IGBO NWERE MMADU..
A new way of Igbo writing on its way The akagu script is an alphabet used for the writing of the Igbo language and was developed from the nsibidi writing system in 2010. Akagu is composed of graphemes that were created to bestsuit the majority of phonemes in the Igbo language. Because thereis no perfect writing system, akagu had gone through a series ofrenovations; it was originally a syllabary which was scraped dueto its cumber some nature. Akagu’s rules are to be taught in this
document for the benet of Igbo speakers and writers. The rules themselves are half of the effectivity of the whole writing system
and are therefore very important. The most signicant difference between akagu and the Latin alphabet Igbo currently uses is that
akagu will be able to be used alongside the ancient indigenoussemi-logographic script known popularly as nsibidi, but amongIgbo speakers as nsibiri. The nsibiri logographs can be used in-terchangeably with akagu for words, this allows users to easilyidentify the semantics of a word in a language that has multiplehomonyms. This tutorial is designed primarily for Igbo speak-ers who already have a grasp of the current Igbo orthographies.
The akagu alphabet works like most alphabets in the sense thateach character represents a sound and is written from left toright. The fundamental difference with akagu is that it uses su-perscript (e.g A b) and vertical ligatures to indicate vowel assimi-lation, whether fully or partially. For example if you were to write‘rihe’ to mean “eat something”, a transliteration of akagu would be‘rie ihe’ meaning the same thing but with the two words being easily identiable. Other example are “your ones” ‘which would bek è únù’, or “know a name” which would be ‘m á áhà’. As you cansee the completely assimilating vowel is usually in the beginningof the second word and all the letters still retain their diacritics(tone indicators). With the ligatures, the vowel is always under the previous consonant to show that the particular assimilating vowel has been modied with the assimilated as well as taking the assimilated letter out of the concentration of the main line of writing.
Diacritics are used to show the intonation of a word. The marksused in akagu include the upward sloping line on the left side ofthe letter which indicates a high tone; the opposite is the down-ward sloping line on the letter which is on the right side of the letterwhich indicates a low tone. The upward facing 45o angle on the rightindicates a high nasal tone, the downward is low nasal, and the 125o
right facing angle is a mid or normal nasal tone. The markerscan be used with any of the letters in the chart that is in a grey box.
There are also the vowels shown on the lower side of the chartthat feature two bars at the top. These are long vowels, andfor the ‘o’, there is a sperate character indicating the long‘o’ vowel. The long vowel are vowels held for more than onebeat such as the ‘oo’ in ‘moor’. These characters can havetwo diacritics on them, the rising line, and the dipping line.
Quick-hand akagu (under the main characters) are akagu spe-
cically to be used with the Igbo language, while the larger
characters shown above the quick-hand akagu is used for non-grammatical words like exclamations, noises, and other sounds not related to special words; it is also used for non-Igbo languages. The two were made in order for Igbo and non-Igbo words to be easily distinguishable. One of the key differences is that the quick hand doesn’t feature bars at the ends of its tips.
The ligatures work just like other ligatures; they are two letters withtwo different sounds in the combined as the same letter, the dif-ference in akagu is that they are vertical. They are used only withquick-hand, or Igbo akagu. The ligatures are for the ease of read-ing by reducing the amount of letters the user has to skim over.They are simply two letters that should be read as the two letters,the difference is that they have been compressed into a smallerspace. The ligatures are learnt because they are combined to form special sounds that would not be easily identifiable if not taught.
These sounds are not represented by any single letter in akagu.