Igbo is a Niger-Congo dialect that is widely spoken in Nigeria. About 18 to 25 million Igbo people are in Igboland, a region in Southeast Nigeria. Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria both also recognize Igbo as an official language. 

Igbo comprises numerous dialects, some not always understandable to other Igbo natives. However, in the Southern Delta region, it is spoken in news media communication, including TV and radio.

Therefore, having a basic understanding of the Nigerian languages, including Igbo, is helpful. This is because you’ll be able to communicate more easily outside your immediate area. It also makes it an ideal choice for all language learners. 

Understanding the Basics of Igbo

Based on the study, Standard Igbo has 8 vowels, 30 consonants, and 2 tones in its sound catalogue. There are just two syllable kinds in Igbo: vowel or syllabic nasal and consonant plus vowel, which is the most prevalent. Likewise, there aren’t any syllable-final consonants or consonant groups.

The Igbo language uses 36 different alphabets. While they sound lengthier or are stretched out a bit, more like alphabets, every alphabet is pronounced exactly the way it is when it comes to any phrase as a character.

The letters of the Igbo alphabet match those of the Latin alphabet, although their pronunciation differs. Nonetheless, Latin-based writing and instruction are still used. The Igbo dialect has 8 vowel phonetics, divided into two series according to ascent: high and low. A melody of vowels is achieved in this contrast, similar to the sync that occurs in other group linguistics.

Some of the Igbo greetings and common expressions include:

  • Ǹdéèwō – General greeting
  • Ụ̀tụ́tụ̀ ọ́má/Ị̀sáálá chī – Good morning
  • Èhíhìè ọ́má – Good afternoon
  • Ḿgbèdè ọ́má – Good evening
  • Kà chí fóó – Good night
  • Ǹnọ́ọ̀ – Welcome
  • Ímēēlā/Dàálụ́ – Thank you
  • Ǹdó – Sorry
  • Kà émésíá – Goodbye
  • Éé – Yes
  • Ḿbà – No
  • Bíkō – Please
  • Kèdú kà í mèrè? – How are you/how do you do?
  • Ádị̀ m ḿmā – I am fine

Immersing Yourself in the Language

There are about 30 languages of Igbo, a few of which need to be more understandable to one another. Nevertheless, most variations are lexical and phonetic (Ethnologue). 

The abundance of dialects has hampered the creation of a standardized verbal and written Igbo. Although Owerri and Umuahia-based standard written Igbo has been practised since 1962, people of different languages only sometimes embrace it. Even so, loanwords from several other dialects and phrases from other Igbo languages are intended to be included in Standard Igbo. 

The most effective approach to grasping the tonal pattern of Igbo could be to listen to it uttered. Check online for fluent native speakers if you do not know any. Videos of individuals talking Igbo can be found on platforms like YouTube. You can also listen to Igbo music and other audio resources or watch TV shows and movies to immerse yourself in the dialect fully. 

Alternatively, find a Nigerian or Igbo local group in your area and ask if they know any linguistic resources. After all, the best way to improve your speaking skills is to practice with a native speaker. 

Most importantly, verify the languages being utilized. Ensure you speak the same dialect consistently, regardless of where you listen to music or watch a clip. 

Practical Strategies for Learning

Igbo expresses syntactic connections solely through grammatical structure and avoids making overt case variations on nominal components. The average Igbo phrase uses the subject-verb-object (SVO) tense. The subject is interpreted as either the agent-like (outer) case of a transitive verb or the lone argument of an intransitive verb. As a result, Igbo has accusative consistency.

Compounding is the primary method of word creation in Igbo; for example, ugbo (vehicle) plus igwe (iron) becomes ugwo igwe (locomotive). Repetition is also used in Igbo. Several vocabularies from English and other African dialects have thus been incorporated into the language, such as “operator” for “opareto.”

Overall, incorporating the Igbo language into your daily life is crucial. But, first, you can use the dialect to conduct business among Igbo people. 

Most Igbo people engage in businesses; thus, communicating effectively in Igbo is useful. Moreover, most Northern Nigerian merchants residing in the southeast are fluent in Igbo. This makes it an essential language in everyday living. 

Secondly, the Igbo language verifies your identification. Due to their inability to communicate in or comprehend Igbo, most individuals, particularly the younger generations, have unclear identities.

Youngsters frequently learn about this language when they reach the secondary school level as teenagers. Therefore, it may not be significant in their primary schooling. However, as they move from secondary to higher education institutions and begin interacting with others, they realize how important it is to communicate in their native tongue.

Resources for Learning Igbo

If you are interested in learning the Igbo language, then here are some of the resources to consider;









Up to 18 million citizens of Nigeria speak one of West Africa’s most widespread languages, the Igbo. It is a part of the Niger-Congo dialect family’s Benue-Congo subgroup. Overall, speaking in this dialect comes with a ton of advantages. First, there will be more work opportunities for you. But, on the contrary, you need to understand the Igbo language to qualify for some positions. 

In addition, understanding the virtues of other cultures and interacting with diverse individuals are made possible by learning the Igbo language. As a result, you will have many opportunities to meet new people, experience various lifestyles, and even fit in.

Are you interested in becoming proficient in the Igbo Language? 

If so, Cee Koko’s books and videos provide an excellent language-learning platform for popular African languages and dialects. 

You can obtain your copy of the Igbo Interactive Book by visiting our shop.