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Igbo Culture | Igbo Language

Market

Enugu has a number of supermarkets with large assortments of (mainly western) goods available. The more challenging attraction is to visit one of the local markets where there is not only a larger variety present at a more reasonable price, but it also provides you a taste of a typical market atmosphere. There are a number of large markets in Enugu city and most rural communities have their own market as well.

Ogbete or Main market is the largest and cheapest selling place where you can buy almost anything imaginable. Each market has its own layout with different areas dedicated to certain goods, such as groceries, clothes, electronics, books, vegetables and grains, etc. Anyone is more than happy to lead you to one of these areas.

Market stall igbo
Market Stall

If you are looking for something more specific you can have a look at the other markets, a few to mention: both Kenyatta and New market for building materials as well as bricklayers, carpenters, masons, painters, plumbers etc., Artisan market for livestock which can be slaughtered and plucked on the spot, and the Obolo market near Nsukka for its fresh fruit and vegetables.

Opening times of most of the town markets are from 08:30 to 17:30, six days a week. The markets in the village only open on one of the four market days (Eke, Orie, Afo and Nkwo) in the week. These market days follow in a 4-day repetitious cycle and are marked on most local calendars.

Occasionally, you might encounter night markets as well. The night markets, lightened by kerosene lights and wax candles, give it attractive night event.

One told me that one of these rural night markets is associated with spiritual elements. There is a believe that people can go to this market to get in contact with relatives who passed away in unexplained incidents. Here, through an intermediate oracle priest, the deceased may reveal the identities involved in his or her unexpected departure. And to prove this, the passed away relative predicts that something specific will happen soon, showing his family that the truth has been spoken...

Conversation: Where can I buy yam?

♬ Click here to listen to this conversation.
- Anyï na-eje na ahïa ka anyï golu ngwa ahia.We are going to the market to buy some articles.
- Olee ebe m ga-egota ji?Where can I buy yam?
Jee na ahïa Ogbete. Go to the Ogbete Market.
- Olee ebe ö dï?Where is it?
- Ö dï na etiti Enugu.It is in the center of Enugu.
Na ahïa:At the market:
- Bïa ebea onye ahïa.Come here customer.
- Nne, olee maka ahïa tata?Madam, how is today’s market?
- Ahïa tata dï mma/ Ahïa tata adïghï mma.Today’s market is fine/Today’s business is not fine.
- Olee ihe ï chörö biko?What do you want please?
- Achörö m ji.I want yam.
- Ö dï ebea?Is it here?
- E-e.Yes.
- Ego ole ka i na-ele otu?How much do you sell one?
- Weta naira ato.Bring three naira.
- Ka m kwüa otu naira.Let me pay one naira.
- Mba, kwüa naira abüö.No, bring two naira.
- Ö dïghï mma.It is not good.
- Aga m enweta ya önüa ebe özö.I will get it at this price elsewhere.
- Weta ego.Bring the money.
- Weta ha ise.Give me five.
- Ö dï mma jideThat is good to hold on to.
- Ego ole ka ha ise bü?What is the total cost for the five?
- Ö bü naira iri.It is ten naira.
- Welü egoTake the money
- Olee ihe özö ï chörö biko, lee anya öfüma.What more do you want to buy, please, look well.
- Onwerozi, ka e mesïa.Nothing more, good-bye.
- Chukwu gözie gï.God bless you.

Vocabulary

ahïamarketgotabuy, purchase (verb)
etiticentreonye ahïacustomer
tatatodaychöröwant, intend to (verb)
akwaeggsöküküchicken
akwa öküküchicken eggsitepot
ügüpumpkinöbögwüduck
tolotoloturkeyegomoney
gotabuy (verb)gbörödiwater leaves
alïbasaonionokporocray fish
osepepperazïzabroom
mbala jiwater yamjiyam
azüfishökacorn
akü oyibococonutosisitree
ubepearnmanü-ökükerosine
ore ihesellerözü ahïabuyer

Grammar: Numerals

otu1
abüö2
atö3
anö4
ise5
isii6
asaa7
asatö8
itolu9
iri10
iri na otu11
iri na atö13
iri abüö 20
iri abüö na otu21
iri atö30
iri atö na otu31
iri asatö80
iri itolu90
narï100
narï abüö200
puku1,000
puku atö na iri abüö na iri3,210
nde1,000,000
ijeri1,000,000,000
ökarahalf

Only otu and ökara precede the noun; the other numbers follow the noun:

otu ülöone house
ülö isefive houses
otu nairaone naira
naira abüötwo naira
ökara nairahalf a naira

Note that the noun does not change if it is in plural.

The ordinal numbers are as follows:

mbüfirst
nke abüösecond
nke atöthird
nke anöfourth

Examples:

ülö mbuthe first house
ülö nke abüöthe second house
abü m mbuI am first