Welcome, Guest: Join Nairaland / LOGIN! / Trending / Recent / New
Stats: 2,758,705 members, 6,557,688 topics. Date: Tuesday, 26 October 2021 at 08:20 PM

Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions - Culture (4) - Nairaland

Nairaland Forum / Nairaland / General / Culture / Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions (10257 Views)

Kids Cartoon In Yoruba, Igbo And Hausa Languages(Video) / African Languages And Cultures Need To Be Eliminated As Soon As Possible. / Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages (2) (3) (4)

(1) (2) (3) (4) (Reply) (Go Down)

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 1:21pm On Nov 13, 2015
On /f/ and /I/, i've listened to people from item and Ohafia speak. Their /Ife/ doesn't come out as ife as used in Nri-Awka speech. It comes out as /Ife ohn/ not ife just like you rightly stated.

1 Like

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 8:53am On Nov 14, 2015
Daalu rinne, Odumchi. That was really helpful. The 'ihe' anomaly you mentioned, now that's really interesting.

I didn't know there was an Isu community on that eastern frontier. Those guys were just busy traipsing all over the Igbo space! cheesy Their migrations must constitute one of the most important themes in Igbo history, if not the most important. Pity there's very little known about that.

Biko, I have a few more questions (for you or anyone who has answers).

I was going through the Comparative Igboid paper, trying to find other variants and the proto-Igboid approximation of 'efo', as in 'chi efoola' or 'ofoola gi na n'anya'. I couldn't find it. So I want to ask: Does 'efo' ever vary as 'ewo'?

Also is 'Dee' strictly a honorific? Can it be just a greeting; like, can one say 'Papa Emeka, dee!' [I noticed you wrote 'Dee, Radoillo', and not 'Dee Radoillo'.]

You've also used the greeting 'nnawo' a couple of times on this forum. Can it be broken into meaningful parts? I'm especially interested in the possible meaning of the '-wo' part.

Ama m na ajuju akalia, mana biko, nweelu m ndidi. grin

2 Likes

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by odumchi: 10:38pm On Nov 19, 2015
Radoillo:
Daalu rinne, Odumchi. That was really helpful. The 'ihe' anomaly you mentioned, now that's really interesting.

I didn't know there was an Isu community on that eastern frontier. Those guys were just busy traipsing all over the Igbo space! cheesy Their migrations must constitute one of the most important themes in Igbo history, if not the most important. Pity there's very little known about that.

Biko, I have a few more questions (for you or anyone who has answers).

I was going through the Comparative Igboid paper, trying to find other variants and the proto-Igboid approximation of 'efo', as in 'chi efoola' or 'ofoola gi na n'anya'. I couldn't find it. So I want to ask: Does 'efo' ever vary as 'ewo'?

Also is 'Dee' strictly a honorific? Can it be just a greeting; like, can one say 'Papa Emeka, dee!' [I noticed you wrote 'Dee, Radoillo', and not 'Dee Radoillo'.]

You've also used the greeting 'nnawo' a couple of times on this forum. Can it be broken into meaningful parts? I'm especially interested in the possible meaning of the '-wo' part.

Ama m na ajuju akalia, mana biko, nweelu m ndidi. grin

Haha monwo azi ka na-ato na ana ajusa maka ogo e ka I na-ario? Nmekpazi anoo! Juje, nnaa. Nke kwere m, mu asaa. cheesy

I don't think 'ewo' exists in our area (Abiriba-Ohafia-Aro axis). If such a thing did exist, it would most likely be found in the Ehugbo (Afikpo) axis. There, they tend to use the 'wh' sound where other dialects would traditionally use 'f' or 'v' and say things like 'awho' (stomach), 'o la whu m uwhu' (It hurts), 'o whuowo' (it has vanished), and etc.

Dee is solely reserved as a term of deference in our area. It's not a greeting lol.

Nnaawo means good morning lol. I can't think of it having any meaning when decomposed into nnaa + wo. However, in much of the Cross River and Old Bende Zone, the suffix 'wo' is added to words to further stress their meaning. Take for example:

English: "Could you help me with this, pleeeeeease?!"
Aro: "Yere nni m aka wooo!"

Nigerian Pidgin: "Abeg, leave me, jor!"
Aro: "Hapulegwo m woo!"

English: "You've grown sooo much!"
Aro: "I toola wooo!"

3 Likes

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by odumchi: 10:39pm On Nov 19, 2015
And the Isu were reaaaal umu nkpi, dropping their seed everywhere they went. grin

1 Like

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 11:07pm On Nov 19, 2015
Nna eh,who are these Isu people you guys keep talking about? I know Isuikwuato,Isuochi,Isu Njaba etc,how do i identify the rest?
The ewo in awho also exist in bende groups of Abia state.

1 Like

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 9:54am On Nov 23, 2015
Daalu, again, Odumchi.

I think maybe I should lay out my reasons for asking about 'dee' and 'daa', and whether 'efo' could vary as 'ewo', and see what you guys think.

While, dee and daa are largely (if not entirely) absent in the north as honorifics/titles, it would appear to me that they are present there in some form, as part of greetings. It is quite possible that etymologically, this northern dee/daa is related to the southern dee/daa, and that the differences observed today are a matter of semantic shifts.

In the Udi area of Enugu State [the people belong to the Agbaja sub-ethnicity], one observes the following dee/daa greetings:

1. Deeje - greeting to people setting out on a journey.
2. Daaru - greeting to people at work.
3. Daazu - greeting to people at a marketplace, buying and selling.

I was told by an indigene of those parts that in pre-modern times, there were more dee/daa greetings which have fallen into disuse. She specifically mentioned deeshi (greeting to someone cooking). These greetings can also vary as Ndeeje, Ndaazu, etc.

These greetings are quite easily resolved into two components: the dee/daa part and a verb part:

Dee + Eje (going) = Deeje. (Through the phenomenon of vowel elision, Daa + Eje, will also yield Deeje).

Dee/Daa + aru (working) = Daaru, and so on.

Anambra also has at least two greetings of this pattern:

Daalu (Daa/Dee + alu [working]) and Deeme (Daa/Dee + eme [doing]), both of which can translate as 'Good job/well done'.

All these bring me to my main speculation, and the reason for the questions: The etymology of the now generally adopted greeting Ndeewo.

If we make the assumption that it follows the pattern of the other dee/daa greetings, then it too could be resolved into:

Ndee/Ndaa (variants of dee/daa) and ewo. What verb, then, is 'ewo'? Every time I think about it, the only conclusion I come to is that 'ewo' is the archaic form of 'efo' ( the verb that means the breaking of day in the phrase 'chi efoo'). Sadly, the Roger Blench pdf has no entry for this 'efo', so we have no professional opinion on what the proto-Igbo equivalent was. However it would appear that 'f' varying as 'w' is attested in some frontier lects (Ehugbo, as you mentioned; some Bende lects, as Ihuomadinihu mentioned; and Ekpeye, as I observed from Blench's Ekpeye dictionary). Since these border lects are known to have preserved, in a good many cases, older sound patterns, it is quite possible that 'efo' was 'ewo' in an earlier phase of Igbo linguistic evolution.

So that Ndeewo may break down into:

Ndaa/Ndee + ewo ( 'day-breaking', for lack of a more 'English' translation) = good morning/ good day. The fact that you translated Nnawo (which has a '-wo' component as 'good morning' makes me even more confident about this explanation.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 2:55pm On Nov 23, 2015
^Ok,that's a comprehensive one.
Just wanted to drop other honorifics(Tee tee and Daa daa) from Southern Igbo,it might also be important in this discussion.
I'll come back later,lol.

1 Like

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 12:31am On Nov 24, 2015
Radoillo, you've put your thoughts down nicely. I can definitely see your reasoning, but I think there might be a better explanation.

Here's my speculation (have patience with my long post, again):

To begin, I agree with your choice of words. The Deeme/Daalu/etc. greetings [henceforth, 'the Greetings', do note the capitalization] represent a semantic shift. As I interpret it, the semantic shift of the Greetings is a shift from verb-phrase construction to interjection (the part of speech where greetings reside, if we follow English language classification). I also believe that this shift is distinct from both ndeewo and the dee/daa honorifics [henceforth 'the Honorifics', do note the capitalization].

My reason for distinguishing the Greetings as a separate phenomenon from the Honorifics is because of the gender-based nature of the Honorifics. In fact, thinking now, the Honorifics seem to be the only part of speech that is notably gendered. Beyond this, Igbo speech forms seemingly do not recognize gender at all, and it leads me to two thoughts:

1. Igbo honorifics seems to be a special part of speech.
2. It is unlikely that there is free-flowing, lexical movement in and out of this part of speech.

For the most part, these two thoughts seem to reconcile well with the fact that honorifics in Igbo are uniquely limited. So limited, in fact, that we can easily say that Igbo does not have equivalents for even the most standard honorifics found in a lot of modern languages. To further buttress this point, I would venture to say that we have witnessed the development of only one new honorific within the last 300+ years now. That honorific is 'maazi' as the equivalent of modern day 'mister', and this development only occurred withing the past 50 years (at best).

So, in my opinion, if a connection actually existed between the Greetings and the Honorifics, then we should most likely also see more evidence of gendered speech beyond just honorifics in Igbo. For instance, the rendering of 'deeme' would differ, depending on whether or not one is addressing a male or female. We don't see that. So, I think it would be safe to say that the Greetings are unrelated to the Honorifics, as the Honorifics seem to be a locked in and distinct part of speech.

As for ndeewo, the strict and uniform usage seen throughout the Igbo-speaking region has always made me suspicious. I get the distinct impression that ndeewo was limited to a specific region and likely only spread in recent history, much like how the Aro 'maazi' became general 'mister'. With the impression of a recent development for ndeewo, I thought about what would likely be the equivalent in various regions. Looking at the tone structure of ndeewo, I can draw distinct similarities between the 'ndee' and some likely regional counterparts (i.e. ndii and ndaa). Ndee/Ndii/Ndaa [henceforth, 'the Interjections', do note the capitalization] are well-attested, multi-purpose expressions in Igbo. They can be used to do anything from asking a question to informally greeting. In general, they elicit a response from someone. It is my believe that ndeewo developed from the 'ndee' interjection used in a specific region, before spreading to other regions (probably within the past 100+ years). I believe this distinction is what causes me to view the Greetings as a phenomenon distinct from ndeewo.

So, in my understanding, the Greetings can neither be linked with the Honorifics, nor the Interjections. However, I still believe the Greetings represent a semantic shift, and we are alive to witness it. My belief is that the Greetings are sourced from full verb-phrase constructions and have overtime begun to take on the form of full-fledged interjections. The striking similarity between the Greetings and ndeewo is likely cosmetic and can be likened to some type of 'semantic convergence' (taking on the already recognizable form of the Interjections).

The Greetings [deeme/daalu/etc.] & Present Tense Syntax

This is where I believe the Greetings come from. A while ago, I took the time to attempt to reconstruct proto-Igbo, present tense syntax, based on the little I know from various regional speech forms. The results were interesting. Here's what I happened upon:

Key:
- pn - pronoun
- av - auxiliary verb
- pr - preposition
- in - infinitive vowel
- vo - non-infinitive vowel
- vb - verb

[sorry the table isn't structured better.. NL doesn't have the tools needed for clean tables, I guess].

........... Present Tense Construction (he/she/it is coming).......................

Region/Lect...... pn ....... av ...... pr ...... in ...... vo ...... vb ...... realized statement
Izugbe ............. o ................... na ............... a ....... bia ....... [o na-abia]
Onitsha ............ o ................... na ............... a ...... bia ....... [o na-abia]
Enugu .............. o ................... la ................ a ...... bia ....... [o la-abia]
Uzuakoli ........... o .................... la ............... a ........ bia ........ [o la-abia]
Oru .................. o ....... da .......................... a ........ bia ....... [o da-abia]
Abiriba .............. o ....... da .......................... a ........ bia ....... [o da-abia]
Ahiara .............. o ....... di ................. i .................... bia ....... [o di-ibia]
Etche .............. o ........ di .................. i ................... bia ........ [o di-ibia]
Ngwa ............... o ....... di ......... la ..... i ................... bia ........ [o di la ibia] (considered archaic) ... modern speech drops the 'la'
Ibeme .............. o ....... di ......... li ..... o .................. bia ........ [o di li obia]
Ndoki ............... o ....... de ................. i ................... bia ........ [o de-ibia]
Ikwerre ............ o ....... zi ......... nu .... o ................... bia ....... [o zi nu obia]
Ekpeye ............. o ...... zhi ........ li ...... u ................... ja ......... [o zhi li uja]

Naturally, we can conclude a number of things from the above table, but I specifically want to focus on how this relates with the Greetings [deeme/daalu/etc.] Looking at the table, we might be tempted to conclude that lects which use the [na]-construction dropped the [da] in speech, but they didn't. That [da] is still in use, and we see it in the Greetings. Also, the use of [da] in the Greetings is still consistent with present tense constructions, though in a more abstract sense.

da ... alu - [present tense work/efforts]
da ... eme - [present tense activities]
da ... eje - [present tense travel movements]
... etc.

We should also be able to see a strong correlation between the use of this [da .. verb] greeting and the lack of [da] in present tense constructions. Basically, communities which traditionally use this [da .. verb] greeting also are among the ones that do not use [da] in present tense verb creation. This is where I believe the Greetings come from. The Greetings represent a semantic shift in how the [da] auxiliary verb is used by these communities. Over time, the usage obscured [da] as an auxiliary verb and began the transformation from verb-phrase construction to interjection (greeting). The similarity with ndeewo might just be a matter of 'semantic convergence' (i.e. taking on some of the aesthetic traits of interjections). We see this in the addition of the [n-] prefix [ndaalu/ndeeme/etc.]

I am inclined to believe that the [da .. verb] construction predates the [n-da .. verb] construction, because of what I interpret as 'semantic convergence' (but I don't come from a region that uses the Greetings, so I can't say for sure).

Anyway, as I see it, we are essentially witnessing what is likely the last stages of development for a new set of interjections. From what you posted, Radoillo, it would seem that the Udi are the ones to have developed its usage to the furthest extent we know so far. Maybe within the next 100 - 200 years, its development might push forward and new set of fully-structured interjections would have been formed.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Nobody: 8:34am On Nov 24, 2015
Another really good one, ChineneyeN.

There's a great deal of sense in what you wrote. While I was thinking of these greetings and the honorifics last week, I happened on an Igbo-English dictionary, by Echeruo, I believe. The dictionary has a set of entries for 'na'-greetings which seemed to correspond with the greetings from Udi [na-eme, na-eje, etc]. Echeruo didn't specify which areas use the greetings. (Come to think of it, he never specifies where the many not-so-generally-used expressions in his dictionary are used).

The na-greetings puzzled me, but looking at your illustrations, it looks like there is a good explanation for them, after all.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 8:50am On Nov 24, 2015
Personally,i don't consider the ''da'' greeting in 'da ejee' as an honorific equvalent to Da Ugo or Nda Chioma in Southern Igbo.
When people in Enugu say Da Ejee /Da Emee, i see as a variant of Na-aga /Na - Emee in other dialects.

For example, if someone is cooking,i would say ''ngwa 'na' - esi ka m bia''- Keep cooking,i'm coming.

Other dialects would say, 'La emee, La Esi, La aga etc.
The Enugu udi people are the only people that use it as a form of greeting or encouragement.
I don't know if what i've written makes sense,but Daa emee is an equivalent of Na Emee and more of an appreciative greeting than an honorific.

2 Likes

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by OdenigboAroli(m): 1:52pm On Nov 24, 2015
Deje,deme and daalu are commonly used in Anambra as a form of thank you or encouragement not only in Udi,Enugu. And Anambra don't say la emee,la esi,la aga..funny enough this is my first time of hearing these words.
Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by Ihuomadinihu: 5:34pm On Nov 24, 2015
L'ezi? That's why you should open your mind and learn about other igbo people and dialects beyond Anambra/Enugu.
Your dialect use Dee emee but certain dialects say La emee,that is what we are trying to explain.

1 Like

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 10:37pm On Nov 24, 2015
I believe Echeruo was stretching it a bit. Sure, the 'da/na'-verb constructions can be used as interjections, but I wouldn't go out of my way to call them greetings. Greetings are a unique kind of interjection that have been structured, institutionalized and part of a cultural expectation. As I see it, the 'da/na'-verb interjections have not fully crossing that line from just interjections to outright greetings, but they're mostly there.

1 Like

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by pazienza(m): 12:51am On Feb 27, 2020
What happened to this thread.

1 Like

Re: Finally! The Igbo Languages And Proto-Igbo Reconstructions by ChinenyeN(m): 5:48am On Feb 27, 2020
*shrug*

The same thing that happens with all culture topics. Only a few people actually participate thoughtfully and those people alone aren’t enough to sustain an ongoing discussion. I’m sure it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I’d be more than willing to participate in more of these sort of topics. If someone wants to open up another on, I’d be glad to join.

1 Like

(1) (2) (3) (4) (Reply)

11 Factual Similarities Between The Igbo And Ibibio-efik Peoples / Tourism In Ivory Coast / Why We’ll Continue To Promote Sango Festival – Alaafin

(Go Up)

Sections: politics (1) business autos (1) jobs (1) career education (1) romance computers phones travel sports fashion health
religion celebs tv-movies music-radio literature webmasters programming techmarket

Links: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)

Nairaland - Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Oluwaseun Osewa. All rights reserved. See How To Advertise. 170
Disclaimer: Every Nairaland member is solely responsible for anything that he/she posts or uploads on Nairaland.