Igbo Basic Course
$25 off CD version, Level 1!
The Igbo Basic Course is based on the speech of two members of the Ezinehite group of Igbos in Central Owerri Province between the towns of Owerri and Umuahia, Eastern Nigeria; their speech is representative the dialect called "Central Igbo". The essential phonological and grammatical structures of Igbo are presented within a small vocabulary. This course is a companion with the courses in Twi, and Yoruba, two other languages of West Africa in the Niger-Congo family. It represents an effort to apply a combination of proven classroom techniques, and new ones that were especially devised for the teaching of complex tonal systems. Igbo has been less studied by trained linguists than some other African languages, so this course presents basic research into the structure of the language. The preparation of this course was based on classroom experience with Foreign Service Officers as students. Comes with 12 CDs, and a 498-page book. The digital version of this course comes with MP3 audio files and a copy of the text in PDF format, all on one CD-ROM.
The Igbo Basic Course is based on the speech of two members of the Ezinehite group of Igbos in Central Owerri Province between the towns of Owerri and Umuahia, Eastern Nigeria; their speech is representative the dialect called "Central Igbo". The essential phonological and grammatical structures of Igbo are presented within a small vocabulary. The omission of many common words is justified on the premise that, once the structure is grasped, vocabulary building can proceed apace. The words presented are however useful, lend themselves to the construction of natural though limited utterances, and exemplify all the phonemes of Igbo in representative environments. If compounds and derivatives are not counted separately, there are about six hundred vocabulary items.
This course is a companion with the courses in Twi, and Yoruba, two other languages of West Africa in the Niger-Congo family. It represents an effort to apply a combination of proven classroom techniques, and new ones that were especially devised for the teaching of complex tonal systems. Igbo has been less studied by trained linguists than some other African languages, so this course presents basic research into the structure of the language. The preparation of this course was based on classroom experience with Foreign Service Officers as students. Comes with 12 CDs and a 498-page book.
The course materials consist of four parts: 1) Tone Drills - a set of seventy-five exercises on the recognition of tone distinctions and patterns; 2) twenty-four units (1-24) containing: a. Dialogues, b. Notes, and c. Drills; 3) six units (25-30) containing a. Dialogues, and b. Short Narratives.; and 4) Vocabulary.
The dialogues of the thirty units in the Basic Course are presented in four columns headed Pronunciation, Structure, Spelling, and English.
The Pronunciation column represents, as clearly as possible within the orthographic conventions adopted the speech of the Igbo authors of this course as recorded on the accompanying audio recordings.
The Structure column contains, where necessary, parenthetic notes concerning the tone class membership of nouns or verbs, the membership of forms in other grammatical categories and the like, plus a respelling of the utterances more nearly conforming to the shapes of the morphemes in isolation. The tone patterns of the utterances are, however, not changed in this column from those in the first column.
The Spelling column presents the same utterances in Igbo orthography. The orthography chosen is the so-called 'old' orthography which is more common than the 'new' and which serves as the basis for the transcription used in the Pronunciation and Structure columns. Because of a considerable variation in Igbo spelling in various printed materials available to the writers, the personal practice of the Igbo members of the team producing these units was generally followed. Thus the spelling column represents a spelling rather than the spelling and serves to introduce the student to some of the common spelling conventions and to accustom him to the appearance of Igbo written without tone marks and with spaces between 'words' and/or other units. After these materials were prepared news come of the adoption of a newer orthography for Igbo which more nearly approximates the spelling of our Structure column but which does not mark tone, aspiration or nasalization.
The final column, English, gives a more or less literal translation in accordance with the following conventions:
Thus a smoother translation can usually be obtained by reading items in square brackets and omitting those in parentheses. In accordance with these conventions, the Igbo equivalent of 'Where are you going?' might appear in the units as follows:
And in Column 4:
The grammar notes are perhaps more extensive than minimally required in a work with primarily pedagogic purposes. The absence of suitable reference grammars of Igbo make this desirable. On the other hand, no brief course can pretend to an exhaustive treatment of structure. Many matters of derivational morphology and of syntax have been slighted in favor of more detailed treatment of grammatical function of tone. This was done on the assumption that morphological and syntactic use of tone is the primary difficulty in Igbo for English speakers and that 'conventional' matters of grammar, such as work order and 'idiom', will be more apparent to the student as he progresses beyond the scope of the present course than will matters of tone. The drills are nearly all of the substitution type. The Introduction and Unit l contain recommendations for the routine use of such drills.
Inasmuch as the marking of tone and a fairly complex transcription system must be employed with a variety of diacritic marks, it is inevitable that there should occur errors in the printed version due to faulty proof-reading. Every effort has been made to keep these to a minimum.
Each tone drill is designed to be done entirely orally. Each individual tone drill should be repeated until the learner can give correct responses without error. The correct responses are recorded on the audio recordings and printed in the text. After all drills in a lettered section have been successfully accomplished, the learner should repeat the section writing his/her responses. This helps the association of accents used as orthographic symbols of tone with relative pitches perceived aurally. All tone drills should be completed before learners progress beyond Unit 3.
The dialogues are presented by a native speaker at normal speed, and the learner should initially listen with the text closed. Normal speed is defined as no slower than the slowest rendering of the utterance which the speaker would use in natural conversation with another native speaker of Igbo.
The dialogues are presented at normal speed with the individual words and phrases on the 'build-ups' printed. The learner should imitate the utterance as the native speaker. If a complete utterance offers particular problems for the learner, the teacher on the audio recordingspresents the utterances in parts, commonly starting from the end (with the last phrase) and building up by adding the preceding parts of the utterance. For this reason, the sentences in the early dialogues are kept very short and the speaker uses frequent repetition of whole utterances Lo partial presentation.
The narratives should be drilled as were the dialogues. As the utterances are longer, the separate phrases may have to be practiced separately. Each narrative is to be memorized as were the dialogues until the learner can tell the story with smooth, fluent and correct delivery.