P●rtals ♥ Res●urces & Dashb●ard ♥

1 : Languages, Websites, Technologies And Histories :

In the styles of a Japanese Haiku

A resource is a source
to which you have recourse
again you visit. Get it?

A Portal is a door out oe'r the moor
through coves recessed
inner vistas and outer space

A dashboard is this, no Haiku
It ain't Japanese, you see.
It's Igbo of the Ibos.

When we began writing our project and collating our language artifacts, we found various devices useful. Some things were indispensable. We were just as likely to make use of websites as we were of other technologies etc. Like hinted at other places, Igbo language speakers and now writers dwell in historic times - as our technologies and writing begin to catch up to our speaking. The implied 'nowness' about writing is a bit dishonest as many have written and still do write in Igbo - what makes our times particularly auspicious is the ability to add Igbo language diacritics with ease and practically at zero cost.

An Igbo paragraph without diacritics just reads as a bit of  gibberish in another  language.
English language gibberish? .... not. Sorry. Bad Joke. Perhaps comprehensible and predictably intelligible to an Igbo/Ibo man, it still reads as a piece of rubbish to someone else. Diacritics function to distinguish sounds, words and spellings so that the language can be read and represented well.
I find that the addition of diacritics has another function too: it is a kind of signal sent to a non-speaker or writer a bit like : 'Here is a foreign language - get help'.

Compare these brief passages:

Anyi choro imuta ihe banyere asusu Igbo.          
Oburu na ichoro ime nkea, biko  bia                                     
sonyere anyi n'ogbako anyi.                                

Anyị chọrọ imuta ihe banyere asụsụ Igbo.
Oburu na ịchọrọ ime nke a, biko bia
sonyere anyị n'ọgbakọ anyị.

See? The form directly above stands a better chance of provoking the interest and curiosity of a non-speaker.

The ensuing interest in Igbo writing since we began popularizing the method is phenomenal - at Facebook and as well as at other spaces people ask - 'So, how do you get the dot under the o - viz - ọ?'. I usually answer: always use a pen, add a dot. :-). Jocularly of course. The question means how do you do this on a keyboard? The answer is to apply a piece of technology made possible by the implementation of virtual keyboards using provisions supplied by various workers and companies.

Chief among these are Microsoft, Google, Kasahorow, Keyman Desktop. Microsoft has provided free tools to make such constructs, Google works in league with Kasahorow to provide development opportunities for indigenous African languages. Kasahorow is a Ghanaian company I think and therefore interest and documentation of the methods tend to be skewed towards indigenous languages in Ghana: for instance - Twi etc.

Tavultesoft  (producers of Keyman Desktop) is a company that supplies many products for producing languages not well supported by modern operating systems. I used their product before encountering another one which is the subject of the next paragraph. I have reviewed it elsewhere - it succeeds by employing dead keys and I did not find that approach as intuitive as the next one.

Oge Nnadi is the single most helpful influence for/on our methods, having developed his keyboard and source code and posting both freely on his website from which you may download them.
He also leaves ample clues as to what tools he used to perform his inventions. His method is free as opposed to others you might find elsewhere.

His website at http://www.nigeriankeyboardlayout.com must be our number one ( #1) resource. If you are interested in producing Igbo Language writing and characters on your Windows PC, then you really can do no better than heading down there - use the included guides to download and test your methods.

Other webs in this section: www.microsoft.com/typography | www.kasahorow.org | www.tavultesoft.com

2: Website: Discourses on aspects of Igbo language history and development : 

Now you have got your keyboard, but you still don't know how or where to start? One website which we found and have had ready recourse to since is at www.columbia.edu. It might provides directions and leads as to what to start writing about. There are pages included with that web which delve into the history and aspects of Igbo language development.

I doubt that the pages are still being maintained because of a few hints which you are bound to pick up as you visit, but the pages were lovingly compiled by Frances W. Pritchett (non-Igbo, I think, but fondly dubbed Nkiru by her associates).

We have borrowed Nkiru's logic and ideas about our language's development and made use of those ideas here on our pages. You are as likely to find genuine information about the Igbo language as well as free documented speeches and books by a few of our sages. Of particular interest is the set of lectures delivered to and for Odenigbo by Chinue Achebe. 
Nkiru's site is our number Two (#2 ) resource. To visit, click.

3: A Dictionary? You Bet :

Among the tools or resources you need when doing any sort of language work is a dictionary.
Oge Nnadi, has developed one in Igbo Izugbe (which is, union Ibo).
Every now and then you might need to consult this resource to find out about what Igbo words mean. Words like adaka (Gorilla) are not used often in Igbo language, yet Oge thinks everyone should know them. :-)

We have not taken the union Igbo language approach for our projects since I do not believe that the natural way in which a person speaks or writes should be subject to a committee. This I find allows each speaker, writer, contributor, the freedom to focus on thinking in Igbo language - all we ask, is that as much as possible, every one does this according to the proper grammatical rules they have been taught - learned at school or at mum's knee.

The history and development of union or central Igbo is still an emotive subject and you can follow various debates about it online and perhaps add your own ideas.

Nkiru's website (referred to earlier)
contains information and references
to aspects of this debate and it
is also a discussed as a
cognate problem here on the blogsite.
Follow the various schools of thought
using these resources.

As for the Igbo dictionary please visit mkpụrụokwu.org

Another resource which I found that may or may not be helpful is another dictionary for Onitsha Igbo. Users may find its use a bit narrow and parochial, but as it is an Igbo dictionary of a dialect, therefore we deem it, a qualified resource. It is in the public domain already and I am re-serving it from our own hosted spaces. So two dictionaries for the trouble taken, over one. Onitsha Dictionary (Ọnịcha Igbo, Kay Williamson, 1972).

The dictionaries together form our number three (#3) resource.

4: The Macintosh Platform : 
Yeah, what about it? It is possible to post Igbo language phrases from the Mac. The methods referred to so far have dealt with the 'Windowful' case.   For Macs, Kosahorow houses a downloadable Igbo  keyboard which may be installed / used with Ukelele to post Igbo language diacritics from a Macintosh computer.  Among the primary websites pushing Ukelele one finds, the Sil organisation's, where Ukelele is described as a Keyboard Layout Editor for the Macintosh platform and I suppose that in this function it is analogous to a product like Microsoft's Keyboard Layout Creator.
The more intriguing thing is that both tools are free and can be used to experiment 'the length of forever.' Because a majority of our users are on the Windows platform we have documented that method extensively but wonder if it may not be the case that our readers and site users may also want to learn about posting Igbo diacritics using a Mac.

We settled for a half way remedy: we will wait till the clamor goes up before we post a guide explaining how to post Igbo from the Macintosh. Your correspondent is posting this from a Macintosh (Tiger 10.4.11) and uses Igbo frequently on the same system. So if you want to see a thorough guide completed for the mac platform, drop us a line - in an email or as a comment here on the pages.

For the more adventurous, please visit Sil's website. See what the Ukelele can do.
It is our fourth (#4)  resource.

5: Grammar :

Almost as soon as you begin to write in any language, than you will become imbued with a burden to see your writing rendered in the most perfect: spellings, senses, tenses and grammar. And it is not easy enterprise either hence the usual  explanations given for copywriters, proof readers, and others as arbiters of meaning.
Igbo language is no different, there are rules and a right and wrong way of saying things.

In chasing down the various Igbo aspects of correct grammar - the many helpful articles which may be gleaned from Kwenu.com proved salient. I have a favourite piece explaining about the 'uses of na in Igbo Language' prepared by Prof. Ejikeme.  We wrote to the professor for permission to use his material to guide our efforts, but got no replies. If he got our letter, I suppose that he considered that this was on the wider Internet, making it a part of the public domain and therefore needn't to have special permission granted before it is used. Ultimately we figured to make certain adaptations to points in the text and to use this excellent article. View the text here.

Our version of the article which now has diacritics added and some meanings clarified can be viewed or downloaded here.

I find that what proves true for 'Na' is sort of generally true for 'ga' ... will.

So that one has:

Ọ ga na-aga Ngwo
Ọ ga-emechi ụzọ

and so on ...

Kwenu.com as a set of webpages are no longer properly maintained, however one may glean excellent source materials, articles and essays prepared under the sponsorship of this site. Many copies have also been made and form part of the flotsam on the Net.

The articles and the name KWENU.COM form our fifth resource (#5).

6: Groups, Book, Projects and Proverbs :

Our star project and the one that has really launched our bids is the listing of Igbo proverbs ... on Facebook and also here using the home page, but this activity is not unique for the effort - the listing of Igbo proverbs has been attempted by a number of other groups with at least one group doing this also by way of Facebook postings ...
See ... http://www.facebook.com/groups/112917854870/#!/groups/112917854870/

And ...

All over the Internet may be found evidence suggesting Igbo's love of their proverbs and literature.

However our group was somewhat distinguished by the number of posts which incorporated type-written matter with diacritics ... and we have become willing evangelists of the method by which virtual keyboards and soft keys may be added on to computers to allow them incorporate diacritics with posted Igbo language writing. We have highlighted a few of these software gadgets here.

Now ...
Mr Patrick Umezi I think is the one whose little known book Ọba Ilu Igbo holds the record for the largest collection of Igbo proverbs. This paragraph here is a little [RFC] or a Request For Comments: If you know any other book which has as many or more proverbs than Ọba Ilu Igbo please correct our assertion here. Mr Umezi's book's book may be bought here ... Mr Umezi's book contains a thumping ! ... 2133 [Two thousand one hundred and thirty three] proverbs.

His commentary in Igbo as part of the book's preface, explaining why he felt it was necessary to publish late in 2003 is a compelling read we are posting it here - [Pages 1 to 9 - Foreword to the book] for all who want to read it ... Please view the download .xps file in Windows Internet Explorer 

Other platforms might also include a suitable viewer.

I have a scanned copy of this book which I am thinking to include as part of the World Library projects but I need to get permission first from the author, so if you know him - please do tell him.

Obviously our group did some free flowing posting with proverbs contributed randomly - so we didn't copy or lift proverbs from Mr Umezi's book. You still might find one or two coincidental proverbs which occur in both media. And the blogsite here is one which holds the record for the largest collection of Igbo Proverbs online ... :-) ... Maybe.

7: A Pangram is ....

A sentence that uses all the letters of the alphabet.

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

Nne wepụ he'l’ụjọ dum n’ime ọzụzụ-ụmụ, vufesị obi na Chukwu;ṅụrịanụ nime nwa enyere unu;gbakọọnụ, kpaa, kwe ya k’o-guzoshie ike, ọ ghaghị ito, nwapụta ezi agwa.

® IgF&T 2012 - Onwụ Ọrthography. The Pangram. There is a competition running on the groups pages on Igbo Fonts and Typography ... If you can better this Pangram. You may claim a personal cash prize of ₦10,000 Naira before the expiration of the year. Terms and Conditions Apply. Not open to Admin of the group. And arbitrary Pangram ratios are used to judge. A loosely defined Pangram Ration of 1 or 9/9 is the best measure.


Watch out for more resources to be added.

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