I am learning everyday. Learning new things about myself, getting out of my comfort zone, taking feedback without feeling oversensitive. This is possible because I have a vision which I believe in, I want to make a difference and want to show you it’s possible to learn Igbo language. Little by little, I’m implementing new things, I’m coming out of my shell…
What do you need to do to learn Igbo? Will you speak the little you know even though you sound ‘different’? Whatever you need to do; take it from me, just do it. Once you start, you will build momentum and before long, you will notice some progress.
Today, I’ll share 5 tips I’ve learnt. They really work for most things in life. I’ll however be speaking in terms of learning Igbo.
Why you are learning Igbo
What is your motivation? What will being able to speak Igbo fluently do for you? Will it help you communicate better with mum, dad, husband, wife, child, grandma, grandpa? In essence. why do you want to learn Igbo? This is important because, you will have up and down times. During the down times, when you remember why?, that keeps you going.
Learn vocabulary relevant to you first
It is important to make every learning process unique to you. Make it your own. To make this point clearer, I will use an example. Let’s say you like cooking, it makes it easier and fun to learn words like: ‘nri’ (food), sie (cook), or sentences like: Kee ihe ị na-esi?(what are you cooking), ana m esi ofe (I am cooking soup).
Learn vocabulary around your interests/hobby and also those of the person whom you will practise Igbo speaking with.
Sometimes, I don’t like to tell my husband or friends my plans, so they won’t hold me to it. You see, that’s making an escape route for myself in case I don’t deliver. These days though, I am learning that it is better to say it out, especially if it is something I need to accomplish. Just mentioning it means I put more effort into making it happen.
Get someone, a friend or a family member to check on you daily, weekly to remind you to keep at it; to keep speaking Igbo, to keep learning Igbo. This may also be the time to get a tutor, who will give you calls, homework etc and check on your progress regularly. You can join the facebook group for learners to share your successes and get support.
Taking challenges is a very great way to stay accountable. Take the ‘improve your Igbo in 5 days‘ challenge.
Use all your sense organs
What do i mean by this? So the different sense organs talk to different areas of the brain. The eye tells a part of the brain something, the mouth tells same to a different part of the brain etc. The more input the brain gets, the better you can remember what you are learning.
Let’s say I want to learn about school items eg book, pen, pencil, paper, blackboard, computer. That’s akwụkwọ, mkpịsị nde etc. The way to learn their Igbo names would be:
a.to point them out and name them(eyes, ears, mouth involved)
b.touch them (your skin is used here)
Note:you don’t have to taste them as it is not food.
So notice, we used 4 senses: eyes, ears, mouth, skin. These all send the signal to different parts of the brain consolidating what you’ve learnt. So essentially, when learning, use audio, video; write down what you learn and relate it to things in your house.
Watch movies, learning videos etc. Listen to Igbo music or news in the background when you’re relaxing or cooking . When you can, write down words and sentences. If you are a poet/writer/songwriter, try writing short Igbo poems/stories/songs. And of course speak Igbo. Don’t bother about your pronounciation or accent, just do it. Speak to yourself or someone, doesn’t matter so long as you’re speaking what you learnt.
Teach someone Igbo
Anyone can teach something, so long as you know a bit more than your would-be student. It may be your child, friend, partner, coworker, anybody. You can start with simple words like ‘daalụ’, ‘biko’, ‘bịa’. I’ve found that when you teach someone, the stuff sticks better in your mind. While in secondary school, I loved Maths; my friends would ask me to explain difficult concepts. I derived joy in doing it and what I didn’t know, I spent time to discover. With time, I got even better at Maths, so much so that during my exams in my final year, I finished the problems early and nearly dozed off in the exam hall and I made the top grade when results came out. The summary is that we learn more and faster when we teach. Try it today.
What other tips have you found helpful? What tips are you going to try? Have you got a particular struggle? Let me know in the comments
Till next time, na-asụkwa Igbo (keep speaking Igbo).