IGALA VOWELS AND TONE
THE IGALA ALPHABET
Every language has its vowels and consonants both of which must come together to form words.The Igala Alphabet, was obtained from the English Alphabet, has 31 letters, some of which are paired even though serving as singLe letters: a b ch d e ẹ f g gb gw h i j k kp kw l m n ny ñ ñm ñw o ọ p r t u w y
TONE IN IGALA SPEECH
In Igala speech, vowel sounds are important because they introduce tone into the syllables that make up the words. More importantly, In Ígáláà and other tone-languages, only tone introduces meanings.
THREE (3) BASIC IGALA TONES
There are three (3) basic Igala tones, each represented by a tone or accent mark, as shown below: (i) The (i) High tone is represented by ( ́ ) (ii) The Low tone is represented by ( ̀ )
(iii) The Mid tone represented by an empty space ( ).
NOTE: The key to learning to read and write Ígáláà is the ability of the learner to recognize and apply the above-mentioned tones and their corresponding representative symbols named tone or accent marks.
IGALA VOWELS VIS-A-VIS ENGLISH EQUIVALENTS
The sounds of Igala vowels differ sharply from those of English vowels. In addition, Igala vowels change their tones, following three basic pitches (High, Mid and Low). These tones – depending on how differently they are pronounced, help he learner to write different words and sentences.
PRONOUNCING IGALA VOWELS
Igala vowels number seven (7): a e ẹ i o ọ u. In the boxes below, only the ‘High’ tone, ( ́ ) is used to introduce the Igala vowels and to provide examples of how tone changes its pitch in different situations. Also, there are examples of how the Mid and Low tones sound in words or sentences, as shown in the last column below:
|ENGLISH VOWELS||ÍGÁLÁ VOWELS|
|1. a E.g. may, say, way.||1. á E.g. álá (sheep); ámá (clay).||Mid : Aa (Hello; hi). Low : À wá. (We came).|
|2. e E.g. me; see; tea.||2. é E.g. éjú (eye); égbé (grass).||Mid : Ee. (Yes). Low : èdè (throne)|
|e / ε / E.g. get, men||3. ẹ́ E.g.. ẹ́ja (fish); ẹ́gẹ (egg).||Mid : E.g. Ẹẹẹ. (Yes). Low : E.g. Ẹ̀ lìyá. (You came).|
|3. i / i / E.g. if, fit, itch||4. í E.g. ímọ́ (nose)||Mid : E.g. Iii. (Yes). Low : E.g. ìtì (cheek).|
|4. o / ou / E.g. soap; broke; oak; loaf.||5. ó E.g. ógbó (old age)|
Mid : E.g. Ooo. (Okay)
Low : E.g. Òfo (Nothing)
|o / ɔ / E.g. pot, got, not.|
6. ọ́ E.g. ọ́dọ́ (year).
|Mid : E.g. gbọọlọ (to be very long).|
|5. u / u / E.g. put; Luke; mute.|
7. ú E.g. Úchu (yam).
|Mid : E.g. du (to take).|