Tag Archives: Igbo language

Igbo speakers, can you help?

I got this comment from Vivi Wei, a PhD student of Lingustics in Fudan University, Shanghai. She needs native Igbo speakers to help out in her research. See the original comment and link to her survey below.

Please tweet this, Facebook it and email it to your Igbo-speaking friends and family. Thank you.

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Hey, This is Vivi Wei from China. I am doing a PhD program in linguistics. I really need some native Igbo speakers to help me to finish a survey on Igbo resultatives, which is a sentence expressing an action-result concept. It is an intuition test which basically only requires you to translate some English sentences into Igbo and check the acceptability of some Igbo sentences. It only takes 10-15 minutes for you to finish the survey online. Your participation would be very helpful for my PhD dissertation and it means a lot to me! Thank you very much.

The link to the survey is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8QFQYYL

Uli on my mind.

I have always regretted that drawing uli patterns fell out of fashion.  It annoys me when I consider the rather flimsy reason they did, the same as a lot of traditional Igbo stuff; because the church disapproved and thought it fetishistic.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Igbo women often wore uli painting on everyday occasions as well as during important festivals. At the same time missionary schools were discouraging women from painting uli on their bodies and instead taught them to embroider the designs on textiles. Uli artists were asked by missionaries to record their designs on paper. These were then used to make templates for the embroideries.

From here.

Now a lot of scholars suggest that uli was not really a mode of communication, not in the way nsibidi was. It’s supposed to be more linear and abstract, a way to beautify spaces as opposed to nsibidi’s ideographic/logographic  – i.e. used to transmit concepts or ideas – form. But maybe in the process of getting ridding of the more-feared nsibidi (which was used in its sacred forms by the literate secret societies), it might also have come under attack.

Note, I use secret societies to mean titled and Leopard societies not Living in Bondage type scenarios. 

Recently I have become interested in finding as many designs as I can and in creating a few of my own. I toyed with the idea of getting the one from my grandfather’s mud walls made into a tattoo for my back.  I also briefly considered getting patterns tattooed on the soles of my feet but I do not fancy the thought of spending great amounts of money for something that would fade pretty quickly due to friction (walking around, wearing shoes, etc).

Sole tatPlus according to sources, it hurts like crazy.

As for putting it on my back or anywhere hidden like my bum, I am worried about it fading and/or the ink bleeding and how it will look on my skin when I am old and my bottom droops to the backs of my knees.

I think one of the things that is so beautiful about uli is the impermanence of it all. The dye fades after a few days so that you can draw an entirely fresh design on; one suited to the occasion or event, or even just one that takes your fancy. Tattoos do not afford me the same option.

Uli seems the way to go. Nsibisi is enjoying a resurgence so hopefully uli too will come off the better for it.  Thanks to people like the Nsukka Group and many other interested bodies and individuals, a lot of the designs are not lost. I reckon I will try out a few designs with henna and see how that works out. I’ll also try to find some camwood dye (African sandalwood) in some villages back East when I get to Nigeria and try out its reddish colour as well.

The front wall of my grandfather's compound, Ezelle, Oba. Use with permission.
The front wall of my grandfather’s compound with what looks like uli patterns; Ezelle, Oba. © Chikodili Emelumadu.
'Ugo n'acho nma' carved figure; ukpuru.tumblr.com.
‘Ugo n’acho nma’ carved figure; ukpuru.tumblr.com.

 

Igbophilia or ‘How to be Igbo in the 21st Century’.

Today is the last day for early bird (read discounted tickets) for the 3rd annual Igbo Conference taking place at SOAS, University of London,  2-3 May 2014.

I feel like an idiot because I was supposed to let you guys know since Thursday but I went on a mini-break and there was no service where I was so, I am telling you now. BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY. DO NOT DELAY. (Yes, I rhyme too.)

Why? Well, the Igbo Conference is a great place to exchange ideas, stories, tips and even learn the language and culture. This year’s theme is on ‘Heritage’ and I am quite excited about the list of activities. But don’t take my word for it. Have a look.

Programme of activities.

You can buy your tickets here.

For the eagle-eyed amongst you, well spotted. I am part of the panel on the 3rd of May.  I will probably be wearing my villain shoes so if in doubt, look for that. I might even bring the Tot. It’ll be great to see you guys there.

A different kind of job.

 

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Taking some time out of my day to make Tot an Igbo educational book.

He already has Mbido Igbo 1 but it’s such a shambolic book; cheap paper, pictures not clear, just terrible. I can’t believe it’s the same book we used in Primary 1. The quality nowadays is just plain awful.

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Surprisingly it photographs clearer than it actually is. But can you see the drawings on the next page bleeding through? AND CAN YOU SEE ‘O, OMO’? Are these people for real?!

Anyway, I can’t do much worse. At least mine is already on coloured paper. Much more interesting for a toddler.

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And I intend to include MODERN contraptions which this book still lacks (no mobile phones for instance). I mean for chrissakes, this is the fourth edition made in 2008 and they’re still counting in kobo. Where will any Nigerian child find kobo these days? Just make them count stones or udara fruits or mangoes or something.

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Maybe I’ll put it up when it’s done. I’m giving myself 30 minutes a day till it’s finished. My time’s expired now since I blogged instead. Back to writing for me.