All Ab●ut

Our group currently stands at about 211 members and their 'posting' activity can be glimpsed at
View Activity Logs in abstraction here .
Another abstraction,  Viz .

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Project Preface
A launch-pad  Letter / Essay.

Over the course of a short while now, I have become conversant with a few written articles and opinions expressed both online and off it, that Igbo language is in a moribund state and is likely to go out of fashion as more and more Igbos, cease either to speak it or write in it.

These arguments are a bit disingenuous, because our language has never had any massive amounts of writing or studying done in it, ever before. If anything, far from being in a state akin to dying, Igbos (Ibos) and Igbo language speakers are aware of swelling cusps of passion forming in their hearts and at the forefronts of their intellectual strivings and aspirations. Passion which finds them, seeking to extend the reach, power, influence and ultimately, the beauty of their language, both within their immediate cultural environments as well as outside those boundaries.

One need which is expressed time and again by those Igbo speakers in Diaspora at least, is a desire to see the language taken up by their offspring, children and family, especially by those children born to them outside of South Eastern Nigeria (Old Biafra, another disingenuous argument) – the main place where this language is spoken. Because Igbo is not usually the main medium by which many Igbos (Ibos) express themselves, imbibe culture or carry-on their intellectual lives, this by itself is no easy task.

I have elsewhere described this state of affairs as a kind of ferment which earmarks this time as a time of unbridled opportunity and creativity for speakers of this language and for those who want to see increasing use of its nuances and meanings in daily life, among their immediate contacts and family at least.

It is in this spirit that I am thinking of the many poems and proverbs I heard growing up under the tutelage of my Dad and the sharp chastising tongue of my mum; the clarion cat calls of my playmates on the shady yards and streets of Enugu State and the idioms of my seniors at secondary school. I bemoan not having more company of the poignancy of all their Igbo language expressions influencing my present life and motions as I expire in this self-forced exile, living in the U.K.

Therefore I am thinking to gather again a lot of what I think I am in danger of loosing and to cast some weak light on this situation by pointing the way for more inspired minds and greater intellects to address themselves to these challenges. One way of doing this was to try to do it in a formalised, organised way and to make it a collaboration with others who might want more or less, the same things.

There is of course something suspicious in writing about the Igbo language in English and this perhaps deserves some explanation. But, in writing in English a little, we are owning that this is also an attempt at communication, conversation and correspondence with that other language (let’s leave it nameless, shall we?) always in the ascendancy;  and to softly challenge notions and questions of literacy, creativity and sophistication which dog the footsteps of linguists and workers of other languages everywhere.

‘Igbo g’adị’. (Is this good grammar?). This is how my cousin expressed his satisfaction at seeing a project of this sort being undertaken.  ‘Igbo ga-adịgide’. ‘We ain’t going nowhere’, to use the colloquialism of our global {American} neighbors [as this is American spelling].  Really another way of saying, we will be here, speaking and writing in Igbo.

The project tries to succeed at being creative by employing the ‘magic’ of typography.
That glyphs on media can be made to convey so much [meaning] still strikes me as one of the most generic and meaningful inventions that mankind has made and in a significant way, distinguishes us from the beasts.

That we have not made as many glyphs in our ‘lingua franca’ as say, some other cultures and groups is evident. I say ‘lingua franca’ because Igbo is really a family of dialects all succeeding in some way in meeting communication needs between different groups. Variants of Igbo do exist. Any one who has studied our language knows that we are here, addressing the standardisation efforts that other linguists have wrestled with.

What is the proper study of Igbo language? Are there any standardised versions? These are involved questions. It is sometimes by employing type faces and employing glyphs together with the intentions and impressions of the studious hand that historians, poets and scholars have teased at the questions and have traditionally tried to shape answers.

Our project is really only one such interpretation. 1000 proverbs and songs? Really?

Yes. Thanks. Join us.

The Onwu Orthography was used.

a b ch d e f g gb gh gw h  i  ị  j k kp kw l m n ń  nw ny o ọ p r s sh t u ụ v w y z

Robert Kelechi Isiodu. 2011.

Good things can happen when you follow your heart. When you follow your heart and your courage, you make your own luck. So run certain truisms. It's hard to believe that we are at 2013 from when we started in 2011 (roughly 17 months ago). I have learnt a few things since then, made many friends, discovered more water holes for all things Igbo. Dr Moe Ene taught me to always say 'the Igbo' and stop using the redundant 's' after my plural forms. So, 'the Igbo' not 'the Igbos'.

Prof Ụzọma Nwaekpe taught me about manillas being old money and how to tell my 'ajụala's' apart from my 'eke's'. He also showed me about Ụnịghịnị and caused me to ask more precise questions of my parents. My dad, Rev Eugene Isiodu has brought me many old sounding proverbs in his Owere-Mbieri accent and dialect and I am trying to just get to 1000 ... online. I joined a new dictionary project online and things have been breath-takingly good. Just a few examples in a wealth of experience and learning.

I should acknowledge everyone by name, but it is unwieldy. I would like to acknowledge everyone here. Those who have joined the project on Facebook, those who have joined the blog, all my friends - this is only a subtle diary repost (riposte?)/Thank you very much. A person is a person because of other persons or a human is a human because of other humans (ubuntu ngumuntu ngabantu) - surely. Good things. [Kelechi Isiodu] - writing the diary - March 2013.

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