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Can you write in Igbo?

Is Igbo a written language?

Yes, Igbo is a modern language with rules, grammar and a written form like most other languages. Igbo is a tonal language like Chinese, Vietnamese and many African languages. 

The language has three tones, high, mid and low, and it uses the Latin alphabet with 36 letters.

Nine of those letters are diagraphs. This is where two letters are combined to create a specific sound.

Igbo also has eight vowels, some with dots and others without, which dictate how they are pronounced. Vowels without dots have a more open sound. 

Check out Master Zeji’s video on the Igbo alphabet for more on how letters are pronounced.

Igbo diagraphs: Ch, Sh, Gb, Gh, Gw, Kp, Kw, Nw, Ny

Igbo vowels: A, E, I, Ị, O, Ọ, U, Ụ

Igbo alphabet: A B Ch D E F G Gb Gh Gw H I Ị J K Kp Kw L M N Ñ Nw Ny O Ọ P R S Sh T U Ụ V W Y Z

*Note, before colonisation Igbo as well as Ibibio, Efik, Ejagham had previously used an idiographic writing system known as ndibidi/nsibiri.

This is part of a series: Answering commonly asked questions about the Igbo culture language and people. Click the link to find more answers to commonly asked questions.

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