Learning languages similar to Igbo can be a great way to gain insight into life in African societies. In addition, it increases your linguistic proficiency at the same time!
These languages include Efik, Ibibio, Yoruba, Kru, and Hausa. If you want to learn one of these languages, continue reading!
Languages Similar To Igbo – Top 10 Languages!
Learning languages is a great way to open up a dialogue with people from different cultures, particularly if you’re planning on doing any travel in West Africa.
Igbo is a unique language spoken by the Igbo people of Nigeria. It is an interesting language, but did you know there are similar languages?
Some languages that share similarities with Igbo include Kru, Idoma, Efik and Ibibio. Also, some languages include Yoruba, Hausa, Tiv, and Edo, just to name a few.
Additionally, languages like Ewe and Fon have the same roots as Igbo.
These languages are all from the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Consequently, they share a lot, ranging from grammar to vocabulary.
So if you’re an Igbo speaker or want to learn languages similar to Igbo, consider learning these too!
1. Kru Is A Great Option:
Igbo and Kru are two of the many languages spoken in Africa. They are both classified as Niger-Congo languages, so they share similarities.
For example, both Igbo and Kru use a Subject-Object-Verb word order. Like, the sentence “I saw the dog” would be “Ana nwụrụ onwe ɔ́gwè” in Kru and “Bia n’ebe ọkọ” in Igbo.
Here, ana and bia are the subjects, nwụrụ and ebe are the objects, and ɔ́gwè and ọkọ are the verbs. Moreover, both Igbo and Kru strongly emphasize the family unit.
This means that words like family members and relatives can have different forms. It depends on the speaker’s relationship with them.
For example, “mother” can address one’s mother, a female relative, or an older woman. These similarities suggest they share some common cultural roots.
Many people are unaware that Igbo and Idoma are quite similar languages. Though they are common in different parts of Nigeria, the two languages are close.
For instance, both Igbo and Idoma are tonal languages. This means the same word can have different meanings depending on the context.
For instance, the word “ma” in Idoma can mean both “to eat” and “to drink,” depending on the tone used when saying it.
In the same way, in Igbo, the word “nna” can mean both “father” and “mother”.
In addition, both use affixes, which are groups of letters or syllables added to the beginning or end of a word. It can change the meaning.
So, this makes Igbo and Idoma similar to each other.
3. Give A Try To Efik:
Although Igbo and Efik are different languages, they share many similarities. For starters, both languages use the Latin alphabet and have similar sound systems.
For instance, the letter “e” sounds like the English word “ay”, while the letter “i” sounds like the English word “ee”.
Furthermore, both languages have a rich tradition of oral storytelling. Also, they place great importance on proverbs and sayings.
For example, the Igbo proverb “Onye aghala nwanne ya” is “He who loves his brother’s child is like a father.”
Similarly, a well-known Efik proverb, “Aka Indian ámáná mbah” means “The turtle never retreats into its shell.” So, both value useful messages and sayings.
Lastly, both Igbo and Efik have adopted the same loanwords due to the influence of English. All these points show that languages are similar to each other.
4. Ibibio Is A Close Language To Igbo:
Igbo and Ibibio are very close as they belong to the Niger-Congo language family. As a result, they share many similarities in their grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.
For example, both have similar words. An example of a common word between these languages is “ámáná,”. This means turtle in Igbo and is also used in Ibibio.
In addition, both languages are common in the extensive use of auxiliaries. This means a single verb can communicate various ideas.
Such as, in Igbo, the verb “bà” can mean ‘come’, ‘go’ or even ‘arrive’. Ibibio people also use this word for similar messages.
The two languages also use gendered words for nouns, adjectives, and pronouns. They help to show whether they are masculine or feminine.
For instance, we use he/she for masculine and feminine in English. Therefore, in these languages, you will find similar features.
Igbo and Ibibio share several similarities that make them close languages.
5. Why Not Yoruba:
Igbo and Yoruba are two of the most widely spoken languages in Africa. Though they originate from the Niger-Congo family, they have some similarities.
Both languages have similar sound systems. For example, both languages have a distinction between short and long vowels.
The Yoruba word “omode” pronounced “oh-moh-day” means “child”. At the same time, the Igbo word “ọma” (“oh-mah”) indicates the same concept very similar.
Moreover, they use nasal consonants like “n” and “m”.
Additionally, the Yoruba word “oní” pronounced “oh-nee” means “mouth”. While the Igbo word “ọnụ” pronounced “oh-new”, has the same idea.
Also, both languages rely heavily on tone to convey different meanings. This evidence shows that languages similar to Igbo, such as Yoruba, have similarities.
It’s no surprise that Hausa and Igbo are similar languages. Moreover, they share many commonalities, even beyond their shared roots.
For one thing, Hausa and Igbo use words borrowed from Arabic due to the influence of Islam.
The Hausa word for “five”, “biyar”, is an example of a word taken from Arabic. Similarly, the Igbo word for five, “arụmara” is also derived from Arabic.
Also, both languages employ proverbs to convey wisdom or emphasize a point. A perfect example of this similarity is the famous proverb, “A kite does not catch fish”.
This proverb exists in both languages and has a similar meaning. It conveys the idea that one must take risks to achieve success.
It’s not surprising that speakers of these two can understand each other’s similarities.
7. Tiv Is A Closely Related To Igbo:
Tiv and Igbo languages are also quite similar. These two languages are closely related, with much of their vocabulary being similar.
A word for “book”, for example, is “Gbei”, which is the same in both languages.
In addition to common vocabulary, Tiv and Igbo share many of the same cultural values and beliefs.
One of the most important points is the use of postpositions. Postposition is the ordering of words in sentences, with the verb always coming at the end.
This is something both languages have in common and makes them quite similar.
For example, in both languages, the sentence “John saw a dog” would be “John a dog saw.”
Therefore, Tiv and Igbo share many similarities that make them unique and interesting.
8. Edo And Igbo Are Also Similar:
It’s no secret that Edo and Igbo are two of the most similar languages. Many linguists believe they are more similar than any other two languages worldwide.
Edo and Igbo share several common features, including a tonal system. Hence, both are tonal languages.
This means that your voice’s pitch can change a word’s meaning.
For example, a high-pitched “mama” will be “mother”. Whereas a low-pitched “mama” will be “grandmother” in both languages.
Moreover, words in both languages tend to be short – usually just one or two syllables. This means that phrases and sentences can be concise and direct.
So if you’re trying to learn either of these languages, it might not be as difficult as you think!
9. Ewe Has Many similarities:
Ewe and Igbo are two languages spoken in West Africa that share many similarities. First, they make use of grammatical gender.
For example, words in Ewe are often associated with the masculine or feminine gender. And they must agree with the subject of the sentence.
The term “ɖe” means “he/she” in Ewe. Similarly, Igbo also has a word, “iyɔ,” which means the same.
Furthermore, both languages use the same vocabulary for numbers and kinship terms.
While there are some differences between them, it’s clear that they have a common ancestor.
This similarity is because the two groups speak Ewe and the Igbo – are genetically related. Therefore, it’s not surprising that their languages would share certain features.
10. Fon Has Some Common Points As Well:
Fon and Igbo languages are both Niger-Congo languages. The similarity between these two is that they belong to the same family of languages.
The similarity between the two languages is their use of tone to convey meaning.
For example, in Igbo, the word nàà “I” is said with a high tone, while náá “you” is said with a low tone. In Fon, the word ee “I” has a high tone, while ɛ̀ɛ́ “you” have a low tone.
Both languages also use plural markers to state when more than one person or thing is being talked about.
In Igbo, the plural marker is -àm-, while in Fon, the plural marker is -w-. These similarities show that Fon and Igbo share a lot in common despite being two different languages.
Languages similar to Igbo include the Benue-Congo branches of languages or Niger-Congo languages.
For example, languages like Fon, Yoruba, and Efik share many similarities with Igbo. Some other options are languages like Ibibio, Idoma, and Tiv.
If you want to learn a new language and gain a deeper understanding of the culture of Igbo, consider studying one of these languages!
With so many languages similar to Igbo, there’s sure to be something out there for everyone! So why not give it a try? You might just surprise yourself!
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