Note of Usage

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Notes on usage

Due to the limitations of most keyboards, do not put dots under strong vowels (ị,ọ,ụ) for the time being. Each entry should however say whether the word is strong or weak. Strong words contain a,ị,ọ or ụ (in standard written Igbo) and weak ones contain e,i,o or u.

Add the tone of a word when it is spoken in isolation or as a subject. This is because Igbo tones (especially for nouns) change in sentences depending on how they are used. For example, nni (food) as a subject or in isolation is 1,1; however, when used as an object as in O na-eri nni (he/she is eating food), it becomes 1,3 or 3,4.

For verbs, where possible use the command (imperative) form because the tone of verbs changes depending on the tense. For example, if you are telling someone to come (bia) the tone for bia would be 6. However, in O bia (he/she came), the tone for bia is 2. In O bia (if he/she comes), the tone for bia is 1.

For people’s names, indicate in the English translation that this is a name and where necessary the gender. Obi for a woman, for example, would usually have the tones 1,6, and is a strong word while Obi for a man can be either 2,1 or 1,2 and is a weak word.

We welcome local dialects. Although there is no clear definition of what a local dialect is, Igbos generally shed aspects of their dialect when speaking in a mixed group of Igbos. If you think a word you have added is not used widely by other Igbos, please indicate the town or local government area and the state where the word originates in the notes box.

For a collaborative website like this there are bound to be errors and disagreements. We are always willing to learn and take correction! Please send any comments and corrections to

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