Monday, 9 May 2011

Lugbara Alphabet and Vocabulary

Everybody knows that the English Alphabet has 26 letters. However, not many know that the Lugbara Alphabet has 28 letters (like Arabic) but minus Q and X. That’s quite interesting because it means that there are 24 letters exactly like those in English plus four more authentic letters (each with an apostrophe before it) namely: ‘B [like in Odu‘bua], ‘D [like in awa’difo], ‘W, and ‘Y [like in e’yo]. Nevertheless, some people ignore the apostrophe. Sometimes Z is pronounced as J for example in the name "Inzikuru"

What I find complex but very amazing about the Lugbara Vocabulary is that it has few words some of which mean different things depending on the pronunciation tones during speech. One word spelt the same can be used in three or more very different contexts, for instance the word Ezo for Warthog (Wild Pig) also means Girlfriend or fiancee. The word Ti means Cow but can also mean more than seven other things including Mouth, Language, Month, plus verbs like Harvest, Strangle, Sign, Produce (Give Birth), Drop (Ointment) or Sound dropping liquid, Thatch (a hut), etc or an adjective like "in vain". While reading silently as a beginner, you might find problems understanding a word in context but when spoken out in the right tone by someone, the word meaning is expressed. It’s always good to grasp the Vocabulary.