General Rule Learning Edo - Nigerian Language

General Rules And Symbols

By Uwagboe Ogieva
Yan/Yaen / Yanren
Add or Plus
/ or ÷
ọrẹ / ọre / ẹrẹ / ẹr'ọh
Equal to / is
in, and, of
Deghe / Degh
To power
ukhun eva
To power 2 (V²)
Afian ihe eva
Divide into 2
Afian ihe eha
Divide into 3
Afian ihe enen
Divide into 4
Afian ihe isen
Divide into 5
Isen vb’ihe ukhun eirrọ vbe ọkpa
5⁻¹/ 1/5¹
5 to power menos 1
ẹirrọ vbe ọkpa
-V + 1
Bellow 1 , V < 1
ọkpa ẹirrọ
+V - 1
V => 1 menos 1
Totọehia / Ototọre
Total / Sum
“The total of all…”
Ni /na
That/ This
Add-in-Vowel / Pronouns

Pronunciation and usage of new words not common or present in Edo grammar
Every new word (English, Latin, French or Spanish) are written and pronounce base on Edo alphabet, consonants and vowel sounds. E.g. International = intanasiona, chemistry = kẹmisiri (note: no “ch” in Edo consonants), Nigeria = Naigirria, etc.

Given generally acceptable name compose with Edo consonant, vowel and alphabet with its corresponding interpretation for recognition and utility. E.g. “Space Science” space = Idagbo ne ọh rr'iso / Idagbiso. Idagbo means empty / open place/space while “Iso” is “sky”. Empty place in the sky (planet space) could be represented in Edo as “Idagbiso”. “Science” could be applied as “saensi” or sanyensi and “Space Science” interpreted “Sanyensi Idagbiso”

“V” and “X”
“V” was used in place of letter “X” on above symbols because letter "X"do not exist in Edo Alphabets. Any word that take X is translated as "zi" in Edo Grammar . e.g. Oxford = zifdi

Ukhun  (to power “V²”)
 ukhun - (1). Up (e.g odẹ ukhun also writing as “odukhun” or “od´ukhun” (“ode”=way / part / route)) /. 2. Medicine. 3. Raise “to power” in mathematical terms ]

Two numbers combine to mean one
Two or more numbers combine to mean one, indicate multiplication of said numbers. E.g.(a) “iyisen isen” i.e.100 x 5 = 500 (b)  “uri iyisen ekigbesiyeha” refers 200 x 100 x 50 =1,000,000 (one million), though the right word for one million in Edo is "Ẹbo"

Accent on letter “ẹ” or “ọ” :
We are told in English that an accent is a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation. An accent may identify the locality in which its speakers reside (a geographical or regional accent), the socio-economic status of its speakers, their ethnicity, their caste or social class, their first language (when the language in which the accent is heard is not their native language), and so on. Accents typically differ in quality of voice, pronunciation of vowels and consonants, stress, and prosody; although grammar, semantics, vocabulary, and other language characteristics often vary concurrently with accent, the word 'accent' refers specifically to the differences in pronunciation and the word 'dialect' encompasses the broader set of linguistic differences; often 'accent' is a subset of 'dialect'. Edo accent in this case is to dinstinguish pronounciation of three basic letters and  vowel sound e and ẹ, o and ọ, inclusively y and ý. 

Edo accent could mean amukhun (up accent like in "ý") and amotọ (down accent as in “ẹ” and “ọ”), [Ama = Mark, Ukhun = up,(although “Ukhun” also means “medicine”) Odukhun as upward and  odẹ as way/path]
Accent on “ẹ” and “ọ” in Edo language is to be at the bottom of corresponding letters while "ý" (new letter introduce by this author) takes accent upwards. “ẹ” sound like egg, earth, death, etc while “ọ” sound like bought, dot, door, four. 

Names of persons could take capital letters for easy identification and recognition in Edo language like in English language. E.g. Uyi, Ogieva, Ọmonsigho, Agbonlahor, Ẹdokpọlor etc.
Names could also be notified with capital letters
E.g Naigiria, Edo, Ọba, Osanobua, Amerika, Eko (lagos) etc. 
Eliminating use of “e” before noun. 
E.g.  e-Toni, e-Naigiria The use of “e” before nouns should be totally removed to allow free flow of speech, reading and writing easy, constructive and legible. 
Instead of:e-Toni w'uh wẹdo / Tony extend his greetings to you
Better: Toni w'uh(we uh) wẹ do / Toni we do

 Accents are:
(1)   necessary to differentiate the vowel sounds between letter “ ” from  “ e” and "" from "o" , "y" from "ý". E.g. (i) as in: owọrọ, obọ, etc. This also applies to no identical letters with varies on vowel sound in a word like owiẹ-morning, ẹkọ-custard, egbọ-planting, ẹdo-Edo, ọghomwen-mine, ẹgbo-bush etc,

(2)   necessary if vowel sound of identical letter e and   varies in the sound of a word  with neither having “n” as proceeding letter. E.g. ọdọ, ẹdẹ, ẹgbẹ, ọghẹdẹ, ọfọ, etc
(3)   necessary when vowel sound “ẹ” or “ọ” varies in sound too, with niether having  letter “n” as proceeding letter. E.g. (a) ọkpa, ọgban ( "" - sound as in color, culture, taught etc). (b) “ẹ” as in “ẹkpo” (sound as in health, egg, get, etc)
(4)    Not necessary if “ẹ” takes letter “n” as subsequent or proceeding letter.   “en” in Edo grammar, sounds as with vowel sound “ẹ” E.g. (a) iyisen (sound as in tent, dent, fend, hen, ten, vent etc). Same applies if “ọ” takes letter “n” as proceeding letter. E.g. (b) ihinron (sound as in font, fond, don’t etc). In the case of "or" , accent bellow letter '' not necessary because 'o' takes letter 'r' as next letter which invariable is pronouce as ''. E,g. dor, egor, guor, etc.
(5)  Not necessary in "ne" because "ne" already sound like "nen" as if  have "ẹ" and "n" added to it, as subsiquent letters.
(6)  Again, not also necessary in "me" because "me" already sound like "men" as if  have "ẹ" and "n" added to it, as subsiquent letters after 'm'.
According to wikipedia, an apostrophe is used in English to indicate possession. The practice ultimately derives from the Old English genitive case: the “of” case, itself used as a possessive in many languages. The genitive form of many nouns ended with the inflection -es, which evolved into a simple -s for the possessive ending. An apostrophe was later added to replace the omitted e, not his as is and was widely believed. In English, the apostrophe ( ’ , often rendered as  ' ) is a punctuation mark, and sometimes a diacritic mark, in languages that use the Latin alphabet or certain other alphabets.  it serves two main purposes: the omission of one or more letters (as in the contraction of does not to doesn’t), and the marking of possessive cases (as in the cat’s whiskers).

Similarly, apostrophes in Edo language are to notify missing letter (ikpẹmwen) not pronounce or written after or before a complete word at the begining or extreme, when reading or writing a sentence. It could refers to:  
(1) Two different word together.
(2) An omitted letter (Ikpẹmwen) e.g. “vb’ẹdugie” above. Left and right apostrophe NOT PROPER in btw words same time. e.g. vb’‘dugie
(3) once apostrophe is used in between words, there must not be a seperation. e.g. Ẹdo n'imose, Ogieva vb'Uwaila, etc.

Edo apostrophe could means “Amuke” (‘ ’), [Ama = Mark, uke = top]Amuke n’oberọmwan = right apostrophe while Amuke n’obiyọmwan= left apostrophe [Oberrọmwan (“right hand” on literal translation) ought to be separated as “obọ erra ọmwan” but join together to mean a single word. Same applies to “obọ iye ọmwan” to “obiyọmwan” (“left  hand” on literal translation]

Writers could make use of right apostrophe when next word has a vowel as its first letter i.e. “n’” as in “Ọba n’ọkpọlor”/ Ọba is great. "Gioni we uh rhuẹse" / Gioni w'uh rhuẹse"= John said thank you, while left apostrophe when previous word ends in vowel letter.

Apostrophe “ ' ” is use when in two words one ends with either "e" or "ẹ" and the other starts with a vowel. e.g. Vbe ọh khin? = Vb'ọh khin? (What is it?)
Example Aa:
John and Edugie came to campus yesterday to greet Professor Omorodion
Gioni vbe Ẹdugie rrie kampọs nodẹ do tue Profẹsor Ọmonrọdion. ..(Simple sentence)
Gioni vb’Ẹdugie rrie kampọs nodẹ do tue Profẹsor Ọmonrọdion…. (Complex sentence)
(Debae means join while vbe = and, with or plus.)

Example Ab:
Gioni debae Ẹdugie rie kampọs nodẹ do tue Profẹsor Ọmonrọdion.
Gioni deba’Ẹdugie rie kampọs nodẹ do tue Profẹsor Ọmonrọdion.

Example Ba:
I love Jully for her character.
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli zẹvbe uýinmwen ne ọh mwen
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli zẹvb’uýinmwen ne ọh mwen
Others could write and pronounce like:
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli zẹmw’uýinmwen onren
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli zẹmw’uýinmwen onren
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli vb’uýimwen onren
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli vb’uyimwen onren

Example Bb:
Me rhuẹmwen Giuli vb’uýimwen onren
Me rhuẹmwen Giuli zẹvb’uýimwen onren
Me rhuẹmwen Giuli zẹmw’uýimwen onren
Me rhuẹmwen Giuli zẹvb’uýinmwen ne ọh mwen
Me rhuẹmwen Giuli zẹmw’uýinmwen ne ọh mwen
Example Bc:
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli yẹ uýinmwen ne ọh mwen
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli yẹ uýinmwen n'ọh mwen
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli y’uýinmwen n'ọh mwen
Ih rhuẹmwen Giuli y’uýinmwen onren

Apostrophe is necessary when pronouncing two words to mean one and when making a complex sentence.

Silent Letter “r” and “h”
“R” is silence in pronunciations while double “RR” is not. E.g. “ihinron”, “erenren”, uri etc.
“h” is silent only when at extreme in a word and mostly present with newly introduce words like: ọh, ah, eh, ẹh, ih, uh (Applicable as adjective, pronoun and article) e.g “the”, “you” etc

New “add-in-vowel”  i.e. h(a,i,o,ọ,e,ẹ,u) as “ah”, “eh”, “ẹh”, “ih”, “ọh” “oh”, “uh”
(mostly use as pronoun and adjective)
Have argued that all vowel sound that represent a pronoun, should take letter “h” as to differentiate it from a single alphabet or consonant i.e. (ah, uh, oh, ọh, eh, ẹh, ih). E.g
(1) Ih rhuẹmwen wẹ = I love you.
(2) De ẹmwen n'uh ta manren nodẹ? = what did you tell him yesterday?Ih = I , uh/w = You , eh, ọh, ẹh = He/she : 
(3) ọh zuọrọ rha? - Is he/she crazy?
(4) uh ghi tamaen - do tell him.
(5) Ih ma (ghi) kha vbe rriọ - I didn't say so
(6) ẹh ighi rre evbani - it's no longer there. As in the case of an article: a, the,
(7) eh dọkitọ ni, ona khin - this is the Doctor / that Doctor is this.
“Eh” will help very much to distinguish it from "e". i.e “Osato ẹr'ọh khuẹ eh kẹpkẹyẹ ni fua” meaning “Osato drove the duck away” You can see that “eh” above represent “the”. This only apply when what begin the noun is not a vowel sound (a,o,ọ,u,i,e,ẹ,)

(8) “Ogieva ẹr'ọh yaen owa ni” (Ogieva is the owner of that house) meaning “Ogieva owns that house” you could see that “Ogieva” and “Owa” has no need of “eh”. (8) The man is quity / that man is quity /that man takes the guilty / okpia ni ẹr'ọh rrie abe (okpia-man, ni-that, ẹr'ọh-is, ọh-the, rie-takes, abe-quit) / okpia ni rie abe (9) Eh vbe ah kor ọrẹ ah rror - You reap what you sow (Benin proverb). See tables for more illustration:-

Table 1

Nosa we uh wẹ do
Nosa we n'uh wẹ do
Nosa we, wẹ do
Nosa says to you greetings
Nosa says to you greetings
Nosa greet you
Nosa w'uwa do
Nosa said to you greetings
Nosa extend greetings to you
Nosa we ne uwa do
Nosa said to you greetings
Nosa we n’uwa do
Nosa said to you greetings
(i) N’uh is a combinations of “ne” and “uh” meaning “to” is the mending of “that” and “you”
(ii) W'uh is a combination of "we" and "uh" i.e. "said" and "to"
(iii) Use of “ẹ” in “wẹ” as a pronoun (meaning you) as in table 1 indicates it is a singular pronoun while the use of “a” as in “uwa” in table 1 and 2 refers to “you” of a plural pronoun “all”

Table 3

Ogieva ẹr'ọh yaen owa ni
Ogieva is owner of that house
Ogieva yaen owa ni
Ogieva owns that house
Ogieva ẹr'ọh yaen owa ni
Ogieva is the owner of that house
Table 4

Osato khuẹ eh kẹpkẹyẹ fua
Osato drove the duck away
Osato ẹr'ọh khuẹ eh kẹpkẹyẹ ni fua
Osato is the one who drove that duck away
Osato ọr'ọh khuẹ eh kẹpkẹyẹ ni fua
Osato is the one that drove the duck away
ọtuen n'okpia rre do tue ima nodẹ / Your brother came to visit us yesterday. (eten, ọtuen, ọtien, ọten, etionren)
Other important notes and observations
  "Ah ighi mien ebe n'ọbara dẹ"..= One can no more get/find red paper to buy."ah ighi" and "ẹh ighi" is use in negative sense. "ai" is mostly use in the case of a noun..i.e. when writing a name of a person like Aibuẹdẹfe, Uwaifioku, Aigbobo, etc. though "ẹh ighi" ,and "ah ighi" is also represented by other scholars  as "ẹighi" and "aighi" both invariably mean same.
"ghi / gha" (positive or negative as the case may be)

"r" (silent) e.g owọrọ, evbare while "rr" (sound heavy) e.g. rrie, rra, rrerre. "r" (silent) e.g owọrọ, evbare while "rr" (sound heavy) e.g. rrie, rra, rrerre, words with one "r" is silent while with "rr" sound strong. e.g "Rrie me" - give me or give it to me. "Evbare ni ighi yẹmwen" - I don't like that food (pls note the word "ighi" makes the sentence negative). "wẹ gha ye re rha?" are you eating more?, or do you still need more of the food?. "re" in this sense means eat. Also "rrie" is  use to command the action eat. e.g. "Rrie evbare we" - eat your food or take your food. the proper corelative word to "rrie" is "take". not to be confuse with the first example above: "Rrie me" - could properly mean, - "take it (for) me" or when you say "get me" that coin. however "rrie" could be use as in give, get, take, add, put etc as the case may be.

words like "ighi" in any sentence makes a negative action.

"ẹ" (accent necessary only without "n" as the next letter). Sound like iden, aden, owen.

"ọ" (accent necessary without "r" as the next letter ). Sound like dọlor, kor, gbor, vior, talor, tọlor, vọlor, tieyor, bor, zuor, fior, gor, lor, kuor, vor, yor, zor.

"on" do not need accent on "o" : whenever there is" n" after "ọ" , accent on "o" is no longer necessary because sound as if its already there. e.g. Osamwonyi not Osamwọnyi, Ihion not ihiọn, ihinron not ihinrọn.

"j ": Not present in Edonaze alphabet. e.g. John (in english) is translated as Gioni. , "gi" is the equivalent translation of j.

"y" (as in iyobo)(light sound, tongue roll). sound like yo, yogut, young, etc, while "ý" (tongue touch up and sleep, mount wide as in iýan, iýen) sound like yankky, yank, etc. (combination of j / y in pronounciation)
"q" not present in Edonaze but takes"kui" or "ki" as equivalent as the case may be. E.g  queen = kuini.

Letter “c” is written and pronounce as “k”(ka) as in kampọs/campus while like in circle = saiko

"rh" is use when the pronounciation is dragging between r/h. e.g. rhen, rhuẹse, rhuẹmwen, etc.

In Most cases, na sound "nan", ni as "nin", no as "non", ma as "man", me as "men", and  mo as "mon"

1 x 1
ọkpa (1)
2 x 2
enẹn (4)
3 x 3
ihinrin (9)
4 x 4
enẹn ẹi rrọ vbe ugie (16)
5 x 5
isen yanren ugie (25)
6 x 6
enẹn ẹi rrọ vbe iyeva (36)
7 x 7
ọkpa ẹi rrọ vbe ekigbesiyeha (49)
8 x 8
enẹn yanren iyeha (64)
9 x 9
ọkpa yanren iyenẹn (81)
10 x 10
iyisen (100)
100 x 100
arriaisen igbe (10,000)
1000 x 1000
Ẹbo (1 million)
arriaisen igbe
arriaisen igbe
10,000 x 10,000
Ẹbo iyisen (100,000,000)
arriaisen iyisen
arriaisen iyisen
100,000 x 100,000
Ẹbo arriaisen igbe (10,000,000,000)
1,000,000 x 1,000,000
Ẹbo Ẹbo (1 billion)

(Ulaba x Ulaba)
Vbe Ukhun eva (to Power V²)
Equal to (ọrẹ)
(in multiple √ - Square root)
ọkpa vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)

eva vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
eha vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
enẹn vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
enẹn ẹi rrọ vbe ugie
isen vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
isen yanren ugie
ehan vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
enẹn ẹi rrọ vbe iyeva
ihinron vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
ọkpa ẹi rrọ vbe ekigbesiyeha
erenren vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
enẹn yanren iyeha
ihinrin vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
ọkpa yanren iyenẹn
Igbe vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
10 000
Iyisen vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
arriaisen igbe
100 000 000
arriaisen vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
100 000 000 000
arriaisen igbe vb’ihe ukhun eva
arriaisen igbe²
= (ọrẹ)
Ẹbo iyisen
10 000 000 000 000 000
arriaisen iyisen vb’ihe ukhun eva
arriaisen iyisen²
= (ọrẹ)
Ẹbo arriaisen igbe
100 000 000 000 000 000 000
Ẹbo vb’ihe ukhun eva
= (ọrẹ)
Ẹbo Ẹbo
1000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000



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  2. The Edo Alphabet:
    A Look At The Benin Letters And Sounds By RICHMOND .E. IDAEHO

    It is specifically important at this point to direct attention at the alphabetical system of the Edo people, considering the present circumstances of the Edo language, which is almost fading away as a result of the influence of
    other cultures within and outside the Nation state, Nigeria, in which the Edo
    ethnic group occupy the present Edo state´ and by extension, parts of Ondo,
    Delta, and Anambra states. Language, it should be noted, is part of a people´s
    culture. It is the one most important means of expressing a people´s culture,
    values, and beliefs.
    It is used for communication, interaction and exchange of ideas. Consequently, the extent to which a people´s language is developed and influenced necessarily reflects upon the culture of the people, and a change or
    loss of language invariably affects the perception of the people; viz their
    culture and socio-cultural realities. thus, language is a means of
    experiencing, and perceiving the environment and at same time, of communicating
    same to others. In view of the foregoing, the Edo language is therefore the
    medium of interaction within the cultural frame of the Edo people. The unit
    constituents of language are the alphabets, and to properly understand the
    nature of the Edo language, it is important to have recourse to the alphabets
    and sounds which make up the language. In this piece, the focus will be the Edo
    - Benin/Bini tribe of the Edoic race or ethnic group. The objective of this
    paper is to present the Edo alphabet and sounds in relation to the Edo language
    as core to the people´s socio cultural´ development and survival, and to expose
    certain misapplication of. the language and/or introduction´ of foreign letters
    and sounds into the Edo alphabet. Here the words Edo, Benin and Bini shall be
    used interchangeably. There are 24 alphabets in the Edo language with 7 (vowels
    and 17 consonants. Interestingly, there are also 7 pairs of consonants (that is
    the pair or double consonants) which though are not part of the 24 consonant

    They occupy a special category in the Edo alphabetical system and are pronounced differently from the single consonants. The Benin letters include the following: a/aa/; b/bi/; d/di/; e/a; e/e/; f/fi/; g/gi/; i/i/;; h/hi/; k/k
    a I; 1/1 a I; m/mi/; n/nil; o/;Q/or/ p/pi/; r/ril; s/si/; tltil; u/uu/; v/vi/;
    w/wi/; y/yi/; z/zi/. The vowels include a; e;e;i o/o;and u, while the
    consonants are b• d• f• g. h• k• I• m• n• p: r• s• t• v• w• y. and z The double
    consonants, which are combinations of two consonant letters and sounds, include
    the following: gb, as in Ugbowo; gh, as in ughe; kh as in Ekhosuehi; kp as in
    Akpakpava; rh, as in Erhun; mw as in Omwan; and vb as in Ovbokhan. These´
    double consonants are pronounced together and not separately or arbitrarily
    choosing and pronouncing one of them as most people, of other ethnic groups,

    There are also corresponding double consonants in other Edoic groups or tribes. For example bh, as in Ibhadomen; kp as in Okpebho; gh as in Ighalo in Esan. In Etsako, there is vh as in Ivhador etc. The bh in Esan and vh . in
    Etsako, are closely pronounced like the vb in Benin. Also to be noted is wh as
    in Emoborowho; kp as in Akpo; gh as in oghene; rh as Omoriobokirhie; in Urhobo
    and ts as in Oritsejafo in Itsekiri etc.• It is clear from the above that there
    is no j/ji/ in the Benin alphabet nor is there the shl C / or kr/kri/ double
    consonants or sounds. It is therefore surprising how certain ,words purportedly
    claimed to be Bini words are then pronounced or even spelt with “j” and “sh”,
    “kr”, etc. This is. rather a misnomer and a far shift from the Bini language,
    hence the people´s socio-cultural reality. A people´s alphabetical system
    constitutes the basis of their word formation (morphology) and the sound
    dictates their pronunciation (phonetics).