no attention to anything else SYN ENGROSS
  3. care noun, verb

verb PHR V ‘care for sb 1 to look after sb who is sick, very old, very young, etc. SYN TAKE CARE OF

  1. ing adj 1 (of disease) easily caught by one person from another SYN INFECTIOUS 2 (of emotion or a mood) passing quickly from one person to another SYN INFECTIOUS
  2. egor.ize (BrE also –ise) verb [VN] ̴ sb/sth (as sth) to put people or things into groups according to what type they are. SYN CLASSFY

In the above examples of data, it is deduced that the dictionary uses various abbreviations such as SYN to indicate synonyms. This is a good indication for referencing in lexicographic work.

Data 3

Data showing synonyms treated as outside matter




bound ٠ sure ۰ assured

These are all words describing sth that will definitely happen or is definitely true.



fool ۰ deceive ۰ betray ۰ take in ۰ trick ٠ con

these words all mean to make sb believe sth that is not true, especially in order to get what you want.



competitive ۰ budget ٠ affordable ۰ reasonable ٠ inexpensive

These words all describe a product or service that costs little money or less money than you expected.



bright ۰ cheery ٠ jolly ۰ merry ٠ in a good mood

All these words describe people who feel happy and show this in their behavior.



favourite ۰ preference ٠ selection ۰ pick

These are all words for a person or thing that is chosen, or that is liked more than others.



select ٠ pick ٠ opt ۰  go for ٠ single out

These words all mean to decide which thing or person you want out of the ones that are available. (all the examples were adapted from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (Hornby, 2005)

The above data showed the various groups of words that serve as synonym to the headwords. In this case, synonyms were treated with a great sense of concern regarding dictionary making, though partial and complete synonyms were treated together without indicating that this is partial synonym or this is complete synonym.

Cross-referencing in Igbo metalanguage ‘Ọkasụsụ Igbo’

Data showing cross-references in ‘Ọkasụsụ’ using symbols

Data 4

In making reference to the spelling rules, the dictionary ‘Ọkasụsụ Igbo’ adopted the following examples:

  1. nile instead of niile      (all)

nani                        „ of naanị (only)

ndewo                    „ of ndeewo          (how’s it)

mazi                       „ of maazị (Mr.)

nwanyi  „ of nwaanyị (woman, wife)

unyahu  „ of ụnyaahụ (yesterday)

  1. nwaada and not nwa-ada or nwa ada (eldest daughter)

nwanne  „              „ nwa-nne or nwa nne        (brother)

nwanna „              „ nwa-nna or nwa nna                        (half brother, kinsman)

umunne „              „ umu-nne or ụmụ nne       (brothers)

oriaku                   „              „ ori-aku or ori aku                              (wife)

dinta                      „              „ di-nta or di nta                  (hunter)

diji                          „              „ di-ji or di ji                                          (farmer)

nwadiala               „              „ nwa-di-ala                                          (son of the soil)

(as adapted from ‘Ọkasụsụ Igbo, 1985)

The above examples use symbols as a reference indicator to point to the actual item(s) the writers referring to. It is observed that there different ways of writing a particular word in Igbo but the writer is making reference to a particular form. Based on the above items, a school of thought known as Society for Promoting Igbo Language and Culture (SPILC) has now favoured the other way round and this is why such forms are appearing in Igbo texts. It is hoped that this may be reappraised in the relative merits some time in future.

Data 5

  1. Suffixes

= ta = te as in weta or wete                                (bring to)

                                buta or bute                         (carry to)

                                gota or gote                         (buy for)

                                zita or zite                            (send to )

But only = ta as in               bata                                        (come into)

                                                kpota                                     (bring to)

                                                zụta                                        (buy for)

                                                mịta                                       (suck into)

                = ba/ = be)             the inceptive ‘begin to (and continue)

                = wa/ = we)

  1. Grammar

Parts of speech    –               nkejiasụsụ

Noun                                      –               mkpọaha

Pronoun                                –               nnọchiaha

Adjective                              –               nkọwaaha

Verb                                       –               ngwaa

Proper noun                        –               ahaaka

Common noun    –               ahaizugbe

Conjunction                         –               njikọ

Adverb                  –               nkwuwa

Preposition                          –               mbuụzọ

Participle                             –               nkọwangwaa

Gender                  –               genda

Masculine                             –               oke

Feminine                              –               nwunye

Sound                                    –               ụda

(Extracted from ‘Ọkasụsụ Igbo, 1985)

In the examples (c) and (d) above, it is seen how symbols function to be a cross-reference indicator to refer to the morphological and semantic relationships existing amongst Igbo lexical items.

Data showing cross-referencing and synonyms in ‘Ọkasụsụ Igbo’

Data 6

  1. Abbreviation –               ndebiri; nkwubiri; mkpobiri

Abortion                               –               ekwomekwo; okwukwo

Abridgement                       –               egbumnkenke; mgbubi; nkenke nkenke

Acceptability                       –               nnabata; ịnabata

Abuse                                     –               mkparị; mkporị

Acclaim                                –               iwu ewu; ụzụ

Acclamation                        –               owuwu; ụzụ

Ambiguity                            –               mputara ukwu; njuanya; mputampki

Pleasure                                –               ọṅụ; aṅulị; ahụofofo

Adjunct                 –               mgbakwunyere; ọdụahiri

Anticlimax                           –               mgbuda; mwetu

  1. Rape =              ndịna; manye; omaburu

Miss                                       =              ada; nwada

Madam                 =              odoziakụ; oriakụ

Mrs.                                       =              oriakụ; odoziakụ

The above examples show how a cross-reference symbol (=) is used to indicate synonyms in Igbo language as it is adapted from ‘Ọkasụsụ Igbo in 1985. The synonyms were just written besides each other without making proper indications that this is synonymous with this and so on. Based on this, it is clear that the Igbo dictionaries/glossaries do not observe the principle of cross-referencing and synonyms in acceptable manner based on the lexicographic principles and practice.

In summary based on the data presented and analysis made, foreign (i.e. English dictionaries are far better than their local counterparts, Igbo dictionaries. This is because, they (foreign dictionaries) are more comprehensive, have great deal of lexicographic theories and practice and follows a global standard in dealing with lemma list and outside matter. Igbo dictionaries are less comprehensive, poorly produced and do not have good deal of lexicographic theories and practice, especially as it regards cross-referencing and synonyms.

Summary and conclusion


Summarily, the paper on the comparative analysis of cross-reference in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and ‘Ọkasụsụ Igbo’ – Igbo metalanguage has so far in four chapters examined the essence and relevance of the topic. Chapter one looked into the introduction/background of the study, statement of the problem, objective and significance of the study. The second chapter reviewed various literature related to the topic on dictionary plan, cross-reference, lexicographic principles and synonyms. While chapter three outlined the methodology adopted in the research work, the fourth chapter dealt with data presentation and analysis. The data presented were adapted from the selected dictionaries, and the analysis was made in comparison with the data collated. Various findings were made regarding cross-referencing and synonyms in the both selected foreign and local dictionaries. While the foreign dictionaries observe greatly the practice of dictionary-make, with regards to cross-referencing and synonyms, local Igbo dictionaries (glossaries) do not effectively observe these rules and practice. In fact, what we refer to as Igbo dictionaries are/or could be classified as glossaries, that is collection of Igbo words, though not comprehensive.


Having examined and evaluated the lexicographic principles of cross-referencing in dictionary-making using the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and ‘Ọkasụsụ Igbo’ – Igbo metalanguage, the researcher has made the following recommendations and conclusion:

  • Dictionaries that do not comply with principles and theories of lexicography should not be approved and adopted.
  • Theories related to synonyms and cross-references are included in the front matter or back matter of the dictionaries to remind lexicographers;
  • Cross-referencing is included in school or learner’s dictionaries;
  • For a dictionary to be approved, there should also be an international standardized number of words to be in the dictionary; and
  • Lexicography study is approved and taught at high schools.

It is evident that the Igbo-English bilingual dictionaries are not treated in a correct and satisfactory manner. Therefore, the dictionaries need to be revised, and necessary corrections and amendments must be done in these dictionaries for better today and tomorrow. Using words and following sound theories and practice of dictionary-making to uplift their standards to the next level, for this will also improve the correct and effective language usage in our societies.



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Crystal, D. 1987. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English language. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. 1997. A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. London: Blackwell.

Crystal, D. 1999. English as a Global Language. Cambridge & New York. Cambridge University Press.

Field, R.V. 2014. How to plan a Dictionary. A paper presented at the University of Oslo 1st annual Dictionary-making Conference. 3rd June, 2014.

Gouws, & R.H. & Prinsloo1999. Bilingual Dictionaries and Communicative Equivalents for Multilingual Society. Lexikos, 6:14-31.

Hornby, A. S. 2005. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Kriel, T.J., Prinsloo, D.J. & Sathekge, B.P. 1997. Popular Northern Sotho Ditionary. Cape Town: Pharos.

 Modiba, Mantsha Cecilia. 2011. A comparative analysis of cross-referencing with special reference to Northern Sotho monolingual dictionary and Northern Sotho – English bilingual dictionaries. Turfloop, SA: University of Limpopo thesis.

Mojapelo, M.J. 2006. Presentation of Synonyms in the Macrostructure of Northern

Sotho/English Bilingual Dictionaries. Unpublished Master‟s Dissertation University of the North: Turfloop.

Mojela, M.V., Mphahlele, M.C. Mogodi, P. & Selokela, R. 2006. Sesotho sa Leboa/English Pukuntšu Dictionary. Cape Town: Phumelela Education.

 Mojela, M.V. Mphahlele, M.C. Mogodi, P. & Selokela, R. 2007. Pukuntšutlhaloši ya Sesotho sa Leboa. Cape Town: Phumelela Education.

Mphahele, M.C. 2001. A Model to Achieve Communicative Equivalents in Translation Dictionaries. Unpublished Masters Dissertation. University of Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch.

Nelsen, S. 1999. Mediostructures in Bilingual LSP Dictionaries In: Lexicographical International Annual Conference for Lexicography 15, 90-113.

Pei, M. 1996. Glossary of Linguistic Terminology. New York: Colombia Press.

Prinsloo, D.J. & Sathekge, B.P. 1996. New Sepedi Dictionary. Cape Town: Shuter & Shooter.

Society for Promoting Igbo Language and Culture (SPILC). 1985. Okaasusu Igbo – Igbo Metalanguage. Onitsha: Varsity Industrial Press.

Steele, H. 2003. Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Office Word 2003 in 24 Hours. Chicago. Sam Press.

Svensen, Bo. 2009. A Handbook of Lexicography the Theory and Practice of Dictionary-making. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.




















Aspects of Conjunction In Igbo: The Case of Nsukka-Ideke Dialect of Igbo



Ezebuilo, Comfort Nwuka

Department of Linguistics, Igbo and Other Nigerian Languages,

Faculty of Arts

University of Nigeria, Nsukka

08062710168, Comfort.ezebuilo@unn.edu.ng




This study examines aspects of Igbo conjunctions with particular focus on the Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Igbo, Enugu State, Nigeria. It is our intention to investigate such conjunctions with a view to highlighting other forms of conjoining discovered in the dialect. The study also sets out to achieve the following objectives, which include  e: 1) to find out if there is any difference between the identified forms of conjoining in the dialect (Nsukka-Ideke) and the already existing conjunctions in the standard Igbo or not, and 2) to find out if there are tonal differentiation or variations on the conjunctions (the identified conjunctions in the Nsukka-Ideke dialect) based on their syntactic occurrences or as a result of their co-occurrence with other linguistic elements. By adopting a descriptive survey method, the study tries to ascertain the factual behaviour of conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke dialect. The data used for this study are gathered through introspection because the researcher is from Nsukka and from documented material from authors who have written on Igbo conjunctions. The study discovers that Nguru, in Nkpụnanọ, one of the quarters that make up Nsukka-Ideke Igbo, that ‘má’ is used in place of ‘ká’, a monosyllabic conjunction to mean “in order to”. Also, some cases of conjoining were discovered in the dialect. They include: ǹtẹgx/ợdqgx (otherwise), tènẹ (also that), mà ό bụgụ (either) … q bxrx(or), and ợ bxgx (neither). The above findings fall within correlative, subordinate and coordinative uses. Again, without the help of conjunctions, sentences would be realised in fragments that will not be comprehensible. The clear-cut distinction between subordinate and coordinating constructions, which might be regarded as a language universal phenomenon does not hold true for the dialect and Igbo as a whole. Igbo has a genius of its own, which any analyst must approach in his/her analysis with no presupposition from his/her knowledge of English.

Abbreviations and Tone-marking Convention

The tone-marking convention used here is that introduced by Welmers, where only the first of a sequence of syllables on the same pitch level is marked, leaving the subsequent ones unmarked until a contrasting pitch is observed, which is then marked.

CV          –               Consonant plus vowel “r” plus vowel becomes

rV            –               “r” plus vowel

                –               Becomes

                –               transformed into

( )            –               optimality





                –               Either a or b can be used







  • Phonological Symbol representing affixation, the phonetic value of which is determined by vowel harmony




                The term conjunction, according to Mbah (2006) originates from the Latin word ‘con’ and ‘jungere’, which mean ‘together’ and ‘to join’ respectively. For him, conjunction is both a linking word as well as the process of joining or synthesising sentence structures in grammar. He has the following as some of the conjunctions in Igbo: na, ma, ka, kwa, kama, mana, tupu, tutu, kamgbe, kama na, maka na, mgbe, ebe, etu sẹ, tẹ, and tem.

The idea of conjoining is a language universal phenomenon. All languages do this by using certain formatives known as conjunctions. Conjunction, one of the eight parts of speech in Igbo, is an integral part of Igbo syntax. It is also an apparent feature of language. No language can exist with all its words or sentences in isolation, hence, the need to link them together. Human speech always involves the joining of lexical items or sentences in order to ensure comprehensibility. The linking, therefore, may involve the use of certain words or group of words called conjunction.  The specific conjunction used shows how the joined parts are related. Emenanjọ (2015) sees it (conjunction) as a class of function words or part of speech made up, essentially, of connectives. Ajuede (2017) in his contribution asserts that conjunction is a part of speech that joins words, phrases, clauses and sentences together. Examples:

1a.  Ézè na Ekené bù, ényὶ (Eze and Ekene are friends)

  1. Óbὶ toro ógologo ebe Nnà yá d[ ḿkpxmkpx (Obi is tall while his father is short)
  2. Jόn txmad[ xmx òkórobìa ńd[ òzó àgábago nta àgábago nta (John as well as the other boys have all left for hunting)

Considering the above examples, grammatically, the above definitions are correct. Again, without the help of conjunctions, the above sentences would be realised in fragments. The role of conjunctions is invariably unique from other parts of speech. In this regard, Ajuede (2017) redefines conjunctions as the invariable grammatical particle that conjuncts lexical properties and other materials relevant for language analysis. By so doing, conjunction creates unity among lexical properties, particularly, nouns and pronouns. However, conjunctions are never found at the utterance or word final position in standard Igbo, but it is evidenced in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo.

It is necessary to note that conjunctions are grammatical in function, and as such, they are described as semantically empty. They are only structurally necessary in forming sentences. Their meanings are defined by illustrating their uses in sentences of different patterns. Otherwise, they (conjunctions) belong to certain formatives that do not represent or signify anything; rather, such forms impose different structural forms to the sentences in which they occur (Eze, 2012). The structural meanings they posses are equally as important as the lexical meanings of words. In fact, they are invariable words and belong to a closed system. This is as a result of their fewness in number. This member class remains the same for all users of that language (i.e. any language under consideration). Any addition or loss of a member brings about a structural alternation in that grammar of the language as whole. Furthermore, conjunctions do not exhibit any inflectional changes, though some of them are combined to give compounds as in the case of Igbo: mà + kà ® màka (because); mà + nà ® màna (though, but); mà + kwà ® màkwa and, yet); tè + nè ® tẹnẹ (also that). Just like verbs, enclitics and most suffixes, conjunctions have an initial consonant.

The Nsukka-Ideke conjunctions just like Igbo conjunctions have peculiar distinctive features. These features of the conjunctions include: (i) Their tones are almost always invariable i.e. always having the same value. In other words, they almost, always retain their lexical tones. (ii) All conjunctions (Nsukka-Ideke and Igbo conjunction) function as linking words. However, they differ in the things they link together. While some of them seem to be used exclusively with noun nominals or infinitive phrases, e.g. 2. ‘nà’ (and), some other seem to be used exclusively before verb phrases. Example: 3. ‘túpu’ (before); ‘nà’ (that), while yet some others seem to be used before both nominal and verb phrases e.g. 4. ‘kà’ (like). (iii) Some of the Igbo (Nsukka-Ideke) conjunctions can be combined to give compounds. These combined conjunctions translate into English as if they were independent conjunctions. Examples:

  1. a) nẹkwa (and) + mà (also) ® nẹkwa ma ‘and also’
  2. b) tè (also) + nẹ (that) ® tẹnẹ ‘also that’
  3. c) mà (but) + kà (that) ® màka ‘because’
  4. d) mà (but) + nà (that) ® màna ‘but that’, ‘except that’
  5. e) mà (but) + kà (that) ® nà (that) ® màka na ‘because’ of’

Igbo conjunctions are classified into three subclasses – coordinators, subordinators and correlatives. Coordinators link words of varying categories such as nouns, words, phrases and clauses of equal rank. Subordinators on the other hand link clause of unequal rank, one subordinate or dependent, the other matrix or independent. While correlatives join words of varying categories, sentence parts of equal rank. Similarly, the forms of conjoining discovered in the Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Igbo also fall within coordinative, subordinative and correlative uses.


Problems of the study

This study is carried out because of the following reasons: 1. none of the research work carried out by researchers about conjunctions has given adequate attention to the investigation of the conjunctions in the Nsukka-Ideke Igbo. Rather, their attention are focused on other aspects of Igbo grammar such as negators in Igbo, Igbo plural markers, simple grammatical negatives in Igbo and other parts of speech such as nouns, pronounces, verbs, prepositions, adverbs and so forth. 2. This study will add to the existing body of literature on morphology and syntax in the Igbo language. This, it does by exploring the categories of conjunctions in the Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Igbo. Again, the grammatical analysis of this work is also a contribution from Igbo to the cross-linguistic study of conjunction, and the universal cognitive category of conjunction. 3. This study is also necessary because the standard Igbo is fed from various dialects of Igbo.


Objectives of the study

With regard to the above mentioned reasons for the study, the major objective of this study is to examine the forms of conjunctions in the Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Igbo. Other objectives of this study include: 1. to find out if there is any difference between the identified forms of conjunction in the dialect and already existing conjunctions in the standard Igbo. 2. to find out if there are tonal differentiation or variations on the conjunctions identified in the dialect based on their syntactic occurrences or as a result of their co-occurrence with other linguistic elements.


Research methodology

                The methodological approach adopted in this research work is a descriptive survey research that sets out to investigate conjunction in the Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Igbo. The data used for this research work are got through introspection (because the researcher is a native speaker of Nsukka-Ideke Igbo), and from works of some authors, whose work are related to the topic. The works of these authors were selected through purposive random sampling. By using descriptive survey method, the data were analysed and conclusion drawn from the analysis.


Significance of the study

                This study will act as a guide to researchers who might decide to embark on the same or similar academic exercise – conjunctions in the Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Igbo or any other dialect or language. Other intended users of the output of the study include among others. The learners of the language, the users of the language, the teachers of the language at various levels, and lastly, the syllabus designers in the language because the study will expose other forms of conjunctions, which will enrich the grammar of the Igbo language.


Literature Review

The term conjunction, according to Mbah (2006) originates from the Latin words ‘con’ and ‘jungere’, which mean together and to join respectively. Scholars have approached the meaning of conjunction from different angles. Eyisi & Okolo (2015) describe conjunction as  a part of speech that connects two words, sentences, phrases or clauses. In other words, a conjunction performs linking functions. They submit the following as example of conjunction in English: and, but, for, since, while, as, if though, because, whether, unless, however, than, etc. They stressed in their work that the previous held view, that certain conjunctions such as and, but, because, and so should not begin sentences has no historical or grammatical foundation so, they can be used to begin a sentence. Ajuede (2017) defines conjunction as the invariable grammatical particle that conjuncts lexical properties and other materials relevant for language analysis. It is gathered from the above definition that the role of conjunction is invariably unique from other parts of speech. Webster (2017) asserts that conjunction is an uninflected linguistic form that joins together sentences, clauses, phrases or words. Emenanjọ (2015) avers that conjunction is a process which has primary function of ‘connecting or joining’ (from its etymology) two or more elements: words, phrases, clauses and sentences. He posits also that conjunctions are a class of words or parts of speech made up, essentially, of connectives.

According to Hodges and Whitten (1982), conjunction is a part of speech used to connect and relate words, phrases, clauses or sentences. This definition is captured in Emenanjo’s (1978), where conjunction is described as the only part of speech which is used for linking words or syntactic structures. Similarly, Everyman (1978) defines conjunction as word used as a connection between one word and another, or sentence and another, the act of joining or the state of being joined together. The above definitions of conjunction suggest that conjunctions function as connectors of words, phrases, clauses and sentences. In essence, a conjunction is both a linking word, and also, the process of bringing together sentence structures in grammar.

Crystal (1992) avers that conjunction is a term used in the grammatical classification of words, to refer to an item or a process whose primary function, is to connect words or other constructions. According to Onah (2010), conjunction is defined as a word in sentences, used to join or link words, phrases or clauses. Norton, Kimbrough and Norton (1988) describe conjunctions in logic, as a connective word or group of words joining two or more propositions together, thus forming a conjunctive proposition. They assert also that when two or more propositions are stated as true at the same time, they are said to be related by conjunction. For example:

  1. Ó nwère égo màna ágụụ nà-égbu ya

          He/she has money but h/she is dying of hunger

Duthie (1996) recognizes that the use of a comitative adposition to join nouns and a conjunction proper between other constituents, is evidence in West regions. Adposition in grammar is a preposition that introduces a prepositional phrase. Some of the languages displaying this dichotomy include Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Edo, Izii, Wollof, and so on. Below are some examples in Igbo:

7a) Ńik[ta nò n’elu àkwá

(Dog is on the bed)   

b) Ázù d[ n’ime ite

(fish is inside the port)

Here, the word ‘na’ is a preposition, introducing the prepositional phrases ‘n’elu akwa’ and ‘n’ime ite’ in the examples 2(a) and (b) respectively. Again, the comitative marker expresses the role of secondary participant of a situation as we have said before: It is the person involved in the situation together with the main participant. Below is example in Igbo:

  1. Yá nà ényὶ yá sòro bίa (He came with his friend’).

However, Bantu and Kru languages are absent from this list. The reason for that of Bantu languages is because many of them rely on juxtaposition for clausal conjunction. In the Igbo language as well as in the Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Igbo, there is no neat distinction between coordinating and subordinating conjunction, unlike in Indo-European languages, where the neat distinction between coordinating and subordinating conjunction is established. However, the followings are the common subordinating conjunctions in the Igbo language: kà (when), kà (so that), kà (hortative maker), mà (if, whether), nà (that), kama/tụma (instead of). These conjunctions do not exhibit any inflectional changes, though some of them are combined as in the case of Igbo: mà + kà – màka (because); mà + nà – màna (though, but); mà + kwà- màkwa (and, yet).

Conjunctions, in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo and Igbo as a whole, are divided into three sub classes – coordinating, subordinating and correlative conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctions join words, or group of words that are grammatically equivalent. Trask (1993), elaborating more on this, states that a syntactic structure, in which two or more constituents are joined (conjoined) in such a way that each of them has an equal claim to be considered a head of that structure, is a coordinate structure. In a typical coordinate structure, all of the conjoined constituents are of the same category and the whole structure is an instance of the same category. Here are examples in Igbo:

9a) Adá rὶri jί nà édè (conjoined NPs)

Ada ate yam and cocoyam’

  b) Òdò bịara ma làa (conjoined Vps)

Odo came but left.

As we can see, the clauses in the above two cited examples in Igbo are:

Adá rὶri

(Ada) rὶri éde and

Òdo bịara

(Odo) làa

Each of the above clauses is an independent clause; they have been separated from each, as we can see, and each of them still makes a complete meaning alone. It is as a result of this fact, that ‘and’ and ‘but’ are used to link them so as to form one sentence; hence, we say ‘and’ and ‘but’ are coordinate conjunctions.

Conjunction, according to Onah (2010), is a word in sentence used to join or link words, phrases, or clauses. For example:


10a) Ńgqz[ nà Ńneka bù úmùnneȇ ‘Ngozi na Nneka are sisters. b) Any[ rùtere kà mmemmé ahụ.. malitere

 ‘We arrived when the programme just began’


In the above sentences, the first contains ‘na’ which is used to join two words: Ńgozi na Ńnekà’. In the second sentence, ‘Any[ rùtere’ and ‘ka mmemme ahụ malitere’ are linked by the conjunction ‘kà’. (Any[ rùtere ka mmemmé ahụ malitere).

In the first sentence, two words are linked. In the second sentence, two clauses are linked. The major function of the conjunctions in examples 10 (a and b) are to connect and expand sentence patterns in various ways. Robert (1964) also observes that the function of a conjunction is to expand and combine sentence patterns in various ways and in general, to indicate the structural relationship between members of the form class. Roberts’s definition of the function of conjunction is quite embracing. It specifies that conjunction does not only expand and combine sentence patterns in various ways but it also highlights the structural relationship between members of the form class.

Emenanjo (1978) defines and classifies conjunctions in Igbo. In his study of conjunction, he recognizes the following Igbo conjunctions: nà, mà, kà, kwà, kámà, mànà, túpu, tútu, kàmgbe, kàmà nà, ébe, sé, térn. He classifies them into monosyllabic and disyllabic. He sub-groups them into coordinators and subordinators disregarding the over-lappings that exist. Out of the above listed conjunctions by Emenanjo, ‘na’ is the most frequently used in joining words, phrases, and sentences together. We strongly suggest that the typical Igbo conjunctions are nà, mà and tupu. Others are either dialectical variations of one conjunction or the other or that they are auxiliary to the above listed typical Igbo conjunctions. Alio (1978) disagreeing with the above listed Igbo conjunctions by Emenanjo,   states  that  nà,   mà,  kámà and   tupu’  are   the only conjunctions in Igbo. However, he failed to emphasise why he disagreed with the Emenanjọ’s. Contrary to the afore-listed Igbo conjunctions, Ọnwụbụarịrị (1978) recognizes that nà is the only typical Igbo conjunction and as such, he makes no classification whatsoever since there is nothing to classify. Ogbalu (1974) recognizes that ‘nà’ is the most popular and frequently used conjunction in joining words, phrase and sentences together. For him, kámà seems to be a dialectical variation of ma (but) and that the prefix ‘ka’ has practically no function. We agree with Ogbalu that na is the most frequently used conjunction to join words, phrases and sentences, but we disagree with him that nà is the only Igbo conjunction. We strongly contend that Igbo conjunctions include nà, mà, and túpu.

Mbah (2006) submits that conjunction is both a linking word as well as the process of joining or synthesizing sentence structures in grammar. He has the following as some of the conjunctions in Igbo: na, ma, ka, kwa, kama, mana, tupu, tutu, kamgbe, kama na, maka na, mgbe, ebe, etu, sẹ, tem. According to www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conjunction(2017), conjunction is an uninflected linguistic form that joins together sentences, clauses, phrases or words. This sense is captured in https//English-dictionary.help/English-to-Igbo-meaning-conjunction where conjunction is described as a connective or connecting word; an indeclinable word which serves to join together sentences, clauses of a sentence, or words; as, and, but, if an so forth. Also, Thesaurus.com available at www.dictionary.com/browse/ conjunction?=t explains conjunction as any member of small class of words distinguished in many languages by their function as connectors between words, phrases, clauses, or sentences, as and, because, but, however. Thesaurus also asserts that conjunction can be seen as any other word or expression of similar function, as in any case.


Data Analysis

Presentation of Data

                The following are composite of the identified conjunctions in Igbo:


má 1. ‘in order to’
mà 2. ‘whether’; if
mà 3. ‘but’
kà1. ‘like’ ‘as’
kà 2. ‘when’
kà 3. ‘(so) that’
kà 4. ‘hortative marker’
nà 1. ‘and’
nà 2. ‘because’, ‘for’
na 3. ‘that’ marker of NP complementation


‘Instead of’; ‘rather than’; ‘even if’








ńtà       1.                             ‘then’

ńtà          2.                             ‘instead of’

ńtà .. kà 1.             ‘both … and’

kà … kà 2.            ‘whether .. not’

mà… mà 1.          ‘so… as’

ma … ma 2.         ‘every … every’

kwà … kwà          ‘both … and’

The above conjunctions have been analysed by various researchers such as Emenanjo (1978, 1985, & 2015; Nwachukwu (1987) and so on in some many ways. As a result, they are not analysed in this work. Rather, the identified conjunctions in the dialect under investigation are focused.

                Some cases of conjunction and conjoining have been discovered in Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Waawa Igbo. The forms of conjunction and conjoining are analysed in this work according to their uses in the dialect. These conjunctions include:

‘in order to’
‘and’, ‘even’
tẹnẹ ‘also that’
nẹkwa ma ‘and also’
ntẹgụ ‘otherwise’, or
màọbụgụ ‘either’ … ọ bụrụ ‘or’
ọbụgụ ‘neither’

The traditional categorisation of conjunctions, which are coordinating and subordinating conjunctions does not hold true for all languages. Conjunction in Igbo, for instance, fall into two morphological groupings. The same thing applies to Conjuctions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo, which is an aspect of Igbo conjunctions. Nwachukwu (1987) makes it emphatically clear that such traditional classification cannot be applied in a language like Igbo that is, dividing conjunctions into coordinating and subordinating subsets. Rather, the classification should be based on the morphology as well as grammatical function they perform. As a matter of fact, the identified conjunctions in the said dialect, fall into morphological groupings: 1. Monosyllabic conjunctions and 2. Disyllabic/non-monosyllabic conjunctions. This grouping is based on the number of syllables they have. Nwachukwu (1987) asserts also that Igbo conjunctions fall into two morphological groupings – monosyllabic and disyllabic conjunctions.


Monosyllabic conjunctions

                Monosyllabic conjunctions in Igbo perform both coordinating and subordinating functions. They are such conjunctions that have one syllable. They are involved in coordination. Coordination, according to Emenanjọ (2015) is a relation, which holds between two or more elements of equal functional rank of status. The elements linked by coordinators are known as coordinates. This shows that none of the elements linked is dependent on the other, nor a head. In fact, coordination is a non-headed structure. The monosyllabic conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo include: má ‘in order to’ ‘tè1‘and’; tè2 ‘even’.



  1. Ńgozi tẹ Ebéré bịara (Ngozi and Ebere came)

12a)        Ńd[ ngwụrọ tẹ ńd[ ìsha bịachara (The lame and also the blind came)

  1. b) Ejekogu m tẹ (      I will not even go)

The occurrence of tẹ is not restricted only to the medial position; it can come at the beginning of the sentence as in:

  1. 13. Tè nwóke tẹ nwáanyị socha ( Both the men and the women are inclusive)

Also, the conjunction tè can come at the final position of a sentence without distinction in the underlying structure. Here, it functions as an emphasizer as in example 12(b). That is, it can be fronted for emphasis.


Mà as a conjunction in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo

                The conjunction mà in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo is pronounced in two different forms to realise two different things. The two forms of realising the conjunction are:  ‘mà’ with low tone and ‘má’ with high tone. ‘Mà’ with low tone in Igbo, is translated in English in various ways such as: mà ‘but’, ‘and’, ‘if’, ‘whether’ and ‘so that’ while má with high tone is translated in English as ‘in order to’. These English translations depend on the context and the type of construction it is found in.

                The conjunction ‘mà’ (i.e. mà with low tone) functions both as a coordinator or correlator and as a subordinator. When mà comes in between two declarative sentences, it is a coordinator and the two sentences joined are of equal rank. Each of the sentences can independently stand on its own when separated. In such construction, mà is translated as ‘but’ in English. However, mà links a maximum of two clauses, and has the notion of constructiveness. The combination of similarity and differences determines the use of contrastive mà and this resulted to two semantic interpretations of contrastive ma viz: i) Semantic opposition and ii) Denial of expectation.

Examples of semantic opposition are:

14a)        Àdá shìri ńri mà Ujú zàra ezí (Ada cooked food but Uju swept compound)

  1. b) Ńgozi jère ákwụkwọ mà Ebérè sụrụ ákwà (Ngozi went to school but Ebere washed clothes)

On the other hand, in the denial of expectations, there is an assertion and a presupposition. The presupposition makes a general expectation, and where the expectation is not met, the sentence becomes contrastive.


15a)        Ńnekà mara ḿma mà agwa yá jqrq ńjq (Nneka is beautiful but her behaviour is bad)

  1. b) Òkéke nà-árụ ezigbo ọrụ mà ó nweghị egō (Okeke has a nice work but he has no money)

Mà, is also used as correlator to join two nouns or two NPs together. Here, the conjunction is used in pair, one preceding the first noun or NP and the other preceding the second noun or NP.

                Mà nwóke mà nwàanyị

                Both men and women

Mà introduces also sentential complements just as ‘nà’ introduces. However, the type of complements mà introduces differs from that of nà. Mà as a complementizer has the following translations: whether, if, and that

Mà, used as ‘whether’, shows a type of complement known as Yes-No sentential complement. That is, a sentence type with no propositional content. Worth knowing of this kind of construction, is that, both the monosyllabic and disyllabic conjunctions are always on low tones but it is not always in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo.



  1. Áchqrọ m [ma mà ọ nọ n’xlọ ákwụkwọ (I wanted to know whether s/he is in school)

Mà as ‘if’, specifically, introduces a conditional complement. This type of construction always has a logical dependence between the consequence clause and the antecedent clause. Here, mà signals the consequent (clause). When the consequent clause comes before the antecedent clause, ma is not used but the conditional implication still obtains or holds.



17a)        Há gà-ejé mà ọ bịa(They shall go if s/he comes)

  1. b) Odo ga-eri nri mà ọ hụ (Odo will eat food if he sees)

In the example (17a), ‘Ha gà-eje’ is the antecedent while ọ bịa is the consequent,

8a)          Há bịa, anyị gà-ejé (If they come, we shall go)

  1. b) Ị rịọ ha, ha gà-ekwé (‘If you beg them, they will agree’)

In the examples 18 (a & b), it is observed that mà as a conjunction is used to generate two types of constructions – coordinate and subordinate constructions. However, in the subordinate constructions, mà functions differently in the types of NP sentential complements. In Nwachukwu (1982: 57), he uses numerals to distinguish the various complements identifying the types of constructions associated with each.

Má with high tone translated as ‘in order to’ or ‘so that’ is used to introduce subjunctive constructions in the dialect. Such constructions are concerned with unrealised meanings. Má, standing as ‘that’ is specifically used for purpose constructions. In the purpose constructions, the verbs contained in the matrix clause may not always be purposive verbs but the underlying meaning of such clauses will always show up such verbs. Moreover, there is a cause-effect relationship between the two clauses. As such, má now signals the expected consequence of what was said in the matrix sentence.


19a)        Ọ gùrụ égwu má a gbaa ya àgbá (S/he sang song so that it will be danced)

  1. b) Ó shὶri ńri má ó rie (Cooked in order to eat)


The Disyllabic Conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo

                Disyllabic conjunction is another set of conjunctions used in linking sentences in the Nsukka-Ideke Igbo and standard Igbo. This set of conjunction unlike the monosyllabic ones, is never used in joining words or phrases; rather, they are used only in joining sentences. In sentences of unequal rank, two clauses only enter into the relationship of subordination, whereas for sentences of equal rank, more than two clauses can be linked together by way of the disyllabic conjunctions, and at times, by way of monosyllabic conjunctions as in:


  1. Ọ sìkwara tẹtẹ (tẹ) ó nyère ya égō (He/she said also that he/she gave him/her money)

The morphemic structure of most of the disyllabic conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo just like the standard Igbo, is consonant – vowel, consonant-vowel (hereafter CV CV). The disyllabic conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo are as following: (i) tẹnẹ (ii) ńtẹgx (iii) mà ọbụgụọqbụgụ (iv) ọbụgụ (v) nẹkwe ma. These conjunctions have their specific English equivalent unlike the monosyllabic ones, which vary. This quality (specific English equivalents) makes them unable to vary in meaning from context to context.


Use of tẹnẹ

                Tẹnẹis one of the disyllabic conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo. It functions as a subordinator and it is translated in English as ‘also that’


21a)        Ọsịkwara tẹnẹ (tẹ) ọ dụgụ  ọyị (He/she said also that it was not good)

  1. b) Àdá chètenu Óbὶ tẹnẹ ó sò (Ada reminded Obi also that he is inclusive)


Use of nẹkwa ma

                Nẹkwa mà, a disyllabic conjunction, is used in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo to link two nouns of equal rank in a sentence. It is translated in English as ‘and also’.


22a)        Gùté ji nẹkwa ma abala (Harvest yams and also water yams)

  1. b) Vùté oche nẹkwama tébùru (Bring chair and also table)

The conjunction ‘nẹkwa mà’, as it is used in the dialect in-question, shows that the suffix ‘ma’ is not optionally used. It must be used together with ‘nẹkwa’to mean ‘and also’. Contrastively, the use of ‘nà’, in ‘kama na’ and ‘maka na’ in standard Igbo is very optional except when it (nà), as in maka (na), connects an independent clause to a phrase, then the nà is obligatorily deleted.


Use of Ntẹgụ

                Ntẹgx is used to join sentences in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo. It has its English translation as ‘otherwise’. It is used to state what the result would be if something did not happen or if the situation were different. It functions as a subordinator.


23a)        Bịaa pàrx nri gị ntẹgụ ḿ pàara rie (Come and carry your food otherwise I will carry it and eat)

  1. b) Jée kùmé ụraańtẹgx ḿ pịa gị ihe (Go and sleep otherwise I will beat you)

Ntẹgx can also be used in the dialect to mean ‘or’ in English. When so used, it offers the choice of comparing between two items or offers, as in:



Kùmé Jọn ǹtẹgx Pẹta (Call John or Peter) b) Wètéụmà ǹtẹgx ọgụ (Bring matchet or hoe)


Ntẹgxat times, is used interchangeably with ‘ọdụgụ’ in the dialect to mean the same ‘or’ in English.

25a) Gòténu m ẹkwà ọdụgụ àkpụkpọ ụkwụ b) Jée hòmé ὶrurue ọdụgụ hichéme ụlọ
  Buy for me dress or shoe   Go and weed or scrub house

Use of mà ọ bụgụ… ọ bụrụ

                Mà ọ bụgụ … ọ bụrụ is one of the disyllabic conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo. They are used in conjoining nouns and NPs in a construction. They function as correlation. They are translated in English as ‘either … or’. They move always in pairs. Examples:

26a) Mà ọ bụgụ Eké ọ bụrụ Órὶe b) Mà ọ bụgụ nwa nya ọ  bụrụ nwánne enye
  Either it is Eke or it is Orie.   Either he is his child or he is his relation.


Use of q bụgụ

                Ọ bụgụ is used in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo to introduce a subjunctive sentence. The associated speaker’s attitude is non-declarative (embedded). It is translated in English as ‘neither’.



27a) Ọ bụgụ Èmeká bịara ǹke ú jὶ abụ Uchè b). Ọ bụgụ Àdá ǹke ó jὶ abụ Ùjú
It is neither Emeka nor is it Uche that came It is neither A da nor is it Uju


The foregoing analysis of conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo indicates that, trying to categorise the conjunctions functionally is very problematic. Some of the disallabic conjunctions such as nẹkwa ma’, ‘màna’ and ‘kámà’ also serve as coordinator while mà ọ bụgụ… ọ bụrụ function as correlator. The disylalbic conjunctions in the Nsukka-Ideke Igbo unlike some disyllabic conjunctions in standard Igbo, do not behave like adverbials. That is, they do not have freedom of mobility, which characterises some disyllabic conjunctions in Igbo. Again, the monosyllabic conjunctions function as subordinators, and can be fronted mostly for emphasis. Mà, a monosyllabic conjunction, functions as a coordinator, subordinator and as a correlator.


Characteristics of Nsukka-Ideke Igbo Conjunctions

                The conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo just like the conjunctions in standard Igbo, are grouped into monosyllabic and disyllabic conjunctions, morphologically. However, this grouping is blocked functionally as a result of some over-lapping as evident in the Nsukka-Ideke conjunctions and Igbo conjunctions at large. The disyllabic conjunction that functions in both coordinator and subordinate constructions in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo, is nẹkwa ma’ just like ‘kama’ in standard Igbo. Apart from the conjunction ‘nẹkwama’, which functions as a coordinator and subordinator, and ‘mà ọ bụgụ… ọ bụrụ’ that function as a correlator, other disyllabic conjunctions in the dialect function as subordinating conjunctions.

The use of suffix ‘mà’ in nẹkwama’ in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo, is not optional, unlike the use of ‘na’ in kámà na’ and ‘maka na’ in standard Igbo, that is very optional, except when it (nà), connects an independent clause to a phrase, then the ‘nà’ is obligatorily deleted. It (mà) must be used together with nẹkwa to mean ‘and also’.

The initial position of the subordinating conjunction is mostly occupied by the temporal clause like tẹnẹas in.

28a) Tẹnẹhádàra n’ulé abụgụ ihe ọhụụ (That they failed in

their examination is not a news). When so used, it is translated in English as ‘that’. If it occupies final position, it reduces comprehensibility to an extent.


Summary of Findings and Conclusion


                This research work has explored conjunction in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo. The findings of this work give impetus and validity to the Igbo conjunctions. It has been discovered that there is a tonal variation on the conjunction ‘ma’, a monosyllabic conjunction in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo. ‘Ma’ in Nsukka-Ideke Igbo, is realised with two different tones to mean two different things as well. The first form of realising the conjunction ‘ma’ is with a low tone ‘mà’, as it is also realised in the standard Igbo. When so realised, its function in the dialect in-question is same with how it functions in the standard Igbo. Also, its English translation is same. However, when ‘ma’ bears high tone, that is the second form of realising ‘má’, it’s meaning varies, and it is translated in English as ‘in order to’ or ‘so that’. It is used to introduce subjunctive constructions. Such constructions are concerned with unrealised meanings (see example 19).

                Findings reveal that conjunctions in standard Igbo are never found at the utterance or word final position, but it is found in Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Igbo, though, it is not all the identified conjunctions in the dialect. It is only one of the monosyllabic conjunctions in the dialect – ‘tè’ as in example 12(b).

                It is observed that languages, as well as dialects have a lot in common, but we must equally be aware that there are parametric variations despite this acclaimed common core. For example, the clear-cut distinction between subordinating and coordinating conjunction which might be regarded as a language universal phenomenon does not hold true for Igbo language and the dialect under consideration as well. This distinction between coordinating and subordinating conjunctions is well established in the Indo-European languages. This, however, suggest that the classification is not a simple straightforward dichotomy between subordinating and coordinating conjunctions. Rather, it depicts that Igbo language in general (including dialects) has a genius of its own, which any analyst must approach in his/her analysis with no presuppositions; from his/her knowledge of English. However, it has been discovered that conjunctions are structurally necessary in forming sentences, and are described as semantically empty in isolation.



                In this study, we have tried to establish aspects of conjunction in Igbo with reference to Nsukka-Ideke Igbo. Our discussion on the conjunction reveals that without the conjunction in sentences, comprehensibility of such sentences would have been very difficult if not impossible. This is because human speech always involves the joining of lexical items or sentences in order to ensure comprehensibility. Again, no language can exist with all its words or sentences in isolation. This work has actually made very insightful contribution in the literature of Igbo conjunctions by discussing conjunctions in Nsukka-Ideke dialect of Igbo. We hope that this research work will stimulate further research into this aspect of Igbo syntax – conjunction in the Igbo syntax. We conclude by saying that human speech without conjunctions or connectives is just like building a house without cement.





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Intercultural Communication and International Cohesion: A Study of Chinese and Igbo Names Exchange Phenomenon

1Ahamefula, Ndubuisi O., 2*Odii, Benita C., 5Udechukwu, Chinwe N. 3Ezemoka, Augustina, 1Aboh, Sopuruchi C., 4Okoye, Loyce C., 4Ozioko Emmanuel, 1Nwachukwu, Adaeze P.

1 Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages

University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 08034772290, ndubuisi.ahamefula@unn.edu.ng

2 Fudan University, Shanghai & University of Nigeria, Nsukka. benita.odii@unn.edu.ng

3 Igbo Department, FCT College of Education,                                                          Zuba, Abuja. 08170567850

4 Nnamdi Azikiwe Universities, Awka & Chinese Department/ Confucius Institute, UNIZIK, Awka.                                nenyeo@yahoo.com, 08160620484

5 General Studies Unit, University of Nigeria,                                       Enugu Campus

* Corresponding author’s email: ndubuisi.ahamefula@unn.edu.ng



This paper studies communicative behaviour and strategies adopted by interlocutors in culturally heterogeneous situations. It specifically investigates the convergence in cultural communication between Chinese and Igbo cultural contact situation. It looks at strategies in intercultural communication and its implication in intercultural and international relations. The paper adopts the Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) for analysis. Data for analysis is collected through semi-structured interviews, participant observation and personal communication.  The paper argues that across cultures, there abound areas of convergence that enhance friendship, good international relations, peaceful co-existence such as evident in the Chinese name swap phenomenon, a very important and essential ingredient in Chinese intercultural practices and interactions. The paper finds out that the name swap phenomenon in intercultural relations promotes peace, integration, effective cultural dialogic engagements, which hold a lot of implications for intercultural relationship, friendship across cultures, international relationship and international trade.

Key words: Intercultural communication, International relations, Chinese and Igbo name swap phenomenon, Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT)


The paper studies the phenomenon whereby Chinese make non indigenes adopt a Chinese name when they arrive China or come into a Chinese institution or establishment. Chinese indigenes also adopt the indigenous names of their host communities. This concept of name exchange takes place within and outside China. This phenomenon at first, portents culture shock, especially for the non-Chinese and in this study, the Igbo in particular. Naming for races are aspects of cultural identity and this phenomenon that encourages adopting names of other races is worth studying.

One of the problems people face when they enter a new speech community is communication. This problem is worsened when there is no common code between the person and the people of his/her host community. This culture shock and communication gap pose a problem, and this problem necessitated this research. In an attempt to bridge this gap, one has to learn the language in order to be considered a part of the society. In China, however, not only does one learn the language; in most cases, one is given a Chinese name as a sign of international relations. This phenomenon of name exchange has not been given attention by researchers.

The scope of the study covers Igbo indigenes in Nigeria and China and Chinese indigenes in Nigeria. Objectives of the study includes investigating the motivation for the names exchange, finding out modes of the names exchange between the Chinese and Igbo and finding out the implications of names exchange between the Chinese and Igbo for intercultural relations/international relations.


Review of literature

Name and naming is a phenomenon that has gained universal application. It is rare to see an object, person, animal, human or any entity without a name. If the object is newly introduced, a name is used to identify it. More so, naming (especially personal names) is not done haphazardly; it is given based on different cultural practices and beliefs. Idika & Onyike (2016) aver that the name, which a community is known cannot be isolated from its history, community ethos, and the oral tradition, which is the many stories, legends, songs, proverbs and myths. Onukawa (2012:11) highlights that the Igbo core values embedded in traditional Igbo names include; value of human life/existence, essence of being, virtue, significant socio-political entities, religion, and security.

Rosenhouse (2002) notes that naming is a specific linguistic act that is connected with values, hopes, traditions, fears, events in people’s lives, which at the same time relay the preferences of their owners in terms of real life objects, actions, features and beliefs. For Ubahakwe (1981), names are ways of representing human experiences and feelings. They are universal entity that can reflect individual’s history, gender, culture, nationality, politics etc. Similarly, Campbell (1998) explicates that useful and reliable information for linguistic prehistory can be obtained from names for peoples.

Iwundu (1994:35) remarks that name and action are intertwined. He notes, “Naming and action are not random issues recognized haphazardly in the Igbo society. Rather they form an important sociocultural behaviour consistently associated with heroic actions which have meanings for the members of the society.”

Sequel to the above, Onukawa (2017) opines that anthropologists prefer to refer African names as anthroponyms, which connotes that name has a socio-anthropological significance. The Igbo names, notes Onukawa, just like other African names, are culturally rich. They are not simply labels used for mere identification purposes, like baggage tags. This is in line with Okoye’s (2016) assertion that Igbo names, for example, are taken from Igbo culture. Likewise Chinese names provide great insights into Chinese culture. Onukawa (2017) remarks that in the present dispensation, the practices of the contemporary Igbo personal naming will result in overshadowing of the traditional meaning in personal, abandonment of names associated with culturally significant entities in Igbo, Anglicization of Igbo personal names, arbitrary abridgement of personal names, complete change of names etc.

However, the study of Chinese and Igbo names have received attention from researchers. Okoye (2016) reveal the social contexts/factors under, which the semantic contents of Igbo and Chinese personal names are categorized. These social contexts include: Theophoric (God related), Ideational (experience of the real world), Monumental (achievements in life), Testimonial (circumstances of birth), kinship (relational), Temporal (based on time and calendar). The paper settles that the process of naming among the Igbo and Chinese is related when analyzed or considered culturally, linguistically and in terms of cosmology.

In addition, another similarity between Igbo and Chinese names is the regards for surnames. This respect for surnames makes the two languages to place the surname in the first position when they are writing or saying their name. Similarly, Louie 1998:51 comments:

Since early on in their civilization, the Chinese have placed the surname first in a name, which seems to emphasize that the family comes first in an individual’s identity. Other Asians, such as the Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese, also place the surname first. In Europe, Hungarians and Rumanians follow this name order as well.

In his study of Igbo sobriquets, Nwagbo (2016) reveals that what characterise Igbo nicknames are the attribute of being positive attribute based, hyperbolic, symbols-filled, and not ready made. He opines that Igbo nicknames are not ready made products like birth names; rather they are earned and commonly shared among people in the community. The finding from his research reveals that Igbo nicknames are filled with symbols i.e. they contain names of objects and animals like anụkaanụ ‘relating to animal’, ite ego ‘pot of money.’

Ekejiuba, Ahamefula & Ezemoka (2016) study place names in Owerre-Ezukala lect of Igbo. The paper adopts Tent & Blair’s (2011) toponymic typology as the framework. The research reveals that the elements that feature in Owerre-Ezukala lect of Igbo can be nouns, adjectives and preposition. The morphological analysis revealed that these toponyms are compounds, prefixation or reduplication. The study also discovered that the toponyms in Owerre-Ezukala lect of Igbo at the sentential level can function as a statement, interrogative or imperatives.

However, names play a role in cultural appropriation, cultural exchange, and intercultural communications. Rogers (2006) claims that cultural appropriation entails the use of a culture’s symbols, artifacts, genres, rituals, or technologies by members of another culture, when cultures come into contact, including virtual or representational contact. He further classifies cultural appropriation into: cultural exchange, cultural dominance, cultural exploitation, and transculturation. Cultural exchange occurs between cultures that are on the same level whereby a mutual exchange occurs. Cultural dominance takes place when a ‘highly placed culture imposes its cultural elements on lowly placed culture. Cultural exploitation, on the other hand, implies imposing cultures on a group without compensation or substantive reciprocity. In transculturation, cultural elements created from and/or by multiple cultures, such that identification of a single originating culture is problematic (Rogers, 2006:477).

Between Igbo and China, there appear to be instances of name exchange between Igbo inhabitants in China and Chinese people living in Igbo land. This exchange is often seen among people that came for business or academic purposes. This name exchange is important because according to Mulinda (2015), academic  and  cultural  cooperation  do  not  have  to  be  separated  from other  protocols  of  cooperation; rather,  they  have  to  be  seen  as  components  of  the  whole interests  that  are  pursued  by  both  parties. This implies that this cooperation will enhance intercultural communication.

According to Arent (2009:2), “intercultural communication is the sending and receiving of messages across languages and cultures. It is also a negotiated understanding of meaning in human experiences across social systems and societies. This implies that the essence of intercultural communication is to bridge the communication gap that exists between the concerned parties. This objective must have necessitated the idea of giving foreigners Chinese names when they come to China for academic purposes. Besides, Chinese that come to Igbo land also adopt Igbo names.

The Communication Accommodation Theory will serve as the theoretical framework for this research. The Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) is a social theory that takes into cognizance the interaction that exists among interlocutors in a discourse. The concept of social identification through communication is of paramount importance to CAT. The chief proponent of this theory is Giles (1971) who argues that the role of accommodation in communication is very important. The theory opines that participants in discourse communicate or interact to signal mutual attitude toward one another. The theory was further elaborated by Giles, Coupland and Coupland (1991). They posit that language functions as an indication of both individual’s and group’s need to interact socially with others and also an indication of the aspiration to gain social approval. Agbedo (2015) opines that CAT emerged from speech adjustment theory, which refers to the value of psychological concepts to understand the dynamics of speech. He further reveals that the main tenet of CAT is its emphasis on the adjustments that people do while communicating. 

Furthermore, Giles, Coupland and Coupland (1991:17) opine that a language can be used to show social belongingness and social disparity. These they capture in the two notions: convergence and divergence. Convergence has been defined as a strategy whereby individuals adapt to each other’s communicative behaviours in terms of a wide range of linguistic-prosodic-nonverbal features including speech rate, pausal phenomena and utterance length, phonological variants, smiling, gaze and so on.” In essence, when one uses language in such a way the every person understands, his/her communicative act is said that have gained convergence. Contrarily, divergence is used to refer to the way in which speakers accentuate speech and nonverbal differences between themselves and others. Consequently, Giles and Ogay (2007) highlight the tenet of CAT it helps speakers to differentiate themselves from others and/or to communicate that they belong to a particular group which others do not. However, Giles et al (1991) maintain that the equilibrium between convergence and divergence is very important in communication and this makes speakers to assume the communicative pattern that is typical of their group so as to maintain a sense of belonging.

This theory is apt in analyzing the intercultural and intercommunication that exist between Chinese and Igbo people. In order to ensure that they converge in communication, Igbo dwellers or visitors in Chinese territory tend to have a Chinese name which might be given to them or chosen by them. This might have arisen on the desire to fasten their communication process and gain social acceptance and/or recognition. More so, when there is a similarity in cultural elements between interlocutors, the more attracted to and accommodating the interlocutors will be in the exchange.

Notwithstanding CAT’s importance in verbal and nonverbal communication, some scholars have criticized the convergence-divergence process of CAT on the basis that text and talk are too complex to be stereotyped to the convergence-divergence process. They also note that the theory ignores that a part of the interlocutors might not have any sense or reason.


This research adopts the descriptive survey research design and obtains the data employed in this work using semi-structured interview, participant observation and personal communication. In respect to choosing data, the accidental sampling technique was adopted. Nworgu (2006) opines that in accidental sampling, only pieces of information that are within the grasp of the researcher(s) are used in the work. These data are analysed with the Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) framework.

Data presentation/analysis

Igbo indigenes bearing Chinese names

1. Chinenye Igbo (Imo) Female Fudan University



Xi (gives)



幸福 God gives/


Indeed/ blessed


2. Onyekwere Igbo (Ebonyi) Male Fudan University Shei xiangxin 谁相信 Who agrees
3. Asadu Igbo (Enugu) Male University of Nigeria, Nsukka Yà sā Name of the third king of Judah
4. Chinonso Igbo (Imo) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Wè iké tūo 维克托 Victor
5. Ekpereamaka Igbo (Anambra) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Wàng xiāo xiāo 王肖肖 Hope


6. Obinna Igbo (Enugu) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Dā wèi 大卫 David
7. Ifeoma Igbo (Enugu) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Ma li 玛丽 Noble mary
8. Nnamdi Igbo


Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Zhĕn wáng 真王 Precious king
9. Chizoba Igbo (Imo) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik. Oū mò kă 区茉佧 Loveth
10. Chibuike Igbo (Enugu) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Wŭ ming 午明 Bright
11. Emeka Igbo (Ebonyi) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik. Pang gao xiang 旁高翔 A person who has a bright future


12. Chibuzor Igbo (Abia) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Chi  mai ke 起码可 Michael
13. Onyinye Igbo (Imo) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Chi qiao chu 吃翘楚 The best
14. Odinaka Igbo (Abia) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Mi yue xi 米月息 Freedom/to exceed
15. Ebube Igbo (Imo) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik. Wu xing ze 无行则 Star
16. Ikedi Igbo (Abia) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Wang xu 王 许 Warm monarch
17. Ifeoma Igbo (Delta) Male


Confucius Institute, Unizik Guo shang 国上 Noble
18. Chinedu Igbo (Ebonyi) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Zheng meng jie 证 梦接 Clear dreams
19. Kaosi Igbo (Imo) Male Confucius Lu guang zhi 路光之 Numerous ambition
20. Chinenye Igbo (Anambra) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Qù tian yì 区天艺  nature’s gift
21. Emenike Igbo (Anambra) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik lijunxian   李 俊 贤 Smart
22. Egbule Igbo (Imo) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik xìn xìn fù                             新新服 Confidence and rich
23. Onyedika Igbo (Ebonyi) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Wáng Wàng 王王 King to reign
24. Uzuegbunam Igbo (Abia) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Zhānghóngyì 张弘毅 Indomitable
25. Ugoagha Igbo (Ebonyi) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Líjūnháo 李俊豪 Extraordinarilygifted
26. Makuachukwu Igbo(Anambra) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Lĭ Wén Zhé 李文哲 Wise and philosopher
27. Chinaemerem Igbo (Imo) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Gāo Mĕi Xīn 高美心 A good heart
28. Chidubem Igbo (Abia) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Zhāng Yīng Yīng 张英英 Outstanding
29. Adanne Igbo (Anambra) female Confucius Institute, Unizik Fāng Wén                            方雯 Multiple cloud
30. Obinna Igbo (Anambra) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Bái Le Níng 白乐宁 Peaceful heart
31. Okezie Igbo (Anambra) male Confucius Institute, Unizik Lĭ Kăi                                                                                             李凯 Victory
32. Afamefula Igbo (Abia) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Wŭ Băo Chéng                                                                                  吴宝成 Precious
33. Chiamaka Female (Anambra)   Confucius Institute, Unizik Zhōu Yĭng                                                                                           周颖 Outstanding
34. Chijioke Igbo (Ebonyi) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Wŭ Yī Fán                           吴一凡 Extraordinary
35. Ogechukwu Igbo (Enugu) female Confucius Institute, Unizik Mă Zhēn                                                                                                     马臻 Prosperity
36. Emeka Igbo


Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Lĭ Jia Líng                                                                     李佳玲  Beautiful and innocent
37. Ogueji Igbo (Abia) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Wáng Shī Han                       王诗涵 Brilliant and purity of heart
38. Chikezie Igbo (Enugu) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Chén Yŭ Hán                                                                        陈宇涵 A cheerful person
39. Chioma Igbo (Enugu) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Zhào Xīn Lán                                                                         赵馨兰 Strong fragrance
40. Udoka Igbo (Anambra) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Hè Yīng Jíe                                                                                 贺英杰 Hero
41. Nwachi Igbo


female Confucius Institute, Unizik Pān Bái Qĭ                                                                              潘佰奇  Rich and unique
42. Chike Igbo


Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Lín Zhì Wén                                                                       林智文  Wisdom
43. Chika Igbo


Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Wáng Jìng                               王婧                                                King
44. Chidiebere Igbo (Abia) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Yùe Liàng                                                                                  月亮 Moon
45. Ekene Igbo (Abia) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Liú Lì Qún                                                                          刘立群 Outstanding
46. Chukwudi Igbo(Imo) male Confucius Institute, Unizik Mèng Shī Tíng                                                                   孟诗婷  Graceful
47. Chikezie Igbo (Enugu) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Lĭ Zhì Yŏng                                                                       李志永 Forever ambitious
48. Chigozie Igbo(Enugu) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Chéng Shăo Bó                                                   程少博 Achieve Something In Younger Age


49. Okoro Igbo(Enugu) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Hé Lì Yŏng                                                                          何力勇 Strong and brave
50. Nneka Igbo(Anambra) female Confucius Unizik Shen Dān Mò                                                                     


沈丹墨 Beauty and Knowledge
51. Amaka Igbo(Anambra) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Yè Xĭao Mĭn                                                                                


叶小敏 Clever
52. Chioma Igbo (Anambra) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Wú Qíu Píng                                                                        吴秋萍 A beautiful flower
53. Obinna Igbo(Anambra) Obinna Confucius Institute, Unizik Wáng Băi Qíang                                                              


王白强    Good In Hundred Fold
54. Ogbonna Igbo (Imo) Male Confucius Institute, Unizik Wú Băo Chéng                                                                   吴宝成   Success And Success


55. Chisom Igbo (Anambra) female Confucius Institute, Unizik Yùn Dōng Xu                                                 云东旭 Rising sun
56. Uche Igbo (Anambra) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Xìa Xĭao Mĭn                                                                             夏晓敏  Intelligent
57. Chizoba Igbo (Enugu) female Confucius Institute, Unizik Sòng Xíao Rŏu                                                                           宋晓柔 Clever
58. Oluchi Igbo (Abia) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Qí Hăi Wén                                                                                   齐海闻    The famous one
59. Chibuzo Igbo(Enugu) female Confucius Institute, Unizik Lĭ                                                      Pear
60. Chinenye Igbo (Anambra) Female Confucius Institute, Unizik Qù tian yì 区天艺  nature’s gift

Source: 2017 Field research report conducted by the researchers


Source: 2017 Field research report conducted by the researchers

Chinese indigenes/teachers bearing Igbo names

S/N    Names/Pinyin Character Meaning Age Sex Igbo names Gloss of Igbo names
61. Sòng Song dynasty 46 M Ifeanyichukwu There is nothing greater than God
62. Qiăohuā 巧花  Flower 32 F Chimamanda My God will not fall
63. Línnà 琳娜 Gem/ Elegant 29 F Ngozi Blessing
64. Wĕi  Nurture 26 M Chinonso God is available
65.  Storm 54 M Chinedu God leaves
66. Tíng Justice 25 F Mmesoma Favour
67. Hŏng  Red (lucky colour) 26 F Ifeoma Good things
68. Shàn Virtuous/ Good 26 F Ifunanya Love
69. Chāngbín 长滨 County 27 M Okechukwu God’s share
70. Qúnbīn 群彬 Refined 33 M Chukwuemeka God has done wonderful things

Source: 2017 Field research report conducted by the researchers

Data analysis                                                                                                                                       Motivations for the names exchange

                For every action, there is a cause. One of the identified motivations for Chinese and Igbo names exchange is social integration. Names play an important role ensuring social integration and among individuals of a particular community, ethnicity and indeed, race. Prejudice springs up where there is a sense of difference among people of heterogeneous origins. The Chinese give in their native names to western or foreigners to make sure that there is a fluid free-knowing understanding in activities where association is necessary. This association paves way for integration, but an unpronounceable name from either party could be a barrier in many cases like business. According to Mr. Odii, who currently lives in China, he stated this: “giving a foreigner a native name in both areas can equally denote social acceptance.”

Another motivating factor is cultural transmission. Culture is embedded in language, and thus could be transmitted through language. Changing the name of an immigrant in the Igbo setting, glaringly signifies conscious attempt to transfer their culture, norms and values into them. Generally, cultural homogeneity is inextricably linked to the survival of an individual in a particular polity. Naming is a significant step towards making people who may be regarded as outsiders by their hosts know how things are done, beliefs and perception of the people they find around them. In Rwanda, when a child is born, the child is referred to as kuntu ‘a thing.’ When the child begins to speak, he/she is being referred to as muntu ‘a person.’ From this ideology, language makes one a human. In essence, since a foreigner is new in China, one of the ways of making the Chinese to see him as one of them is through giving the foreigner a Chinese name, which can be the first step in learning Chinese language. The same scenario can be obtainable in the Igbo case.

In addition, the role of a given language in communication needs not to be overemphasised. Pronouncing names from another language could be erroneous, especially when the two languages have sharp phonological differences, like the absence of a particular sound or sounds in the target languages. Name giving creates an escape route from this communication problem. It works against mispronunciation, which could have led to frustration when severally attempted. It equally saves the visitor what we may term a ‘linguistic caricature,’ which involves mockery because of distant-sounding language among a homogenous group.


Modes of names exchange between Chinese and Igbo

                When we talk about modes, we make reference to if the names were given based on sound, meaning, or arbitrary. Worthy of reference here is if people that the names were given the opportunity to choose the names they bear or the names were imposed on them. However, from the data above, it is evident that none of the names, both the one given to Igbo by Chinese and vice versa, was given based on sound. Fifteen names were given based on meaning. By this, we mean that the semantic import present in the source name was transferred to the target names. Instances of this can be seen in numbers (1, 2, 6, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, 25, 30, 33, 37, 41, 49, and 60). For instance, in (1), Chinenye, which means ‘God gives’ was replicated in the Chinese name, Xingshen, which still means God gives. In Igbo, the name Chinenye is a shortened form of Chinenyenwa (God gives a child), Chinenyeego (God gives money) etc. More so, in (6), Obinna, which means ‘the heart of a father’ was realised as David in Chinese (Dā wèi). The meaning transfer here is not a literal one but a connotative one. In the Bible, David is regarded as the apple of God’s eye, which share similar semantic connotations with Igbo’s Obinna – thus the name exchange.

                On the other hand, other names were given arbitrarily as seen in examples (3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 19, 18, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29 etc.) from the data above. Continuing, the names given to Igbo foreigners in China and the ones given to Chinese foreigners in Igbo land were not imposed. In some cases, the names were suggested and the to-be-bearer accepts the name or roots for another one. This is pertinent because of the power in a name. People tend to act or behave in accordance to their names. This explains the reason why no parent would want to name his child Judas Iscariot, Ichabod, or Jabez.

Implications of names exchange between Chinese and Igbo for intercultural/international relations

                One of the implications of names exchange between Chinese and Igbo for intercultural/international relations is the promotion of peace. Language finds a way it binds people together. Name as a part of cultural heritage creates in the mind of the people a sense of belonging, which in turn facilities peaceful living. Based on the pieces of information gathered from the respondents, all of them share the common view that when the people of the host community observe that foreigners bear their name, it presupposes that they respect them (people of the host community) and they accommodate the foreigners as their own.

                In addition, the implication of names exchange is integration. Through this, foreigners are accustomed to the way of life of their host community. This, to a great extent, facilitates intercultural relationship, friendship across cultures and international trade. More so, effective cultural dialogic engagements are facilitated through the process of names exchange. With name exchange, the interest of learning the host community’s language increases. This enables the language to grow and escape extinction.   


In this paper, the researchers have looked at the issue of names exchange between the Chinese and Igbo as a means of intercultural and international relations. The motivations of these names exchange are social integration, cultural transmission, and communicative needs. More so, names are chosen voluntarily. From the study, no name was given based on sound but based on meaning and arbitrariness. The implications of names exchange are that they promote peace, effective cultural engagements, and international trade.

Therefore, with these names exchanges, intercultural and international relations between Chinese and Igbo have moved to greater heights. Igbo people’s interest in learning Chinese has increased and vice versa. For countries who experience series of wars, aside from marriage, names exchange can foster peace and cooperative living.  



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Ekejiuba, G. U., Ahamefula, N. O. & Ezemoka, A. (2016). Morphosyntactic analysis of place names in Owerre Ezukala lect of Igbo. A paper presented at the 29th Conference of the Linguistic Association of Nigeria at University of Jos, Plateau State on 4th – 8th December.

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Iwundu, M. (1994). Naming and heroism in Igbo traditional life. Journal of Liberal Studies, 4(1&2), 34-47.

Louie, E. W. (1998). Chinese American Names: Tradition and transition. Jefferson: McFarland.

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Nwagbo, O. G. (2016). Identity and nicknames among the Igbo: A sociolinguistic investigation. The Centre for Igbo Studies and Faculty of Arts, UNN Multidisciplinary Conference in honour of Igwe Alfred Achebe, Obi of Onitsha; July 17 – 19, 2016; Princess Alexandria Auditorium, UNN with the theme: Celebrating Traditional Igbo Institutions and leadership.

Nworgu, B. G. (2006). Educational research: Basic issues and methodology (2nd Ed.). Nsukka: University Trust Publisher.

Okoye, C. L. (2016). Igbo and Chinese personal names: A socio-semantic analysis. A PhD seminar presented in the Department of Linguistics, Igbo and Other Nigerian Languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Onukawa, M. C. (2012). Propagation of Igbo core values through Igbo personal names. Nsukka: Paschal Communications.

Onukawa, M. C. (2017). Gịnị bụ aha gị? Topical issues on personal naming in the Igbo society. Inaugural lecture, Abia State University, Uturu.

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Primary source/ Personal communication

Respondents Age Occupation Date of interview Place
Mrs. Benita Odii 38 Lecturer, UNN (Chinese scholar) November15, 2017. Fudan University, Shanghai
Mr. Elijah Odii 40 Lecturer, UNN (Chinese scholar) November 15, 2017. Shanghai, China.
Mr. Asadu Victor 45 Lecturer (Chinese unit, UNN) November 18, 2017. University of Nigeria, Nsukka.





Ethnicity: A Threat to Nigeria Nationhood: Social Studies Education as A Panacea


Ezeuzo Pauline U.                                                                         Department of Social Studies,                                                                 Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe,                                     Anambra State.



Ethnicity is one of the factors that have caused serious embarrassment to Nigeria nationhood.  Almost all national issues in Nigeria are based on ethnicity, ranging from award of contract, siting of important projects, employment, appointment, etc.  This paper explained the concepts of ethnicity, nationhood and social studies education and it critically examined characteristics of ethnicity and how it affects economic and political life of Nigerians. The paper emphasized the need for effective teaching of social studies education in Nigerian schools as a panacea to Nigeria ethnic problems.  The paper recommended that social studies teaching materials should be distributed to our schools, exposing teachers to workshops, seminars and reviewing social studies curriculum from time to time among others.

Keywords:  Ethnicity, Nigeria, Nationhood, Social Studies.


                In today’s global village, there is hardly a nation that is completely same in terms of having only one ethnic group.  Countries like Canada, Sweden, United States of America and Norway are multi-ethnic nations (Meziobi, 1998).  The abundance of ethnic groups or nationalities in Nigeria is a major factor in Nigeria’s continual national underdevelopment that has defied functional settlement. 

                Almost all issues in Nigeria are based on ethnic consideration.  Onigu (1990) stressed that when the British left this country in 1960, the emerging leaders misconceived the realities of our cultural backgrounds and worked from the theory that once we were called sovereign state, every section magically becomes Nigerian in spirit making it possible for ethnic loyalties to vanish.  But this is not so till date.  Right from time, Nigerians have not seen themselves as one people.  For instances, the formation of political parties like Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), Lagos Youth Movement, Action Group (AG), for the Yoruba, Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) and so on.  It is observed that the current President Mohammadu Buhari regime has toed ethnic line in his appointments into sensitive political positions.   It is important to note that all the top security officers in Nigeria, for example, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief Air Staff among others are all northerners.  This development does not augur well in a secular state like Nigeria where the constitution makes provision for the principle of federal character. 

                Okafor (2013) observes that, throughout the development of Nigeria from a colonial territory to a republic, it has been rare except from a small political elites for Nigerians to think of themselves first and foremost as Nigerians, rather than Hausa, Yoruba, Tiv, Igbo and so forth.  Okonkwo (1988) observes that the evil of ethnicity split the efforts of the nationalists, the question towards the end of 1940s was who next should head the only viable party, the Nigerian Youth Movement.  The ethnic consciousness destroyed the political party and the political aspirants withdrew to their respective base. 

Conceptual Frame


                According to Mezieobi (2014), ethnicity can be defined as a collectivity of persons who are held together by shared cultural traditions or heritage pivoting on common ancestry, mother-tongue or language, religion, etc, which traditions are tenaciously held to from time immemorial, not disorganized out-rightly by acculturation process, and which are not only a given group’s identifier, but also distinguishes a given group from the others outside the group.  Okafor (2013) sees ethnicity as consciousness on a part of a group of its distinctive language, norms and values and they put up action towards developing and glorifying their languages, norms and values. 


                It is more commonly called a state or country.  Okafor (2013) identifies a country that has achieved nation-hood as having territory, government, represented by symbols such as flags, national anthems, etc. 

Social Studies

                Scholars in the field of social studies have given many definitions of the subject matter.  Kissock (1981) defines social studies as a programme of study which society uses to instill in the students the knowledge, skills, attitudes and actions it considers important concerning the relationships human beings have with each other, their world and themselves.  Orakwue (1991) sees social studies as the study of man in his unending interactions with his environments and the attempts to make them better places.  Social studies is the study of man in his physical and social environments.

Characteristics of Ethnicity in Nigeria

                There is scarcely any nation of the world without ethnic groups.  What is however, indisputable is that there are variances in the number of ethnic groups that may constitute any given country.  Therefore, there are no universally acclaimed features of ethnicity that will apply with equal facility in all nations in the globe.  While some characteristics may be commonly shared by all, the number of ethnic groups in any given country such as Nigeria may generate additional characteristics that may be very peculiar to it. 

                Mezieobi (2014) highlights the characteristics of ethnicity in Nigeria to include the following:

  • Too many Ethnic Groups in Nigeria: There are controversy on the number of ethnic groups in Nigeria. According to Arinze (2011) and Orisa (2013), ethnic groups in Nigeria number over 250.  In the words of Obi and Obikeze (2006) “the abundant ethnic groups in Nigeria total about 389”.  Nigeria is not just ethnically diverse, the ethnic fragmentation is irredeemably too many. 
  • Common Historical Ancestral Origin: One vital element that gives any ethnic group its distinctive identity is common ancestor to which the group traces its existence or history.  All ethnic groups in Nigeria trace their historical origin to one commonly shared ancestor or the other. 
  • Common Mother Tongue: Language is one of those elements of cultural heritage or tradition which people share in common in order to merit the name, ethnic group. 
  • Strained Ethnic Relations: According to Mezieobi (2014), “the major ethnic groups have consistently behaved as though Nigeria is a nation of themselves alone”.  The strained ethnic relations in Nigeria culminate not only in ethnic mistrust, suspicion and ethnic confusion but in disharmonious co-existence, rivalries, ethnic turmoil, etc. 
  • Variance in Ethnic Groups’ Population: The population size of each of the 389 ethnic groups in Nigeria is not the same.  It varies from one ethnic group to the other.  Nonetheless, the three acclaimed major ethnic groups, in their collectivity, constitute between 54 percent of the population of all ethnic groups in Nigeria combined. 
  • Ethnic Cleansing: Ethnic cleansing in Nigeria is reminiscent of the ethnic cleansing incidents in Rwanda and Bosnia at a given point in time.  It is not in dispute that there was ethnic cleansing or purging of an ethnic group – the Igbo by the Hausa/Fulani of Northern Nigeria in 1966 that culminated in the civil war or the Nigeria/Biafra war.  An elder statesman, General T.Y. Danjuma has openly declared the killing of his kinsmen in Taraba State by the Fulani Herdsmen as ethnic cleansing.  He called on his people to use whatever they have to defend themselves.



The Areas Ethnicity Have Threatened Nigeria Nation-Hood

Nigeria Political Life:

                The country has not fared well in its political life.  Adeniyi (1993) observes that when Shehu Musa was about to enter the presidential race in the aborted third republic, people asked a lot of questions in respect of his ambition to politics, one of which was, should one who hails from Niger State aspire to succeed President Ibrahim Babangida, another Niger man?  One can easily see from the foregoing that there is the trait of ethnicity in the above question.

                Chukwuma (2014) has decried the neglect of the South-East zone of Nigeria in sensitive political appointments in President Goodluck Jonathan’s led government.  He observes that the Central Bank Governor, Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Controller of Custom Services, Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice of the Federation, the Defence Chief, National Security Adviser, the Vice-President and the Inspector General of Police, all came from the North.  According to him, the only thing to celebrate in the South-East is the refurbished Akanu Ibiam Airport and non-functional Onitsha Port.  He insisted on the adherence to the principle of federal character in sensitive political appointments rather than basing it on ethnic sentiments. 

                Nwabueze (2000) as the former scribe of Ohaneze Ndigbo canvasses that the only choice is either confederation or complete break up, his allies in the South-West, the Afenifere or Yoruba parapo, remain steadfast in their belief that only a sovereign national conference (SNC) will offer an appropriate platform for Nigeria’s future.  For South-South zone, what appears to be milder version of the Yoruba position is canvassed in the form of a national conference, which should lead to constitutional restructuring. 

Ethnicity and Economic Life of Nigeria

                The complaint about the allocation of economic resources and infrastructural imbalances are legion.  According to Udenta (1998), the marginalization of the Igbo nation goes beyond military and political appointments, social infrastructure is one area where Igbo nation has continuously held the short end of the stick.  The few federal roads in the East exist in a permanent state of disrepair.  He also observed that the federal government is always in a hurry to execute afforestation projects and purchase fertilizer with public funds for distribution to farmers in the north but has continually down-played the issue of gully erosion which has diverstated the East, sometimes cutting parts of it from the rest. 

                Furthermore, the unwanton quests for material things have become responsible for high rate of corruption in the government resulting to economic dislocation.   The national economy has been looted, the weak is defenceless and there is wide gap between the rich and the poor.  There are indications that legislation cannot help to restore the economic order.  The reason is that many laws have been made but they have not made much impact on the economic life of Nigerians.  High profile corruption cases in president Buhari regime has been ethnicized and politicized.  Yakubu (2019) observes that NNPC $25 billion contract scam linked to the Group Managing Director Maikanti Baru and multi-millionaire grass cutting scandal linked to the former Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal were all over looked as a result of ethnic and party affiliations.

The Impact of Ethnicity on Nigeria National Life

                Ethnicity has led to misallocation of economic resources, establishment of elephant projects, appointment of unqualified persons to sensitive political positions, and unhealthy rivalry and opposition in national and state affairs. 

                Corruption is also one of the greatest impacts of ethnicity in Nigeria national life.  In the government sector, corruption ranges from the wrong use of government property, the abuse of public office for private gains, diversion of public funds to private use as well as receiving bribes from contractors before contracts are awarded. 

                It is observed that the Igbo nation has suffered economic set back and economic backwardness in the present General Mohammadu Buhari regime.  General Mohammadu Buhari has confessed that he received few votes in the South-Eastern Nigeria during 2015 general elections, based on that, the area has continued to suffer economic and political backwardness. 

Effective Teaching of Social Studies Education As A Panacea

                Social studies education is not mere schooling.  It is a subject that will make the individual to be aware of his duties as a good citizen.  The overall objective of social studies education as a discipline should be to produce good citizens that will take over from the present crops of leaders at the local, state and federal government levels.

                The content of social studies education teaches the students the symbol of National Identity and how to respect them. Such symbols of National Identity include the national flag, the National Anthem, the National Pledge, etc.  Students are made to recite both the National Anthem and National Pledge daily in their schools.  Mbaba (2007) maintains that as the students continue to practice these every time, the spirit of national consciousness will be imparted in them, which will make them good and effective citizens in their future endeavours as administrators, ministers, governors, president, etc. 

                Nwuzor (2002) underscores the role of social studies as a vital agent of socialization and moral transformation of citizens.  He noted that social studies education inculcates in the students the spirit of fair play, justice, honesty, tolerance and patience, all of which are indispensable for the well being, progress and general development of every human community.  It will also reduce rivalry, division, separation which are associated with ethnicity. 


                Ethnicity is one of the factors that have continued to pose a very serious challenge to Nigeria nation-hood.  Almost all national issues in Nigeria are based on ethnic consideration.   This has polarized Nigeria and threatened its existence.   Social studies education holds immense potentials in contributing substantially to the production of people imbued with the desired behavioural and attitudinal dispositions to push Nigeria in the direction of achieving national unity. 


                Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are hereby made:

  1. The government should ensure that there are enough teachers of Social Studies education in schools who impart this knowledge. 
  2. Social studies teachers should be exposed to workshops and seminars for the effective teaching of the subject in our school system. 
  3. Social studies teaching materials should be produced and distributed to schools.
  4. Social studies curriculum for upper basic education, secondary and tertiary education should be reviewed from time to time to meet with the required standard. 



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Kissock, C. (1981).  Curriculum planning for social studies teaching. New York: John Willey and Sons Ltd.

Mbaba, J. O. (2007).  The role of social studies in nation building in Nigeria. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 1(1), 210-211. 

Mezieobi, K. A. (2014). Ethnicity in Nigeria: De-ethnicising road map.  Owerri: Priscilla Omma Publishers.

Nwabueze, B. (2000). The battle for Nigeria. The Source Magazine, July 24, p.11.

Nwuzor, A. (2002). Education for democracy in Nigeria. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers Ltd.

Obi, E.A. and Obikeze, O.S.A. (2006).  Nigeria in perspective. In Obi, E.A. and Obikeze, O.S.A. (eds). Contemporary social issues in Nigeria. Onitsha: Book Point Ltd.

Okafor, V.E. (2013).  Nation building in Nigeria: Problems and prospects. Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing. 

Okonkwo, J. (1988).  Government for senior secondary school.  Asaba: Delta Publication Ltd. 

Onigu, O. (1990).  Ethnic pluralism and ethnicity in Nigeria. Ibadan: Shareson Co. Ltd. 

Orakwue, I.T.C. (1991).  Social studies: Meaning, nature, scope and approaches.  In Ikwumelu, S.N. and Mezieobi, K.A. (eds). Aspect of social studies for higher education (A theoretical Approach). Onitsha: Orient Publishers, pp.1-10. 

Orisa, A.A. (2013). Impact of ethnicity on Nigeria’s national development. In IAUE Journal of Social Sciences, 10(3), 144-153.

Udenta, O. (1998). No more second fiddle. The Newswatch Magazine. August 10, p.15.

Yakubu, D. (2019). Corruption allegations: Just in case federal government has forgotten these cases. Saturday Vanguard, Jan.19, p. 13.




Ịgba Alụkwaghịm N’ala Igbo: Nwaanyị Dịka Osisi Na-Ebu Apa Mma


Ogoo Ifeka                                                                                                                                                            Department of Ngalaba Linquistics and Igbo                           Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Ịgbarịam       Anambra State


Alụkwaghịm bụ otu n’ime omenaala zuru Igbo ọnụ, ọ bụ ezie na ezinuụlọ ụmụ ha lụrụ di na nwunye anaghị atụ anya mgbasa ụmụ ha, kama na etu o sila dị, nsogbu dapụta n’ezinuụlọ wee na-achọ ka ọ ga-eri isi otu onye n’ime ha, ezinuụlọ abụọ ọ gbasatara akwado ụmụ ha ka ha gbasaa. Nchọcha a chọrọ igba n’anwụ ihe igba alụkwaghịm n’ala Igbo bụ na ọnọdụ nwaanyị gbara alụkwaghịm maọbụ a gbara alụkwaghịm. Site n’isiokwu a, a gbara mbọ were usoro nchọcha nkọwasi: site n’ajụjụ ọnụ na ịgụrụ ihe e derela banyere ọnọdụ a bụ alụkwaghịm na etu o sịrị dị ire n’ala Igbo. E lebara anya n’ihe ndị a, ihe na-ebute igba alụkwaghịm, usoro e si agba ya, nzipụta nwaanyị dịka onye na-ebụ apa mma alụkwaghịm, na usoro a gaghị igbaso wee gbochie alụkwaghịm n’ihi nsogbu ọ na-ebutere ọhanaeze. E nyochara ma zipụta nkọwa na echiche ndị mmadụ dị icheiche banyere alụkwaghịm, e zipụtara mgbanwe ụfọdụ pụtara ihe n’igba alụkwaghịm n’oge a. A chọpụtara na nsogbu dị ahụ na-ebute igba alụkwaghịm anaghị abụcha naanị nwaanyị maọbụ naanị nwoke na-akpata ya kama ọ bụ ihe ha abụọ nọrị kemgbe na-edi maọbụ na-anagide ka ọ ghara isere ha okwu ma-emechaa o tipuo, nke na ha abụọ maọbụ otu onye n’ime ha jubipụrụ isi na ya agaghị alụzị di maọbụ nwunye ahụ. N’oge a ka ezinuụlọ ga-ebido tinye aka ichọpụta etu a ga-esi mee ya bụ ihe ka nsogbu belata wee ruo mgbe isi ga-ajụ ndị nọ n’alụmdi ahụ oyi nke ọma. A chọpụtara ọtụtụ uru na ọghọm dikwa n’igba alụkwaghịm ma tụọ alo ihe a ghaghị ime na mmalite alumdi ka alụkwaghịm ghara ikpọ ezinuụlọ ọbụla ihu. A chọpụtara na mee elu mee ala na ọ bụ nwaanyị na-ebu apa mma alụkwaghịm niihi na ndị Igbo na-ahụta nwaanyị ahụ dịka onye isi erughị ala ma ncha. Nchọcha a ga-abara onye ọbụla uru ma nwoke ma nwaanyị karisia ndị nọ n’ọnọdụ alumdi. Ka onye ọbụla na-akwado ime nke a jụọ onwe ya ajụjụ ụfọdụ dịka: Aga m emenwu ihe dị n’ibiri onwe m? O weela m anya na alumdi a ga-aka nke ọchie mma? dgz. N’ikpeazụ, alụkwaghịm na-enyere ndị Igbo aka igbochi ọghọm dịka igbu mmadụ n’ebe alumdi enweghị ịhụnanya.


Nearly all societies in Igbo ethos see divorce as a delicate “accident” in marital relationships but in cases where the conflict between the couple is a about taking life or a threat to life, the two families involved will support their children to separate peacefully. This study aims to ụ-ray and eụpose entirely what divorce is in Igbo land and also the place of the woman who wishes the separation or who is divorced by her husband. Based on the topic of this study, this research work employed the descriptive method; with the aid of oral interviews, ọuestionnaires, consultation of teụt books from the library we delved into the following; the causes of divorce, the procedure of the “traditional” separation, analytical eụposition of the state of the woman in the business of divorce, portraying her as who bears the scares of divorce and ways to prevent further divorce cases. It was deduced that the problems or challenges in marriages which resulted to divorce has been there with the couple even earlier in their marriage but the couple were trying to subdue it until it could not hold water. At this point, the families involved will then give a go ahead and separate the couple for peace to reign, it was found that whatever might lead to divorce any case, the woman is always at the receiving end and bears the scandal alone.

The study will be very useful to all and sundry because whoever is tired of eụisting marriage both (the man and his wife) have to ask themselves ọuestions like thus; Can I take care of myself if I eventually get divorced? Am I fully convinced that the present marriage will be better than the former? Finally, divorce helps the Igbo people to prevent unforeseen evils: like killing oneself or killing another since there is no love in the union.


Site n’otuto na mmụba agụmagụ edereede n’Igbo na ọṅụ a na-enwe niihi nke a, enweghị mgbe ndị odee denyere n’agụmagụ ha iji zipụta nsirihụ  ụmụ nwaanyị ka ọ bụrụ ihe kwesịrị ekwesị n’abụghị iweda ha n’ala oge niile. N’agbanyeghị na a na-ekwu na ọ bụ ụmụnwoke nwe ụwa, na ọchịchị, nsọpụrụ na ugwu bụ naanị ha ga-enwe ya. Ụmụnwaanyị bụ ndị e chere na onweghị n’ihe a ga-agụnye ha, bụkwanụ ndị nne na nwunye, ha anaghị eri mperi n’ọrụ ọbụla obodo e tinyere ha n’aka dịka n’ọnọdụ ha n’ọchịchị ala ha niile. Ha na-achị ma na-akpa udo n’etiti ndị nwunyeedi ha ma n’ụmụọkpụ nke na ụmụnwoke apụghị ime ya maọbụ nwee ezi akọ iji menwuo ya.

Dịka nkwenye na omenaala ndị Igbo siri dị, ọrụ dịịrị ndị iyom maọbụ ụmụ nwaanyị bụ n’okirikiri ezinụụlọ ha. ọrụ ndị a bụ, ọrụ nwunye nye di ya, ọrụ nne na-eleta di na ụmụ ya anya nke ọma, site n’aka ha ka e si enweta mmụba nke mmadụ ka agbụrụ ghara ichi echi. Ndị nwaanyị na-alụ di na nne ha anaghị ama etu e siri akpa banyere alụmdi di ha maọbụ ebe a nọrọ kpaa nkata alụmdi ahụ. Na nwaanyị baara di ya uru maọbụ ihe ga-eme ka ọ nọrọ gawa n’ihu bụ na ọ mụtara ụmụ n’ezinụụlọ ọhụụ ya. Ọzọ, ọ bụghị naanị ịmụta nwa kama ịmụta ọtụtụ ụmụnwoke. ọ bụrụ na o nweghị nwa ncha, ụwa ya echuola niihi na ahụhụ nke ahụ na-eche ya site n’aka di ya na ụmụnne di ya. ọ bụ ọrụ nwaanyị ịchịkwa ezinụụlọ n’ụdị ọbụla ma ewepụ ịchị di ya. Dịka nwunye na nne, ọ bụ ọrụ dịịrị ya isi nri, kee nri, hụ na onye ọbụla riri nri n’oge kwesịrị ekwesị ma gbaa mbọ zachasịa ụlọ niile na mbara ezi be di ya. Ụmụ ya ndị nwaanyị nwere ike nyere ya aka n’ọrụ ndị a niile chere ya n’ihu, n’otu aka ahụ a na-azụ ha maka n’ọdịniihu nke ndụ ha dịka nwunye mmadụ.

Ụmụnwaayị sokwa na-azụ ezinụụlọ ha nri ma na-azụta ihe e ji akụ nri n’ụlọ ma mkpa ya dị. N’ịkọ ugbo, ha na-arụchasịị iruro, bọnyere ihe a kụrụ n’ubi aja n’ukwu, kụọ akwụkwọ nri na mkpụrụ osisi. A bịa n’ọchịchị obodo ha nọ n’ime ya site n’otu ụmụ nwaanyị dị icheiche ha na-ekpokọba. N’ebe ahụ ka ha na-akpa udo n’etiti onwe ha ma chekwaa di otu ha n’aka ndị na-achọ imegide ha n’ụdị ọbụla.

N’agbanyeghị ọrụ a niile chere ụmụ nwaanyị n’ihu na n’ụdị ha siri bụrụ ọkaibe n’ije ozi ndịa niile ọnọdụ maọbụ ọkwa e dobere ha ka dị ala rie nne n’ebe ụmụnwoke nọ. N’oge a, mmepe nyeere ụmụ nwaanyị aka ịzọta onwe ha pụọ n’ọnọdụ nleda anya niihi na ha esoghị n’ihe a na-ekwu. Mmepe na agụmaakwụkwọ mere ka ụmụ nwaanyị nwee ugwu na nsọpụrụ, nye ha ikike, ikwupụta mmasị ha na iji uche ha chepụta ihe a ga-anabata n’obodo.  Ịmaatụ, ekpemekpe ndị otu Kraịst mere ka nwaanyị nwee ike ịhọrọ onye ọ chọrọ ka ọ lụọ di na nwunye, anaghị eme ya eme n’ala Igbo niihi na nwaanyị o nweghị onwe ya. Agụmaakwụkwọ nyeere ha aka n’ịmụta ihe na ndụ, ma na-enwe ọrụaka n’obodo mepere emepe. N’ọnọdụ dị otu a, inwe ọrụ maọbụ ọrụaka emeela ka ụmụ nwaanyị na mgbe ha nọrị na-arụ ọrụ ezinụụlọ na ha na-aga ebe dị icheiche na-arụ ọrụ ha n’otu aka ahụ.

Mgbe nke a na-eme, ụmụnwoke na-eche na ha anaghị enwetazi nsọpụrụ n’aka ndị nwunye ha otu o kwesịrị. Nke a bụ na mmegbu ụmụ nwaanyị amarala ha ahụ, nke mere na egwu ụmụ nwaanyị inwere onwe ha ji ha aka. Mgbe ụfọdụ ụdị echiche a nwere ike butere di na nwunye nsogbu n’ezinụụlọ ha nke ga-abụ o tetụ aka a chọba ịgba alụkwaghịm.


Alụkwaghịm bụ mgbe mmadụ abụọ lụrụ di na nwunye kwụsịrị abụm di na nwunye. O nwere ike site n’aka nke nwoke maọbụ nke nwaanyị. Ka ha abụọ hụtara na alụmdi ha abụghịịzi etu ha tụrụ anya ma karịsịa mgbe ha enweghịzi ntụkwasị obi n’ebe ibe ha nọ. Ha na-anọzi ka ndi iro n’ezinụụlọ ha. Ndị ezinụụlọ ha na ụmụnna ha gbaa mbọ etu ike ha ha iji dozie okwu n’etiti ha ma o nweghị isi, a na-eme omenaala iji ketọọ ha abụọ tupu otu onye egbuo ọchụ n’ụlọ ha.

Gịnị bụ Alụkwaghịm?

Nwoke nọkatara chụlaa nwunye ya maọbụ nwaanyị nọkatara laa be nna ya wee sị na ọ gaghị alụzi, na nwaanyị ndị be ha welara ego nwoke mere n’isi ya abụghị otu. Di na nwunye ibike abụghị alụkwaghịm. ọ bụrụ na ha bikee, o nweghị ka ha ghara ịbụkwazi di na nwunye ọzọ niihi na mbike ahụ ruo oge nke nwaanyị nwụrụ, a ga-abịakwa lie ya na ngwuru be di ya. Mana ọ bụrụ na ha gbara alụkwaghịm n’usoro obodo ha si eme omenaala ịgba alụkwaghịm, o nweghị ka a ga-esi wee bịa lie nke nwaanyị na ngwuru nke nwoke ma ọ nwụọ.

Alụkwaghịm bụ isiokwu ọtụtụ mmadụ kwurula ihe banyere ya.

Brainy ọuote (2011) na-asị na “alụkwaghịm bụ mmeghasị nkwekọrịta alụmdi site n’aka ndị ụlọikpe maọbụ n’aka otu nwere ikike imeghasị nkwekọrịta alụmdi”. Nkọwa a na-ezipụta na alụkwaghị bụ nkwụsị nke alụmdi nke iwu na omenaala kwadoro. Ndịiche alụkwaghịm na mbike di na nwunye bụ na iwu na omenaala akwadoghị mbike. Ịgba alụkwaghịm dịkwa iche na mbike maọbụ mbisa di na nwunye nke ndị ụlọikpe, ọkaiwu na omenaala kpebiri. Nke a, apụtaghị na alụmdi akwụsịla kpamkpam kama ọ pụtara na ndị ọkaiwu ekpebiele na di na nwunye ahụ nwere ike biiri onwe ha iche mana nke nwoke ga na-arụ ọrụ iweta ego dịịrị ya n’ebe nwunye ya nọ. Di na nwunye ahụ nwekwara ike mechaa birikwa n’otu ụlọ.

Ezeuko (1986) sị, “… ọ bụ enweghị mmekọrịta na nkwekọrịta nke dịbu n’etiti nwoke na nwaanyị jikọrọ onwe ha ọnụ dịka di na nwunye ma ha ebikwaghị n’otu ụlọ ugbua.” Nkọwa a na-ezipụta na ndị bibu n’otu ụlọ kwụsị inwe mmekọrịta na nkwekọrịta dịka di na nwunye ọ bụrụ alụkwaghịm.

Ọzọ, ọ bụrụgodu na alụmdi ga-akwụsị, ọ bụghị naanị alụkwaghịm bụ ihe e nwere ike ime kama na di na nwunye nwekwara ike ibike. E nwere iwu dị icheiche kwadoro alụkwaghịm na mbike n’otu n’otu ma nwekwaa ihe dị iche na ha abụọ.

E nwere ụzọ atọ e nwere ike iji wee kwụsị alụmdi, dịka mbike nkịtị, mbike sitere n’aka ndị ọkaiwu na alụkwaghịm. Mbike nke nkịtị nwere ike chọọ ndụmọdụ n’aka ndị ọkaiwu mana alụkwaghịm bụ ebe e si n’usoro omenaala maọbụ ụlọikpe wee kewaa di na nwunye. Mbike nwere ike bute alụkwaghịm na ihe adịghị aṅaa na-emezi gaba n’ihu.

N’oge ochie, ịgba alụkwaghị bụ ihe siri ike ime eme n’alụmdi ma n’oge a, oke amamiihe na oke mmụta mere ndị mmadụ na-ewere alụmdi dịka ihe agaghị atụnye ndụ na ya. N’oge gboo, ọ bụkarị ndị nwoke na-agbakarị  ụmụ nwaanyị alụkwaghịm mana nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị na-agba nwunye maọbụ di ya alụkwaghịm n’oge a.

Landis (1977) na-asị na “alụkwaghịm bụ ihe e ji doo agbata n’etiti di na nwunye nke mere ka alụmdi bie… alụkwaghịm na-emetụta ndị banyere n’ime ya n’ụzọ dị icheiche.” Nkọwa ya na-ezipụta na nkebi ahụ nwere ike ọ gaghị edofọ ndị ahụ gbara alụkwaghịm ahụ.

Ihe na-akpata Alụkwaghịm n’ala Igbo

Anyị ga-eleba anya na ihe e chere na-akpata alụkwaghị, n’ala Igbo. A ga-eleba ya anya n’ụzọ atọ: Ihe na-eweta ịgba alụkwaghịm n’oge gboo, ihe na-eweta alụkwaghịm n’oge ugbua na ihe na-eweta ịgba alụkwaghịm n’usoro nke ofufe na nkwenye.

N’oge gboo, ma n’oge ugbua ma n’usoro ofufe bụsọ naanị enweghị nkwekọrịta na a ga-ebinwu ọzọ, dịka di na nwunye. Ọtụtụ ihe na-ebute nke a n’ụdị atọ ndị a bụ:

(i).Izu Ohi

            Ma nwoke ma nwaanyị zuo ohi ji, unere, ọkụkọ di maọbụ nwunye ya na ụmụ ya na-agba ya alụkwaghịm niihi ihe arụ a, o mere nye ezinụụlọ ha. ọ bụrụ nwaanyị ọ laa be nna ya ma ọ bụrụ nwoke ya na nwunye ya na ụmụ ya agaghị enwe mmekọ ọzọ wee ruo n’ọnwụ ya. A ga-akpụ onye ahụ n’ala n’ọtụtụ obodo n’ala Igbo tupu ọ nwụọ, a tụfuo ozu onye ahụ n’ọhịa n’oge gboo.

(ii)       Ịkpa Nsi

            Ma nwoke na nwaanyị karịsịa n’ebe nwaanyị nọ, ọ bụrụ na nwaanyị ahụ na-akpa nsi n’obodo, ndị be di ya ga-ezu ezu wee gbaa ya alụkwaghịm mgbe a chọpụtara na o gburu mmadụ (onye ụmụnne di ya) maọbụ di ya. Ma ọ bụrụ nwoke a ga-ekewa ya na nwunye ya n’otu aka ahụ ma mee ya onye amaghị n’ezinụụlọ ya na n’ụmụnne ya niile.

(iii)      Ịwị Ara

            Ara na-awị nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị, onye nke ọzọ ga-achọba ụzọ ịgba alụkwaghịm niihi na onye ara na onye anya doro anaghị anọkọ ma ya fọdụkkwa n’ụdị alụmdi. Ndị Igbo kwenyere na onye na-awị ara esila na mmadụ banye na mmụọ nke pụtara na ya na mmadụ ekwesịghị inwe mmekọ ọzọ niihi na olu ọ na-anụzi bụ ihe ndị mmụọ na-ekwu maọbụ kwuru. Onye ara nwere ike imebi ihe dị egwu n’ụlọ maọbụ kugbuo mmadụ. Nnukwu ahụhụ dịịrị ma nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị ya na onye ara bi n’ụlọ. ọ bụrụ na atụrụ ya ịga n’ụkwụ na n’aka nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị ahụ ga na-ebu nsị na amịrị ya. ọ bụrụ na-agwọkata ara ahụ ma o kweghị ngwọta, nwaanyị maọbụ nwoke ahụ takata ahụhụ a, obi jọọ ya njọ, o nwere ike ịhapụ onye ara ahụ nke pụtara na ha ekewaala.

N’eziokwu, nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị ara na-awị nwunye maọbụ di ya na-adị ahapụ ya, ọ bụrụ nwaanyị o nwere ike laa be nna ya ma ọ bụrụ nwoke nwaanyị aghara ya laa be nna ya. N’oge a e nwere ọgwụgwọ ara n’ụlọọgwụ ndị Bekee, ụfọdụ ndị ara ka a na-agwọtazi ma onye ahụ nwaa oko ya ọ bụrụ na o nweghị isi, ọ na-agba ya alụkwaghịm.

(iv)Ụkọ Ego

            ụkọ ego maọbụ ịda ụbịam na-eweta alụkwaghịm. Ma nwaanyị alụrụ nwoke maka ego o nwere ma ọ bụghị, o ruo na nwoke anaghị eme ihe o kwesịrị ime dịka dibiụlọ, nsogbu na-adara ha. Niihi nsogbu a n’oge niile, alụkwaghịm na-abata tupu otu n’ime ha egbuo ibe ya. ọzọ,  ụmụ nwaanyị ụfọdụ anaghị achọ ebe ha ga-ata nnukwu ahụhụ niihi na  ụmụ nwaanyị na-aza Oriakụ n’ala Igbo. Otu nwoke nwunye ya hapụrụ laa be nna ya sịrị, “Enwere m ọtụtụ ego mgbe m lụrụ nwunye m mana ọgọdọ adịkwaghị ebe e kere ya, nwunye m wee kpọrọ otu nwaanyị ọ mụtara wee laa be nna ya. O teghị aka o zita ozi na ya achọghịzi.” ọ bụ ezie na-ahụghị m nwunye ya jụọ ya ihe na-esere ha mana  ụmụ nwaanyị ejighị ahụhụ anya isi ma ncha n’ụdị ọbụla.

(v)       Alụmdi na nwata

             Ịlụ di maọbụ nwunye na nwata na-ere isi abụọ niihi na ụfọdụ topụtazie ha achọpụta na ha enweghị ezi ịhụnanya n’ahụ onye ha lụrụ maọbụ onye lụrụ ha. ọ na-emekarị n’oge gboo mana obodo ụfọdụ na-eme ya n’oge a. N’oge gboo, nwatanwaanyị dị afọ iri na abụọ na-alụ dị mana o too o bido nyebe ma di ya ma ezinụụlọ ya nsogbu niihi alụghị onye o kwesịrị ịlụ. Mgbe ndị ọgbọ ya ndị nwoke ga-akọ ya ọnụ maọbụ na-eleda ya anya, obi ewee merụọ ya, ọ chọọ ịlaghachi be nna ya site na nke a gbaa di ya alụkwaghịm. Ihe na-ebutekarị ya bụ nkọcha ndị ọgbọ ya maọbụ ige asịrị mmadụ ụfọdụ na-agba.

(vi)      Nnunye Nwata n’Alụmdi

            Ihe ọzọ bụ nnunye nwata n’alụmdi nke ndị nne na nna ụfọdụ na-emegasị, tụmadụ n’oge nwata ahụ elubeghị ogo ịbanye n’ọkwa alụmdi. Ihe dị otu a bụ ihe na-emekarị n’oge gboo mana ndị oge ugbua agaghị agọnwu agụgọ ma ha menukwaa ihe dị otu a. Niihi enweghị ọnụ okwu ụfọdụ ndịntorobịa n’oge ahụ na n’oge ugbua bụ ndị nne na nna ha na-ahụtara nwaanyị niihi n’akụnụụba ha. ọ bụ ọrụ ndị mụtara ndịntorobịa a ikwu onye ha ga-alụ maọbụ onye ga-alụ ha. Ụfọdụ na-ekweta ma ha ejighị obi ha niile were mee nkweta, niihi ya ezi ịhụnanya anaghị adị n’alụmdi dị otu a. Ebe o were nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị anya na onye ọ na-alụ abụghị onye ọ hụrụ n’anya, ihe ọbụla nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị ahụ akwanyeere ya mere na-adị ya njọ.

Ụfọdụ ụmụ nwaanyị akwanyeere agadi nwoke ka ọ lụba ha oge ha di na nwata na-abụ ha tolite, ha aghara nwoke ahụ gbapụ laa be ha maọbụ gbalaa ebe dị anya. Ọzọ, ọ nọdebe okenye ahụ ọ na-emezi mpụ dị icheiche iji gosị na alụmdi ahụ amasịghị ya ma ncha.

(vii)         Mbisa Di na Nwunye

Mmụta mere ka nwoke na nwaanyị mụta ma kwudoro onwe ya n’ihe ndị ahụ bụ oke ha dịka ndị obodo siri kwuo. Ha na-agụ ma mụta ihe ruru ha na ihe a tụwara anya ha ime. Nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị na-arụ ọrụ ebe dị icheiche wee hapụ onwe ha ogologo oge adịghị enyere ezinụụlọ aka ma ọlị. Kama ọ na-eme ka ha bido nyobe onwe ha enyo nke na-ebute alụkwaghịm. Otu nwoke sị na ihe ya jiri lụọ nwaanyị bụ ka ha bikọọ ọnụ dịka di na nwunye, ma rụọ ọrụ dịịrị ha dịka ndị nọ n’ọkwa ahụ.


(viii)        E Nweghị Ezi Nledo Anya

                Ọtụtụ ndị lụrụ di anaghị eledo onwe ha anya nke ọma dịka nwoke ịhapụ ọrụ dịịrị ya n’ebe nwunye ya nọ site n’ilezi ya anya nke ọma. ọ bụ ọrụ dịịrị nwoke ilekọta ihe ọ kpọrọ nke ya anya nke ọma ka o wee gosị na ọ bụ nke ya n’ezie. Otu ọkaikpe a gbara ajụjụ ọnụ kwuru na ọtụtụ mkpesa ha na-anata n’ụlọikpe bụ nwoke elezighị nwunye ya anya nkeọma. Ọtụtụ ndị nwunye n’otu aka ahụ anaghị elezi di ha anya nkeọma dịka a tụrụ anya n’aka ha.

(iụ)          Amụtaghị Nwa

                Nkewa a na-enweta n’ọtụtụ ezinụụlọ n’etiti di na nwunye n’oge gboo na n’oge a na-abụkarị nwaanyị amụtaghị nwa na be di ya. Ndị Igbo kwenyere na ihe nwoke ji alụ nwaanyị bụ ka ọ mụtara ya nwa tụmadị nwanwoke. Ndị Igbo ejighị ịmụta nwa eti epele maọbụ ha anaghị ekwukpo amụtaghị nwa okwu n’ezinụụlọ ha dum. Ha kwenyere na nwa dị ha ezigbo mkpa iji chekwaa ezinụụlọ ya. ọzọ bụ na nwa niile bụ nwa n’ala Igbo mana nwanwoke na-abụrụ ha oke ihe dị mkpa. Ndị Igbo nwere aha di ha ji ezipụta nkwenye a; Nwabụoke, Nwabugwu, Afamefuna, Nwakaego, Egokananwa, Obiefuna, Nwakọnobi, dgz. Ọtụtụ oge niihi amụtaghị nwa, obi anaghị eru ma nwoke ma nwaanyị nọ n’alụmdi ala ma karịsịa nwaanyị. A naghị ejikarị amụtaghị nwa enwe alụkwaghịm n’oge gboo niihi nwoke ga-alụrụ nwaanyị ọzọ mgbe ihe dịka afọ ise gachara. Ma niihi mmechibido mmụta na ụka n’ịlụ ọtụtụ nwaanyị ụfọdụ na-achụla nwunye ha lụrụ onye ga-amụta nwa.

Nwoke bụ aga maọbụ ufuru bụkwa ihe ọzọ na-ebute alụkwaghịm n’ala Igbo. Ọnọdụ nwoke dị otu a jọkarịrị njọ karịa nwaanyị amụtaghị nwa. Niihi ọnọdụ dị otu a nwunye ya nwere ike gakwuru nwoke ọzọ ọ mụnye ya nwa maọbụ ọ laa be nna ya lụrụ di ọzọ mụtaba nwa.


(ụ)           Mmekpaahụ Ezinụụlọ

                Mark 10:9 “… Ihe chukwu jikọtara ọnụ, mmadụ e kere eke ekewakwala ya.” Nne na nna ụfọdụ na-etinyere alụmdi ụmụ ha anya n’ụzọ jọrọ njọ imegide otu n’ime ha, di maọbụ nwunye. Ọgọ nwoke maọbụ ọgọ nwaanyị na-eso etisa ezinụụlọ ụmụ ha, mgbe ha na-achọ ka ọ bụrụ izu ha ka a ga-eme n’ezinụụlọ dị otu a. Di na nwunye ọbụla kwesịrị ka e nye ha ohere ka ha lụọ di na nwunye ha ka ha siri chọọ niihi na onye nke atọ bata n’etiti ha o butere ha nsogbu ga-eweta alụkwaghịm.

Nwoke nwere ike bụrụ onye na-eti nwunye ya ihe oge ọbụla, ha na-ewere nwunye ha dịka ohu maọbụ anụ ụlọ a na-azụ azụ. Ha tibe nwunye ha ihe ha echezọọ na ọ bụ ha abụọ nwe ụlọ, mgbe ụfọdụ ọ bụrụ n’ihu ụmụ ha na n’ihu ndị agbataobi. Ma n’ụlọikpe ma n’omenaala Igbo nwaanyị ọbụla chọrọ alụkwaghịm niihi iti ihe anaghị agbagha ya agbagha makana oke iti ihe nwere ike ibute ọnwụ nwoke maọbụ nke nwaanyị. E tigbughị nwaanyị, nwaanyị e were akaodo kugbuo di ya.

Usoro e si agba alụkwaghịm n’ala Igbo

Ndị Igbo anaghị ahụta alụkwaghịm dịka ezigbo ihe, ọbụladị mgbe ndị nọ n’alụmdi na-ata ahụhụ onye ọbụla hụrụ anya. Mgbe nwoke na nwaanyị lụrụ di na nwunye nọkatara chọwa ịgba alụkwaghịm ndị mmadụ na-amalite ịjụ ase ihe butere nsogbu kpatara ha jiri chọọ ịgba alụkwaghịm.

Ọ bụrụ na nwoke na-alụ nwaanyị nọkata kwuo na ọ chọghịzi ịlụ, ọ ga-ebu ụzọ gwa ụmụnna ya, ezinụụlọ ya na ezinụụlọ ndị ọgọ ya. Ezinụụlọ abụọ a ga-adị n’alo zigara onyeakaebe ozi, ha niile ga-anọkọ wee kpọọ di na nwunye ahụ mata nsogbu ha ma gbaa mbọ idoziri ha ka ha wee birikwa. Ma ọ bụrụ na esemookwu ahụ ekweghị ndozi, nwaanyị ahụ ga-ala be nna ya ma hapụrụ nwoke ahụ ụmụ niile ọ mụtaara ya. N’ebe e nwere nwa nwaanyị ahụ ku n’aka na-aṅụ ara ọ ga-akpọrọ ya wee laa, hapụzịa ndị tolitere wee ruo oge nwata ahụ tolitere ọ kpọgara ya nna ya. Niihi nkwenye ndị Igbo na nwata eku n’aka anaghị anọ ndụ ma ekewaa ya na nne ya, nwaanyị ahụ ga-eledo nwa ya anya nkeọma n’oge ọ dị na nwata.

N’aka nke ọzọ, ọ bụrụ nwaanyị ka alụmdi ahụ juru afọ, ọ ga-eje gwakwa ndị ụmụnna ya na onyeakaebe ihe na-eme. Ndị ezinụụlọ nke nwaanyị ga-ezigara ndị ọgọ ha ozi maka ihe nwa ha kwuru, ezinụụlọ abụọ ahụ ga-agba mbọ ịhụ na udo laghachiri n’etiti ha, mana ọ bụrụ na nke a emeghị, nwaanyị ga-ekposara di ya ụmụaka wee laa be nna ya. Dịka omenaala Igbo siri dị, anaghị akwụghachi ego e mere n’si nwaanyị ahụ wee ruo mgbe ọ lụrụ di ọzọ, nke a na-adịkarị ire n’ebe nwaanyị ahụ ka bụ agbọghọbịịa mana ọ bụrụ onye kara nka ụmụ ya tollite ha na-aga kpọlata nne ha. ọ bụ onyeakaebe ga-echeta ego e mere n’isi nwaanyị kpọmkwem ma bụrụkwa ya ga-akwụghachi ego ahụ ma ọ chọọ.

Dịka n’ọzụbụlụ, Nnụbịa C.S. (2011) na-asị na Mgbe nwaanyị lụrụ di ma maa ọgọdọ dịka ọzụbụlụ si akpọ Ịgbankwụ ha, chọrọ ịlụ di ọzọ ọ gaghị amakwa ọgọdọ ahụ ọzọ niihi na ọ maala ya mbụ kama ọ bụ ego ka di nke abụọ ahụ ga-emezi n’isi ya. Oge a kwụchara ego e mere n’isi nwaanyị ọ lụọ di ọzọ, otu ọnwa gaa, ezinụụlọ abụọ ahụ ụmụ ha na-alụbu onwe ha ga-abịa, ka a tulee ihe nwoke ahụ gooro nwunye ya oge ọ na-alụ ya. ọ bụrụ ihe ndị dịka akwa, akpati, akpụkpụụkwụ, na ihe ndị ọzọga, nwaanyị ga-eburu ya bughachi be nwoke n’ihu ndị ụlọ abụọ ahụ. Nwoke nwere ike hapụrụ ya ihe ndị ahụ tụmadụ ọ bụrụ na ọ mụtaara ya ụmụ. Ma ọ chọghị o bukọrọ ihe ndị ahụ niile, nke a mechaa a mata na aka ya apụọla ebe nwaanyị ahụ nọ kpamkpam.

N’oge gboo, nwoke enweghị ike iji aka ya chụlaa nwunye ya. Mana ọ bụrụ nwaanyị na-akpa ajọ agwa nke mere na di chọrọ ịkpọlagara ya ndị nwe ya. ọ ga-ebido n’oge ahụ na-emeso nwaanyị ahụ omume ọma ihe dịka izu abụọ maọbụ atọ, o ruo otu ụbọchị, ọ ga-asị ya ka ha jee hụ ndị ọgọ ya, ọ ga-eburu ite mmanya ngwọ abụọ ma zokwaa akwụkwọ ube o tinyere n’akpa ya ezoo ka nwunye ya ghara ịhụ ya. O ruo na be nna nwunye ya dọba ite mmanya ahụ, kwupee ebe ahụ ọ fonyere akwụkwọ ube ahụ tinye n’ọnụ ite mmanya ahụ. Akwụkwọ ube ahụ pụtara “ube be n’oke”. Nke bụ na alụmdi ahụ ebiela n’enweghị mmekwata ọzọ.

Mgbanwe batara n’usoro alụkwaghịm n’oge a

Ugbua nwoke nwere ike jiri aka ya dulaa nwunye ya ma kwechie na ya agaghị alụzi ya. Ndi be nke nwaanyị nwere ike kpọọ ya ka ha nụrụ olu okwu gbasara nsogbu dapụtaranụ, ọ gaghị aza oku ahụ.

N’otu aka ahụ nwaanyị nwere ike n’oge a, kpọkọọ ụmụ niile ọ mụtara gbafuo ma jụ di ya. Ya na ụmụ ya ebiri. ọ gaghị enye oghere ka ekpeziere ya na nwoke ahụ.

N’oge a, nwoke na-achụla nwunye ya maọbụ na nwunye ya na-ahapụ ya laa be nna ya maọbụ ebe ọzọ masịrị ya. Nwoke ahụ na-agwa ndị ọgọ ka ha wepụtara ya ego ya mere n’isi nwaanyị n’otu ebe ka ọ bịa weghara ya n’akpọghịzi onye akaebe ka o mee ya. Ndị be nke nwaanyị n’otu aka ahụ nwere ike kpọọ nwoke ka ọ bịa were ego ya.

N’oge a, ụfọdụ anaghị enwezi onye akaebe ma ya fọdụzịa ịkpọ ya ma ha nwee nsogbu. Ha anaghị akpọ ha ka e doziere ha okwu dapụtara n’etiti ha. Mgbe ụfọdụ onye akaebe na-anụ n’ezi na di na nwunye ahụ agbaala alụkwaghịm.

Na nchịkọta, alụkwaghịm dị ọtụtụ n’oge a karịa n’oge gboo. ọtụtụ ihe kpatara ya bụ ndị a: awamaanya, ekwesịghị ntụkwasị obi, na mmepe ndị bekee wetaara ndị Igbo. Mmepe ahụ bụkwa ọtụtụ ihe were bịa nke mere ka ndị Igbo malite ịgbaso etu ndị bekee si eme alụmdi na alụkwaghịm n’echemighị echiche ime.

Nwaanyị Dịka Osisi na-Ebu Apa Mma Alụkwaghịm

Nwaanyị bụ osisi na-ebu apa mma ma e nwee alụkwaghịm, ọ bụ ya ka a na-akpụ n’ọnụ n’alụkwaghịm maọbụ di ya maọbụ ya ka alụmdi ahụ juru afọ. A na-agba mbọ ajụ ajụjụ ụfọdụ: Gịnị mere o jighị dibe ihe di ya na-eme ya? Gịnị mere o jighị rubere di ya isi ka ọ ghara ịchụla ya? Ndị Igbo kwenyere na nwaanyị kwesịrị igbochi alụkwaghịm n’ụdị ọbụla. Mana kama e zughị ike na obi erughị ala ga-ebutere di na nwunye maọbụ otu n’ime ha ọbara mgbalielu nke na-eweta ọnwụ ike, ọ ka mma na di na nwunye nwere ụdị nsogbu a kewaa, ka ha dị ndụ ma tọọ atọọ.

Anyị ga-eleba anya n’isiokwu ndị a iji kwado nwaanyị dịka osisi na-ebu apa mma n’alụkwaghịm:

(i)            ọzụzụ nwa

(ii)           Mbigharị

(iii)          Mkparị / Nleda anya

(iv)          Ịkpọasị na Mmegide

(v)           Mkpa ego

(vi)          Ịma ikpe / nkwutọ

(vii)         Ejiamaatụ

(viii)        Ịta ahụhụ / Ịgbaoke mbọ

Ọzụzụ nwa bụ ihe kwesịrị ịdịrị nne na nna dịka ọrụ ha n’ebe ụmụ ha niile nọ. Ọtụtụ mgbe ka ndị nne na-egbochi nna ha ịpịa ha ụtarị niihi mmmetụta n’ebe nwata ahụ nọ. ọ bụghị na ha na-akwado ihe ọjọọ butere ntaramaahụhụ ahụ nna chọrọ inye nwa ya kama ọ bụ n’ụdị chi siri kee ndị nne. N’ebe e nwere ọnọdụ alụkwaghịm, nna nwere ike iji ụtarị wee merụọ ụmụaka a haara ya ahụ niihi obi ọkụ maọbụ nkwanye nwunye ọhụụ ya kwanyere ya. ọzọ bụ na ndị Igbo sị na asị a kpọrọ nne na-efe nwa ya, nna ha ga-ahụta ụmụ ndị ahụ dịka nsogbu nye ya niihi anọghị nso nne ha. Oge niile ihe ga-apụ ya n’ọnụ bụ ụmụ ajọ nwaanyị hụpụrụ wee laa bịara ịwa m isi. N’aka nke ọzọ, ọ bụrụ na nne na ụmụ ya nọrọ niihi alụkwaghịm, nne anaghị enwe obi ike imesi nwata anaghị akpa ezi agwa ike nke ga-eme ka agwa nwata ahụ ghara ịdị mma. Nke a ga-eme ka ndị ogbe maọbụ obodo na-atụ ilu na nkịta nwaanyị zụrụ na-ata akwa. N’iji zipụta na nwaanyị amaghị azụ nwa. Agwa ọma ọbụla nwata kpara bụ nke si ebe nna ya mana agwa ọjọọ ya bụ n’ọbara nne ya ka o si banye nwa n’ahụ. Na ọ bụrụ na ọbụghị ọnọdụ nwaanyị ahụ na ụmụ ya ga-abụ ndị e ji ezi omume were mara n’obodo.

Mbigharị bụ mgbe nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị bikatara ka di na nwunye bịa biwa ka nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị enweghị nwunye maọbụ di. Nke ka njọ bụ nwaanyị zakata aha di, mechaa zawa aha nna ya. ọ bụ ihe ihere n’ebe nwaanyị nọ. ọnọdụ a nwere ike mee ka nwaanyị kwapụ gaa ebe dị anya ka o wee nwere onwe n’etiti ndị amaghị ya. Mana nwoke nnwere ike buru akpa na-aga azụta ihe nri ka  ụmụ nwaanyị si aga azụta niihi na ọ bụrụ na ọ zụtaghị, ọ gaghị enwe onye ga-azụtara ya. Ma nwoke ma nwaanyị ọbụla hụrụ ya n’ahịa na-atụnyere nwunye ya okwu na ọ bụ niihi alụkwaghịm mere nwoke ahụ ji ata ahụhụ dịka ha siri hụta ya.

Nwaanyị ọbụla gbara alụkwaghịm biiri onwe ya na-anata nnukwu mkparị na nleda anya n’ebe ndị mmadụ nọ, a na-elegara ya anya ka nwaanyị ọha nke ewu na ọkụkọ na-etinyere ọnụ. Ndị mmadụ na-elekwasị ya anya ka onye agwa ọjọọ. A naghị akpọ ya n’ọgbakọ ebe a na-edozi okwu ezinụụlọ. A naghị enye ya ohere ikwu okwu n’ọgbakọ dị mkpa.

Ikpọasị na mmegide na-adị n’etiti ọgọ na ọgọ, enyi na enyi na nwanne na nwanne. Ndị be nke nwoke na-egosịpụta na ọ bụ site n’aka ndị a ka ha siri lụta ajọ nwaanyị edofọghị ha ahụ. Ụfọdụ oge ụmụaka na-eso nna ha kpọọ nne ha asị mgbe e duhiere ha mmegide nne ha.

Mmegide a na-emegide nwaanyị a gbara alụkwaghịm maọbụ gbara di ya alụkwaghịm na-abụkarị site n’aka ndị ada nne nke nwoke. ọ bụrụ na ụmụ ya ka dị na nwata ọ kpọkọrọ ha bido gwaba ha ọtụtụ ihe ọjọọ megide nne ha, nke mere ka ha kpọọ ya asị. Ma ọ bụrụ na ha etolitela tupu nke a emee ha ga-eji aka ha chọpụta ebe mmiri siri banye n’opi ụgbọgụrụ.

Mkpa ego na-eme ka nwaanyị a gbara alụkwaghịm bido gagharịwa ezi n’ụzọ were ahụ ya na-akpa ego. Mgbe ụfọdụ ọ bụrụ n’ụdị ka o were nweta ego o ji edozi onwe ya maọbụ azụ ụmụaka di ya hapụụrụ ya, site na nke a na-akụziri ụmụ ya ihe ọjọọ maọbụ agwa ọjọọ, na-eme ka imerụ iwu nke isii bawanye (ọpụpụ 20:14) nke kwuru “Gị akwala iko”.

Nwaanyị ọbụla lara n’ụlọ nna ya ka ọ lụchara di ma ọ mụtara nwa ma ọ mụtaghị, a na-ama ya ikpe oge niile maọbụ na-ekwutọ ya niihi ọnọdụ ya. Nne ya nwere ike gwa ya okwu ọjọọ n’ụdị biko anọkwa m be m, ị gaala lọta chọwa onye ị ga-awa isi n’ụlọ a, maọbụ ọ bụ ihe dị otu a ka I mere ha wee chụlata gị be nna gị. Nna ya n’otu aka ahụ nwere ike gwa ya okwu ọjọọ ga-agbawa ya obi. Ndị ezinụụlọ, ikwunaibe, ụmụnne na-ama nwaanyị ahụ ikpe ma kwutọọ ya mgbe ọbụla ha na ya nwere obere nsogbu. Ndi be di ya na ndị nwunyeedi ya nwere ike na-emekwa otu ahụ ka a ga-asị na nwaanyị ahụ mere arụ ka arụ n’obodo ha. Ha na-asịkarị ya ihe dị otu a: ọ bụrụgodu na di ya mere ihe ahụ, ọ bụkwanụ maka ya ka ọ ga-eji gbaa alụkwaghịm? Onye ka ọ hapụụrụ ụmụaka ka ọ zụọrọ ya? ọ lọtara ka ọ gagharịwa ezi n’ụzọ chọba ihe achọghị ya. Ha nwere ike tụọrọ ya ilu, nwatanwaanyị ju ndo, ọ nyawa anwụ.


A na-eji nwaanyị a gbara alụkwaghịm ama atụ oge niile. E ji ya adụ mmadụ ọdụ maọbụ were ya kọọ mmadụ ọnụ. E nwere ike jiri ya maara nwoke anaghị emezi nwunye ya atụ, “Ihe a ka ọkafọ mere Chinwe ọ ghara ya laa be nna ya.” Maọbụ nwaanyị “A sị gị hapụ okwu ahụ ka ọ ghara ịdị gị etu ọ dị Chinwe lọtara n’afọ gara aga.” A na-ejikarị ha ama ajọ atụ iji zipụta etu ọhanaeze si agbarụ ihu n’ebe alụkwaghịm dị n’ala Igbo karịsịa n’ebe nwaanyị nọ.

Nwaanyị nọọrọ onwe ya na-agba oke mbọ dịka nwoke, nke a anaghị atọ ya ụtọ niihi na ọ bụ ahụhụ ka ọ na-ata. ọ na-akpata ego nri ma na-azụ ụmụ ya n’akwụkwọ. ọ bụrụ onye dị uchu na mbụ ọ ga-agbawanye mbọ ka ihe mmadụ abụọ narị enweta bụzi naanị ya ka a na-atụ anya inweta ya. Naanị ma nwaanyị ahụ enwere ezigbo ọrụ na-enye ya ego ọ na-arụ, emeghị etu ahụ ụfọdụ na-apụ ezi n’ụzọ iji mejuo akpa ha ka nri ghara ịkọ ha n’ụlọ. Ahụhụ anaghị adị nwaanyị ahụ mma n’obi mana o nweghị ihe ọ ga-emere onwe n’abụghị ịta ahụhụ n’ụdị a.

Ihe a ghaghị ime wee gbochie ọnụọgụ alụkwaghịm

ọ dị mkpa n’ezie ka ndị ọbụla chọrọ ịbanye n’ọkwa alụmdi mata na alụmdi dịka nkwụelu kara aka nke na-abụ ọ tọkata ụtọ o luwe ilu. Anyị ga-eleba anya na ndụmọdụ ndị a iji belata ọnụọgụ alụkwaghịm n’etiti anyị n’oge a.

–               Itozu etozu                                                                                                                                                                                         Oge ọmụmụ onwe ha                                                                           Mmgbanwe ajọ omume                                                                    Nlekọta otu n’ime ha nwere nsogbu                                              Obi umeala                                                                                              Ikute nwa                                                                                        Mbikọ di na nwunye n’otu ebe na ịrụsị ọrụ ike

Tupu nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị a chọwa ịlụ di na nwunye, ha kwesịrị itoru ogo ya. Nwoke ga-eru ihe dịka afọ iri abụọ na ise ebe nke nwaanyị kwesịrị iru ihe dịka afọ iri abụọ. Nke a ga-enyere ha aka ime ihe nwere ike ịdapụta n’ezinụụlọ n’akpọghị onye abụọ maọbụ atọ bịa nyere ha aka be ha.

Ndị chọrọ alụmdi kwesịrị inye onwe ha oge ọmụmụ onwe ga-adị n’etiti ha ihe dịka ọnwa isii ma opeka mpe. Ha ga-eji ohere a mụọ onwe ha na ihe gbasara obibi ezinụụlọ, ha nwere ike na-aga nkuzi gbasara ya n’ụlọụka maọbụ ebe ọzọ a na-eme ụdị nkuzi ahụ. ọtụtụ ndịntorobịa na-abanye n’alụmdi na-enwe oke olileanya na obi mpako maka ihe ha na-atụ anya ya n’alụmdi. Mgbe ollileanya ha emezughị, nsogbu amalite n’ihu na n’azụ. Nke a bụ ka di na nwunye ghara ịdị na-enwe oke olileanya eluigwe na ala ga-emere ha n’ezinụụlọ nke alụmdi ha maka na ọ bụghị ka e siri chee ka ihe ụwa si adị.

O kwesịrị ka ọ bụrụ mmadụ abụọ ndị ahụ chọrọ ịlụ onwe ha ji aka ha wee chọta ma mee mkpebi alụmdi ha ka ezinụụlọ lepụrụ ha anya ma dụọ ha ọdụ kwesịrịnụ mgbe ha na-eme nke a. ọ gaghị abụ iwu bụ onye ezinụụlọ chọtara ka otu n’ime ha ga-alụ. Ha were aka ha mee nke a, ọ ga-ara ahụ ka ha see okwu ma ya fọdụzịa ịgba alụkwaghịm.

Nwoke na-eti nwunye ya ihe maara nkeọma na oge adịghị anya ahụ fụwa nwaanyaị ahụ ụfụ, ọ chọwa ụzọ be nna ya. O zighị ezi nnwoke iti nwunye ya ihe niihiina ọkpụkpụ nwoke na nwaanyị abụghị otu. ọzọ, nwaanyị a na-eti ihe n’alụmdi, obi anaghị eru ya ala. O nwere ike bido na-emezi omume ka nwata. ọ bụghị ka aka ha ka a na-eti nwa,, ọzọ nwaanyị alụtara abụghị nwata a na-eti ihe etu ọ masịrị di ya. E were obi ọkụ e tikpọ nnwaanyị anya maọbụ tinye ya ọrịa n’ahụ, nke ụfọdụ na-arịa wee nwụọ. Nwaanyị a na-eti ihe na-agba ọsọ ndụ ya ma bie ya na be nna ya. Di kwesịrị ịhụ nwunye ya n’anya n’agbanyeghị amaghị eme ya niihi na, e metuo obi, a mụta nwa dị mma. ụfọdụ ezinụụlọ na-eji aka ha bịa kpọrọ nwa ha na ndụ tupu di ya etigbuo ya.

Ma nwoke ma nwaanyị kwesịrị ịkwụsị kpamkpam ajọ omume ha na-eme tupu ha alụwa di na nwunye. Agwa ọjọọ dịka: izu ohi, ịgba ama asị, ịlụ ọgụ, ịkụ asịrị na ịgba n’ezi n’ụdị ọbụla. ọ dị mma ka di na nwunye na-emebu otu maọbụ abụọ n’ime ajọ omume ndị a bie ya ozigbo ọ lụtara onye ya na ya ga-ebi. Ha ga-akpachara anya ka ha ghara ibute ọrịa ga-eme ha ọ dị ndụ ọnwụ ka mma nke ga-eme ka otu n’ime ha jụ onye nke ọzọ wee kịebie ịgba alụkwaghịm.

Ụfọdụ ndị nọ n’alụmdi anaghị enwe ndidi mgbe ihe mberede dapụtara n’ezinụụlọ ha. ọ bụrụ na ihe mberede dịka ara, ọrịa dị aṅaa dịka nke ihe mberede okporoụzọ wetara. Ha ga-agbali etu e nwere ike gwọọ onye nke ọzọ n’ụlọọgwụ. ọ bụ ihe jọgburu onwe ya ịgba onye hụtara onwe ya n’ọnọdụ a alụkwaghịm. Ha ga-enwere ibe ha ndidi ka o wee site n’ọnọdụ ọjọọ ahụ pụta.

Ọtụtụ ụmụ nwaanyị anaghị enwezi obi umeala n’ebe di ha nọ karịsịa nwaanyị di ya hụrụ n’anya nke ukwu. Nwaanyị di ya kpọrọ asị maọbụ na-eleda anya nọrị agba mbọ inweta ihu di ya ma fọdụzịa inwere ya obi erughị ala. Ma di ma nwaanyị ga-asọpụrụ ibe ha n’ịhụnanya ka udo wee chịa n’ụlọ ha. Nwoke ga-agbasi mbọ ike ịhụ na ọ na-arụsi ọrụ ya ike dịka Igbo mkpa ego n’ụlọ ya ka ugwu ya wee zuoro ya oke.

Nwoke ọbụla nwere ọnwụnwa amụtaghị nwa ekwwesịghị ịchụla nwunye ya niihi na ọ naghị atọ nwaanyị ahụ ụtọ na ọ mụtaghị nwa. Ha kwesịrị ịdị na-alo gaa ebe a na-eduta nwa, duru ole ha chọrọ ma zụọ ha nke ọma. Mgbe gboo ha na-enyere ibe ha aka ịmụta nwa mana ọ dịghịzi etu ahụ ugbua, nwaanyị amụtaghị nwa n’oge a ga-ejikọta onwe ya. Ma ọtụtụ afọ ga na-agakwa, ha ga-atụkọ alọ ọnụ lụta nwaanyị ọzọ maọbụ dute nwa ebe ndị ọzọ na-edute nke ziri ezi n’iwu na-achị ala anyị. Alo dị otu a agaghị eweta esemookwu n’ezinụụlọ.

Nke ọzọ bụ mgbe nwoke hapụrụ nwunye ya na ezinụụlọ ya ogologo oge, gaa obodo tere aka biri na-arụ ọrụ bekee maọbụ na-azụ ahịa. Ndị nọ ebe tere aka ga-agba mbọ na-abịarụ ụlọ kwa izuụka na-eleta ezinụụlọ ha. ọ karịa ya kpọrọ ezinụụlọ ya biri n’ebe o bi niihi na o bighị be mmụọ, ndị mmadụ bikwa n’ebe ahụ. Mgbahapụ dị etua na-ebutere ma nwoke ma nwaanyị ịgba n’ezi ma ha chọọ, nke nwere ike iwete alụkwaghịm.

Ọzọ kwa, oke ụbịam na-ebute alụkwaghịm. Ụbịam anaghị edefọ nwoke dara ụbịam ahụ ma ya fọdụzịa nwaanyị bịara ịza oriakụ na be nwoke. Nwoke ga-alụ nwaanyị ga-eleda anya ala chọta onye hụrụ ya na ọnọdụ ya n’anya ma kobe aka alụmnwaanyị n’ogo aka ya ga-eru. Nwoke kwesịrị ịbụ onye na-agba mbọ na-arụsi ọrụ ya ike ịchọta ihe ya na ezinụụlọ ya ga-eri n’ụbọchịị ọbụla. Nwaanyị n’otu aka ahụ ga-enye aka na-azụ ezinụụlọ ya nri mgbe o kwesịrị, nke a ga-eme ka e nwee ezi ịhụnaanya n’ezinụụlọ ahụ.


A chọpụtara na ịgba alụkwaghịm keogeugbua dị ọtụtụ karịa ka ọ dị n’oge gboo. Ndị gboo anaghị anabata ya kama ọ bụrụzịa n’alụmdi ahụ na-achọzi iri isi mmadụ, e kesaa ha ka ndụ wee fọdụ. A hụrụ ọrụ onye akaebe n’ịgba alụkwaghịm n’oge gboo mana n’oge a. Onye akaebe nwere ike ọ gaghị ama na-ekewaala kama ọ nụzịa ya n’ezi.

A chọpụtara n’alụkwaghịm nwere uru na ọghọm dị na ya. Mana ọtụtụ ihe ọjọọ dị na ya karịrị akarị dịka; ọnọdụ ụmụaka, ọnọdụ nwaanyị na ọnọdụ nwoke. Onye ọbụla ketara oke ọjọọ n’ime ya.

A hụtara  ụmụ nwaanyị dịka osisi na-ebu apa mma mgbe a gbachara alụkwaghịm. N’ụzọ dị otu a, ọzụzụ nwa, mbigharị, mkparị/nleda anya, ịkpọasị/mmegide, mkpa ego, ịma ikpe / nkwutọ, ejiamaatụ na ịtaahụhụ ịgba oke mbọ bụcha ahụhụ na-adapụtara nwaanyị nọ n’alụkwaghịm.

A chọpụtara ihe na-akpata alụkwaghịm n’ala Igbo gụnyere; izu ohi, ịkpa nsi, ịwị ara, ụkọ ego, alụmdi na nwata, nnunye nwata n’alụmdi, oke mmụta, enweghị ezi nledo anya, amụtaghị nwa, mmekpaahụ ezinụụlọ.

A gbara n’anwụ usoro e si agba alụkwaghịm n’oge gboo na n’oge a. e nwekwara mgbanwe ndị a rụtụrụ aka ma kọwasịa ha nke ọma.

A chọpụtara ma kọwaa n’uju ihe agaghị ime ka e wee belata ọnụọgụ alụkwaghịm n’oge a, gụnyere: itozu etozu, inwe oge ọmụmụ onwe, ndị ga-alụ iji aka ha chọta onwe ha, ezi nlekọta onye ejighị ahụ, mgbanwe ajọ omume mebe ezi omume, iti nwaanyị ihe ekwesịghị n’alụmdi, mbikọ ndị lụrụ di n’otu ebe, ikute nwa na irusi ọrụ ike.


Alụmdi adịghị mfe kama site n’obi umeala n’etiti ndị lụrụ di na nwunye nsogbu alụkwaghịm agaghị adapụtara ha, ha ga-amata na ka ọ dị be oke ka ọ dị be ọgịnị. Ha ga-ewetuo obi ala chọọ ihe danyeere ha na mmiri wepụ ya ma na-ebi n’udo.

Ndị nne na nna ga-ahapụ ụmụ ha ka ha lụọ ndị ha hụrụ n’anya ma wepụrụ ha anya na-etu ha si ebi mgbe ọ naghị esere ha okwu. Ndị ọgọ ga-enye di na nwunye efe ka ha lụọ etu ha siri hụta ma mụta mgbe ha enweghị nsogbu na etu ha si alụ ya.

Alụmdi ga-ekwesị n’etiti ndị tozuru etozu ịlụ onwe ha. Ezinụụlọ ga-agba mbọ zụlite ụmụ maara ihe, na-asọpụrụ ibe ha ndị ga-emechaa lụta di maọbụ nwunye ma na-enye ibe ha nsọpụrụ n’ozuzu oke mgbe ha biiri dịka di na nwunye.


Odee chọrọ iji ajụjụ olenaole wee mechie edemede a. Maka ndị ịgba alụkwaghịm na-anụ ọkụ n’obi.

(i)            Olee ihe chere m n’ihu ma m gbachaa alụkwaghịm? M ga-emenwu ihe ga-adapụtara m n’oge ahụ?

(ii)           ọ bụrụ na m lụọ nwaanyị maọbụ di ọzọ, amụtara m ihe ga-eme ka alụmdi ọhụụ ka nke ochie mma?

(iii)          E nwere ihe ọma dịrịị na nke a m chọrọ ịhapụ wee gaa bidowe ọzọ? Gịnị gbara m ume na nke ọhụụ ga-akachasị mma?

(iv)          Ihe m jiri chọọ ịpụ n’alụmdi a, e nwere ike igbochi ya?

Ajụjụ ndị a ga-enyere ma nwoke ma nwaanyị aka iji mee ezi mkpebi maka alụkwaghịm niihi na enweghị ebe e gburu aja, ụzọ owere adịghị. ọzọ bụ na ọ bụrụ ọnọdụ na-achọ iri isi nwoke maọbụ nwaanyị a ga-agba mbọ mee mbisa ozigbo tupu e kwube okwu alụkwaghịm.


Brainy, ọ. (2011). Book rags media network: Internet.

Ezeuko, R.O. (1986), Ewumewu, Omenala, Ofufe na nkwenye ndị Igbo. Onitsha: Etukokwu.

 King James (KJV) (2004). Holy Bible, Belarus: World Wide Printing.

Landis, H.P. (1977). Your marriage and family living. London: Mc Graw-Hill.

Nnụbịa, S.C. (2011) Ịgba alụkwaghịm n’ọzụbụlụ: a project for the Department of Igbo Language Culture, Anambra State University, Igbariam Campus. Dec. 2011.

Ọgbalụ, F.C. (1974). Omenaala Igbo. Onitsha: University Press.

______ (1981). Ndụ ndị Igbo. Onitsha. University Press.


A comparative study of Igbo and Chinese lexemes and terms for clothes

1Ahamefula, Ndubuisi O., 2Okoye, Chinenye L., 1Nwachukwu, Adaeze P, 2Ozioko Emmanuel, 3Odii, Benita C., & 4Udechukwu, Chinwe N.

1 Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages

University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 08034772290, ndubuisi.ahamefula@unn.edu.ng

3Fudan University, Shanghai, China & University of Nigeria, Nsukka. benita.odii@unn.edu.ng

2Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka & Chinese Department/ Confucius Institute, UNIZIK, Awka. nenye_o@yahoo.com, 08160620484

4 General Studies Igbo Unit, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus

*Corressponding author email:        adaeze.nwachukwu.197431@unn.edu.ng



This paper studies the sociolinguistic aspect of the Igbo and Chinese terms for clothing. Its objectives are to identify what constitutes clothing in Igbo and Chinese as well as identifying the similarities and differences between Igbo and Chinese clothing. The Chinese data used for analysis were elicited from the Chinese teachers at Confucius Institute, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (UNIZIK) whereas those of Igbo came from introspection since the researchers are native speakers of Igbo and also through the instrumentation of questionnaire as one of the methods of data collection. The framework adopted in the paper is Linguistic relativity also known as Sapir-Whorf hypothesis or Whorfianism which holds that the structure of a language affects its speaker’s worldview or recognition. The scope of study is limited to clothes in Igbo and Chinese languages. The paper adopts the descriptive survey research design. The research finds out some cultural differences in clothing terms between the Igbo and Chinese language.  Our findings include some clothing which are prominent in the Chinese culture but are not in the traditional Igbo culture. They include: 牛仔裤 (jeans), 卫衣 (hoodie), 吊带背心 (camisole), 比基尼( bikini) etc while some clothes which are in  the Igbo but not in the Chinese culture include: ogodo (wrapper), coral beads, loincloths etc.


Language and culture are interrelated. This explains why every cultural activity is represented or named with a language. This is a position of linguists which adopt a social approach to language study. Sociolinguists believe that there is a relationship between language and society (cf. Wardhaugh, 2010; Agbedo, 2015). One of the relationships that exist between language and society as identified by sociolinguists is that language influences the society. Prominent in this view is the Sapir-Whorfian hypothesis. The Sapir- Whorfian hypothesis is hinged on the claims of Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, which states that the structure of a language affects its speaker’s world view or recognition. Sapir and Whorf believe that people’s language constructs a thought process that forms their philosophy about the world and life in general.

On the other hand, as individuals have different languages and worldviews, they also have different cultures. Culture, as has been generally defined, is the people’s way of life. One of the aspects of culture is dress code. According to Olaoye and Bello (2016:12):

Dress or clothing is a kind of garment worn by people of all cultures since prehistoric times. Different peoples of the world have their unique dress culture. The materials used for making dresses range from cotton, wool, silk fabric to flax fabric and rubber.

In essence, dress code is culture specific. Instances where a particular kind of clothing is seen across cultures can be attributed to culture borrowing. Culture borrowing often times occurs when people come in contact. More so, cultures that have the same climatic conditions tend to have the same mode of dressing. Other factors that influence people’s mode of dressing, as highlighted by Olaoye and Bello (2016), include the availability of materials, cost of materials, technology of the period, religious traditions, modernity and colonization.

The Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria have their own mode of dressing and the terms they gave to this clothing. The same thing can be obtainable with the Chinese people of Asia who have their own mode of dressing and terms for their clothing. The major objective of this paper is to identify: the terms and the nature of clothing that the Chinese and Igbo people have in common and their area of differences and possibly suggest why these differences and similarities exist. This research will enable us to understand the convergence and divergence that exist between and across cultures.

Literature review

Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf endorsed the language-culture relationship and it is also called Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. It was first put forward by Sapir (1921) in his Language: An introduction to the study of speech. This was advanced in 1929 by Benjamin Lee Whorf. This Sapir-Whorf hypothesis explains that the way one reasons is mainly determined by his language and specific views conveyed in one language and cannot be understood by other language users. Sapir recommends that learning to walk is not the same as learning how to converse in a language. Walking is an innate ability of any living being regardless of one’s cultural upbringing, the child learns to converse thoughts only based on the precise society where the child grew up. Sapir proposes that if the child is taken to another society where a different language is used, that his speech will be entirely altered from that of his original culture and would be shaped by his new location.

                Benjamin Lee Whorf (Sapir’s student and acquaintance) brings forward Edward Sapir’s notion on language and culture. The relationship between language and thought was thoroughly explained by Whorf. Whorf (1956) states that the way man views the world is strongly dependent on his structure of language. Whorf’s knowledge of some languages such as Aztec, Hopi and Maya stretches his notion on how the thought process of the users of these languages is connected to the structure of language. Consequently, one’s lifespan is formed by linguistic structure into precise methods of viewing truth. Whorf also stated that one is fluent in a language does not certainly entail linguistic knowledge. For one to know a language, one has to know its structure, orderly processes and background occurrences. The “Linguistic Relativity” principle proposes that thought and perceptions of a speaker are influenced by his language.

The Linguistics Relativist Principle is for viewing each language completely according to its own terms. Language is established by grammar but it goes beyond grammar. It is a reflection of culture in its representative society of the world. Sherzer (1987:295) defines Sapir-Whorf hypothesis thus: “Language (that is, grammar) constitutes the means with which individuals think and therefore, especially as stated in its strongest form, language (that is, grammar) conditions or determines cultural thought, perception and world view.” The way one views the world is determined by one’s language which means that every language has inside it the culture’s system of values upon which its social, economic, and political discourses are formed.


This research makes use of questionnaires as instruments for data collection. 30 questionnaires were given to Igbo people to identify clothing terms in Igbo whereas 10 questionnaires were given to Chinese tutors (of Chinese origin) at the Confucius institute, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. The data was analyzed using Sapir-Whorf linguistic relativist hypothesis.

Data presentation and analysis

Table 1: Clothing terms that are worn by Chinese and Igbo

  S/N English Chinese Igbo
1 Bathing suit 游永衣 (yông yī) Uwe ịsa ahu
2 Belt 腰带 (yāodài) Beelutu
3 Bikini 比基尼 (bǐjīní) Bikini
4 Boot 长靴 ( cháng xuē) Akpukpo ukwu
5 Boxers 四角裤 (sì jiǎo kù) ịba ime
6 Brassiere 胸罩 (xiōng zhào) Akpa ara
7 Canvas shoes 帆布鞋  (fān bù xié) Kwaaji akpukpo ukwu
8 Dress 衣服(yīfu) Uwe
9 Dress shirt/ blouse 女衬衫 (nǚ chèn shān) Uwe elu nwanyi
10 Gloves 手套  (shǒutào) Uwe aka
11 Handkerchief 手帕 (shǒu pà) Handikachifu
12 Hat/cap 帽子 (màozi) Okpu
13 Hoodies 卫衣 (wèiyī) Akwa mkpuchi isi
14  jacket 上衣(shàng yī) Jaket
15 Jeans 牛仔裤 (niú zǎi kú) Jins
16 Leather shoes 皮鞋 (pí xié) Akpukpo anu akpukpo ukwu
17 Pajamas 睡衣 (shùi yī) Uwe ara abali
18 Pants 库 (kù) Ịba Ogologo okpa
19 Rain boots 雨靴 (yǔ xuē) Akpukpo ukwu mmiri ozuzo
20 Rain coat 雨衣 (yǔ yī) Uwe nche mmiri
21 Sandals 凉鞋 (liáng xié) Akpukpo ukwu
22 Scarf 围巾 (wéijīn) Ichafu
23 Shirt 衬衫 ( chènshān) Uwe elu
24 Shoe 鞋 (xié) Akpụkpọ ụkwụ
25 Skirt 裙子 (qúnzi) Uwe mwuda
26 Slippers 拖鞋 (tuō xié) Akpụkpọ ụkwụ
27 Sneakers 运动鞋 (yùndòng xié) Sniika
28 Socks 袜子 (wàzi) Sọks
29 Sweat shirt 运动衫 (yùndòngshān) Uwe
30 Sweater 毛衣 (máoyī) Uwe nche oyi
31 Swim trunk 泳裤(yǒngkù) Uwe igwu mmiri
32 Trouser 裤子(kùzi) Uwe ụkwụ ogologo
33 T-shirt 体恤山(tǐxùshān) Uwe elu
34 Underwear 内衣 (nèiyī) Uwe ime
35 Vest 汗衫 (hàn shān) Uwe
36 Windbreaker 风衣 (fēngyī) Uwe ifufe ezumike


Table 1 above contains clothing terms worn by Chinese and Igbo. The possible reason for this similarity is that both China and Igbo borrowed these clothes because of their contact with the Western world. The Igbo people of Nigeria were colonised by the British and during the time of colonisation, Igbo people borrowed the dress codes of their colonial masters. In present Igbo society, people wear foreign wears to traditional marriages. Due to the fact that these clothes were borrowed, most of them were “igbonised” because they are not originally Igbo clothes. On the other hand, due to the fact that America and other Western countries are the world powers, their way of dressing dominates the entire world. In essence, culture contact entails dress code exchange.

Table 2: Clothing terms peculiar to Chinese

S/N   S/N  
1 Hanfu (汉服) Traditional Han clothing 6 Tangzhuang (唐装) Traditional Tang dynasty clothing
2 Magua(马褂) Mandarin jacket 7 Qiuku() Autumn pants
3 Changpao(长袍) Chinese robe 8 Yurongfu(绒服)Feather padded jackets
4 Qipao(旗袍) Cheongsam/Mandarin gown 9 Chaofu(朝服) Court dress
5 Denglongku(笼裤) knee length trousers 10 Changqun(长裙) Long skirt


The above contents in table 2 are some of the clothing terms which can be found among the Chinese people but not among the Igbo people. The reason is because of their climatic condition and their cultural disposition. For example, the Tang dynasty’s Tangzhuang and the Han dynasty’s Hanfu have remained important symbolic Chinese clothing because of the influence these dynasties wielded when they ruled China. This is in line with the Linguistics Relativity hypothesis which holds that cultures are specific and things or entities entailed in culture are what they have term for. This is why Chinese have terms for these clothes listed in tables 2 while Igbo does not.

Table 3: Clothing terms peculiar to Igbo

S/N Clothing terms S/N  
1 Ukwu akwa 6 Ọgọdọ (wrapper)
2 Uwe isi agụ 7  
3 Ákà 8  
4 Okpu mmemme 9  
5 Jigida 10  


In table 3, the above terms which are peculiar to the Igbo people cannot be found in China. The reason is because of the cultural activities present in the Igbo land. The clothes are worn mainly during cultural activities like coronation, traditional marriage, burial e.t.c.


In summary, the Chinese and Igbo people have different cultures as it is reflected in their mode of dressing. This is as a result of their way of life and mode of doing things. In china, there are four climatic conditions namely spring, autumn/ fall, summer and winter while in Igbo land, there are three climatic conditions which are rainy season, dry season and Harmattan. The Chinese clothes are relatively influenced by the seasons but this cannot be said to be same with Igbo. The Chinese have varieties of clothes, hence, more terms for clothes than Igbo because of their environment which is in line with the Sapir-Whorf linguistic relativity hypothesis.


Agbedo, C. U. (2015). General linguistics: Historical and contemporary perspective. Nsukka: KUMCEE- Ntaeshe Press Inc.

Olaoye, A. A. & Bello, Y. (2016). Nigerian dress culture: An anthropolinguistic communication tool. Nile Journal of English Studies, 2, 12-17.

Sapir, E. (1921). Language. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World.

Wardhaugh, R. (2010). An introduction to sociolinguistics (6th ed.). Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

Whorf, B.L. (1956). Language, thought, and reality. Cambridge: The MIT press.

















Ndụ Ndị Igbo: Etu Ha Si Eji Ilu Emedaobi N’ọgbaaghara dị N’Etiti Ha


      Ọkammụta Ogoo Ifeka                                                                      Ngalaba Linquistiks na Igbo                                                                  Mahadum Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu                                    Ịgbarịam Steeti Anambara



Ilu bụ amamihe nke dị omimi ndị Igbo ji achọ asụsụ ha mma. Ha na-atụ ilu site n’usoro ibi ndụ ha, ndụmọdụ ha, anya iru ala ha, zipụta nchedo Eke, ịgba ume ha, nkasiobi ha, udo ha, nzuzu ha, mkparị ha, ịkwụwa aka ọtọ ha, umeala ha, idi ichu n’ọrụ ha, dgz. (Ifeka O. 2011). Dịka okwu nka e ji achọ okwu mma nke na-apụta ihe mgbe a na-ekwu okwu maọbụ mgbe e dere ya n’akwụkwọ, a chọpụtara na e nwegasịrị ọtụtụ ilu Igbo ndị Igbo ji emedaobi mgbe e nwere ọgbaghara n’ezinụụlọ, n’ụmụnna, n’ogbe maọbụ n’obodo. N’edemede a, e nyochara ụfọdụ ilu ndị Igbo, ndị a chọpụtara na ha bụ ngwaọrụ e ji akpa udo n’ụdị ọbụla n’ebe esemookwu selitere isi. E ji ọmụmaatụ dị icheiche wee gbaa ilu ndị ahụ n’anwụ dịka ngwaọrụ akpamudo n’ala Igbo.


Ilu dịka ndị igbo siri kwu, bụ mmanụ e ji eri okwu. Ilu dị nnukwu mkpa na ndụ ndị Igbo. Ezi onye Igbo nwere uche kwube okwu ma o tinyeghị ilu, ọ na-adị ka akọba akụkọ ifo ma akọnyeghị mbe mana o tinye ilu ndị nọ nso na-asị na ego e jiri lụọ nne ya anaghị nna ya n’iyi.

Ndị Igbo na-ewere onye na-aghọta ihe ilu pụtara ka onye nwere uche na oke amamiihe. Ilu igbo niile n’ụdị ha na-ezipụta ka ndị Igbo si ebi ndụ ha, n’oge ha biri ndụ nke ha na-ekwukarị n’ụdị agụmagụ ọnụ.

A na-eji ilu ekwu okwu dị icheiche n’ala Igbo, dịka okwu ala maọbụ ikpe ala, alụmdi, ike ekpe maọbụ iri ekpe, nhachi nwaanyị maọbụ nkuchi nwaanyị, karịsịa e ji ilu edozi esemookwu dị n’etiti obodo na obodo, ogbe na ogbe, ụmụnna na ụmụnna, di na nwunye, nne na ụmụ, dgz.

Ilu bụ ejighị ebuli ma si elila dike n’ebe ndozi esemookwu dị n’ala Igbo, kama onye Igbo ga-atagheriwe ọnụ ọ tụọ otu ilu ga-achịkọta n’ụzọ amamihe okwu a kpụ n’ọnụ ozigbo. Mgbe ọ bụla okwu siri ike okenye nọ n’isi, a tụọ ilu ga-eme ka obi dajụọ ma nwoke ma nwaanyị nọ n’ikpe ahụ. E lebara anya n’ilu Igbo iri ma were nkenke akụkọ were zipụta n’ụdị ilu si eme ka ọnụma dajụọ mgbe anọ n’ikpe n’ezinụụlọ maọbụ n’obodo.

Ilu Igbo ndị a na-ejikarị akpa udo n’etiti ndị nwere esemookwu:

  • Aka mmiri mmiri ka e ji eri ụtara ede.
  • A na-agwọ nsi odo anya anaghị etinye ya ose.

(ch)         Egwu dagharịa a tụgharịa ụkwụ egwu.

(d)           E lebe ihe nkịta na-eri agaghị eri anụ ya.

(e)           Ibu ebughị ibu anaghị agwọrọ ya ajụ riri nne.

(f)            Ihunye mmanụ n’ọkụ abụghị ụzọ a ga-esi menyụọ ọkụ.

(g)           Isi ala anaghị atọ ebe e tiri ya.

(gb)         Ihu dị mma adịghị mma ịga mbọ.

(gh)         Ka ewu tara igu o kpeere ekwere?

(gw)        Nwanne na nwanne nọrọ n’ọgụ nwụọ, onye ọbịa a kpara akụ nna ha.

(h)           Okwu atụghị ụlọ anaghị amara ya uko.

(i)            Otu anya ka e ji alụ di na nwunye.

(ị)            Ụkwụ ọkụkọ zọrọ nwa ya agaghị egbu ya.

(j)            E were aka nri tie nwata ihe e were aka ekpe gụgụọ ya.

(k)           Ọ bụghị ka aka ha ka a na-eti nwa.

Iji nkenke akụkọ wee zipụta etu ilu Igbo ụfọdụ si bụrụ ngwaọrụ e ji enweta udo n’etiti ndị Igbo mgbe ha nwere nsogbu.

Nzipụta nke mbụ:                        (i)        Aka mmiri mmiri ka e ji eri ụtara ede.

                                                     (ii)          Otu anya ka e ji alụ di na              nwunye.

Ihe merenụ:                                  Ebe a nọ n’ikpe di na nwunye

Onye mkpesa:                              Nwunye

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:                              ụmụnna nke nwoke

Ebe ihe nọ mee:                           Ogidi


Ụmụnna nọ n’ikpe n’Ogidi ebe nwunye nwanne ha nwoke kpesaara ha banyere agwa nwanne ha, agwa teerela di ya na-akpa n’enweghị mmụọ mgbanwe. Nwaanyị ahụ wee na-agwa ndị be di ya na ya agaghị anabatazi agwa ahụ ma ncha. Ndị be di ya maara na nwanne ha nwoke amaghị eme kama ha gwara nwunye ya sị; “Anyị ma na nwanne anyị amaghị eme kama anyị na-arịọ ka idibezie niihina, ọ bụkwanụ aka mmiri mmiri ka e ji eri ụtara ede maọbụ na otu anya ka e ji alụ di na nwunye.”

            E ji ilu a were dụọ nwaanyị ahụ ọdụ ka ọ hapụ diwe ma nagide ọnọdụ o nwetara onwe ya site n’alụmdi. Nke a ga-eme ka obi dajụọ nwaanyị ka o were ihe ọ lụtara na di ma nwe nchekwube n’otu ụbọchị n’ihe ga-adị mma.


Nzipụta nke abụọ:                      (i)    A na-agwọ nsi odo anya anaghị                       etinye ya ose.

                                                        (ii)   Ihunye mmanụ n’ọkụ abụghị ụzọ a ga-esi menyụọ ọkụ.

Ihe merenụ:          Ebe ụmụokorobịa abụọ na-alụ ọgụ.

Onye mkpesa:      Nne otu n’ime ha.

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:      Nwoke na nwunye ya.

Ebe ihe nọ mee:   N’ahịa ọhụụ dị n’ọnịcha.

Ụmụ okorobịa abụọ na-azọ ndị ahịa were kọwa ọnụ, wee lụwa ọgụ. Ha abụọ wee danye n’ọdụ ahịa nne onye nke ọzọ, ebe ọ bụ nwa ya bu ụzọ tụọ ọgụ. Mgbe ndị na-edozi ikpe na-ekpezi, nwaanyị emebiri ihe ọ kpọbara n’ahịa bụ nne otu n’ime ya wee sị ha; “A ga-akwụ m ụgwọ ihe ha mebiri. Mgbe a na-asị onye e mejọrọ ka ha hapụ esemookwu ka nwaanyị ahụ malitere ikwu maka ihe ya emebisịrị n’agbanyeghị na ọ bụ nwa ya bụ isi sekpụ nti n’esemookwu ahụ. Nwoke ahụ na nwunye ya nọ n’ikpe wee baa mba sị nne nwata ahụ ya kwụsị ụdị okwu ahụ maka na o nwere ike ime ka onye achọrọ okwu nwee mkpali iwe, wee sị; “A na-agwọ nsi odo anya anaghị etinye ya ose maọbụ ihunye mmanụ n’ọkụ abụghị ụzọ a ga-esi menyụọ ọkụ.”

Nzipụta nke atọ:  Egwu dagharịa a tụgharịa ụkwụ egwu.

Ihe merenụ:        Nwaanyị nwetara ọrụ ọhụụ na-enye ya ego mana ọ naghị alọtazi n’oge n’ụlọ ya.

Onye mkpesa:      Di nwaanyị

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:      Ndị ọgọ (ndị be nwaanyị)

Ebe ihe nọ mee:   Ịgbarịam

Ndị ọgọ nọ n’ikpe, ebe nwoke kpere nwunye ya na kemgbe o bidoro ọrụ na Mahadum di n’Ịgbarịam na ọ naghị alọtazi n’oge. ọ kọwara sị na ego a na-akwụ ya na-abara ha uru kama na ọ naghị alọta n’oge were siere ya na ụmụ nri n’oge. Ka ndị ọgọ nụrụchara mkpesa ya ha chọpụtara na nwaanyị na-arụ ọrụ Bekee na o nweghị onwe ya, ọzọ ọ na-enwete ego e ji eri nri n’ụlọ ha wee dụọ di ya ọdụ sị; “Egwu dagharịa a tụgharịa ụkwụ egwu”. Ya mere ọ bụrụ na ọrụ a baara ezinụụlọ ya uru ya leghara anya oge o ji abata niihina ọ bụ ọrụ Bekee na o nweghị onwe ya ịla mgbe sọrọ ya.

Nzipụta nke anọ:               (i)  ụkwụ ọkụkọ zọrọ nwa ya agaghị egbu ya.

                                             (ii)  E lebe ihe nkịta na-eri agaghị eri anụ ya

Ihe merenụ:                          Ebe a nọ n’ikpe nwaanyị na di ya.

Onye mkpesa:                      Nwaanyị kpesaara ụmụnna di ya etu di ya sị achụgharị onye ọbụla a kpọrọ nwaanyị n’ogbe ha.

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:                      ụmụnna nwoke na ụmụnna nwaaanyị

Ebe ihe nọ mee:                   N’Ihiala

Nwaanyị gara gwa ụmụnna di ya na ụmụnna be nna ya na o nweghị ihe ọzọ ga-ejikọ ya na di ya inwe mmekọ edina dịka di na nwunye niihina ọ bụ mkpi na-agbara ọha. O kwuru nke a niihina ụjọ na-atụ ya ibute ọrịa nsi nwaanyị n’ụdị ọbụla. Di nwaanyị ahụ na-agagharị na-akọ na nwunye ya jụrụ ya ndina, nke kpariri mmụọ nwaanyị ịkọrọ ndị ikwunaibe ihe mere o jiri jụ di ya ndina. Ka o kpesachara ikpe ụmụnna abụọ ndị ahụ wee hụta na nwoke ahụ emeghị nke ọma ma ncha. Ma niihina ikpe anaghị amakebe nwoke n’ala igbo, otu onye wee sị nwaanyị ahụ na ọ ghaghị ịgbaghara di ya niihina E lebe ihe nkịta na-eri agaghị eri anụ ya, na-asị na ụkwụ ọkụkọ zọrọ nwa ya anaghị egbu ya, na ya gbaghara di ya.

Nzipụta nke ise:   (i) Ibu ebughị ibu anaghị agwọrọ ya ajụ hiri nne.

                               (ii) Okwu atụghị ụlọ anaghị amara ya uko.

Ihere merenụ:      Ikpe na otu nwaokorobịa na-akọ na ya bụ enyi   

                               nwata nwaanyị ma ha abụghị.

Onye mkpesa:      Nwaagbọghọbịa

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:      Ezinụụlọ nke nwaagbọghụbịa

Ebe ihe nọ mee:   N’Alọ

Nwata nwaagbọghọ nụrụ na otu ikorobịa nọ n’obodo ha sịrị na ha bụ enyi mana ha anaghị eri enyi. O wee nwee mwute pụrụ iche wee kọọrọ nne na nna ya ihe ọ nụrụ. Ka o kpesachara nna ya wee jụọ ya ma ha a na-eri enye n’ezie, ọ sị mba na o nweghị ihe jikọtara ha abụọ. Nna ya wee chọpụta na nwa ya nwaanyị gwara ya eziokwu, wee sị na ebe okorobịa ahụ agwaghị ya n’ihu na ọ bụ enyi ya kama ọ bụ naanị asịrị, ọ sị nwa ya nwaanyị na okwu adịghị n’akụkọ ahụ, ya mere, Ibu ebughị ibu anaghị agwọrọ ya ajụ hiri nne, maọbụ okwu atụghị ụlọ anaghị amara ya uko.

Nzipụta nke isii:  Isi ala anaghị atọ ebe e tiri ya.

Ihe merenụ:        Ikpe nwaanyị na di ya niihi akwa ya niile di ya gbara ọkụ.

Onye mkpesa:      Nwaanyị a gbara akwa ya ọkụ

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:      Ndị enyi ezinụụlọ di na nwunye ahụ.

Ebe ihe nọ mee:   N’Enugwu

Nwaanyị chọpụtara na di ya n’otu ajadu bi n’ogbe na-eri enyi nke mere na mgbe ụfọdụ di ya gwa ya ka ya gaa hụ nne ya n’ime obodo, ọ gaa rahụ na be ajadu ahụ. Ka nwaanyị chọpụtara agwa ọjọọ di ya na-akpa o wee gaa n’ụlọ nwaanyị ahụ ụbọchị di ya nọ ebe ahụ wee tie ajadu ahụ ihe dị egwu ma mebọọ di ya n’ihu ọha. Di ya were ọnụma juru ya obi bupute igbe akwa nwaanyị ahụ wee gbaa akwa niile dị n’ime ya ọkụ ma kwere ike. Mgbe ndị enyi ha ne-ekpeziri ha maka ihe merenụ nwaanyị na-aba mana ndị nọ ebe ahụ sịrị ya rịọ di ya mgbaghara niihi mmebọ ahụ o mebọrọ ya be enyi ya nwaanyị. Nwaanyị wee tie mkpu akwa sị na kama ya ga-eme nke ahụ ihe dị abụọ otu mee niihina mmegbu abaala n’ikpe ahụ. ọ nọrọ na-eti na-ebe akwa arịrị ma sị na ya agaghị eme ya eme. Otu nwaanyị so na ndị enyi ezinụụlọ ahụ wee tie mkpu n’olu ike sị; nwaanyị ibe m, Ị hụlanụ, biko mee ihe e kwuru niihina isi ala anaghị atọ ebe e tiri ya ka e nye oghere ka udo bịaghachi n’ụlọ ụnụ ọzọ.

Nzipụta nke asaa:                       Ihu dị mma adịghị mma ịga mbọ

Ihe merenụ:                                  Nwoke na ibe ya nwere nghọtahie niihina otu ji ibe ya ụgwọ.

Onye mkpesa:                              Onye e ji ụgwọ

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:                              Ndị otu ọgbọ

Ebe ihe nọ mee:                           Na Nnọkwa

Otu nwoke ka a maara dịka ezigbo mmadụ, ọ na-enyere ndị mmadụ aka mgbe ha bịakwutere ya ma otu naara ya ego ka ọ zụọ ahịa n’ọnwa olenaole ka o weghachiri ya ego ahụ o biiri ya. Ka onye o ji ụgwọ chere ihe ruru afọ abụọ na ụma iwe wee jupụta ya obi, o wee were ikike ndị uweojii ịkpọchi onye ụgwọ n’ụlọ nga. Akụkọ wee ruo ndị otu ọgbọ ha ntị ha wee kpọọ ha ka ha bịa ka edoziere ha ihe butere esemookwu n’etiti ha. Ka onye ji ụgwọ kwuchara sị nyekwuo ya otu afọ ọzọ, onye e ji ụgwọ wee sị na ya agaghị ekweta niihina ọ dịzi ka ya amaghị ihe, na ya ga-akpọchirịrị ya n’ụlọ mkpọrọ. Otu onye n’ime ndị ọgbọ ha wee kpọọ ya aha sị, Nna ọhanaeze maara nke ọma na ị bụ ezi onye mana ihe ekwensu na-achọ bụ imetọ aha gị, biko nyekwuo ya oghere etu o siri rịọ niihina e kwesịghị ịkọ ajọ akụkọ n’isi gị makana ihu dị mma adịghị mma ịga mbọ.

Nzipụta nke asatọ:                          Nwanne na nwanne nọrọ n’ọgụ nwụọ onye ọbịa a kpara akụ nna ha.

Ihe merenụ:                                      ụmụ ejima bụ dịọkpara na-azọ onye ga-anọchi nna ha bụ eze obodo.

Onye Mkpesa:                                  ụmụ ejima

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:                                  Ndị nze na ọzọ

Ebe ihe nọ mee:                               N’Aba

Eze na-achị Aba mụtara ụmụ ejima nwoke abụọ dịka diọkpara tupu ọ nwụọ, ka ọ nwụchara ụmụaka abụọ a na-azọ onye ọ dịịrị ịnọchi nna ha dịka eze. Nsogbu ruru na ha abụọ anaghị eji anya dị ha n’isi ahụrịta ibe ha. Ka akwa nne ha ruru ndị nze na ọzọ ntị ha wee sị ka a nọkọọ kpeziere ụmụ eze okwu dị n’etiti ha. Na mgbagha otu n’ime ha sị na a mụrụ ha otu ụbọchị ma bụrụ n’otu oge kama na ya ka nke ọzọ mata omenaala niihina ọ nọteela aka n’ala Bekee. Nke ọzọ sị na a mụrụ ha otu ụbọchị ma ya bu ụzọ pụta ụwa. Idezi okwu wee taa akpụ nke mere na ndị nze na ọzọ obodo gbabiri abụọ, ụfọdụ sonyere otu ndị ọzọ sonyere nke ọzọ. Otu okenye wee bilie sị ha ebe ha ekwetaghị nke ibe ha na-ekwu na ala eze ga-esi be ha pụọ, banye n’ezinụụlọ ọzọ udo dị. ọ gwara ha na o nweghị ike karịrị ha abụọ ịdị n’otu n’ihe ha na-eme. Na mmechi okwu ya o wee sị ha na nwanne na nwanne nọrọ n’ọgụ nwụọ onye ọbịa akpara akụ nna ha. Ha wee kweta otu n’ime ha wee chie eze.

Nzipụta nke iteghete:                         Ka ewu tara igu o kpeere ekwere?

Ihe merenụ:                                          Nwoke chọpụtara na nwunye ya na nwoke ọzọ nwere mmekọ edina.

Onye mkpesa:                                      Dibiụlọ

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:                                      ụmụnna nke nwoke

Ebe ihe nọ mee:                                   N’Uli

Otu nwoke chọpụtara na nwunye ya na enyi ya nwoke na-enyere ya na ezinụụlọ ya aka na-enwe mmekọ edina wee kpọkuo ụmụnna ka ha bịa nụrụ ihe ọjọọ enyi ya mere ya. Ka ụmụnna na-atụle esemookwu ahụ, ha chọpụtara na enyi ya nwoke ahụ bụ ya na-akụrụ ya nri site n’aka nwunye ya. Ha jiri uche dị nkọ wee nyochapụta ebe ihe siri rie mperi. Ha wee dụọ nwanne ha nwoke ọdụ sị ka ewu tara igu o kpeere ekwere? Ha mere nke a ka ọnụma ya dajụọ niihina ọ hịara ahụ nwoke inyere nwaanyị aka na nkịtị maọbụ nwaanyị achọghị ụzọ isi mee ka obi dị nwoke ahụ na-enye aka mma.

Nzipụta nke iri:                     (i) E were aka nri tie nwata ihe e were aka ekpe gụgụọ ya.

                                                    (ii) Ọ bụghị ka aka ha ka a na-eti nwa

Ihe meenụ:                                Nwata riri ụgwọ akwụkwọ ya.

Onye mkpesa:                          Nne nwa

Ndị nọ n’ikpe:                          Ndị nnaochie nwata ahụ.

Ebe ihe nọ mee:                       N’Amaọfụ

Otu nwoke nyere nwa ya ego ụgwọ akwụkwọ ya ka ọ kwụọ n’amaghị na ọ kwụghị. Mgbe nna ya jiri chọpụta o wee gaa n’ụlọakwụkwọ kpọrọ nwa ya kpọlaa na be ya n’ime obodo sị ya agụzila akwụkwọ niihina ọ dịghị ya mkpa o wee rie ụgwọ akwụkwọ ya. Ka nne nwa ahụ rịọrọ di ya ọtụtụ ọnwa hụ na o kwetaghị, o wee rịọ ndị nnaochie di ya ikpe banyere nwa ha. ọ gwara ha hoo haa na agwa nwata ahụ kpara adịghị mma mana nwata ahụ nọba n’ụlọ n’ime obodo o nwere ike ọ mụtakwuo ihe ọjọọ karịrị nke o merela o wee rịọ ikpe ka ha rịọrọ ya di ya n’isi nwata ahụ ka ọ gbaghara ya. Otu n’ime ndị nnaochie wee kwacha ikiri sị nna nwata ahụ na ebe nwata nọrọrị ọnwa anọ n’ime obodo na a ga-ezighachi ya n’ụlọakwụụkwọ. Ka o kwuchara nke a o wee sị nna nwata ahụ na e were aka nri tie nwata ihe e were aka ekpe gụgụọ ya maọbụ na ọ bụghị ka aka ha ka a na-eti nwa. O kwuru nke a ka mmụọ nwoke ahụ dajụọ ka o wee nwee ike wepụta ego ọzọ wee kwụọrọ nwa ya ụgwọ akwụkwọ.

N‘ezie, ka udo wee chịa n’ebe niile n’ala Igbo, e nwere ndị ọ na-emetụta n’obi ịkpa udo n’oge niile. Ha na-ejikarị atụmatụ okwu a bụ ilu eme ya nke ọma. ọzọkwa, onye Igbo ọbụla a tụụrụ ilu na-ekwu maka udo anaghị asa okwu ahụ asa, ọ na-adị ka a kpụnyere ya mmiri n’ọnụ ozigbo. ọ bụrụ onye na-aba mba o mechie ọnụ ya ozigbo, ọ bụrụ onye na-alụ ọgụ maọbụ na-eti mmadụ ihe ume apụọ ya n’ahụ ozigbo.

Ilu ndị a bụ ọgwụ na agwọ ọnụma ma na-eme ka udo dị n’etiti ụmụ Igbo niile. Niihina ha tukwasịrị ndị okenye, ndị ichie, ụmụọkpụ, mmanwụ obi na ha na-ekpe ikpe nkwụmọọtọ, ihe ọbụla a gwara ha n’ilu okwu ndị ahụ ha na-ewere ya dịka olu Chi ukwu. Ha na-akpa udo n’eleghị mmadụ anya n’ihu maọbụ ọgaranya maọbụ ogbenye.



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Austin, J.l. (1962). How to do things with words. London: Clarendon Press.

Grundy, P. (2008). Doing pragmatics (3rd ed.) UK: Hodder Education.

Mey Jacob L. (2001). Pragmatics: An introduction (2nd ed.) London. Blackwell publishing Co.

Nwachukwu, Agbada J.O.J. (2002). The Igbo proverbs: A study of its conteụt, performance and functions. Enugu; John Jacobs publishers.

Nwolise O.B.c. (2004). Traditional approaches to conflict resolution among Igbo people of Nigeria. Reinforcing the need for Africa to rediscover its root. Amani Journal of African Peace. No. 1.

Ike – Iloanusi A. (2014). Proverbs – A speech act analysis. A master’s thesis submitted to Department of linguistics.

Ajiboye, E.M. (2012). Proverbs and the management of conflicts in Oum. Ndimele (Ed.), Language, Interactive and Communication in a dynamic World. A festschrift or Chinyere Ohiri – Aniche, vol. 9, 305-317.

Levinson, Stephen C. (1983). Pragmatic – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saeed, John I. (2003). Semantics. UK: Blackwell Publilshing Ltd.

Osasinwo, W. (2003). Introduction to discourse analysis & Pragmatics. Lagos: Femulos – Felos Publishers.

Searle, J.R. (1969). Speech Acts. An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.

Obiechina, e. (1975). Culture, traditional and society in the West African Novel Cambridge: Cambridge university Press.
























Modality: Can –sie ike qualify as a modal suffix, and ma and ka as modal auxiliary verbs in Igbo?


Uweazuoke, Aghaegbuna Haroldson, PhD

Department of Linguistics

                         Nnamdi  Azikiwe University,  Awka         

ha.uwaezuoke@unizik.edu.ng uwaezuokeha@gmail.com





Past studies on modality in Igbo have discussed various ways for expressing modality in the language.  They  have  identified  the  use  of  forms  like fu/pu, nwe ike, kwesi, ike kwe/eleghi anya, -nwu, ga/ya/la/le for expressing modality in Igbo. This paper is confronted with the question on whether the forms sie ike, could serve as a modal suffix, while ma and ka serve as modal auxiliary verbs in Igbo. The forms are found in Ogbunike dialect of the language. They have not been captured anywhere as forms used to express modality in Igbo. Semantically, modality expresses two meanings: deontic and epistemic (Saeed, 2003; Uchechukwu, 2011). Relying on this view, the forms are semantically analysed and the results reveal that each of them expresses deontic and epistemic meanings. It is, therefore, concluded that sie ike, could serve as a modal suffix, while ma and ka serve as modal auxiliary verbs in Igbo.



Every language has a way of expressing modality. Modality refers to the way in which a speaker can express his attitude towards a situation in interpersonal communication (Hartmann and Stock, 1972:140). It also allows speakers to signal stronger and weaker commitment to factuality of statement (Saeed, 2003:135). In the opinion of Igwe (2007), it is used to describe the meanings, which are usually associated with mood. This accounts for why Saeed (2003:138) notes that when modality distinctions are marked by verbs endings which form distinct conjugations, there is a tradition of calling them moods.

In the English language, modality is usually expressed by the use of modal auxiliaries written as simple lexical items, such as: can, could, may, might, must, ought, should, will, would, and so on. The modal auxiliary verbs occupy the first position of a verb phrase and sometimes have several words which may intervene between them and the main verb, e.g. ‘when will you meet your doctor?’, ‘you may not see your doctor today’. Modal auxiliary verb is used by the speaker/writer to indicate his mood or attitude with respect to whether or not the action, event, etc, denoted by the verb can be regarded as obligatory, necessary, permitted, possible, probable, certain or hypothetical (Aremo, 2004:92; Nnamani, 2004).

Although Uchechukwu (2011) considers the study of modality in Igbo as a new development, a lot of contributions have been made by many scholars on modality in Igbo. Winston (1993) cited by Uchechukwu (2011) points out that extensional suffixes play very important role in the expression of modality in Igbo. Uchechukwu examines the grammatical use of these extensional suffixes in the language as presented by different scholars and suggests their reclassification as modal suffixes. Igwe (2007), in his own study of modality in Achi dialect, identifies some other ways for expressing modality in Igbo. In this paper, some other forms found in Ogbunike dialect, such as sie ike, ma and ka, are investigated on the basis of the two meanings presented by Saeed (2003) and re-echoed by Uchechukwu (2011) which modality expresses, that is, deontic and epistemic meanings. A review of past literature is first done in order to show the different forms earlier identified and their use to express deontic and epistemic meanings, followed by discussion of the suspected forms.

The data are tone-marked on the basis of the Green and Igwe’s (1963) tone-marking convention of leaving high tone unmarked in Igbo, the low tone marked with grave accent / ` /, and the down step tone marked orthographically with a macron /  ̄  /.  


Literature review

Saeed (2003) and Uchechukwu (2011) separately assert that modality is used to express deontic and epistemic meanings: While the epistemic meaning qualifies those assertions in which the speaker exhibits some degree of familiarity or knowledge of the situation of things, deontic meaning qualifies those assertions that express obligation, responsibility, permission and ability. Some past studies have discussed modality in Igbo and have identified forms used to express modality in the language. These past studies are reviewed below:


  1. A. fu/pu ‘be equal to/be able’ (Welmers and William, 1968; Igwe, 2007)

Welmers and William (1968) and Igwe (2007) present the use of fu/pu ‘be equal to/be able’ to express modality in Igbo. These are two dialect variants that express the same meaning ‘go out’, as in:

1 a. Obi fụrụ/pụrụ                   n’       ama    obodo

       Obi go rV stative PAST PREP square town

       ‘Obi went to the village square’


These two words fụ and pụ serve as the main verb ‘go’ in (1a). They can be as they are or be inflected by suffixing rV. They are also modal verbs and can be used to express modality in Igbo, both deontic and epistemic (Uchechukwu, 2011). In this case, the main verbs are usually in their infinitive form.  This is illustrated below:

2              i. Obu fụ(rụ)/pụ(rụ)            ịgụ̄         egō

                   Obi  is able (rV stative) to count money

               ‘Obi can count money’


  1. Òbi fụ̀(rụ̀)/pụ̀(rụ̀) ịnọ̀     n’     ama      òbòdò             ùgbuà

                    Obi be able (rV stative) to be PREP square  town/village   now

                    Obi may be at the village square now

                    ‘Obi may likely be at the village square right now’


The fụ/pụ in 2(i) expresses the deontic meaning of ability, while in 2(ii), it expresses epistemic meaning of speculative possibility and prediction.


  1. nwe ike (from ịnwē ike) ‘have strength/might/power; be able; can; may; be capable,

     strong, able; may be possible’ (Welmers and William, 1968; Williamson, 1972; Igwe,

     1987; Igwe, 1999; Nwigwe, 2003; Igwe, 2007)


Welmers and William (1968), Williamson (1972) and Igwe (1999) identify nwe ike as a verb; Emenanjo (1978) regards it as suffix; Nwigwe (2003) sees it as a modal verb, and Igwe (1987; 2007) regard it as a periphrastic form. It is a combination of verb + noun. When the verb –nwe stands alone, it becomes a simple assertion which its truthfulness is difficult to ascertain. In other words, the assertion can be true or false. It also has its full meaning as verb of possession and can be inflected. On the other hand, – ike is an object NP. When the verb –nwe and the noun –ike are combined, it expresses modality. In this case, the verb –nwe can be inflected, while the noun –ike cannot. Uchechukwu (2011) points out that this form expresses both deontic and epistemic meaning. Below are some examples:

3 (i)         Chinàza nwè –rè                 ike         ịrụ̄     sọm̀ afụ̀

                Chinaza have –rV stative strength to do sum ADJ

                ‘Chinaza can do that sum.’


  (ii)         ị                           nwè –rè               ike          ịgaba     ùgbuà

                2nd PERS. SING have –rV stative strength  to leave  now

                ‘you can leave right now’


  (iii)        Nonso nwè –rè                ike          ịkpō     afịfịa      afụ̀

                Nonso have –rV stative strength to pack rubbish DET

                Nonso has strength to pack that rubbish

‘Nonso migbht have packed that rubbish’


  (iv)        Nne       m̄        nwè –rè                ike         igōta    ji     taà

                Mother POSS. have  -rV stative strength to buy yam today

                my mother has strength to buy yam today

                ‘my mother might buy yam today.’


The statement in 3(i) expresses deontic meaning of ability, 3(ii) expresses deontic meaning of permission. 3(iii) expresses epistemic meaning of possibility and 3(iv) expresses epistemic meaning of prediction/possibility. 


  1. –kwesi ‘supposed to’, ‘ought to’, ‘deserves’ (Igwe, 2007)

-kwesi is a modal verb and can be inflected. When it appears in a sentence, the main verb will be in its infinitive form.


4 (i)         Èmeka kwèsì –rì               ifīcha   ụlọ̀      taà

Emeka ought –rV stative to mop house today

‘Emeka ought to mop the house today’


  (ii)         Èmeka kwèsị̀ -rị̀                   ịfụ̄      ego      à

                Emeka be able –rV stative to see money DET

‘Emeka could have seen the money’


The statement in 4(i) expresses deontic meaning of necessity and obligation, while that of 4(ii) expresses epistemic meaning of possibility.

  1. –ike kwe/eleghi anya ‘possibly’, ‘may/might’, perhaps (Igwe, 2007)

The adverb –ike kwe/eleghi anya are used to express the same meaning. When used in a sentence, they come first followed by a coma, then, a simple sentence with reference to past, present or future. While Nwigwe (2003) describes them as periphrastic modals, but Uchechukwu (2011) suggests regarding them peripheral modals since they can only express one modal meaning. Below are examples of the use of the forms:


5 (i)         elēghi anya, ọ   rụ̀    rụ̀             ọrụ    ahụ̀

                Possibly,      he do –rV PAST work DET

                Possibly, he did that job

                ‘he might have done the job’


   (ii)        ike kwe,  ọ             nà-               àbịa

                Perhaps, he           AUX PRES. come

                Perhaps, he is coming

                ‘he may be coming’


   (iii)       ike kwe,   ọ            gà-            àrụ  yā

                Possibly, he         AUX FUT. do   PRO

                Possibly, he will do it

                ‘he may possibly do it’


The statements in 5(i), (ii) and (iii) express epistemic meaning of possibility.


  1. –nwu ‘ability to do/perform’ (Emenanjo, 1978)

Emenanjo (1978:117) identifies –nwu as a suffix. It does not stay on its own, but is affixed to the main verb to convey meaning. According to Uchechukwu (2011), it could be used to express both deontic and epistemic meanings of an assertion. This is illustrated below:

6 (i)         Nechè nà-                 àsa                   –nwu   afele

                Neche AUX PROG. wash – PART –able    plates

Neche is able to wash plates

‘Neche can wash plates’


   (ii)        Nechè   gà –           apụ̀                 -nwu   ùgbuà

                Neche AUX FUT. leave –PART –able   now

                ‘Neche can leave now’


   (iii)       Nechè   gà – àsụ                   nwu    akwà

                Neche AUX wash –PART –able    clothes

                ‘Neche can wash clothes’


The statements in 6(i) and (ii) express deontic meaning of ability and permission respectively, while 6(iii) expresses epistemic meaning of possibility.


  1. –ga ‘shall/will’ (Igwe, 2007; Uchechukwu, 2011); y (a)/y(e), la/le (Igwe, 2007)

The morpheme –ga, y(a)/y(e), la/le ‘shall/will’ are allomorphs of future morpheme in Igbo. They function as markers for both the future and a sense of anticipation. The following examples from Uchechukwu (2011) illustrate the semantic and syntactic applications of –ga:

7 (i)         Emeka   gà-               èri               akpụ̄

                Emeka AUX –FUT –eat –PART cassava

                ‘Emeka shall eat cassava’


   (ii)        Èmeka  gà-                àhụ              Uchè  taà

                Emeka AUX –FUT –see –PART Uche  today

                ‘Emeka shall see Uche today.’


The expression of modality that involves the use of the morpheme –ga can be divided into morphotonologically implicit and explicit forms (Uchechukwu, 2011). Uchechukwu (2011) cites examples from different authors to illustrate the implicit modal meanings, as presented below:

Emenanjo (1978:127-128):

8 (i)         Nnennà  gà-     àbịa                 ebe    à

                Nnenna AUX come –PART place DET

                ‘Nnenna will come here.’



   (ii)        Nnennà   gà-   ịbị̄a

                Nnenna AUX to come

                ‘Nnenna is going to come’


Emenanjo (1985:127)

   (iii)       Ekhè   gà-   èri              yā

                Ekhe ANT eat – PART it

                ‘Eke will eat it’


   (iv)       Ekhè gà      irī      ya

                Eke ANT –to eat it

                ‘Eke must eat it’


Igwe (1973:496):

   (v)        Ọ   gà-    ème         yā

he AUX  do – Part it

‘he will probably do it.’


   (vi)       Ọ   gà     ịmē    ya

                he AUX to do  it

                ‘he will probably do it’


The verb –ga in the sentences in Emenanjo (1978; 1985) above have an additional modal meaning that Emenanjo (1985) glosses as ANT (anticipation) in sentences 8(iii) and (iv). There is the occurrence of participle in the 8(iii) example in Emenanjo (1985) and the infinitive in the 8(iv) example in Emenanjo (1985). A combination of auxiliary – ga with the participle of the modified verb could yield deontic meaning of compulsion as in 8(iv) and 8(vi). Uchechukwu (2011) points out that Igwe (1973) in his example above merges the future – anticipative and modal meanings. He attributes the mix up of both usages to mainly his decontextualization of his gloss. He concludes that in the appropriate context, and with the right emphatic tone of voice, the verb –ga can be given a deontic meaning of COMPULSION or the epistemic meaning of a deductive PREDICTION in any of these sentences, thus, confirming that the auxiliary –ga can function alone as a modal auxiliary and can explicitly combine with specific morphemes to express modality. This is referred to as the morphotonologically explicit forms of modality involving the use of –ga (Uchechukwu, 2011). The modal suffixes which the auxiliary verb –ga can combine with, according to Uchechukwu (2011), are sị/sịrị, nata, rịrị, lili. He says that the auxiliary verb –ga and the suffixes are bonded morphologically, e.g. gà … lili, gà… nata


Examples from Uchechukwu (2011:53):

9              (i)            Ọ̀nị̀chà:  Ọ    gà –     èli     nata      n̄li     afụ̀

                (ii)           Ìgbòuzò:                Ọ    gà –     èli     lili        n̄ni    ọ

                (iii)          Mbìèrì:                  Ọ    gà –     èri     riri       n̄ri     ahụ̀

                (iv)          Obōòwò:               Ọ    gà        irī      riri       n̄ri     ahụ̀

(v)           Ishiadụ̄: Ọ    gà        irī      riri       n̄ri     ahụ̀

                                                he  AUX – eat – COMP food  DET

                                                                ‘he must eat that food.’

(vi)          Ngwà:  (a)             I        n  –      gà           sị̀          irī       n̄ri     ahụ̀

                                                you  PRF  –  AUX  –  COMP  to eat  food  DET

                                                ‘you must eat that food’

                                (b)           Ọ        n  –      gà           sị̀          irī       n̄ri     ahụ̀

                                                s/he  PRF  –  AUX  –  COMP  to eat  food  DET

                                                                ‘s/he must eat that food’


All the examples in (9), in the opinion of Uchechukwu (2011), express deontic meaning of compulsion and obligation. The examples in (10) and (11) express different meanings.

10           (i)            Ọ̀nị̀chà:  Obì   gà –    anọ̀     nata     n’      ụnọ̀

                (ii)           Ìgbòuzò:                Obì   gà –    anọ̀     lịlị       n’      ụnọ̀

                (iii)          Mbìèrì:                  Obì   gà –     anọ̀     rịrị       n’      ụlọ̀

                (iv)          Obōòwò:               Obì   gà –     anọ̀     rịrị       n’      ụlọ̀

                                                                Obì   AUX – be – COMP PREP house 

                (v)           Ishiadụ̄: Obì   gà –      ịnọ̀        rịrị       n’       ụlọ̀

                                                                Obì   AUX – to be – COMP PREP house

                                                                ‘Obi must be at home’

(vi)          Ngwà:                    Obì     n  –  gà –      rịrị        ịnọ̀     n’      ụlọ̀

                                                Obì   PRF AUX – COMP   to be PREP house

                                                ‘Obi must be at home’


The examples in (10) express epistemic meaning of possibility.


11           (i)            Ọ̀nị̀chà:  mmirī   gà –     ezò      nata     (n’ anyàsị̀)

                (ii)           Ìgbòuzò:                mmirī   gà –     ezò      rịrị       (n’ abàlị̀)

                (iii)          Mbìèrì:                  mmirī   gà –     ezò      rịrị       (n’ abàlị̀)

                (iv)          Obōòwò:               mmirī   gà –     ezò      rịrị       (n’ abàlị̀)

                                                                water   AUX – rain – COMP (PREP night) 

                (v)           Ishiadụ̄: mmirī gà – izò rịrị (n’ abàlị̀)

                                                                water   AUX – to rain  COMP (PREP night)

                                                                ‘it must rain (in the night’


Nwigwe (2003:135):

(vi)          Ngwà:                    O     n  –       gà –           sị̀           ịbụ̄     uchè

                                                it    PRF   –  AUX    –   COMP   to be  Uche

                                                ‘it must be Uche’


The examples in (11) express epistemic meaning of deductive speculation.


Just as noted by Uchechukwu (2011), it is not all the various form for expressing modality in Igbo that have the deontic and epistemic meanings. Some express only one meaning. For example, eleghi anya/ike kwe express only the epistemic meaning of possibility.  However, that they express only one meaning does not preclude them from expressing modality. That is why Nwigwe (2003) and Igwe (2007) describe then as periphrastic modals. But Uchechukwu (2011) argues for their classification rather as peripheral modals. This paper agrees with Uchechukwu (2011) since they are realized at the periphery. It also agrees with him that the prototypical modal structure of the Igbo language to be adopted for full spectrum of deontic and epistemic modal meanings should be the modal verbs and the modal suffixes, but notes that the modal verbs are in two categories: the free modal auxiliary verbs and the hyphenated modal auxiliary verbs. While the hyphenated modal auxiliary verbs on their own make no meaning unless hyphenated to the main verb, e.g. –ga; the free modal auxiliary verbs can stand on their own and still make meaning irrespective of the main verb, e.g. nwe ike


It is evident from the review that none of the past studies includes sie ikē, ma and ka as forms for expressing modality in Igbo. In the next section, these forms are presented and analyzed.


  1. Argument for the use of sie ikē, ma and ka to express modality in Igbo


Few examples are presented below from where it could be concluded whether or not sie ikē, ma and ka can be said to express the two meanings expressed by modality.


3.1          sie ikè ‘be capable/be strong/be able’

This is a verbal complex structure comprising free verb root/verbal suffix –sie/siri ‘have/be/able/ability to’ and the noun ike ‘power/strength’. When it functions as a main verb, it can be combined with any adjective. When used to express modality, siri/sie is suffixed to the verb root and has a collocational bond with the noun ike.


12           (i)            Mmesoma   sì        -rì            ike

                                Mmesoma verb – rV suffix power

                                Mmesoma have (-rV suffix) power

                                ‘Mmesoma is strong’


                (ii)           Mmesoma    sì               -rì                nnukwu    ike

                                Mmesoma  verb root ( – rV suffix) Adj.        power

                                Mmesoma   have (-rV suffix)           much      power

                                ‘Mmesoma is very strong’


                (iii)          Mmesoma   ji     – sie       ike,      ò     merie

                                Mmesoma hold – able – power, she conquers

                                ‘if Mmesoma can be steadfast, she will conquer’


                (iv)          Mmesoma   ga     – sie       ike,          ọ      gà    –àhu                 yā

                                Mmesoma   go-   PART – quickly, PRO AUX – see possibly it/her/him

                                ‘if Mmesoma will be fast, she will possibly see it/her/him.’

In 12 (i) and (ii), siri functions as the main verb. It can combine with an adjective. 12(iii) expresses deontic meaning of ability, while 12(iv) expresses epistemic meaning of possibility.


3.2          – ma ‘knows/ability to perform a task’

The vowel –a is not prefixed to the modal aux verb –ma except when –ma is used to express a sense of negation and is being preceded by a noun or plural pronoun. In this case, a homorganic vowel a or e will be prefixed to the main verb in agreement with the rule of vowel harmony in Igbo.


13                           Neche   mà      akwụkwọ

                Lit.          Neche  knows book

                                ‘Neche is intelligent’


‘ma’ plays the grammatical role of a verb in (13) and stands on its own in the sentence. Apart from being a verb, It can be used to express modality. In this regard, it can be inflected.


  1. (i) ọ̀      ma-   ede              yā

                                s/he NEG write PART it

                                ‘s/he will not write it’


                (ii)           ọ       mà-     ède    yā

                                s/he AUX – write  it

                Lit.          s/he knows how to write it

                                ‘s/he can write it’


                (iii)          Neche  amā               abịa              echī

                                Neche AUX NEG – come PART tomorrow

                                ‘Neche will not come tomorrow’


                (iv)          ọ      mà       anyà             ụgbọàlà

                                s/he knows drive PART vehicle

                                s/he knows how to drive a vehicle

                                ‘s/he can drive a vehicle

                (v)           ọ      mà                         ịzụ̄                    afịa

                                s/he knows (ability) – to trade/to buy market

                                s/he is good at trading

                                ‘s/he can trade’


                (vi)          ọ̀      ma –                enene     une     à

                                s/he AUX – NEG – write     exam DET

                                ‘s/he will not take the exam’


14(i) and (iii) express epistemic meaning of prediction. 14(ii), (iv) and (v) express deontic meaning of ability. Finally, 14(vi) expresses deontic meaning of refusal. The effect of tone in differentiating the meanings of expressions that look alike is witnessed in 14(i) and (ii).


-ma can combine with certain modal suffixes to express modality. The suffixes are nata, rịrị and lịlị. In this case, the AUX and the suffix can be written together and they precede the main verb or the AUX is prefixed to the main verb, while the suffix (COMP) follows. Just as Uchechukwu (2011) has noted in the case of –ga, the auxiliary verb –ma and the modal suffixes are ‘morphotonologically’ bonded.

15           (i)            ọ̀ ma-ejenata afị̄a taà

                                s/he AUX-NEG –go – COMP market today

                                ‘s/he must not go to market today’


                (ii)           Chinaza mànàtà anyà ụgbọàlà

                                Chinaza AUX – COMP drive vehicle

                                Chinaza definitely knows how to drive a vehicle

                                ‘Chinaza should know how to drive a vehicle’


                (iii)          nnà m màlị̀lị̀ nà ọ pụ̀rụ̀

                                father my AUX – COMP that s/he leave – rV suffix PAST

                                ‘my father must be aware that s/he left’


                (iv)          Chinaza mà- lị̀lị̀ ife melụnụ̄

                                Chinaza AUX – COMP something happened

                                ‘Chinaza should know what happened’  


15(i) expresses deontic meaning of blunt refusal, while 15(ii) and (iii) express deontic meanings of ability and permission respectively. 15(v) expresses epistemic meaning of possibility.


3.3          -ka ‘bigger than/should have/would have’

The morpheme –ka functions as marker for comparison and expression of events that should have taken place but did not take place.

16           Neche kà Chinaza

                Neche verb+adj Chinaza

                ‘Neche is bigger than Chinaza’


When –ka is used to express modality in Igbo and it is preceded by a subject NP or a plural pronoun, the vowel –a is prefixed to it and a homorganic vowel a or e is also prefixed to the main verb. In this case, -ka is not hyphenated to the main verb, but stands on its own. When –ka is preceded by a singular pronoun, vowel –a is not prefixed to it and it does not stand alone. It is rather hyphenated to the main verb. The modal auxiliary verb –ka can be inflected. When inflected, the main verb it precedes will be in its infinitive form. It can be used to express both deontic and epistemic meanings. 


17           (i)            Nzùbe  àka      abịa                  taà

                                Nzùbe AUX – come – PART today

                                ‘Nzùbe would have come today’


                (ii)           Nzùbe  kà       rị̀                ịbị̄a       taà

                                Nzùbe AUX –rV suffix to come today

                                ‘Nzùbe would have come today’


                (iii)          Chijìòkè  àka    adị                  ndụ̀

                                Chijìòkè AUX remain PART life

                                ‘Chijìòkè would have been alive’


                (iv)          Agha  kà       rị̀    inwē      egō

                                Agha AUX –rV  to have money

                                ‘Agha would have had money’


                (v)           Nzùbe  kà        rị̀              irụ̄cha              ya

                                Nzùbe AUX –rV suffix to finish work    it

                                ‘Nzùbe would have been able to finish it’


                (vi)          Àdaobi  àka     adị                  na-     àga          akwụkwọ

                                Àdaobi AUX remain PART AUX –go PART book

                                ‘Àdaobi should have been going to school’


                (vii)         Àdaobi  kà        rị̀               ịdị̄            na-    àga           akwụkwọ

                                Àdaobi AUX –rV suffix to remain AUX –go PART  book

‘Àdaobi should have been going to school’


                (viii)        m                          kà-       edē                  ya

                                Ist PERS. SING. AUX – write – PART  it

                                ‘i would have written it’


17(i, ii & viii) express deontic meaning of certainty. 17(iii & iv) express epistemic meaning of possibility. 17(v) expresses deontic meaning of ability. Finally, 17(vi & vii) express deontic meaning of permission.


Summary and conclusion

This paper set out to answer a question on whether sie ikē, ma and ka could be used to express modality in Igbo. Past works on modality in Igbo were reviewed in order to draw insight on the nature of modality in the language. Also, data were presented showing instances of the application of sie ikē, ma and ka. The data were analysed to bring out the deontic and epistemic meanings in them. The results reveal that the morphemes sie ikē, ma and ka can be used to express modality in Igbo in addition to their primary functions. The paper classifies the forms for expressing modality in Igbo into four: the peripheral, e.g. elēghị ānya/ike kwe; the modal auxiliary verbs, e.g. nwe ike; the hyphenated modal auxiliary verbs, e.g. ga-, ka- and ma-; and the modal suffixes, e.g. –nwu, sie ike


It can be concluded that this paper has answered the question earlier posed and that in addition to the forms earlier identified for expressing modality in Igbo, sie ikē, ma and ka can be used to express modality in Igbo. Modality in Igbo could be grouped into the core and the peripheral. The core modals express the bipartite meanings – deontic and epistemic and are syntactically housed in the infl, while the peripheral modal express only one of the modal meanings.



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Value and Autonomy in Igbo Music Studies

Umezinwa, Emmanuel Chukwemenam,

Department of Music

Nnamdi Azikiwe University,





A new way of studying the arts and humanities within the Nigerian context is hereby proposed. There is a conflict arising from the need to advance the study of Igbo traditional music within the provisions of the Nigerian Education system. This conflict affects the development of other allied areas in the arts and humanities, language, philosophy, drama, history, law and music. The focus of this work is on Igbo study which is in need of functional development. But how can this happen when the National policy and organs for policy implementation show palpable fear and tension over the development of such regional study? Using the case of music, this paper seeks to show the alienation of traditional Igbo music in the curriculum of study and how this affects music as a core Igbo value. The paper advances a relative autonomy of the arts in order to strengthen Igbo studies in general since it is then and only then that a true Nigerian value can take its rightful place in the cultural globalization that is drowning the values attached to the arts.


Background and Significance

Uncountable scholars in the arts and humanities have done researches, presented papers and recommended strategies for advancing the objectives of disciplines in the following areas: language, literature, philosophy, history, law, classics, religion, plastic and performing arts. In Nigeria, a critical look at the system and contents of different curricula of studies show that designs and the freedom to make adequate adjustments to accommodate local contents lack spirited policy support. The prevailing too-western content and approach to the learning of the arts and the humanities have not ensured the integrity and survival of our languages, philosophy history, traditional religion, arts, drama and music. We cannot make a requisite representation for the arts and humanities as a domain of core human values without showing regrettably how local contents have been left in the cold. The study of music is used here to show that we cannot genuinely clamour for the advancement of values without dishonesty if the current run of events in our school education is not addressed with a vision of relative autonomy for the art.


The Problem and its Setting

There is the suspicion that in the process of advancing human values in the arts and humanities, certain unavoidable conflicts have emerged between the existing policies on education and the intellectual desire among scholars to try something different, something new and something entirely indigenous. The failure to address the administrative bottlenecks which have designed unfashionable straitjackets for our education system is in need of appraisal.


The main thesis of  this writing is that knowledge of traditional Igbo music which has not been given a chance in formal school music teaching and learning, can become the basis of a new model approach not only to the study of Igbo music but also to understanding the urgent need for a certain autonomy in the arts in general.

The issues confronted in this research are many and important for Igbo studies. Most of the studies done on Igbo/ African music have not paid attention to the hidden prospects of proposing a full attention to traditional music on school curriculum. On account of the all-too Western bent of education in Nigeria, traditional music is treated on the periphery in most institutions. In a changing culture where formal education is no longer optional for children, we may just be starting to watch musical traditions of socio-cultural significance on documents and as artifacts. Yet the importance of traditional music is self evident. The masquerade cults of different communities,  are very ancient and serve as all-time source of pride and identity for many communities. The music of the these spirit manifest serves a full course, rhythmic variety, unique scales, harmony, idioms of melody and dialect, dance, silence, call and response, poetry, drama, mbem (traditional chants), history, social control and socio-economic well being. These offer a starting point for a new approach to understanding music in Igbo study.

Using Igbo masquerade music as an example, many scholars have written on Igbo music, masquerades, masquerade chants or African music and culture in general, but the perspectives have varied from what is being proposed here. These past studies have been hugely descriptive. Aniakor (1978) described the unique position and awe of the Ijele masquerade among all other day time masquerades. Nzekwu, Onuora (1981) presented the masquerade from the point of view of its dramatics. As such, the deeper realities of the spirit manifest are untouched. Nnabuenyi, Ugonna (1984) followed the same line of thought and presented the traditional institution from the point of view of drama and entertainment. Enekwe(1987) the Igbo masks as both drama and ritual and united the two moments in a work that was widely acclaimed. That same year, Onyeneke,(1987) released the work that became a vade mecum for scholars on Igbo masquerade. He popularized the phrase, ‘the dead among the living’ which was the title of the book. His work captured the meaning, role and society understands of the masquerade in a way that is peculiar to the Aguata cultural area where a willing suspension of disbelief is of absolute importance in understanding realities around the spirit manifest. A work which went into a detailed phenomenological analysis of fifty-seven masquerade chants in Ebe town of Enugu state, Nigeria was written by Romanus Egudu (1992) and became another milestone in Igbo studies. The work, ‘African poetry of the living dead: Igbo masquerade poetry’ brought together elements from preceding authors and made an emphatic statement in Igbo poetics. In 2000, Umeogu, applied philosophy in the analysis of the origin and significance of ime mmonwu (masquerading). Nzewi (2009) published volumes of the work ‘Learning the musical arts in contemporary Africa’ and showed that indigenous knowledge systems have become indispensable in the learning of music in contemporary Africa. Another significant work is ‘Igbo mask chants as poetry: mbem mmonwu’ by Chike Okoye (2010) but as a linguist, his approach was not meant to cover the area of ethnomusicology or analysis of musical form and structure, shape, melodic contours, polyrhythm and melorhythm. From the field of ethnomusicology to anthropology, scholars have established the inter-disciplinary relationships of music, drama, philosophy, language, and culture as a basis for integrated approach to Igbo studies. Further literature is equally available from ancillary works like ‘Form and analysis of African music’ (Agu, 1999) and the theories of African music as shown by Nketia(1974), Ekwueme (2004), Arom, (2004), and the use of historical and hermeneutical approaches (Okere, 1983) to the study of culture. Locating the study within the context of Igbo studies will review the works of Onwuejeogwu (1975), Ukaegbu (2005), Ogbalu(1981), Afigbo (1981).

Great insights have been shown in the area of music and education policy by Okafor and Okafor (2009) who showed that “11 out of 92 universities (13%) in Nigeria” (p.34) and 15 out of 122 colleges of education (12.3%) offer music programmes. They demonstrated the importance of music in National development as a thing of high value in need of both government assistance and implementation of well articulated policies.

The significance of this research in ethnomusicology is such that it proposes a new paradigm for the study of Igbo music and African studies in general. It is surely going to add fresh insights to the existing materials in the area. The importance of the research is further seen in the fact that it builds on the work of great scholars who have provided the needed leap for the objective expressed in the research. It will ensure the survival of this traditional genre along with all the allied disciplines in the humanities both for the contemporary need of scholarship in Africa and the globalizing world in general.

The Idea of Value in National Development

In projecting a philosophy of national development, a homocentric re-definition of development is imperative. But a lot of what has come into the definition, methodology; content will depend on the positions which the constituting elements will occupy in the Nigerian man’s scale of value. Just as the development orientation of the west has been shown to be guided entirely by economic ease, profit and scientific advancement which ordinarily should be means but raised to the status of ends, so should the development orientation of Nigeria be guided by an overall consideration for the needs of man based on the culturally and historically-founded philosophy of value.

The study of values is called axiology and it is a branch of cultural anthropology. Value is the worth of anything. It is distinguished in its main forms by philosophers. The intrinsic form of value is regarded as the basic form on which others in here. It concerns the source of value as well as the concepts of “fittingness” and “appropriateness” especially in relation to emotions or desires. An instrumental value is such, if and only if it becomes means or it causally contributes to another thing that is intrinsically valuable. “A thing has inherent value if and only if the experience, awareness and contemplation of the thing is intrinsically valuable”. Another form of value is contributory value which a thing has if as a part of a whole, it contributes to the value of the whole. The last form of value is called relational value. “A thing has a relational value if and only if it has value in virtue of bearing some relation to something else”. In simple terms, the attachment of a degree of sanctity and respect to life, family, customs and traditions, religion and the gods, man and his well-being, the spiritual and the physiological needs of man speak volumes on the nature of a people’s values. Our adaptation or adoption or even creation of a development philosophy has to give pride of place to the values of man for whom development becomes a meaningful project and outside whom it assumes the status of an uncritically-accepted but threat-laden entertainment in the attempt to satisfy the insatiable appetite and curiosity of man.

Only value-based development philosophy rooted in national history and culture can restore to Nigeria the self-esteem and confidence lost through five unholy centuries of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and now globalization. Mbefo is of the opinion that this restoration of self-esteem and self-confidence is a challenge from which we cannot shy away. He says:

                perhaps the greatest challenge for the future of the African is the building up of self-esteem and self-confidence for Africans. The result of European activity in Africa can be negatively thematized as the erosion of Africans’ self-confidence. Positively it is the introduction of African into the wider human community.

Nigerians will further debase their humanity by thinking that the West will be in the forefront of responding to this challenge; worse still what remains of our fragmented personalities and dissociated bonds of solidarity stand the danger of being completely eroded if we are expecting an African problem to become European or American burden albeit, miraculously. Mbefo has stated is as it really is, thus:

                only the Africans themselves can rise to this challenge by assuming the responsibility imposed by their knowledge of their past… that have gone into their making. By working to integrate these influences creatively and fruitfully, they would be poised to reshape the destiny of Africans and their continent in a way that lends balance and stability to the current experience of chaos and disarray. One may support that such a reconstruction of the African project must exploit the metaphysical vision that has always been associated with Africans.

Only the realization of such metaphysical vision can give resilience to the values on which our development philosophy rests. Outside this metaphysical foundation, there are no values; there is no man, there is no development.

In most Nigerian cultures, values exist. A long list of values will definitely include life, religion, education, customs, family, marriage, children, long life, traditional birth and burial rites. The exclusive attention to formal education has greatly undermined the importance of informal and non-formal education in Nigeria. Yet, the grounds covered by informal and non-formal education are hardly taken care of in formal education systems.


The Objectives of a Music Department

                According to the departmental handbook for degree programme in Music at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, the following primary objectives are given:

  1. To provide students with adequate knowledge, skills and understanding of Music and related functional disciplines.
  2. To prepare students as profe4ssional Music teachers for the country’s educational system.
  3. To produce high caliber music graduates who can pursue further studies in Music.
  4. To prepare students for varied music positions in private and public agencies of our present era of high technology and computerization. Such agencies include the Advertising Agency, the Radio and Television Houses, the Recording Houses, the Media Houses Cinema , Film, Archives and Cultural Divisions, Police , Army and \Air Force Bands, Mosques and Churches

The courses offered in the programme are codified as follows.

* Acoustic and Music Technology (Western music)

* Music Rudiments and Theory, Orchestration,` Harmony and Counter point.(Western music)

* History, Form Style and Literature of Western Music

* Ethnomusicology, African, Nigerian regional; Culture theoretical studies

* Practical musicianship of western, African, and other World Cultures

* Specialization- stress area/elective courses. The following course outlines are taught:

Here, we have course codes, course titles and the credit values.

Year One First Semester

                Mus. 100                               Studies in Musical Acoustics I                          2

          Mus 110                                Rudiments of Music                                                           2

                Mus. 112                               Musicianship Studies I                                       2

  Mus. 130                               African Music Studies I                                      2

  Mus. 142                               Individual Performance Studies                       2

  Mus. 144                               Ensemble Studies I                                                              2


Year one Second Semester

                Mus. 101                               Studies in Musical Acoustics II                         2

                Mus 111                                Tonal Harmony I                                                                2

                Mus. 113                               Musicianship Studies II                                      2

                Mus. 121                               Music History:

                                                          Late Medieval to Late Middle Ages                                2

                Mus. 131                               African Music Studies II                                    2

                Mus. 143                               Individual Performance Studies II                   2

                Mus. 144                               Ensemble Studies II                                                            2

Year two First Semester

Mus. 210                               Tonal Harmony II                                                              2

Mus. 212                               Musicianship Studies II                                      2

Mus. 220                               Music History:

                                                          The Renaissance Period (1400-1600)                             2

Mus. 230                               African Music Studies III                                  2

Mus. 240                               Keyboard Studies I                                                             2

Mus. 242                               Individual Performance Studies II   I              2             

Mus. 244                               Ensemble Studies II            I                                              2


Year Two Second Semester

Mus. 211                               Tonal Harmony III                                                             2

Mus. 213                               Musicianship Studies IV                                    2

Mus. 221                               Music History:

                                                          The Baroque period (1600-1750)                    2

Mus. 231                               African Music Studies IV                                   2

Mus. 241                               Keyboard Studies II                                                            2

Mus. 243                               Individual Performance Studies IV                 2             

Mus. 245                               Ensemble Studies IV                                                           2

Year three First Semester

Mus. 310                               Counterpoint, fugue and Further Harmony I                2                             

        Mus. 314                               Musicianship Studies V                                      2

Mus. 320                 Music History:

                                                  The Classical Period (1750-1800)                    2

Mus. 230                 African Music Studies V                                    2

Mus. 232                 Music of other world Cultures                           2

Mus. 340                 Keyboard Studies III                                                          2

Mus. 342                 Individual Performance Studies       V             2             

                Mus. 344                               Ensemble Studies IV                                                           2

Mus. 360                 Choral Studies and Conducting I                     2

Mus. 362                 Research Methods and Procedures I                               2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Year Three Second Semester           


Mus. 311                               Counterpoint, fugue and Further Harmony II               2                             

        Mus. 315                               Musicianship Studies VI                                    2

Mus. 321                 Music History:

                                                  The Classical Period (1800-1900)                    2

Mus. 331                 African Music Studies VI                                   2

Mus. 341                 Keyboard Studies IV                                                          2

Mus. 343                 Individual Performance Studies       V             2             

Mus. 345                 Ensemble Studies VI                                                           2

Mus. 361                 Choral Studies and Conducting II                   2

Mus. 363                 Research Methods and Procedures II                             2


Year Four First Semester

             Mus 400          Introdiction to Music Technology                             2                                               

    Mus. 410               Counterpoint, fugue and Further Harmony II               2                             

    Mus. 420               List of Mus. Postroom                                                        2

    Mus. 430               African Music Advanced Topics I                                   2

    Mus. 442               Individual Performance Studies VII                                                2             

    Mus. 444               Ensemble Studies VII                                                                         2

                Mus. 462               Choral Studies and Conducting III                                  2

    Mus. 466               School Music Methods I                                                    2             

                Mus. 450               Stress Area Studies II                                                                          2


Year Four Second Semester                                                                                                             

Mus.  411              Fugue and Further Harmony IV                                       2                             

    Mus. 431               African Music Advanced Topics II                                 2

    Mus. 443               Individual Performance Studies VIII                                              2

    Mus. 445               Ensemble Studies VIII                                                       2

    Mus. 463               Choral Studies and Conducting IV                                  2

    Mus. 467               School Music Methods II                                                  2             

                Mus. 450               Stress Area Studies II                                                                          4                                                                                                                             


Apart from the African music offered at every level, there is no other thing that takes care of say Igbo music. Or do the Igbo not have music? Can Igbo music not be studied formally as Western music is? Unless such questions begin to receive answers, all the talk about African values and philosophy and culture will simply amount to shooting breeze.


Autonomy as Value

Autonomy evokes the ideas of self-determination, self government, and political independence. It seems evident that that colonization of African nations was a total phenomenon because even after half a century of independence, the decolonization of the slave mentality is still a heavy yoke. This is seen in the reluctance, unwillingness and outright lethargy on the part of administrators and policy makers to change things that no longer work. In ethics, autonomy stands for the right and freedom of a person to decide the moral grounds of operation. This certainly sounds like ethical relativism. But this is anchored not on the craving for license but on the compelling force of the will to obey moral commands for what they are.


In the Nigeria of today where lip-service is paid to the unity and oneness of the many tribes, the attempt to teach and advance the course of indigenous languages like Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba is frowned at but only on paper. The truth is that of the three, only Igbo language is still trailing behind others in rapid use and functionality. But as long as these remain outside the official teaching language, the   literary, linguistic, and poetic advancement of these remain in the doldrums.




Recommendation and Conclusion

For Igbo music studies to advance in Nigeria, there is need to improve both the study of Igbo language and music. This step requires a giant stride and policy statement which will provide for the freedom of schools where the official language of study is Igbo. This type of school cannot run without a broadmindedness of the policy makers if indeed the arts and humanities will benefit immensely from the rich potentials of such autonomous subjects as Igbo, Igbo music. This, to many, is a core value which holds the key to other values. The argument that the world has transformed into a globalized village and that the Igbo as a people and as language have no future in that global family, is pure sophistry.




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Igbo Philosophy of Life: Antidote to Culture of Death And Catalyst for Promoting Peaceful Co-Existence in Nigeria


Aghamelu, Fidelis Chuka (Ph.D)

Department of Philosophy

Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria,

E-mail: helen.fidelis@yahoo.com/aghamelufidelis@gmail.com

Phone: 08160559569



In recent times, there has been increase in the rate at which incessant violence in the form of terrorism, community clashes, armed banditry, herdsmen menace, Bokoharam insurgency as well as suicide bombing has become a common phenomenon in the world and Nigeria in Particular. These incidences of violence have resulted in wanton loss of human lives.  It thus brings the question, what is the worth of human life? Based on this rate of killings and deaths arising from terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria where the state seem to be powerless in protecting the value of life within its pluralist society. This appears to show that life seems to be worthless. This thus demands the need for a philosophy that presents life as valuable and capable of vitalizing the socio-political sphere. This paper argues that the Igbo philosophy of life advances the sacrosantity of life as sacred and divine. They see those who trample on human life as babarians who have wronged the divine majesty-“Chukwu” (God) and have desecrated the purity of humanity. It is therefore, on this Igbo philosophy of life that this paper proposes a perspective for peaceful co-existence in the world and Nigeria in particular.



The impunity in the loss of human lives resulting from activities of terrorist organizations like Bokoharam in Nigeria, ISSIS in Libya, Iraq and in other Arab countries including Africa, Alshabab in East Africa, Al-Queda in countries like Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq with splinter groups in all other countries has never been seen before as it is witnessed in the present world other. The loss of lives is also propelled by the barrage of western sponsored wars going on in countries like Libya and Syria as well as the ill mannered war going on in Yemen. The loss of human lives in high number has become so common that everyday there is always a report in the foreign and local media (print, social media and the TVs and radio) in Nigeria of people dying in their numbers as a result of one form of violence or the other.

The number of death recorded in Nigeria in 2018 alone leaves nothing to be desired. This Day live reported that the United States Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Nigeria has recorded at least 19,890 deaths since June 2015. In the same vein, the Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) disclosed that Fulani militias killed 1,061 people in about 106 attacks on communities in North central Nigeria in the first quarter of 2018.  These numbers brings to mind the question what is the value of life? For the Nigerian government, the answer to that question seems to be life is worthless. This assertion is based on the supposed body language of the Nigeria government to the killings and maiming which has been associated with the Fulani herdsman. The number of people killed from unprovoked attacks under the present government is incomparable even in the civil war era. There is need for a re-evaluation of our traditional believes as African and Nigeria which juxtaposes the essence and value of life above material values and needs. The Igbo conception of life is an important focal point for promoting the dignity and value of life as a basis for maintaining peace in Nigeria and the world over.  The paper would explore the value of life as it is reflected in the Igbo tradition and explicates the need for leaders and members of the Nigerian society to inculcate these values in their daily lives and interactions.

Conceptualizing the Igbo

Determining the nature and origin of the Igbo is a matter so complex that it has sparked political, religious and social debates among scholars and religious leaders. This is evident in the view of Oguejiofor who states that “the term Igbo has shown itself to be rather chameleonic, changing its meaning according to time and political climate.”1 In the same vein, Nwafor is of the opinion that;

“The product of this complexity on the trace of the origin of the Igbo led unsurprisingly to the various versions of the origin of the Igbo. While some Igbo traced their origin to Israel, others did theirs to Benin and yet some others connect it with Sudan. The situation simply suggests that the Igbo probably do not have the same root or origin.”2 It is clear from all these views that the Igbo clearly do not have a particular origin from which they all came from. This is why Edeh opined that “from oral tradition, the natives who are positive about the claim of outside origin do so on the basis of their own particular kinship, not that of the entire Igbo people.”3

Despite these complexities in determining the Igbo root, however, there is one popular claim, which is that the Igbo migrated from Hebrew and descendants of Eri the Son of Jacob who migrated to Egypt down to Igala and then settling in Nri. This group of people speak the Igbo language and are largely independently minded, hardworking, enterprising and adventuorous persons. In the present day Nigeria, the States with a vast majority of the Igbo population are Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi and Delta States. 

The Igbo are very religious people who believe in a transcedent higher power (Chi) who is the maker of the universe and in control of the working of the world. This is anchored on a belief that whatever action taken during the course of life will be accounted for in the after life. In support of this view Oguejiofor averres that “there is no doubt about the existence of an after life which is a replica of life on earth.”4 This implies, the need for one to be forthright in his/her dealings and upholding good virtues that are devoid of sacrilages like taking human life. This is termed “alu” in Igboland and it in most cases results in making enormous sacrifices to appease the almighty God. This paper will in the subsequent discuss the conception of life by the Igbo with a view to re-emphasizing the need to extol the value of human life in our nation Nigerian and with a view to promoting peaceful co-existence that is devoid of violence and unwanton killings in the polity.

Igbo Concept of Life

Making clear meaning of the concept of life among the Igbo is a complex task. This is because of the nature and complexities in which the Igbo view life through its value and care for life. Anuolam clearly explained the rigours and challenges faced in making meaning of the concept of life when he states that;

“Life is a whole, an entity, a compendium, a mystery, and an encyclopedia of its own. In a sense, it is the principle or the source of those activities associated with growth, nutrition, reproduction, breathing, thought, and so forth. It is manifested through some forms of activities. Life is a continuum, such that we are dead, living, existing, or moribund. But there are varieties of ways of living our life. It is within these varieties, that we stamp ‘self, destroy or better it. That life is more than mere ideas is certain. The words to convey certain ideas, concepts, as we pointed out earlier, are perfectly inadequate. This stares at us when we run into discussing things like the concept and value of life and especially among the Igbo.”5


The Igbo are of the belief that death is an inevitable end that awaits every man on earth. That is why death in most Igbo societies is seen as something tragic. However, the Igbo conceive death as a departure but not a complete extinction of a person. To them when someone dies they go to the great beyond to meet with their ancestors.  In his view of the concept of life, Njoku postulates that “firstly, God is the originator of life, the creator of man, the universe and the sustainer of creation, secondly; the ancestors play an important role in the communal life. They are not cut off from the living, for they may still reveal themselves in dreams or appear to their living relatives to guide or correct them, Thirdly, life is a communal affair. It involves a relationship and communion between man, God, ancestors, divinities, other men and the land. This relationship must be based on certain rules and regulations for it to succeed.”6 It essentially goes to show that life according to the Igbo is regarded as something sacred. Religion is the guiding influence on the way in which the Igbo relate with others and the way they conduct themselves in the society. Reverence for the almighty and the expectation of answering to the ancestors after life shapes the way life is valued.

The value system of the Igbo according to Okolo are anchored on the belief system and mostly determined by his relationship to Chukwu, the gods, ancestors and to nature6. This is because values and beliefs are often linked in shared cognitive and moral system, in terms of consistency or compatibility. Hence to understand a particular value, it has to be investigated in the context of this system of ideas if its natural significance is to be understood and appreciated as well. However, apart from the values of their belief system, the Igbo have other values which they live out in their daily life, which are also the rock foundation on which the Igbo society is built. Among such values includes love for children and family. The foremost characteristics which goes to show the value placed on life by the Igbo is in their names. Just like the Hebrew’s from where they descendended from, the Igbo place an enormous amount of value in their names. This view was reverbrated by Anuolam who states that “to ‘own’ or know one’s name amounts to getting hold of his personality, self and mentality. This mentality, we notice among the Hebrews.”7


Respect for Life in Igbo Society

For the Igbo names always have meaning and are most often symbolic when referring to life. They reveal sentiments, aspirations, hopes, fortunes, misfortunes and values. They are accurate records of the peoples beliefs, moral concepts and way of life, wishes and aspirations. Names are not just tags. This view was espoused by Wieschhoff who opines that:

“Names are not merely considered as tags by means of which individuals may be distinguished but are intimately associated with various events in the life of the individual as well as those of the family.”8

The Igbo give their children names according to the circumstance, be it social, religious, political and so forth, that is connected with the birth. In this way emotions and minds are expressed, this idea Leonard beautifully expressed thus:

To every name itself is attached a significance of expression and an intensity of human emotion… and not only is this attachment of living personal memory but it is a record of persons and events that have been associated and connected with it… the state of the parents or of the family affairs when it is born or a remarkable event in the town.9

Anuolam reviewed some names showing love of life among the Igbo’s

Onwubiko: Death please! It is a kind of prayer and ‘request’ to                                death to spare life. For a family that has sadly witnessed the          death of a number of her children, such a name is normal         for any subsequent child. It demonstrates also a kind of                 disgust over the ‘painful’ effect of death.

Ozoemena: May it not happen again. It has almost the same implications as Onwubiko; a prayer that death may not            strike again   because life is preferred to death.

Onwudiwe: Death is wicked, heartless. If death is so, life was                   therefore  seen as kind, good, lovable and to be desired.

Onwukwe: If death permits, and one lives, he can achieve his life’s         desire. It show a kind of despair over death and a desire for      life.10

The Igbo see life as a thing to be held dearly and death as a calamity. This is resonant in the belief that God is the giver of life.  Hence they have such names as: Chinenyendu —God gives life. God is seen as the source and giver of life; Chinwendu (God owns life) and not man; ChikwenduIf God permits life, we shall live and achieve our desires; Ndudinakachi life is in the hand of God and never in man’s or wealth. These names clearly reveal the importance of names to the Igbo, because names are clear indication that the Igbo value of life does not depend nor drive from the quality, or on circumstance, or on what one has accumulated, his position of power or position in the society, but on the fact that life is primary and above all, a gift from God- Chukwu/Chi. This is why everyone tries to live a life in fulfilment of his name. The traditional names are pace-setter for the bearer, a code of conduct for him —Ihe akporo onye k’ohu— what one is called, is what he is.11

                Life for the Igbo has an absolute value, hence it is respected and cherished as it is demonstrated in their respect for old age and Omenala —the moral power house of Igbo society. Ogbalu opines that Igbo regard age as sacred, a by-product of their theocentrism and humanism 12. The order of seniority in age determines the procedure of doing many things in Igbo society. This is evident in taking of shares popularly known as “iwe oke”.  The elder takes a share before the junior; in no circumstance will the junior take a share before the elder unless he is told to do so by the elder. The elders are seen not only as representatives of the ancestors but also as the symbol of solidarity and promoters of inherited values. Hence a child must respect and show signs of respect to all his elders, his parents and all who are older than him, in all forms and circumstances.The elders are supposed to be nearer to the spirits and ancestors on account of their age and wisdom13 . They are symbolic presence of God and ancestors14. The elders on their own part, were always conscious of their position in the community as repository of communal wisdom and values, and therefore maintained some decorum in whatever they said and did, using their practical experiences acquired not through academic knowledge but by long and judicious association with nature and individuals. The Igbo has tremendious value and respect for life. For them, life as the greatest gift from God must be transmitted to sustain its continuity. Hence they take as much steps as possible to care for it and protect it from the moment of conception, through prohibitions, prescriptions, and rituals. However, there are acts that could militate against the proper development and fulfillment of this life, both of the individual and as well as on the community.


Offences against Life in the Igbo Traditional Society

                The traditional Igbo society is one which is governed by rules, regulations and customs. These rules, regulation and customs are the guiding principles which determine the way things are done in the community; this is the Omenala (that is the moral powerhouse or moral code) which defines various kinds of social relations and behaviours approved by the community as contributing towards harmony. The Igbo society is one which is closely knit in terms of blood relationships.

The Omenala is used in providing sanctions against characters viewed as dangerous by the community. The Omenala is also used to ensure peace and order in the community. The Omenala is the overiding law of the community and any breach of the Omenala is considered a sacrilege (Aru), for it is an act of destruction to the accepted order and peace. This is punished by the corporate society of both the living and the ancestors. This is because the Igbo community does not only subsist on the collective solidarity of the people living who share common customs, beliefs and identical world view, and who are linked by blood relationship but also on the ‘living dead members’ of the community —ancestors15.

                Among all the human rights, the right to life is the most fundamental, for there can be no further rights or duties unless there is someone living, someone there to have them. Just as the Igbo say, Ndu bu isi —life is primary, life is first. Life is a natural right to man. This cannot be doubted. It is self evident. My very nature as a person demands that I have the right to life, for I can do nothing without life. This the Igbo understood perfectly as this name Ndukwe —if life permits, suggests16.



Suicide is said to be the direct killing of one’s self on his own authority. That is to say, the taking of one’s life; the human act of self-inflicted, self-intentioned cessation. Hence, as a human act, it embraces a multitude of underlying motivational states, both conscious and unconscious and is influenced by multiple factors, no one of which can be regarded exclusively as the basic cause. However, above everything else, suicide must be willed and voluntary. It must be at least a premeditated act. Because the Igbo believe that God ‘owns’ life, —chinwendu, and that it is a gift from Him to man-Onyinyechi, nobody is allowed to dispose of his own life on his own authority17. No reason justifies it; whether directly or indirectly. It is not only regarded as an act of cowardice and the refusal to face life courageously, but also a means of arrogating to one’s self the power that belongs to God alone. It is a great Aru and a great pollution of the land, which must invite the wrath of Ala, the ancestors, and the community as a whole.

                It is a traditional practice, to refuse a worthy burial to anyone who commits suicide in Igbo land. The deceased is usually thrown to Ajoo ohia —evil forest and his body never allowed to touch the earth. He is not only refused by the community, but also by the mother earth, which he has polluted by his act.  According to Esomonu, it is the desire of every Igbo man to be accorded an honourable burial when he dies. One of the greatest misfortunes and evils that can befall a man or a family member is to be denied a ground burial because of suicide or any other evil deed-Aru. Suicide is so abominable and treated with the greatest ignominy among the Igbo, so much so, that if one kills himself by hanging, no member of the community can bring the body down18.

This is enunciated by the views of Aquinas who stated that “For anyone to kill himself is to go against his natural inclination and that charity whereby everyone is bound to love himself. Therefore self killing is a mortal sin being against the natural law and against charity”19. In every sense it is completely wrong to kill oneself, at least for the natural love everything has for itself and the natural tendency or instinct of self-preservation.



Murder in most cases is a product of human malice or passion. Thus murder is a wicked and inhuman act. And because the Igbo regard life as sacred, worthy of all respects, all cares, and protection, murder is seen as an intrinsic evil act. It is an abomination and hence it is included in the major prohibitions of Omenala called Nso ala. Murder according to the Igbo could be plain murder or accidental in nature. For the Igbo, Murder if committed accidentally or wilfully are all abominations that needs to be atoned for. They are all Aru —abomination, nso ala, and like all other crimes against the earth spirit —Ala, all offenders must be punished. No murderer ever escaped punishment20. Murder is a grave injustice for the Igbo; not only to the innocent victim, but also to the community that has ‘given in all’ to care for and protect the life; a serious offense against the earth spirit —Ala, who is the custodian of public morality in conjunction with the ancestors.  The theme of justice is central in Igbo morality. It is one of the main pillars of Igbo morality and regulates the relationship between man and man.

The gravity of punishment for murder among the Igbo depends on the kind of murder, whether it is a wilful murder or an inadvertent murder. However, one punishment stands out basic and can never be dispensed from, or compromised with; —i.e. the purificatory rites to cleanse the land polluted by the shedding of another’s blood through murder, so as to ward-off the wrath of the earth spirit and that of the ancestor. Because murder was in all cases an offense against the earth spirit —Ala, it was the duty of the whole community to take reprisal on behalf of Ala as her messengers21. If the clan did not exact punishment for an offense against the great goddess, her wrath was loosed on all the land and not just on the offender.

As the elders said; if one finger brought oil it soiled the others. Hence the land must be cleansed as in the case of Okonkwo. They were merely cleansing the land which Okonkwo had polluted with the blood of a clansman22. However, in the case of a premeditated murder, the offender automatically forfeits his right to live. He is killed or allowed a little time to hang himself. Esomonu remarked that should he

delay action, he was prompted to do so by having a suitable rope handed to him23. There were no questions of compromise on this. It was very clear to the Igbo traditional society.


Igbo Philosophy of Life and Peaceful Co-existence in Nigeria

The Nigerian society being a pluralist society is one that is faced with many challenges some of which results in misunderstanding and misconceptions among leaders and followers of the divergent ethnicities and religions. However, this misunderstanding should not always end in violence and the lose of human lives. This is because Life as we have seen is sacred and it is something which no man has the power to take at will or at the slightest provocation. It beholds the leaders (political and community) to take a cue from the way of life of the Igbo by insisting on having a fear of God and strong community tie where the family heads are respected and issues related to members of the families are discussed at the family level and decisions relating to such matters are made by the umunna-members of the family.

It is very necessary that the youths are made aware of the presence of a higher being which the Igbo call Chi (God). Our Chi is the divine master of our fate and who should be reverenced by the way we live our lives. I am of the opinion that it is the moral decay in the society and the lack of connection between man and God and abuse of religion that has increased the senseless murders and wantom killings experienced in Nigeria in recent time. It is therefore important that the youths are made to realize that at the end of our journey on earth, we shall be answerable for the things we have done. If this is reverbrated in the communities and the religious centres, most individuals will come to terms with the need for them to be in tune with their God, hence they will shun violence.

                The above brings to mind the necessity for emphasis on respect among youths in our communities. It is a well known cliché that charity begins at home. This thus highlights the importance of the home to every good or bad thing that is manifested in the community. The family heads; mothers and fathers need to realize that their responsibility to their children is much more than just making sure that they are provided with daily meals and clothes. There is need to teach respect for elders. When respect is ingrained in the young ones, they are then open to advice and will consciously do as they are told. This is very necessary judging from the incidences of violence involving youths in the just concluded 2019 general elections. It brings to mind the question; what homes did they come from? This goes to show that there is a lack of family values; this has reverbrated through the Nigerian Society, where there are high incidences of youths joining terrorist organizations like Bokoharam, increase in cult activities and high cases of youth involvement in political thugery.  It is high time that the elders in the community stood up to their duties and responsibilities in their communities by instilling discipline among the younger ones by making them realize that they have a duty not only to themselves as individuals but to their community and Nigeria in general to maintain peaceful conducts.

                Furthermore, it is also essential to note that suicide as espoused not just in the Igbo traditional society as well as in other society in Nigeria is detestful and an abomination. Suicide in recent years is one of the evil tacts of causing mayhem by the terrorist group Bokoharam or Islamic State of West Africa. This abomination should continously be preached against by religious leaders as well as community leaders. This is because life is sacred and no one posess the power to take his or her own life. Religious leaders in the community should continously make it clear that any one who commits suicide has soiled themselves and have committed an abomination. If conscious efforts are put in place to disuade people in the rural communities especially in the Northern part of Nigeria on the ill of committing suicidede, the tendency to join the terrorist group will be reduced because life is so priceless that it should be wasted.

Just like suicide, murder is a terrible crime which pervades the Nigerian society. Everyday news of people killed in great numbers is shared on social media platform and sometimes in the mainstream news media. This brings to question, where is our humanity? Is it that the individual life worth nothing anymore? For me, it all boils down to the moral decay that has taken over the society we find ourselves. Murder is not seen as an abomination; the perpetrators have all found excuses to justify their heinous act. It is saddening to note that the agencies of government who should be the protectors of human life are the “harbingers of death” in some of the violent situations in Nigeria. A case in point is the murder of innocent citizens by the Nigerian Military in the 2019 presidential election as well as the governorship election in Rivers State. A situation where a disagreement between brothers ends in death is so sad and should be clearly and completely termed what it is- which is an abomination. This calls for a serious commitment on the part of government to bring to justice perpetrators of acts of violence in Nigeria. Sadly, this has not been the case, thus the high rate of killings in the country. It is imperative that perpatrators of killings and violence should be given the desired punishment which is suitable to the crimes which they have committed. It will not only serve as punishment for crimes, it will also serve as deterent to others.



Peace is central to happiness and community inter-relationship. To maintain peace in a community it is important that members of the community live in harmony where there is reverence for God and respect for life. It is important that as individuals, people are made to soberly reflect the reasons for their actions and to ask them selves if their actions are pleasing to God. Reverence for God according to the Igbo is an important aspect of ones life that sets the foundation for value of life. A man who knows that his Chi (God) does not support killing and maiming of is fellow man will not go on a killing spree. In another vein, respect for life is an important factor that will help promote peaceful co-existence in the communities. When the youth are adequately trained to respect life, they are more peaceful and would listen to advice and learn from the experiences being shared by the elder. The mutual respect shared between men will help to foster peace in any community, like the saying goes, respect is reciprocal. When respect is given, it is taken in return thus fostering cooperation.

In order to shun the acts of violence, the religious leaders have an important role to play in making the young ones realize that sucide and murder are abominations that should utterly and completely be condemned by all. Suicide should be condemned by all and individuals should be discouraged from engaging in such acts because it is a sacrilege. Also, there is need for serious attention to be given to issues that relates to the issue or prosecution of perpetrators of murders. Murderers should not be let to go unpurnished because, the act of murder is an abomination and the perpetrators must be held accountable for the crime he or she has committed.




                Based on the forgoing the author recommends as follows:

  1. Advocating for individual’s relationship with God. When man respects God, he sees God as the Giver of life, so he will see life as sacred and would not harm him/herself or another. The religious leaders have a huge role to play in order to ensure that the relationship between God and man is rekindled.
  2. Spreading The Message of Respect Among Youths in the Community: A community whose foundation is built on respect stands the test of conflict. When respect is promoted, tolerance comes to stay. The elders in the community should be the beacon of light that directs the path of the younger ones on the things that are expected of them by the society.
  3. Increasing Awareness against the act of suicide in the Communities: The National Orientation Agency as well as religious and community leaders should continually teache and preach against the act of suicide at every given opportunity.
  4. Sincerely Punishing perpetrators of Violence: The Federal Government of Nigeria or its implementating agencies must demonstrate sincereity in metting out appropriate punishment for offenders. The practice of providing selective justice based on tribal or religious sentiments will only worsen the current situation.
  5. Legislating against Hate: The Federal Government of Nigeria should take a step further by putting in place legislation that will criminalize the incitement to hatred by ethnic, political and religious organizations or individual(s) in the country. This should be followed by strict implementation of such legislation when it becomes law.




  1. Oguejiofor, J.O. The Influence of Igbo Traditional Religion on the Socio-Political Character of the Igbo, (Nsukka: Fulladu Pub. Company, 1996), p.7
  2. 7.
  3. 7.
  4. Oguejiofor, J.O. “Eschatology, Immortality and Igbo Philosophy of Life” In Bigard Theological Studies, Vol.16 (1996), p.24
  5. Anoulam, C.U. Igbo Value and Care For Life, Excerpt of Dissertation, Theology University, Navarrensis
  6. Оkolo, В. C , (ed), Igbo church and Guest for God, Pacific College Press

Ltd., Obosi-Nigeria, p. 45.

  1. 317.
  2. Wleschhoff, , The Social Significance of Names among the Ibo of

Nigeria in American Anthropologist 40 (1941) 212-222.

  1. Leonard, A. G., The lower Niger and its Tries, Macmillan Press, London, 548.
  2. Anoulam, C.U. Igbo Value and Care For Life, op. cit., 319.
  3. 320.
  4. Ogbalu, F. C, Igbo Etiquette, Nigeria, University Press, n. d. 20.
  5. 21.
  6. Esomonu, L., Respect For Human-life in Igbo Religion and Morality,

Tipografica «Liberit», Roma, 1981, p. 141.

  1. Esomonu, L., Respect for Human Life, cit., p. 182.
  2. Anoulam, C.U. Igbo Value and Care For Life, op. cit., 337.
  3. 337.
  4. Esomonu, L., op. cit., p. 195.
  5. Aqinas, T. Summa Theologiae, 2* 2a e , 64, 2.
  6. Anoulam, C.U. Igbo Value and Care For Life, op. cit., 340.
  7. Basden, G. T., Niger Ibos, Frank Cass & Co., London 1966, p. 239.
  8. Achebe, C, Things Fall Apart, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., Ibadan, 1958., p. 89.
  9. Esomonu, L., op. cit., p. 198.

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