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Politics / Re: NDONI PEOPLE IN RIVERS STATE ARE IGBOS. LISTEN FROM THE HORSES MOUTH. by ChinenyeN(m): 3:58am On Oct 22
ImembaN:
From my own understanding ..(according to Nvosi version) UHU is the ancient Ngwa word for EZI (outside) .. it mostly use as an idiomatic expression..

We share a similar understanding in my area as well (Akuma Imo). We either call it “uhu” or “uhwu”. Some people say that it was replaced by the term “ezi”. Some say it was replaced by the term “ulo”, but I after studying Ngwa and Igbo etymology we, I have a different suspicion.

Before we started building “onu ovu”, it used to be that the ancestral homestead was also a sort of farmland/garden. I think this combination of “home” + “farm” is what “uhwu” actually referred to.

With the advent of “onu ovu”, the “ulo” (various residential building structures within the ”onu ovu”) and “ezi” (the area in and around the “onu ovu”) replaced the idea of “uhwu”. That’s why I think some people associate “uhwu” with “ezi”, while some also separately associate “uhwu” with “ulo”.

We hardly use the word anymore in my area. It’s one of those words that will probably be forgotten in another generation or two.
Politics / Re: NDONI PEOPLE IN RIVERS STATE ARE IGBOS. LISTEN FROM THE HORSES MOUTH. by ChinenyeN(m): 10:03pm On Oct 10
Igboid:
Clarify then.

You really just want me to repeat myself? “Uhu” does not show up commonly as a placename. In other words, it can be seen in some Ngwa village names sparingly, but not as commonly as eastern Ndoki who use it more. The statement can’t get any simpler than that. But if it makes it easier for you, just go look up the village placenames online and see for yourself.

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Politics / Re: NDONI PEOPLE IN RIVERS STATE ARE IGBOS. LISTEN FROM THE HORSES MOUTH. by ChinenyeN(m): 10:00pm On Oct 10
Ekealterego:
What is the relationship between Ngwa and Ndoki like today?

That depends on who you ask. I’d say the relationship is mostly the same as it was in pre-colonial times. Nationalism in Nigeria just adds a new political dimension to it all. So there’s more political tension, but the day to day social dynamic is largely the same. Same old Nigerian story for most communities.
Politics / Re: NDONI PEOPLE IN RIVERS STATE ARE IGBOS. LISTEN FROM THE HORSES MOUTH. by ChinenyeN(m): 9:42pm On Oct 10
Igboid:
So Uhu jumped Ngwaland and appeared in far away Ndokiland.
Wonderful!

That’s not what I said.
Politics / Re: NDONI PEOPLE IN RIVERS STATE ARE IGBOS. LISTEN FROM THE HORSES MOUTH. by ChinenyeN(m): 8:58pm On Oct 10
Igboid:
Ok. Thanks.
Do they have Uhu/Uru/Ufu named places in Ngwaland?

This is actually one of the few things that shocked me and I had to look into it. “Uhu” in place names is rather uncommon for the area. In short, from what I gathered, it’s really predominantly eastern Ndoki that have “uhu” prevalently in place names. For the rest of the area, “uhu” is known as a word, though “ulo/uro” is more commonly used.
Politics / Re: NDONI PEOPLE IN RIVERS STATE ARE IGBOS. LISTEN FROM THE HORSES MOUTH. by ChinenyeN(m): 7:19pm On Oct 10
Igboid:
Ok. Thanks. I was just trying to determine if Ufu/Uru/Uhu has something to do with origin of a town, ie where they sprouted, as in "ifu" to germinate/sprout.

The sound shifts show a different etymological pattern in proto-Igbo reconstruction.

Ipu, ifu, iwhu, ipfu, ivu, etc points to a potentially older bilabial sound that might be reminiscent of “-pw-“.

Uhu, uru, etc points to an older, potentially “s”-type sound in linguistic reconstruction.

These words show vastly different reconstructions. The tone patterns are also different, suggesting different etymologies.
Politics / Re: NDONI PEOPLE IN RIVERS STATE ARE IGBOS. LISTEN FROM THE HORSES MOUTH. by ChinenyeN(m): 7:00pm On Oct 10
Igboid:
Exactly.
We are coalescing. But many clannish people don't like this.
They are usually too invested in seeing the influence of other Igbo clans on their own clan, without paying interest to how their own clan are influencing others.
Let me invoke one of them. ChinenyeN, present yourself here for some flogging. Lol! grin

It’s a terrible loss all around for all lectal communities, and pan-Igboism as it stands is just not worth it. But I guess it’s inevitable considering the effects of colonialism and Christianity on Igbo-speaking communities’ self-identity (and lectal utility).
Politics / Re: Opobo Kingdom And Igbo Language by ChinenyeN(m): 3:03am On Sep 08
Ekealterego:
LOL. It is a very long story. So, in summary, we were talking about Igbo awareness and consciousness and the works and debates over the years.

Pazienza feels what you guys have done was greater than the MNKs ea of Igbo consciousness, while I feel that although you guys did great within this small forum, however, the constant bickering, washing of dirty talks in public and intra-Igbo debates exposed so many negatives to the public.

Ah. I see what you mean. I agree. There was an intense amount of back and forth that seemed almost never ending. However, if I reflect on it now, in hindsight, even though it often detracted from the main discussion, I would say that it was ultimately necessary. All that bandwidth ended up being well-spent. I don’t know if you were around on NL ten over the past ten plus years, but at the beginning of that time period, I would say that Ndi Igbo were simply not honest with themselves as a community.

There was not enough self-reflection, introspection and scrutiny concerning what it means to be an Igbo people or an Igbo person. As a case in point, for a certain number of years, it was the consensus that all Igbo-speaking people were by default from the Anambra or Nri. I fought tooth and nail to correct this commonly-held, but wrong notion to the point where it brewed controversy.

Was it uncomfortable? Yes. Was it tiresome? Yes. But thanks to the likes of Pazienza, OnlyTruth, et al who decided to confront me in that controversy, the Igbo population here on NL grew by leaps and bounds in their understanding of Igbo culture, Igbo history and what it means in modern day to be an Igbo person. Without that controversy, the road would not have been paved for Igbo people to better scrutinize themselves. Now, the very same people who fought with me over the then “unorthodox” viewpoint I was sharing are among those who are well-equipped to truly discuss and decompose the current situation and standing that we all deal with as Igbo-speaking peoples.

If I have to be honest, I feel that IPOB, as an organization, is at the same point that Ndi Igbo on NL were ten years ago. It’s too much in a one-track mental state; too focused on propaganda. Not reflecting enough on how it’s actions further disenfranchise an already disenfranchised people.

Ultimately, there is much to be learned about how Ndi Igbo as a community grew here on NL and how the lessons learned here can be applied to any sort of Igbo endeavor, including by IPOB.

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Politics / Re: Opobo Kingdom And Igbo Language by ChinenyeN(m): 2:53pm On Sep 07
Ekealterego:
You guys also caused as much harm as good. I was very much aware of the happenings during this time and I can tell you that you guys and your goons like Abagworo, ChinenyeN etc and chino or whatever his name is, were destroying the image of Igbos on this forum by talking shit and exposed most of the things outsiders used against Igbos on this forum.

I was mentioned here and cannot find any suitable reason why. Do you mind explaining to me where I fit into this narrative/why I was mentioned?
Politics / Re: Ndoki, Bonny, Opobo by ChinenyeN(m): 7:05am On Aug 25
Eastlink:
Opuamakuba = Opuama (Community cap) + Ka (Greater) + Uba (Wealth). So Opuamakuba in Ndoki means the Royal Cap of the community is greater than wealth.

Asimini = Azu + Mini meaning back of the water or the other side of the river in central Igbo. Azu is back in Igbo, like Azuka, Azubike and Azukiwe (Azikiwe). Asi is the variant in Ndoki.

Alagbariya is another name with Igbo meaning. Ala means land or earth. Alagbariya might mean Ala is stronger. Like Ahiriya a praise name to call something or somebody strong. It means one you cannot overwhelm or win in Ndoki, Bonny and Opobo

Oh my gods this is so painful to read. Please, Igbo people. It’s time to stop trying to translate names that we are unfamiliar with. Shooting blindly in the dark does not buttress any points we attempt to make. I’m sorry. I wanted to just read and carry on with my day, but there is no way I could have read this without adding a comment, because it’s just unbelievably painful.

However, the suspicion that Eastlink has is indeed reasonable and likely very correct. It’s just that what he’s saying here to support his suspicion is just highly questionable if not outright discardable.

Anyhow, using historical linguistics, we can see evidence that the name of at least the renowned founder of Bonny (Alagbariye) was likely “Ijaw-nized”. It shows a conjoining of Ijaw and Igbo constructs or a derivation of an Igbo construct into Ijaw. Let’s look at the name.

Let me see if I can make this quick without boring anyone. If you ask around in Ibani, no one seems to know the meaning of Alagbariye in Ijaw (or if they know, they aren’t saying). Using what we know about Ibani lect, it is difficult to decipher a meaning for Alagbariye in Ijaw. As a consequence, the name has been changed by some Ijaw nationalists recently to be Alagbarigha so that it can prove decipherable in Ibani-Ijaw lect. However, early European reports are clear on the transcriptions they gave and none match Alagbarigha. Even worse, when we consider that the Okoloma tradition also exists in Ngwa and Ndoki, and when we examine this Okoloma tradition, we find that the name for Alagbariye is closer to what Europeans wrote than it is to the Alagbarigha. Corroborating Bonny-Ijaw traditions with Ngwa and Ndoki traditions shows that in Ngwa and Ndoki traditions, Alagbariye is known as Agbayiegbe. It’s clear from simple examination that both names refer to a single person. It’s clear that Alagbarigha is also a re-authorization.

Now the difference between Alagbariye and Agbayiegbe is the expression “Ala”. We can determine what this refers to by corroborating the Ibani-Ijaw tradition with the Ngwa/Ndoki tradition. When we corroborate them, we see that Alagbariye is a known hunter. What is most interesting however is that in the Ibani-Ijaw tradition, Alagbariye is expressly thought of as a chief. This is slightly different from the Ngwa and Ndoki traditions. In the Ngwa/Ndoki traditions it is known that Agbayiegbe led the migration to Igoloma/Igolo-omirima (the local names in Ngwa/Ndoki area for Bonny) and became clan head. However, Ngwa and Ndoki traditions do not really emphasize Agbayiegbe as a chief. He is more so thought of as a hunter. This leaves us with only Ibani-Ijaw oral traditions that think of him expressly as a chief. Incidentally, chief in Ibani-Ijaw lect is “Ala”. And just like that, using historical linguistics, we have found our missing link. Between Agbayiegbe and Alagbariye, “Ala” is the only distinguishing difference suggesting that Ibani-Ijaw initially knew Alagbariye as “Ala Agbayiegbe” (i.e. Chief/Leader Agbayiegbe) as he is known as the founder and clan head during his time.

Historical linguistics seemingly suggests that Alagbariye’s name is of Igbo-speaking origin since we can decipher its meaning based on its tone. Both the “agbayi” and the “egbe” in Agbayiegbe are common expressions in modern Ngwa/Ndoki lects (agbayi - shoe, egbe - kite bird). This is in line with the oral tradition of him being a hunter. In the Ngwa/Ndoki region there are many proverbs that discuss killing, skinning and curing birds to produce leather for textiles, shoes being one of them. Shoes are made of ovo (a sort of dove-like bird) and egbe (the kite bird) among others. Using the above historical linguistics further suggests that Alagbariye’s name is of Igbo-speaking origin. Nothing similar is obtainable within the Ibani-Ijaw oral tradition, suggesting further that his name was derived into Alagbariye by Ibani-Ijaw who came in contact with them.

It is rather possible that we can do the same with Asimini and Opuamakuba, but unlike Alagbariye, not enough information exists to corroborate for Asimini and Opuamakuba. They only show up in Ibani-Ijaw oral traditions. There are no similar personalities to be found within the Ngwa/Ndoki traditions. Which is rather normal. After a migration or significant social/cultural/environmental phenomenon occurs, offshoot communities will encode specific details in their traditions that will either be small or nonexistent in the traditions of the parent community. We can be certain that this is what transpired, since Asimini and Opuamakuba are known in Ibani-Ijaw traditions as serving significant leadership roles during the formative period, but are not known in Ngwa/Ndoki as galvanizing the population and leading the migration. So we can see that different details can be encoded between sister communities. For instance, kingship became established in Asimini’s time and he became the first king of Okoloma in the real sense of the word. This would be relevant in Ibani-Ijaw social culture and as such encoded in their traditions, but not encoded in the Ngwa/Ndoki traditions. This makes it is difficult to utilize historical linguistics to decipher the names of Asimini and Opuamakuba, though we can likely make educated guesses based off tones, and what we know about Ngwa/Ndoki and Ibani-Ijaw cultures and lects. For instance, we can be certain that the “Opu” in Opuamakuba is likely derived from Ibani-Ijaw lect. Suggesting the name to have been “Opu Amakauba” (or something to that effect, similar to Alagbariye). However, since there are no similar personalities within Ngwa and Ndoki oral traditions to point to it is difficult, if not impossible to truly make an attempt. Any Igbo person attempting to translate or transcribe these names is simply shooting in the dark or grasping at straws.

Also, “asi” is not the Ndoki word for “azu”. I don’t know where you’re getting this from. Please, I encourage all Igbo people to stop nonsensically attempting to create meaning for words and names they are unfamiliar with. It’s painful to watch because it just comes off as a desperate attempt. We don’t need to purport falsehoods just to make a point. This is a highly debatable and hotly-debated topic. If you know you are not familiar enough with the oral traditions and lects in the region, then please don’t attempt to offer any transcriptions.
Politics / Re: Ndoki, Bonny, Opobo by ChinenyeN(m): 6:14pm On Aug 19
*looks around* Hm.. ta afiri dii igwu unu nunu?
Culture / Re: The Social Prejudices Between Oratta(owerri) And Isu Groups Of Igboland. by ChinenyeN(m): 3:44pm On Aug 15
AjaanaOka:
Plus one for historical linguistics, indeed! Language is such a mine of historical data. It's a shame that departments of history and linguistics in our universities are sleeping on this tool. I don't know any Nigerian historian presently who is utilising it constructively in piecing together the Nigerian past. Elsewhere on the continent where it has been used, its largely been European and American scholars at the forefront.
Well, that’s why people like you and I exist. Perhaps we might one day inspire a new generation of cultural anthropologists, historians and linguists within the continent that might take historical linguistics seriously.

AjaanaOka:
I've actually been giving some serious thoughts to publishing papers on this and other ideas in online journals. However, I think I lack the discipline (and quite honestly the time) to sit down and knock together a publication-worthy paper.

I'm sure I'll write a book one day though. 'Musings on the Igbo Past' or something like that. grin
Consider this my official pre-order request. If you ever choose to publish, just remember that my own copy is on backorder.

1 Like

Culture / Re: The Social Prejudices Between Oratta(owerri) And Isu Groups Of Igboland. by ChinenyeN(m): 7:14am On Aug 14
AjaanaOka lei! I am floored! I don't care if it's a thousand years after I'm dead and gone, if someone has a response they should share it and this, by far, is such a coherent response that it feels like a satisfying revelation. This makes sooooo much sense. +1 for historical linguistics. Such an invaluable tool in times like this.

Truthfully, you were already selling me with your explanation, but when you factored in the Ejuona part of it all, it practically sealed it for me. Excellent, excellent. It's getting to a point where we're going to have to start publishing things like this in actual text. This revelation deserves to be noted.

2 Likes

Culture / Re: Abiama: An Aro Innovation Or An Ancient Pre-Aro Igbo Name for God? by ChinenyeN(m): 6:43am On Aug 14
AjaanaOka, I actually just fell into the same thought as you when I was thinking more about it this past week. Since I know \bya\ [L] (the term for esoteric, magical knowledge) is a legitimate morpheme of its own, it became a matter of answering for \ma\. At the cursory level, there is enough there that it seems like more than a coincidence. Even I began to doubt my response to you a bit. I might need to think more on this.

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Culture / Re: Abiama: An Aro Innovation Or An Ancient Pre-Aro Igbo Name for God? by ChinenyeN(m): 5:32am On Aug 10
Sorry it took a while to respond. I had family visit me and then there was the Umu Igbo Unite event that I was in some ways forced to attend so my time was occupied. I'm back now though, so here is my response.

AjaanaOka:
I can't say I know how the reconstructed *Nyambe is supposed to be pronounced, but I have assumed that the 'ny' should be voiced the way it is voiced in those descendants of the word that have retained the 'ny', i.e., a palatal nasal.
And that is also why I am asking; to understand whether communities where the term survived are actually using it as *\ny\-ambe or as *\n\-yambe, since I myself am unfamiliar with the pronunciation. For me, this would have been significant in me trying to wrap my mind around whether or not we can make a case for Abiama as a surviving innovation of *Nyambe. To that end, I did confirm from some of my Twi and Akan-speaking friends that it is the palatal nasal.

In fact, let me start first with the circumstantial evidence to speculatively support of your initial question: Abiama as an Aro innovation or a pre-Aro Igbo Name for God?

A while ago, I became part of the school of thought that Aro's real innovation is just the impact they had on oracular trade and their ability to leverage and connect already existing but mostly disparate trade routes. The trading legacy, the trading fraternity, etc. Those are the real innovations. However, the key tooling that Aro used to provide this innovation is a different matter. Circumstantially, it seems all of Aro's key tooling is conscripted from other culture-groups.

Ibinu Ukpabi was taken from the local Ibibio community's Ibit Ukpabi. Kamalu was reportedly adopted from Ohafia's Kamalu Ikere (Kalu Akanu oracle). Indeed these are distinct oracles from different culture-groups, but as far as the role they played in Aro's trading legacy they are functionally the same; essentially different names for the same key tooling. Now what else is functionally a different name for the same key tooling? Chukwu Abiama. Looking at Aro's legacy as far as conscripting tooling, I do not find it surprising that Chukwu Abiama could also have been adopted from yet another culture group. In this case, I cannot specifically pinpoint a community that it derived from, because the academia is mostly sold on this being an Aro innovation and simply chooses to not dig deeper into it. However, if I had to guess, I would say that it might have been within the same general axis (or greater region) as both Ibit Ukpabi and Kamalu. In other words, where Ebonyi, Abia and Enugu meet. Of course, this is just speculation, but I think it is good speculation for thinking about whether the "Chukwu Abiama" concept is truly an Aro innovation or if it likely existed for other communities prior to the establishment of Aro's trading legacy.

I guess we can examine this thought process (and perhaps research this) later on, but long story short, a part of me suspects that although the cult of Chukwu Abiama (as in the "High God Arbitrator" ) is an Aro innovation, the actual "High God" concept of "Chukwu Abiama" (and the terminology surrounding it) may not be. I guess I'll stop there are far as the circumstantial speculation of Abiama being an Aro innovation. Now, on to thinking about whether or not Abiama is a cognate of *Nyama. Thinking about at a cursory level it seems plausible, but I am a bit hesitant. Let me try to think through this.

If I were to phonetically write Abiama, I would write it as Abyaama. There are two things informing my decision to write it as such.

The first thing is that the \bi\ sound is distinctly a palatalized bilabial (i.e. \by\). In other words, it sounds phonetically like "A-bya" as opposed to "A-bi-a". I guess this may not need much explanation in terms of why it has informed my decision to write it as "Abyaama". It should be self-explanatory in a way, but if anyone would like me to expound further, do let me know.

The second thing that informed my decision is the tonal structure for "Abiama" as I am familiar with it. The tonal structure follows a very common pattern that has seemingly survived in all modern Igbo lects. At least, I assume it has survived in all lects, because I have not yet encountered a lect where I have not witnessed this tonal pattern. This pattern is noted at the sentence/clause level and not the word level. The structure can be described as such:

When a term with low tones follows a term that ends in a low tone, it forces that previous term's final tone structure to always shift from low to high.

Perhaps this might be better explained with a few examples, using the following terms: "ala" (LL) and "osa" (LH); by the way L = low tone, H = high tone (for others who might be reading and following along with us). So with "ala" and "osa", I have included the inherent tone structures. When combined as a clause, the tone structure undergoes some changes.

ala (LL) ala (LL) => ala (LH) ala (LL)
ala (LL) osa (LH) => ala (LH) osa (MH)*

* This one is a bit more complex, but for the sake of brevity, I've eliminated any unnecessary information just to show my point, being the shift from low to high for the preceding term.

In the same vein, we can see this echoed with "Abiama".

abya (LL) ama (LL) => abya (LH) ama (LL).

This is probably the biggest hinderance in me fully coming around to Abiama being a cognate with *Nyambe. This grammatical tone structure suggests to me that "Abiama" is not a single term, which in turn suggests to me that "Abiama" is decipherable as a modern Igbo expression. By modern I mean to suggest that the coinage may not have its roots in proto-Igbo.

One other thing convinces me of the coinage's modernity; the lack of a falling tone in the center of a single "word unit" in surviving Igbo lects. I put "word unit" in quotes to indicate I am explicitly referring to those terms that we cannot decompose further. Perhaps that is too constricting, so I will include terms we can also conceptualize as having been directly conjugated from a verb root. So with that said, this ad-hoc "word unit" class consists of words such as anya and imi (which are inherited from proto-Igbo and difficult to decompose) as well as oghe (an opening) which we can determine as coined from the root -ghe (be open; gape). Now, perhaps this might be due to my own limited knowledge, but I have not yet seen a reconstruction that suggests a falling tone exists in the center of a word that belongs in this ad-hoc "word unit" class. I have seen modern and reconstructed instances of falling and rising tones at the beginning and end of a "word unit", but not in the center.

So if we try to take "Abiama" to be a "word unit" (in this case inherited from proto-Igbo), we are forced to accept an instance of a falling tone in the center of such a word; Abyaama (LHLL). The HL in the center is effectively be a "fall". This would be such a novel occurrence. So novel in fact that we would be forced to say that it is extremely non-conforming and as such should be decomposed.

The final thing I might add is that I confirmed the tonal structure for *Nyambe from my Twi and Akan-speaking friends (who are familiar with the Nyame variant). The tone structure they used was consistently \Nya\ [L] \me\ [H]. I understand that just as sound shifts occur within and between branches, so also would tonal shifts. However, it is difficult for me to reconcile Abyaama [LHLL] with Nyame (LH).

I will admit though that the one blind spot in my analysis is that I have actually not heard the expression "Eze Chitoke Abiama" pronounced nor have I seen any annotations on its tonal structure, unfortunately. I would really love to know how they pronounce it in Nsukka, but I don't have any people I know well from the Nsukka area that I would be able to ask. That might end up changing a lot of my analysis, if it turns out the pronunciation is notably different.

But anyhow, long story short, I am certainly of the opinion that "Chukwu Abiama" may not have been an Aro coinage, but as of now I am still hesitant on whether or not we can consider it as a cognate for *Nyambe.

1 Like

Culture / Re: Abiama: An Aro Innovation Or An Ancient Pre-Aro Igbo Name for God? by ChinenyeN(m): 8:57pm On Aug 05
A question. Is the *Nyambe reconstruction using a palatal nasal \ny\ or are the \n\ and \y\ separate consonants in this reconstruction?
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 8:10pm On Aug 05
AjaanaOka:
I'm dragging my feet a little about making the additions. I want to be sure I understand the materials on which I am basing my speculative chronology.

I've been reading the works of Nigerian paleobotanist M Adebisi Sowunmi, and I believe they will be of some importance in sketching the chronology of the diffusion of the Igbo language.

No worries. I would even prefer when you take your time and share when you are comfortable, because then you and I can take the time to digest and analyze and perhaps even go for days on end really discussing it.
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 8:07pm On Aug 05
Uniportadmision, forgive my extremely late response. My work can sometimes get intense and I’ll end up with long, busy hours for an extended periods.

Anyhow, I just want to touch on the Ekpeye part as briefly and concisely as I can.

So Ekpeye migrated into the modern Igbo-speaking area in recent memory. I believe perhaps 15th/16th century, but someone correct me if I’m mistaken. So we are not judging the linguistic antiquity based on their settlement in the region because we know their settlement is recent, relative to surviving Tier 1 communities in the Igbo-speaking region. However, in the grander scheme of things, this is ultimately inconsequential, because this is not about Ekpeye itself, but rather about the linguistic branch that it belongs to as a speech community. This is where the heart of the discussion lies.

Now what makes their recent movement interesting is the existence of linguistic continuity between surviving Tier 1 communities in the southern belt and Ekpeye.

Now, knowing that Ekpeye migrated into the area in recent memory, they cannot possibly be responsible for the population and language in the area. In other words, we know that they are not the source of this continuity between themselves and the southern belt, but the fact that there exists a continuity suggests that the entire southern and Ekpeye share a linguistic branching in antiquity. For the sake of brevity, we will call this Ekpeyoid (as in a linguistic branching initially related to same Igboid branching that modern Ekpeye descended from).

This provides us with two key points of speculation.

1. We have evidence of historical linguistic antiquity within the southern belt as its linguistic features share continuity with Ekpeye more so than the linguistic features of central or northern Igbo-speaking regions.

2. The fact that this entire southern belt region can be identified in this way suggests that a single major branching took hold of this entire region. How do we know this? We know this based on the understanding that multiple branches in antiquity would mean that we should see other older Igboid branches that are non-Ekpeyoid. But we don’t see that.

These two key points together suggest a single point of entry into the modern Igbo-speaking region.

In other words, the hypothesis suggests that based off what we currently know, it seems likely that only one major Igboid branch survived in the modern Igbo-speaking region, and that Igboid branch might initially have been Ekpeyoid in antiquity and more recent innovation birthed the surviving Igbo speech communities as branching and innovation continued northwards.

Now, bear in mind, we aren’t providing this hypothesis as infallible, and this isn’t about the origin of the people. This is primarily about understanding the movement of the Igbo language family.

So this is what makes Ekpeye relevant or almost central to the hypothesis. It isn’t the antiquity of settlement, but rather the antiquity of its lect based on historical linguistics.

1 Like

Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 6:49pm On Jul 27
Uniportadmision:
[...] So I definitely don't think it went from south to north looking at the population logic. [...] In today's census are the Ekpeye up to a million? How many would they have been like a thousand years ago? [...]
There are a few other comments in your post that are very similar to these two, in terms of the theme they are targeting. So I only chose to highlight these two as being representative of the others, since I don't believe there is a need to nitpick the entirety of your post.

Now, we're getting into another area where Igbo people notoriously fall into a trap. Before I discuss these trappings, I want to highlight two things are being conflated here, and it is important that we separate them:

1) The language family discussion.
2) The question of settlement and migratory history within the region.

Yes, these two topics are related in the grander scheme of things. However, we find in many cases that we can draw distinguishing lines between them. In other words, the question of a language family is not wholly tied to the settlement and migratory history of a region. Likewise, the settlement and migratory history alone does not often answer the question of language family history. There is significant nuance between these two topics that never allows for a one-size-fits all model, hence why the greater picture is painted from the collective results of various fields of study. Historical linguistics, combined with cultural anthropology allow us to better understand the transformations that occurred within a given community and really only within that given community. New analysis and discussion will be required as we scale the scope of the region, whether up or down. Yes, I have prefaced a lot in this paragraph, but it is important to drive this point forward.

How language innovates and spreads is not necessarily correlated with how populations migrate and settle. Please, take the time to absorb this single sentence.

Now, let's discuss this trap that Igbo people fall into, using the representative quote samples I have above. One assumption that Igbo people have held onto is that the "ancestral group" will be greater in population than the descendant groups, and that places with less population definitively means they are newer settlements. Simply put, that is just not how it works. The ancestral homeland for Isu is within the Northern Igbo Plateau, supposedly, but the entirety of settlements that constitute "Isu people" far outnumber the homeland. The homeland for Ngwa, some Ngor Okpuala is in Ezinihitte and northern Ngwa. However the bulk of Ngwa's high population can be attributed to the communities outside of northern Ngwa, and so on and so forth.

Obviously, population is not a determinant for antiquity, and thinking otherwise is the trap that Igbo people often fall into. It is time for Igbo people to separate the two, because they are not dependencies for each other. You can have a population with antiquity (such as the Adamanese people who are estimated to have settled in their area around 26,000 years ago) and still be low in number (estimated 7,000 in the 18th century).

In other words, we cannot draw a linear line between age of a settlement and its population, because various social, cultural, political, economic and even ecological contexts are required to understand how that settlement transformed overtime. So when we interrogate the theories such as the Hinterland Hypothesis or the Northern Igbo Plateau theory, we need to do more than simply saying "they are more in number" or that "they have a high population density". Cultural anthropology will ask questions such as "What factors influenced or caused such tight nucleated settlements within that region? Are those same or similar factors obtainable in other areas? What are the limits on whether or not we can apply such factors to other regions in the area?".

Long story short, it is simply not a good enough justification to base practically the entirety of the two theories (Hinterland Hypothesis and the Northern Igbo Plateau theory) on just high population density without further inquiry on the anthropological context that influenced it relative to other regions in the area.

Uniportadmision:
If we still insist on the theory that some part of Ekpeye might have been assimilated by the northern groups as opined by Ajaanaoka... (Don't know if I got the name right) , what about the other Rivers tribes like the Ogonis, Abuas etc smaller groups, with that logic their language and culture should have been annihilated (colonised) too, but I doubt if there are Igboid lexicals in their diction, maybe except for the Kalabari group that copied few words and structures because of inter marriage, at least they still maintained a huge part of their Ijoid structure.
Before I go further, I'd like to ask if you can point me to the section of the discussion that prompted your statement in bold. I want to respond to it by stating that (if memory serves), this is not the point that AjaanaOka was making at the time. But I would like to be sure what I am responding to and be sure that my memory serves me well before I fully respond.

Now, regarding the rest of the quote. Lexical analysis of Igbo (and also YEAI), suggests that the earliest speakers and even later after branching were not from (and did not perpetuate) a fishery-centric culture. Immediately south of the Igbo-speaking region is a delta. Aside from what might be considered occasional subsistence fishing practices, lexical analysis and cultural anthropology would suggest that proto-Igboid speakers would likely not have ventured into the delta. You see how population alone is not enough to answer historical linguistics and cultural anthropology questions?

Nothing indicates that the hinterland and the Northern Igbo Plateau, despite their population density and population pressure, would ever have overrun the communities in the delta (whether by population or language or culture) anytime in the past, nor even anytime in the near future had Europeans not arrived. This isn't to say that it is not at all possible. It very well might be, but the linear domino effect that you are suggesting is unlikely as it fails to take into consideration (at the risk of sounding like a broken record) the various social, political, cultural, economic and even ecological factors that influence settlement patterns over time. In this particular case, we can probably make the assertion that so long as the delta continues to exist and they continue to inhabit it, their languages (which have an abundance of fishery-centric terminology in their proto reconstructions), will likely not be impacted enough that their language family trees disappear under the population weight of Igbo-speaking communities.

Uniportadmision:
Dear ChinenyeN we have to be careful the way we believe some oral history, I mean, many of the stories are unrealistic and they can only remember as far back as they were told. Talking about autochthonous communities, you should know by now that the average Igbo man take pride in claiming independence and originality in what ever he does, he likes to be a pioneer(parent) rather than a copier(child).
I think many groups claiming autochthonomy do that out of pride and not necessarily oral traditions. Everyone definitely came from somewhere else before the present permanent location was established. No group fell from heaven like the Oduduwa story lol.
You will have to forgive me if this sounds sarcastic, but does this quote here also apply when speaking about the hinterland or the Northern Igbo Plateau? I am only quoting a section of this post, but taking the entirety of the post into consideration of this context of our discussion so far, it seems as though we are now pushing a strange rhetoric. You seem to have had no qualms supporting the basic foundations of the Hinterland Homeland hypothesis or the Northern Igbo Plateau theory, but now that we are facing similar for regions in the southern Igbo-speaking area, we should be careful how we believe some oral traditions. So, it's okay for Isu & Co. to be taken seriously, but it isn't okay for other groups who actually think of Isu as strangers?
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 6:23am On Jul 27
Uniportadmision:
Talking about Igboid population distributions, are you telling me the southern areas can in anyway be compared to the central plateau? Even the zones with one of the highest population density like Etche claim to have possibly migrated from Isu or Central Igbo land.
Yes, I am in fact saying exactly that. Obviously, I did not do the census recording and reporting. I am basing this response from the accounts of other researchers who likely have better access to population census records. We trust them to accurately report it in their research, until such a time as when we discover that they had not. So anyhow, let me continue.

Let us take the time to analyze the specifics that are used by the academia to push the narrative of the Northern Igbo Plateau being so supposedly unique. They are two specific items.

1. Autochthony.
2. Population density.

When it comes to the discussion of Igbo origins, the academia certainly treats the Northen Igbo Plateau as though it is the only area with autochthonous traditions, but that is far from the truth. Just as there is autochthony in the Northern Igbo Plateau, so also is there the Nfulala traditions of Ezinihitte and northern Ngwa. Likewise, we also have the in-situ traditions of the Akpor area in Ikwerre. I have not listed out everywhere, but already we have two communities in the southern Igbo-speaking region (outside of the Northern Igbo Plateau) with comparable autochthonous traditions.

Just as with autochthony, when it comes to population density in the discussion of Igbo origins, the Northern Igbo Plateau receives the sole emphasis, despite the fact that other area (such as the southern region) does compare to the northern Igbo Plateau. In fact, as a case in point, the population density of northern Ngwa has been reported as comparable to Owerri and the Orlu province.

Now, if we take the northern Ngwa and Ezinihitte area together, we see that this stretch of land is actually directly comparable to the Northern Igbo Plateau in both population density and traditions of autochthony; the two specific features that are used by the academia to center the Northern Igbo Plateau (and specifically Isu) within the discussion of Igbo origin.

Now, obviously, we can assume that Ezinihitte and Ngwa are not the genesis of Igbo origin. To begin with, these communities separate themselves strongly from Isu and claim no ancestral kinship nor ethnic allegiance with them (not including the modern Igbo identity that we all now have). However, the same rules used to uniquely set aside the Northern Igbo Plateau are completely ignored in the case of Ezinihitte and northern Ngwa. In fact, they are so very much ignored that the academia has successfully pushed the narrative of an Isuama origin for both Ezinihitte and northern Ngwa (communities that do not acknowledge kinship with Isu). As it turns out, the Isuama narrative has had an effect on the traditions of the Ngwa community, but Ezinihitte has remained largely resistant to the academia’s insistence on them being Isuama.

I cannot speak to the population density for Akpor, but even without population density, the existence of an autochthonous tradition which is corroborated in the traditions of the Ipu and Oza communities of Asa, should further cause one to question the extent to which the Isu can truly be credited with birthing Igbo communities. In fact a cursory analysis of southern Igbo oral traditions seems to show that the Isu are not progenitors of any of the known ethnic groups in the area. Rather, oral traditions shows the area to have been settled by these communities by the time the Isu pushed into the south.

Even Echie, contrary to your assessment is not Isu, though there are Isu settlements within their ethnic groups. Unless there is some additional/insightful information I am not aware of and as such are completely mistaken.

Anyhow, with all that having been said, you should be able to see that the Hinterland Homeland hypothesis requires further scrutiny. The entire southern belt was already peopled by non-Isu groups, so we can already discount the southern half of Igboland as having their origin from Isu. I am almost willing to bet we can also discount much of northern, eastern and western areas as also being Isu. Please don’t mistake my words. Isu are indeed a large ethnic block. Isu also indeed has a known and impactful expansion period. However, if we put the Hinterland Homeland hypothesis aside and examine the actual oral traditions of the communities in question, we don’t see much evidence that supports Isu as the homeland for many of these ethnic groups.
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 5:30am On Jul 27
AjaanaOka!! As my people say, anya arno (longest time)!

AjaanaOka:
I came online to add a few speculations on the chronology of proto-Igboid movements to our old post and I saw I had been mentioned a couple of times here. Love the exchange. smiley
Biara biekpere, add them at your earliest convenience.
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 5:27am On Jul 27
So there is something that I have noticed that Igbo people do when we have discussions like this. Igbo people fall into a what I might call a pseudo-linguist trap. Everyone believes that their neck of the woods has some deep variant that will render them unintelligible to virtually everyone else or a deep variant that for one reason or another proves the originality or antiquity of their lect. This rhetoric has been used many times as metric to support one claim or another without any real justification. I too have been guilty of this in the past, but I am here to say now that sounding un-Igbo or being unintelligible to most Igbo is not a substantial or even valid metric, particularly in this discussion. Case in point, Ekpeye vs Isu vs Izii lects.

Both Ekpeye and Izii are practically unintelligible to Isu speakers. Both Ekpeye and Izii might sound un-Igbo compared to Isu. If this simple (and subjective) metric of “how it sounds” were all that there was to it, then we would simply say that the three are different languages. However, we know it is not as cut and dry as that. It is for this reason we have an entire field of linguistics with analytical tools such as glottochronology, lexico-statistics, etc. With tools such as this, we analyze and arrive at more reproducible claims (in the academia, reproducibility is the holy grail).

With this said, it has been shown, to the satisfaction of the academia, that Ekpeye is likely the oldest surviving Igboid branch. On the basis of this alone, Isu is disqualified as the linguistic genesis of the Igbo-speaking region. Linguistically speaking, with Ekpeye being older, it is clear that on the basis of historical linguistics, if we want to determine the genesis of the Igboid language family, we need to better analyze the movement of Ekpeye and not Isu.

Now, let us move away from linguistics and examine oral tradition. As far as oral tradition goes, we are aware that the Izii area is one of the more recently populated zones (unless I am mistaken; someone correct me if I am wrong). So this is established. Relatively speaking the Izii communities are young. Now, let us go back to linguistics. Despite the fact that Izii is unintelligible to Isu, lexical analysis has revealed that Izii’s cognate scores are much higher with Isu and Owerri than with Ekpeye. I will have to go back and find the exact number from one of Kay Williamson’s analyses, but I believe it either came close to or exceeded 80%. Now let us follow this line of thought. With such high cognate scores, we know that the linguistic branching between Izii and Isu is recent. Very recent, if I might say. Now if the branching is recent, and if Izii is young as a community, then it suggests that the lexical innovations that characterize the Isu lect may also be relatively recent. Not all as recent as Izii, but still relatively recent. Can we be certain of this? In fact, yes, we can be near certain of it. With Ekpeye having been established as being from the oldest surviving branch, and with Isu having such low lexical similarity with Ekpeye within the Igbo-speaking region (I will double-check this and correct it if necessary), we can almost certainly say that the Isu lect is from a more modern language branch.

Do we follow? Essentially, the fact that Isu shares almost 80% lexical similarity with a linguistic branch that is known to be young (Izii) and far less lexical similarity with a linguistic branch that is accepted to be old (Ekpeye), we know that the Isu branch is itself should also be relatively young. When I say relatively, I mean in the span of time that we are looking at for the existence of Igboid lects. Essentially, 5000 - 3000 BCE to present day (within approximately 7,000 years as is currently accepted by the academia).

On the virtue of this alone, at least when it comes to studying the Igbo language family, the Hinterland Homeland hypothesis that centers on Isu is not a viable candidate for assessing Igbo linguistic genesis in the area. As we can see, this is more than just an assumption on how language spread and dialects emerged. We are looking at the results of reproducible studies and analysis on surviving Igboid lects.

Notice that without having to bring up the argument of high lectal diversity within the Ikwerre area, we have already disqualified Isu as a candidate, in favor of Ekpeye. By extension, we have show the entire Northern Igbo Plateau to just as likely be unviable as a candidate when discussing (at least) the linguistic genesis for branching within the Igbo-speaking region. The Igbo academia should begin revising its school of thought on Igbo language origins at least.
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 2:21am On Jul 26
Uniportadmision:
Dear ChinenyeN, I always get excited whenever I see your mentions and enjoy your posts as they're well and intelligently put.
Truth be told, I miss having these types of discussions here on NL. So I find myself just as much excited to see that I have a new mention.

Now, there are two things I find myself compelled to push back against in your most recent post.

Uniportadmision:
For me, a language is most pure and unadulterated when it's close to its original source devoid of any foreign influence. Going down south or up north you'd begin to get variations in dialect because of other foreign influence on the language.
From the perspective of linguists, there is no such thing as a "pure" and "unadulterated" speech variant. All speech variants undergo innovation no matter how isolated or near to their original source you may find them. This is why linguists believe that all languages are really just dialects. The concept of a "pure" and "unadulterated" speech variant only exists when a society has introduced standardization. Without such standardization, you cannot claim a "pure" and "unadulterated" speech variant, linguistically speaking. And when you scrutinize it further, you come to realize that standardization is more so a sociological and political phenomenon and not a strictly linguistic phenomenon. This is why linguists typically do not describe language zones or languages as "original" or "pure". So this is not a metric we can use in our discussion.

Uniportadmision:
Now one evidence provided by your friend on the other thread why an area should be considered as first area of language dispersal based on its immense dialect diversity, he referenced the development of the English language and other Germanic languages, citing an area around Germany with so much diversity in dialect resembling the old English, but he didn't put into consideration how dense in population those zones are.
On the contrary, AjaanaOka did in fact take into consideration population density. In the thread we are referencing, he rightly noted that most discussions on population density within Igboland are hyperfocused on the Northern Igbo Plateau and ignore the fact that other locations with comparable density exist outside of said Northern Igbo Plateau. This is one of the things (among many) that both AjaanaOka and I feel have been ignored by the Igbo academia, which in turn also is one of the the holes in the Hinterland Hypothesis that has not (and probably cannot) be filled. Hence why we suspect that the definitive answer to Igbo genesis may not reside in the northern-central areas (at least as far as historical linguistics is concerned).

Now that I've addressed those two things, I’ll be back to give my remarks to the rest of your posts.
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 12:29am On Jul 26
Abagworo:
Ahiara is Isu. In essense being related to Ahiara only cements the likelihood of Avuvu being of Isu in ancient times.

Perhaps I should add some additional clarification. I am aware that Ezinihitte uses the term Isoma to refer to the northern parts of Mbaise (which include Ahiara and Ekwereazu). By virtue of this alone, it means that Ahiara and Ekwereazu would have to be Isu. Following this logic, Avuvu in Ikeduru (if they are the same Avuvu of the "Ohuhu la Avuvu" tradition) would have to be Isu. However, this is where my caveat comes in. I am not entirely convinced that Ahiara (primarily) and perhaps Ekwereazu are actually Isu. I have based my suspicions on two things: 1) Autochthony and 2) Historical linguistics.

With respect to autochthony, we are all aware that the Isu homeland is further north. In fact, there is a strong likelihood that the Isu homeland might have actually been closer to (if not within) present-day Anambra. Ahiara (as well as Ekwereazu) claims autochthony within Mbaise. We know that the Isu pushing further south is more so recent memory. It is captured within our various oral traditions, so the Isuama expansion likely began anytime during or after the period between 700 - 1000 CE. For Ahiara to be Isu, we would need to reconcile their autochthonous traditions, which imply an oral tradition that predates 700 CE, suggesting that they may not be Isu.

With respect to historical linguistics, what we can classify as "Isu-type" speech variants and "Ngwa-type" speech variants are markedly dissimilar. Linguistically speaking, we can be certain that the "Isu-type" of speech innovations deviated differently from the "Ngwa-type" of speech innovations. To that end, I have actually met two Ahiara speakers who sounded to me so close to the "Ngwa-type" of speech variant that I initially confused them as speaking Ngwa or Echie when I first met them. They informed me that they were speaking Ahiara. Now, I know just as much as anyone that language does not equal a community's origin. But when we place language innovations and known parts of history within context, we can point a picture of the past (usually subjective and left up to interpretation).

So finally, between the claims of autochthony, Isu homeland being further north, and the historical linguistics, I am not so convinced that Ahiara is Isu. I can be more so convinced about Ekwereazu, perhaps, but my own encounters lead me to suspect that there might be more that can be looked into on the part of Ahiara.

Now, all that having been said, if we stick to what we currently know as the sentiments, claims and traditions on the ground (without giving them any further scrutiny), then we will have to conceded that Ahiara and Ekwereazu are likely Isu (if not definitively Isu).
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 4:46am On Jul 24
Uniportadmision:
If you say Isu, Uratta, Awka Ezinihitte are tier 1...
Etche/Ngor, Ngwa, Owerri etc as tier 2..,
Why then would you think the southern Igboid groups might be the cradle of first settlement?

I think there might be some confusion here as well. See, unlike the Igbo academia, I respect the existence of autochthonous traditions. So I do not believe that any one area or group is the cradle of the first settlement per se. Autochthonous communities are actually scattered throughout the Igbo speaking area, which makes it impossible to make the claim of any single one of them being the sole cradle of the first settlement. So what I actually believe is that there are various "cradles", and so for the time being, I will consider there to be a one-for-one relationship between autochthony and such cradle (hence the Tier 1 label I gave to the autochthonous communities). Now, keep in mind, this only applies to the limits of what our oral traditions can capture. In other words, the time period between 800 - 1800 CE. We can consider this recent memory. Then there is the historical linguistics which goes beyond recent memory. The key thing here is that historical linguistics is really more so about linguistics. I stated in one of my earlier post that a language and a people can be discussed separately to an extent. So this is where things deviate from speaking about the people and speaking more so about the languages.

With the historical linguistic aspect, we look at the various isoglosses (or language features) found throughout the Igbo-speaking region. One thing of note is that the southernmost part of Igboland (within the Ekpeye-Ikwerre axis) has an unprecedented amount of diversity. From a historical linguistic perspective, it could suggest an ideal candidate for identifying where a language family branching might have occurred. In other words, applying historical linguistics on the Igbo-speaking area at the cursory level suggests that the earliest Igboid language branches (or lects, or dialects) within the Igbo-speaking region possibly branched from the southern Igboland. Now, are we saying this is the definitive truth? No. It is just where the analysis leads so far. As we perform more analysis and uncover more things, the picture could become different.

However, this idea that the earliest Igboid language branches are represented within the southern Igbo-speaking region has support. I can provide a brief overview on a couple key evidences that seemingly support it.

One key support is that linguistic analysis on the various Igboid lects suggest that Ekpeye is among the older (if not oldest) surviving Igboid branch. Ekpeye is on the southern-most "westerly" end of the Igbo-speaking region. It sits right next to the stretch of communities with a high degree of linguistic diversity, and that provides further support for the proposed linguistic antiquity of the region.

Another key support is the stark linguistic shift that one will experience once leaving the Isu areas (the "central homeland" ) and venturing deeper into southern Igbo-speaking regions. Yes, it is true that there is linguistic diversity throughout the Igbo-speaking region, even down to the village level. It is also true that the various lects exist in a continuum. However, there is still a notable linguistic shift that occurs between the central and southern belts. An analysis of this shift shows that the area from Ogba (in Rivers) to Nsulu (in Abia) shares some specific grammatical and lexical features that do not appear to be commonly shared by the rest of the Igbo-speaking region. The added fact that these specific grammatical and lexical features are shared with Ekpeye (an Igboid branch that is considered the oldest surviving branch), further buttresses the claim of linguistic antiquity in the southern Igbo-speaking region.

Uniportadmision:
Why then would you think the southern Igboid groups might be the cradle of first settlement?
So to finally answer the quoted question here. It is not that I believe the southern Igboid groups are the cradle of the first settlement. It's just that the historical linguistics suggest that the earliest Igboid branching might have been in the southern Igbo-speaking region.

I hope that clarifies it up somewhat at least. In other words, we can make separate claims about the history of language innovation vs the history of settlement in the region.
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 11:01pm On Jul 23
Uniportadmision, perhaps I may need to expand on some things a bit. I feel you may be misunderstanding part of the discussion in the thread you are referencing. While it is true that I am not a proponent of the current, orthodox "Hinterland Hypothesis", it does not mean that I believe the hypothesis has zero merit. Allow me to explain.

As it is right now, the academia's school of thought (which is what is taught to and rehearsed by many Igbo people) is that the Hinterland Hypothesis is how the Igbo-speaking region came to be populated and how Igbo-speaking groups came to be settled in their present locations. However, this premise is not supported when you examine the autochthonous cases such as Nfulala, Uratta, Awka, Akpor, etc. It shows that the Hinterland Hypothesis has a glaring hole that the academia is essentially ignoring. In other words, the hypothesis is not sufficient for explaining the origins of various communities. However, it is sufficient in explaining one thing: The Isuama expansion from their autochthonous homeland.

So in fact, I do believe that the Hinterland Hypothesis has merit if limited particularly to explaining the Isuama expansion, and the possible effect it had on the Igbo-speaking region. We often hear a lot about Isu expanding southwards, but in reality, traditions show that the Isuama expansion was almost a 360 degree event. They radiated from their autochthonous homeland within Orlu-Awka axis in almost all directions. I believe this has significant implications in understanding how culture and language are expressed in surviving Igbo-speaking communities. In other words, the academia is missing out on what I believe is a key chance to potentially understanding how and why Igbo language and culture seems notably homogenized in a region where ethnic identity is highly balkanized and community origin suggests that most groups are unaffiliated with each other. This is an area that the academia has not explored, and I believe this is what the Hinterland Hypothesis can best explain.

Now the discussion that I and AjaanaOka were having at the time was based on AjaanaOka's approach of using linguistics to better understand the pre-history of the area. You see, like myself, AjaanaOka also finds the Hinterland Hypothesis to be inappropriate for explaining what it claims to explain. Before moving further, it is important to make two things clear.

1) There is a difference between a language and a people. In many ways we can correlate them (sometimes almost one-for-one), but there is enough of a distinction that we can sometimes speak about the historical movement of a language as separate from the modern people who speak said language. So much of what AjaanaOka and I discussed in that thread is mostly specific to explaining the linguistic branching and the movement of the language family.

2) We need to put this into context. Though our discussion at that time concerned Igbo history and origins, the Igbo history and origins part can be considered almost secondary. The real topic of discussion was whether or not the Niger-Benue confluence theory holds in general (and specifically for Igbo-speaking people). The Niger-Benue confluence theory suggests that Igbo migrated in a straight southward movement from the Niger-Benue region. The Igbo academia piggy-backed on this theory by suggesting that the migration came down from the Niger-Benue and led to the Amaigbo-Orlu axis, which became the central homeland from which Igbo communities spread and settled in their present location.

Hopefully I have not added any further confusion by attempting to clarify these two points. Ultimately, what I am trying to get at is that there are a lot of topics that can be discussed in their own right (i.e. the YEAI language family, the Hinterland Hypothesis, Niger-Benue confluence, etc.), but there is a connection between all of these discrete topics that can possibly shed more light on Igbo linguistic (an non-linguistic) origins. That connection is what AjaanaOka and I were attempting to reconcile (or interrogate or scrutinize, in fact) in that other thread you referenced.

Now, all of that having been said, our discussion in that thread more so suggests that rather than the Igbo language family pushing south from the Niger-Benue confluence, it rather pushed east from the Edo-Ondo borderlands. This postulation is arrived at using historical linguistics. See, something that is very much agreed upon by linguists is that locations with the greatest degree of language diversity, often may represent ideal candidates for identifying where a language family might have started branching. AjaanaOka suggests that this facet of historical linguistics can also be applied to the YEAI language family (of which Igbo belongs). Now, within the YEAI domain (the area covering Yoruba-speaking communities, Edo-speaking communities, Akoko-speaking communities and Igbo-speaking communities), there is one specific location that has the highest language diversity, being the Edo-Ondo borderland. Indigenous dialects for all the major language branches of YEAI are represented in this small space, with the exception of Igbo. So the postulation put forth by AjaanaOka is that the Igbo-speaking branch likely also branched off from somewhere within that region. As part of the postulation, he suggests that the Igbo-speaking branch might have drifted south, before effectively expanding northwards. The basis for this postulation is again the high degree of language diversity that exists within the Ekpeye-Ikwerre axis. This area has reportedly more language diversity than the rest of the Igbo-speaking region combined.

Personally, I have explanations for confounding factors that might explain why that may be the case. Nevertheless, I still find AjaanaOka's original premise to be reasonable. Now relating this to the rest of your post, we could say that the discussion that AjaanaOka and I had in that thread is not the same discussion you and I may be having now. What we discussed then was primarily in pre-history. The time-period between 5000 - 3000 BCE. What you and I are discussing now is more recent, perhaps between 800 - 1800 CE. These are not arbitrary dates, by the way. The 5000 - 3000 BCE dating represents the current academic standing on when the Igbo branch of YEAI approximately began to diverge. The 800 - 1800 CE dating represents the time period between the activities of the lost smithing community that inhabited Igbo Ukwu area (dated at 9th century) and the most well known, recent migrations that were happening up to the 19th century in Igboland. Basically, 5000 - 3000 BCE is pre-history, and 800 - 1800 CE is the time-period that our oral traditions capture.

Hewu. I feel I may have inadvertently written too much at this point. Let me stop here so I don't overwhelm the thread. I'll be back to touch on the routing that you mentioned.
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 1:44am On Jul 23
Well, Uniportadmision there’s not really an “Nfulala” group. “Nfulala” is just a term used to explain the belief that they (the communities in Mbaise/northern Ngwa) did not come from anywhere; that they either sprang into existence or were created in their current location. It’s not that they share ancestry or share clan identity. Nfulala is not a "clan" or "group" in the same sense that say Awka might be.

Uniportadmision:
always thought the Igbo tribes either came from one of the big groups of Isu, Uratta, awka, Etche/Ngor.

Hm. It doesn't quite do it justice to speak about it in terms of "big groups", because that's not really the case. Let me see how I can explain this. We can basically delineate four types of community origins within "Igboland". I will call them "tiers".

Tier 1: These are communities that claim to not have come from anywhere. These are autochthonous communities. They believe they either just manifested, or were created or have simply always been there and have no memory of having migrated from anywhere else.

Tier 2: These are communities that migrated from Tier 1 communities directly or indirectly. Indirectly would mean that they migrated from a fellow Tier 2 community.

Tier 3: These are communities that have traditions of migrating into “Igboland” from what we might consider as "non-Igbo" areas, or from just outside of our modern definition of "Igboland".

Tier 4: These are communities that migrated from a Tier 3 community directly or indirectly. Indirectly would mean that they migrated from a fellow Tier 4 community.

So let's take the Ikeduru/Mbaitolu as a case-in-point. Now, if we assume that the Avuvu in Ikeduru is the same Avuvu in the "Ohuhu la Avuvu" tradition, then we can say that the Ikeduru/Mbaitolu area is mostly composed of Tier 2 communities, since the Isu who make up the bulk of Mbaitolu have their homeland in the Orlu area (which is a Tier 1 community), and Avuvu would have its homeland in the "Nfulala" region (which is a Tier 1 group of communities).

Even, we can do the same with Etche and Ngor Okpuala. Traditions suggest that the communities in Etche and Ngor are a primarily a mix of Uratta and Mbaise/Ngwa. The homelands for Uratta is a Tier 1 community. Likewise the homeland for Mbaise/Ngwa is a Tier 1 community. So with that, we can consider Etche and Ngor communities to primarily consist of Tier 2 communities.

So the picture is very complex and there aren’t really any “big groups”, in the way that you might be thinking of it. Most Igbo communities are Tier 2 and Tier 4.
Culture / Re: Origin Of Various Igbo Clans by ChinenyeN(m): 1:02am On Jul 21
Uniportadmision, I am not sure that Avuvu shares the same ancestral legacy with Isu in Ikeduru. I suspect they don’t because there is one tradition I know of from Mbaise area called “Ohuhu la Avuvu”.

This expression refers to all the communities in Mbaise that are “Nfulala” as well as an offshoot that moved away from the region. There are some that believe that Avuvu is the offshoot that moved away. According to oral tradition in Ahiara, Avuvu was a sister clan. It used to be that Ahiara was comprised of two communities, the Odojianunu and Avuvu. Some hardship or bad blood (not sure which) caused the bulk of Avuvu to emigrate out of the “Nfulala” region. According to oral tradition, this migration event is associated with the time that the Imo beheading was occurring.

If the oral traditions are to be taken seriously to an extent, then it is possible that Avuvu was forced to move out due to what might be devastating ecological events (i.e. drought, less arable land, etc); the same ecological events that cause Imo beheading. If so, Avuvu is actually an Nfulala group related to Ahiara in Mbaise explicitly, and then secondarily related to the rest of Nfulala (Ezinihitte, Nguru, etc) by virtue autochthony.

Finally, the Ohuhu/Nfulala traditionally consider the Isu to be strangers to them. There are no traditions that acknowledge heritage with Isu. Likewise, Isu does not have any traditions that associate themselves with the Nfulala region. As a consequence, Avuvu (if it is the same Avuvu of in the “Ohuhu la Avuvu” tradition) is not of Isu ancestry.

I am assuming that since you asked about Avuvu, they are your community (feel free to correct me if my assumption is incorrect). In which case, I would certainly encourage you to inquire if a similar “Ohuhu la Avuvu” tradition exists for you all. It is possible that after 500+ years of acculturation with Isu, some things might have been forgotten. Although, it’s also possible to say that some things could have been encoded and preserved in some oral traditions, especially, if we take the suspected time period into consideration (Imo beheading and other ecological changes).
Culture / Re: Ndoki Clan Reunion With Their Ijaw Root. by ChinenyeN(m): 4:57am On Jun 08
CovenHighPriest:
You might be Igbo by origin but you are not Igbo at heart nor in attitude

You people are always looking to rob someone of their Igboness. See ehn, there are some specific things about current Igbo worldview/approach/sentiment/propaganda that I do not fundamentally agree with, and this is one of them. I speak up about them because I believe it is important to address them. If that makes me “not Igbo at heart” (i.e. not Igbo enough) for you, or if you want to devoid me of my Igboness on that basis, then very well.
Culture / Re: Ndoki Clan Reunion With Their Ijaw Root. by ChinenyeN(m): 1:08pm On Apr 19
Juliusmalema, owhnoghowhno nnu la gh ngala di la ika maa. It’s been over ten years now on this forum. Are you people not tired? Everytime, you people want to just have my name in your mouth as though it is sustenance. ChinenyeN this. ChinenyeN that. ChinenyeN these. ChinenyeN those. Is there nothing better that you have to do? I have long since tried to move on from your collective foolishness, but you people want to keep following me. For what?

Are you people upset that I no longer want to talk to you? Are you people upset that I have moved on and no longer come looking for you? It has been years now since I last directly spoke to any of you on this forum. Have you not grown since that time? Is it foolishness or what.

For the sake of your withered and forgotten gods, leave me alone. You’re over here saying to me “at your age”, when it is at your own big big age that you want to spend ten years chasing someone on a forum when that person does not care to speak to you. This is a nonsensical obsession. At your big age. Foolishness.

I don’t know if you are Igbo or not Juliusmalema, but if you are, then you are second hand embarrassment. I hope whatever “structure” you think you have given to “Igbo” falls apart before your very eyes. At least that way you can focus your attention on rebuilding whatever it is you thought you were building and LEAVE. ME. ALONE. Owhno.

This is the last thing I will say to you here. I will NOT respond to another statement from you here. So just know that if you choose to continue replying, then you are foolishly and stupidly talking to yourself... at your big age.

1 Like

Culture / Re: Ndoki Clan Reunion With Their Ijaw Root. by ChinenyeN(m): 9:07am On Apr 19
Juliusmalema, kohnurnu... nkohnu gh... lia... suu...

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