How To Become Perfect at Speaking Igbo Language

By Obindigbo November 29, 2015 10:03

Speaking is imitation and the same applies to Speaking Igbo Language. When you speak any language you’re fluent in, you don’t make up your own grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. You use the same grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation as people around you.

Similarly, when trying to learn and speak Igbo language, your goal is to imitate the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation of native Igbo speakers, so that your way of speaking Igbo will come forth correct and natural.

igbo-people Speaking Igbo Language

It’s pretty obvious that, in order to talk like we the native Igbo speakers, you have to listen to the things we say and read the things we write. When you do so, you learn new Igbo words and grammar structures that you can use to express your thoughts when you attempt to speak Igbo. As a result, it becomes easier and easier for you to build your own sentences in Igbo language.

By contrast, if you follow the popular advice that says: “The best way to learn a Igbo language is to speak it” and concentrate on speaking Igbo only rather than listening and reading, you will learn few new Igbo language words and sentence structures and, like so many learners of Igbo language, will be stuck with your limited Igbo vocabulary and grammar. It will always be hard for you to express your thoughts in Igbo language.

Benefits of speaking Igbo to someone trying to learn Igbo language

While Igbo speaking practice does not develop your mental storehouse of Igbo vocabulary or grammar, it does offer a few important benefits:

  • It helps improve your fluency in Igbo language (moves your knowledge of Igbo grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation from your “slow memory” to your “quick memory” — however, first you must put something of Igbo language in your “slow memory” through input)
  • Communicating in Igbo language is quite exciting and motivates you to keep learning
  • It helps expose gaps in your Igbo vocabulary and grammar (shows you what you don’t know and encourages you to look it up)

What you should do to perfect your Igbo language skills

  • If you don’t know how to begin your Igbo sentence, even after thinking for a while,
  • If you stop in the middle of an Igbo sentence, and can’t continue because you don’t know a word to say,
  • If you produce awkward-sounding Igbo sentences because you don’t know how to say something in Igbo language in a natural way,
  • If you often make mistakes and are not aware of it,

…you need more input, not more speaking practice. Such problems show that you simply don’t know how to say certain things in Igbo language, and should look at how native Igbo speakers say them. More Igbo language speaking will not improve your Igbo vocabulary and grammar; actually, it can make things worse.

From the very beginning, you should spend all of your time on reading and listening Igbo materials such as Igbo books, Igbo music, Igbo movies, Igbo traditional performances etc (thus acquiring the necessary vocabulary and grammar) until you can write a few simple — but 100% correct — sentences in Igbo language. For example, you can start by writing a whatsapp message to someone who understands Igbo language. (It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to write that message. It may be two hours, if you have that kind of patience.)

At the same time, you should study the phonetics of Igbo language, watch Igbo movies, practice pronouncing Igbo sounds, and learn the pronunciations of Igbo words.

Then, you should continue getting input and writing in Igbo until you can produce simple and correct sentences without consulting the Igbo dictionary or the Web. This is when you should start speaking Igbo language — again, slowly and carefully. However, you should still spend most of your time on reading and listening to Igbo contents such as music, blogs, videos, movies, games, TV channels etc, because input is the only way to develop your Igbo vocabulary and grammar.




By Obindigbo November 29, 2015 10:03