Tone groups

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Tone groups

One way to master tones in any language is to learn them in groups within words. Words with the same tones sound the same even if their consonants, vowels and meanings are completely different. Below are some common tone groups:

1,1 (or 3,3)
Akwa (cry)
Ofe (soup)
1,1,1 (or 3,3,3)
Akwukwo (school)
Osisi (tree)
1,1,2
Mmadu (person)
Ufele (not easy)
1,1,3 (or 3,3,4)
Obere (a little)
Mmiri (water)
1,2
Akwa (clothes)
Ndu (life)
1,2,1
Nsogbu (trouble)
Asusu (language)
1,2,2
Abani (night)
Nnunu (bird)

2,1
Akwa (egg)
Eze (king)
2,1,1
Amadi (freeborn)
Okoro (young man)
2,1,2
Onugbu (bitter leaf)
Ututu (morning)
2,1,3 (or 4)
Ukpaka (oil bean)
Okwute (stone)
2,2
Igbo (Igbo)
Akwa (bed)
2,2,1
Omume (deeds)
Otito (praise)
2,2,2
Obodo (town)
Itali (cane)
-

And a few more common ones:

1,3 (or 3,4)
Nne (mother)
Agu (leopard)
2,8
ichie (title for an elder)
asaa (seven)
2,7
gbajie (break)
gbajuo (fill up)
1,5,3 (or4)
Osiso (quickly)
Ekwensu (devil)

Another way to appreciate tones is to compare words that differ in only one tone
e.g. Nwanyi (woman, 8,2) and Wawa (of or from Enugu state, 8,3 or 4) and Odogwu (hero, 2,1,1) and Onugbu (bitter leaf, 2,1,2).