The Igala Alphabet

 

The website’s in-house teacher has assumed duty in the Kigala Klassroom, beginning his teaching of Igala language from the cradle – the ABC of education, the alphabet.

When a child is born, its mind is completely clean, like a blank slate or tabula rasa. Then, physical impressions and  psychological responses come together to influence its mind. The child’s first teacher is, naturally, its mother; later, the nursery school teacher joins her in his education, beginning with learning to read and write.

Learning to read and write any language usually begins with the alphabet; and Igala language is no exception.

                                                  IGALA ALPHABET 

                  A         B        CH       D       E                  F          G                                                       GB      GW     H         I        J         K           KP         KW                                                  L        M        N        NY             ÑM      ÑW        O                                                             P        R         T        U       W          Y

The Igala alphabet, shown above, has thirty-one (31) letters; and it was created from the English Alphabet (shown below),  which has five (5) vowels and nineteen (19) consonants, as shown below:

ENGLISH ALPHABET

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H

I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P
Q   R   S  T   U   V   W   X
Y   Z

 

FEATURES OF THE IGALA ALPHABET

                                          The Igala alphabet  has seven (7) vowels, namely:

Aa    Ee     Ẹẹ     Ii Oo     Ọọ     Uu 

                                          It has twenty-four (24) consonants, namely:
  b, ch, d, f, g, gb, gw, h, j, k, kp, kw, l, m, n, ny, ñ, ñm, ñw, p, r, t, w, y.

                                          It has sixteen (16) single-letter consonants: 

b,  d,  f,  g,  h,  j,  k,  l,  m,  n,  ñ,  p,  r,  t, w,  y. 

                                          It has eight (8)  paired consonant letters:                                                                                                  ch,   gb,   gw,  kp, kw,   ny,   ñm,  ñw

 

MEMORIZING THE ALPHABET

Reciting the alphabet repeatedly in and out of the classroom helps the Igala learner to memorize it. 

NURSERY RHYME: ÁÀ-ÉÈ

The Igala alphabet is patterned into a nursery rhyme, fondly called ‘Áà – Éè,’ (sounding like  “Ah! Hey!”). its constant recitation makes it easy for learners to memorize the alphabet. The structure of this magic rhyme is as follows:

  • The first line comprises all the seven vowels – a e ẹ i o ọ u –  each  serving as the beginning of seven vertical columns, under which the 24 consonants fall in alphabetical order.                
  • The second line begins with the first consonant, letter ‘b,’ prefixed to the first vowel, ‘a,’ which is then duplicated, bearing a high-low sound, as in the exclamation , “Ah!” The syllable thus formed is pronounced ‘báà.‘ It is then prefixed to the next vowel, ‘e’ duplicated, sounding ‘béè,’ then, to ‘bẹ́ẹ̀,’ ‘bíì,’ ‘bóò,’  ‘bọ́ọ̀,’  ‘bù.’           The next consonant, ‘ch,’ continues until all the 24 consonant letters have had their turns to be prefixed to each of the seven vowel letters in their respective columns, as shown below:
    • à        éè       ẹ́ẹ̀       íì        óo       ọ́ọ̀         ù.
    • báà      béè     bẹ́ẹ̀     bíì      bóò      bọ́ọ̀       bù.
    • cháà    chéè    chẹ́ẹ̀    chíì     chóò    chọ́ọ̀     chù
    • dáà      déè     dẹ́ẹ̀     díì      dóò      dọ́ọ̀      dù
    • fáà       féè      fẹ́ẹ̀      fíì       fóò       fọ́ọ̀       fù
    • gáà      géè     gẹ́ẹ̀      gíì      góò       gọ́ọ̀      gù
    • gbáà    gbéè   gbẹ́ẹ̀    gbíì    gbóò     gbọ́ọ̀    gbù
    • gwáà   gwéè   gwẹ́ẹ̀   gwíì   gwóò    gwọ́ọ̀    gwù
    • háà     héè      hẹ́ẹ̀      híì     hóò       họ́ọ̀      hù
    • jáà      jéè       jẹ́ẹ̀       jíì      jóò        jọ́ọ̀       jù
    • káà     kéè      kẹ́ẹ̀      kíì      kóò       kọ́ọ̀      kù
    • kpáà   kpéè    kpẹ́ẹ̀   kpíì    kpóò      kpọ́ọ̀    kpù
    • kwáà  kwéè   kwẹ́ẹ̀   kwíì   kwóò     kwọ́ọ̀   kwù
    • láà     léè       lẹ́        líì       lóò        lọ́ọ̀       lù
    • máà   méè     mẹ́ẹ̀   míì     móò      mọ́ọ̀     mù
    • náà    néè      nẹ́ẹ̀    níì      nóò       nọ́ọ̀      nù
    • nyáà  nyéè    nyẹ́ẹ̀   nyí     nyóò     nyọ́ọ̀     nyù
    • ñáà    ñéè     ñẹ́ẹ̀     ñíì      ñóò       ñọ́ọ̀      ñù
    • ñmáà  ñméè  ñmẹ́ẹ̀  ñmíì   ñmóò    ñmọ́ọ̀  ñmù
    • ñwáà  ñwéè  ñwẹ́ẹ̀   ñwí    ñwóò    ñwọ́ọ̀   ñwù
    • páà    péè     pẹ́ẹ̀     píì      póò       pọ́ọ̀     pù
    • ráà    réè      rẹ́ẹ̀      ríì       róò       rọ́ọ̀      rù
    • táà    téè      tẹ́ẹ̀      tíì        tóò       tó         tù
    • wáà  wéè    wẹ́ẹ̀     wíì      wóò      wọ́ọ̀     wù
    • yáà   yéè     yẹ́ẹ̀      yíì       yóò      yọ́ọ̀       p

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