Olulo Udaume (Vowel Dropping)

Igbo Vowel Dropping

Vowel dropping in Igbo refers to when vowels in two different words are next to each other, the first vowel is dropped and ignored as if it was not there. From what I have researched, vowel dropping is optional in both cases. I think it is a personal preference that you need to be aware of because other people you encounter may drop vowels when they are speaking or writing to you.

Vowel dropping in Igbo can occur in two different places.

First, you can encounter vowel dropping when na is used as a preposition or conjunction. To vowel drop, replace the “a” in na with an apostrophe to make it n’ when na comes right before a word that begins with a vowel. Please do not drop the vowel in na when it used as an auxiliary verb in the present tense.

Examples of na vowel dropping below:

na elu (“above”) -> n’elu

ezi na ụlọ (“family”) -> ezi n’ụlọ


Vowel dropping in Igbo can also occur when saying a word that ends in a vowel that is followed by a word that starts with a vowel. To vowel drop with this method, when saying the word ending in the vowel, act as if that vowel is not there and only pronounce the vowel at the beginning of the next word.

Examples of vowel dropping when speaking Igbo below:

Kedu aha gị? (“What is your name?”) – Ignore the “u” in kedu and pronounce it as  K-AY-D  AH-HA G-IH?


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