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Full text of "The sayings of the wise : Ibibio proverbs and idioms"

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1900Z 

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THE 



INGS OF THE WISE 



6!0 PROVERBS AND IDIOMS 



(REVISED & ENLARGED) 



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6 

ANIETIE AKPABIO S 

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larshall Press, 8 Paul Basse/ Street, Uyo 



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THE § 

8 

SAYINGS OF THE WISE g 

8 

IB 

IBIBIO PROVERBS AND IDIOMS JB 

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(REVISED & ENLARGED) il 



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8 

M 
8 

8 
8 



ANIETIE AKPABIO B 

8 

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Marshall Press, 8 Paul Basse/ Street, Uyo 



THE 

SAYINGS GF THE WISE 

IBIBIO PROVERBS AND IDIOMS 

(REVISED & ENLARGED) 



B Y 



ANIETIE AKPABIO 



Second Edition. *'Copy Right Reserved" 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

^ 1 The Important of Proverbs — -.-. I 

2 Current Ibibio Proverbs and Maxims _.. ,2—30 

■i . 

More Proverbs -..« ~- — 31—35 

3 PART TWO: Idiomatic Expressions — 36—43 
^ * "^'" Other Expressions -...44-51 



CHAPTER ONE 

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROVERBS 

Ibibio proverbs express truths about life and 
they arc based on experience and wisdom. They 
embody advice, warning, reproach, fate a^ d rules of 
conduct towards elders, strange; s J^nd relatioDs. 

Some Ibibio proverbs expr ss philosophical 
thoughts. The sayicg ayara adia Abasi abat isua is a 
c!e?-r recognition of God as the Supieme Being and 
the controller of man's fate. The Tbib'os believe 
that the spirit of man docs not di(^ The saying 
Ekpo akpa enyin. ikpaba utor ) is ba^ed on this fact. 

Piople often employ proverbs to give force and 
dignity to their statements They help p-ople to 
convey their idzas briefly and vividiy. Take for 
example the fc^llo wing proverbs: Eyen uiat ese ana 
r^te eka ana; Idioi) cse ebre nlo ntic; Ka nte abak 
oyobo ikpao; Aka iso enye omono enym idim; 
MfTCi) ama ekpene ke abaD ara ^c'orio mbuk. These 
expressions have more force and convey our thoughts 
more subh'mely than ordirary plain statements. 

Understanding proverbs can be a guide to one's 
daily behaviour A proverb could b^ a sourer of bop? 
and encouragement to the dcspairiig Wh^ n you art^ 
faced with a decision to makr^, or a problem, a 
moment of thought may remind you of a proverb 
which cao lead you to the right di^cision. 

The following chapters contain som* of th^ 
currtn^ Ihibio proverbs acd other idiomatic expressions 
Semt ofth^m are ber^^utiful. Some contain awkward 
exprf'^sions. and are difficult (o interpret Now take 
a proverb th^n think of a f uirabic situan'on in which 
it can bj applied. 

1 



CHAPTER TWO 

CURRENT IBIBIO PROVERBS AND MAXIMS 

Ayara adia, Abasi abat fsua 

Meaning: God reckons the days of evil-doers. The 
word A\ ARA here means a strong or clever 
man and b used in a derogatory sense to 
describe a rogue or a wicked man. The 
philosophical implication here is the recog- 
nition of God as the supreme judge who 
can bring any evil doer to Justice and has 
control over man's destiny. 

AdJa r)kpD ino edi ino 

Meaning: He is a thief who receives stolen goods. 

Asar)a enyle owo enye ^bn 

Meaning: It is good to have friends where ever 
one goes. 

Afo DSukhD, afo ^duok idem mmDi) 
Meanng: You have t.o helper. 

Atimme etituak Isdq ana eket^t Abasi 

Meaning: Before wo do somethirg we should first 
of all inform our paren.s or our masters. 
Th^^ implication is that before ATIMME 
strikes the ground it must first of all go 
up The going up of ATI M VIE is taken 
to mean literally ioforming God. Again the 



philosophical implication here is the belief 
that God (Abasi) is the supreme being, 
our master. 



Ariwana agwan edi iba, omum osop ita 

Meaning '• Wheo two persons are fighting or quarrel- 
ling a mediator is neces'^ary to settle the 
maUer. It is an appeal to two quarrelling 
persons to accept the decisioo of the mediator 



Akpan owo utDk, en/e akpan mkpa 

Meaning: Literally it means a person who prevents 
another from quarrelJiog has saved him 
from deaih. It emphasizes the fact that a 
mediator is very important in feuds or 
disputes. 



AsabD adiaha gkpo :)dor} ke idip ibDm 

Meaning: My good is your good. Any privilege or 
benefit you receive is counted for your lamily 
too. The cobra is believed to be offspring 
the python acd so what the python has 
is also for the benefit of the cobra. 
In Afncan social life, everybody is his 
brother's keeper. 



Ataha ubom ke esuk owo enyene 

Meaning: Idiok ow^o enyene andioyenc. Ataha ubom 
may refer to a worthies person or thing. 



Ama okop tap aya ^nuh;) 

Meaning : You will regret for your obstinacy. This 
is often directed to someone who has been 
warced cot to do a certain thing. 

Abasi ekit Itit emiag ke enyoij 

Meaning: Only God can judge the situation. 

Ama i)kDrD Dbok abak 

Meaning: If you want something you must toil 
for it. 

Anana r)kpD ese obo ke eyen eka idoho esen 

Meaning: It is a paor man who says his brother is 
not a guest. A guest is usually trcat^-d as 
an important person in Ibibio aod is 
usually received wi h much reverence — that 
is— he would be given good and accommo- 
dation. A poor man is likely to neglect 
his brother when he visits him and may 
not trtat him as a guest because of his 
poverty. That one does not treat one's 
bro^.hcr as an important guest may be a 
sign of povcriy. 

AsaQa isai) ibukh^ mbuk. in^ ibukh? ntiim 
Meaning: No one can recount all hb troubles. 

Akpan aka ut^k* Udo aka mbono 

Meaning: To betray a person, to behave cowardly. 

Aman ke udua ete fut ukot 

Meanmg : It is aa open secret. 



EXERCISE ONE 

1 What is the meaniBg of the followiog proverbs? 

(a) Adia gkpo ufok owo ada owo mbuk 

(b) Ama gkoro obok abak 

(c) Etok ebot okpon aka inie ikpa 

(d) Akpan isiaaba mbot ufok eka ke idem idin, mme 
ibiakka eka Akpao, abiak Akpan 



2 AkpasaQa isag eyen idiaha se mbon ufok edia 
Who is "akpssarja isao" Give the full meaning 
of this maxim. 



3 CompMe the following sentences using suitable 

words or phrases 

(a) Atimme etituak isog -.eketot 

(b) Akpan aka utok, Udo aka « . . 

(c) Aman ke udua_ . . .ukot 

4 Ayara adia Abasi abat isua 

What does *'ay^ra" mean here. Construct a 
sentence using the above proverb to show its 
meaning. 



Ekpo akpa enyin ikpaha ut^g 

Meaning: Ekpo is blind but is not deaf. Herj 
ekpo refers to a dead person It means 
the spirits of oai dead ones siili alive and 
with us. If you art] making a statement, 
to empha^Jze that you are speaking the 
truth because the dead (understands) hears 
you, you can use the maxim. 
A dead person's ears are always open whib 
the eyes are always close 

Ekpo use enyIn okok afia 

Meaning: When ekpo (spirit) is watching and you 
are still making trap. \ou are being fool- 
hardy. Ekpo here refers to one's conscience. 
It means your conscience is blaming you. 



Eto 3tD nnan, ^to inan 

Meanng: The accident claimed sll lives. A falling 
tree is likely to hit, a blind or a deaf man. 
A blind man cannot see. A deaf man can't 
hear. 1 hey can'i run away at the instance 
of a falling tree. 

Etok inuen asat ama ete atara adan 

Meaning: A small b^'rd though pinrirg away, says 
it is enjoying good health. To have a false 
or exaggerated notion about one's self or 
importance. It i*= a sort of mockery. Another 
such raying is: Idobo nafar, cte ido mb^Q. 



Se nte eaye 0:>ogde inua, idoho mfat cte 
ido mbog. 

Ebemiso idim ekit enyin Idim 

Meaning: The first person to reach the stream in 
the morning is the one who s:es the beauty 
of the stream. 

Eyen ete itiehe nte eyen eka 

Meaning: Half brother is not like the real brother. 
Half brother is not as important as one's 
real brother. Our love for our relations 
is shared proportionally according to the 
connection. The love we bave for our 
real brothers is stronger than that of our 
half brothers. 

fnyene adiaha eka itie eyop, ok^t ndubodo iba 

Meaning: One who has a sister in "itie cyop" is sure 
to take two rolh while others take one 
each. It means one is sure to enjoy favour 
when one's close relation is around. In 
other words •'Blood is thicker than water". 

Edim usen keet idukh^ issg 

Meaning: One day's rain cannot get deep into the 
soil. Metaphorically the maxtm means that 
perseverance is the key to success. 

Enyene r}kp:> omum nnun keet 

Meaning: Liseraily the maxim means: He who owns 
a thing hold it with one baod. Wheu two 
peopb are claiming something, the one 



who has less claims to it would be more 
arrogant and fussy whereas the other person 
who is the rightful owner would be more 
calm and confident. 

Enyene ufak ama dwdfd inyon Ddor) ubDk ke abar) 

Meaning : When the bead of the house is away 
loyon goes to the waterpot to drink (inyon 
is a person afflicted with ulcers). When 
the master is away ihe servants indulge 
in forbidden act«. In other words, when the 
cat is away the mice would play. 

EtO DtD OWO UtDIJ, DHD jfJDk 

Meaning: Literally it means : When a tree hi^s 
somebo<1}'s ear.^, it makes the person to 
gain knowledge. Experience is the best 
teacher. 

Ebob ubk ekeene mbol 

Meaning: We build our houses according to the 
typs of poles we have. Cut your coat accor- 
ding to your size. 

Example: Ku unam se udukemeke, bop ufok mfo 
keene mboi. 

Ewa ese kpep ewa iSDfD 

Meaning: It is the dog that teaches another how 
to squat. Habits are formed largely through 
imitation. 

8 



Etok eyen eyem eyot Abasi dpd nnam 

Mean^Dg: The literal translation is: If a child likes 
crying AbaM gives him yaws. "Nnam" is 
a serjous form of "mfat" just as small pox 
is more serious than chicken pox. 
The saying means that a stubborn or 
disobedient child who indulges in evil 
would be punishtd with greater evil It is 
a sort of rebuke. Another similar saying 
is: Eiok eyen cycm mfat Abasi ono nnam. 

Eka keet ibok^ uwene 

Meaning : The literal meaning is: One mother alone 
does not Iced a poor mars. Wealth is not 
the monopoly of one family. 

Enycne ufDk ese odomo mboi 

Meaning: A man has right to run his own home 
in the way he likes. He would not tolerate 
any diciatioa from outside. 

Enyene ufDk akama nnana, esen akama unyDg 

Meaning: The host is often anxious to see that a 
visitor stay for a long lime but the guest 
may be unwilling to do so. In other words 
the hosr cannot impose arything on the 
guest against his wish. 

EdjduDQD jnug ke nsia ebJDQ 

Meaning: To salt the porcupine's intestine when it 
is already salty. That is to waste somethiog 
or to waste one's efforts. 



Edue ukot akpa it^g 

Meaning: It is ri^ky not to obey the laws of the 

society. 

Etat ekpat eka eyen, ete eyen b^p enyjn 

Meaaing: You cannot afford to remain indifferent 
when evil is being discussed against your 
relation. 

Ebok DtDF), DtDt) DtDhD 

Mean ng: \ou are being warned but you don't 
pay heed to the warning. 

Etar) eno eyen unen, etaq enD ndukpo 

Meaning: We should warn or blame on both sides. 
That is: We should not be impartial in 
our judgement. Wc should warn both parties. 

Eduek eyop enyene etok isip 

Meaning: That is something that will waste a lot 
of time. 

Ekpo ubk DkobD owo 

Meaning: Trouble often begins at home. Jealousy 
often emanates from some one very close 
to a person. 

Eyem agwan, aka Annar) 

Meaning: A brave man who wants to fight should 
go to Aniiaog Aunangs were reputed to 
b^ fierce fighters in the prc-colonial days. 



iO 



EkikD unen imaha usdtd ekpo enye Dkpak ide 

Meaniog: One should rot rejoice until one has 
successfully ovecome one's probrems or 
danger. 

Eto keet Isikabake akai 

Meaning: A tree cannot make a fonst. 

Ebot otu ata ebre otu 

Mcacing: It is an internal trouble, an internal 
affair. 

EnyDg dsdq akan eb^k, D(^Dok 

Meaning: To swallow more than one can chew. 

Edem idoho idem 

Meaning: To be fgnnrant of what is goirig on 
behicd oni:'s back. Bdng luken unawares 

Eyot DdDk ke esa aba, aba idiDr)Dke. 

Meaning: We are not always aware of the evil 
that is plduned agciinst us. 

Eke ebaria ke esaha 

Meaning It is the unlucky person that suffers. 
In o;h r words he is the scape goat. 

Enyin ekpere okpD iwuo 

Meaning: If not for our relationship I would have 
treated you b.dly. 

EkDi) Isimaha udim 

Meaning: We shall not all perish. Literally it means 
war cannot annihilate a whole/column. 

I i 



Eba^a idem, idem asai)a ke usuq 

Meaning If we are thinking about a particular 
person whom we have not seen or discus- 
sing something about him and suddenly 
the very person appears at thai moment 
then we use the maxim. It means the very 
person wc are discussing about may be on 
th: way coming to us. 

St^t^o kt idap ekpep mkpa 

Meaning: From sleep to death. He who is food 
of telling lies may steal. From httle things 
we can commit big ofences. 

Enai) idi3f)3ke uhn isim tutu ema ekpikhe efep 

Meaning: Often w^ neglect small thiogs and only 
when we lose them do we come to realise 
their usefulness. 

Esit mman iso^ke mman 

Meaning: Our love for our relations is natural. 

€ka ckpu an/ai mm 139, eka ekpu okop uttbe 

Meaning: He is suffering from guilty conscience 

Etok cDot 3S3p Inua Ikim enya ata ituc 

Meaning : Anxiety causes trouble. He who rushes 
on things often get into trouble 

E/cn ikopkt item \n^ eka enye ^du^k fdem 

Meaning : A child who does not heed his or her 
moiber*s advice is lost. 

12 



OsDi) owo ekin afor) 

Meaning : It is the old who instructs the young. 

Eyop DtDiiD ke etok edi eduek 

Meaning: A good palm tree starts from tender aga 
to sho>v a sigQ of goodness. A person 
starts from his youth to show good character. 
Most of our habits are formed whsrn we 
are young. We can caution somtone or 
praise him by drawing his attention to 
this maxim. 

Example; Kpeme idem fo eyen rami koro eyop 
otOQO ke etok odo tduek. 

Ebit eduek eyop edug akwa 

Meaning: To spsnd a great d-al of time on one 
thing or on one good subject. Eduek means 
good palm fruits. Akwa means a woodtn 
contaioer. Eguo akwa means literally to 
stay in the container. That is to spend 
much time while preparing (eduek eyop). 
In other words to spend too much lime on 
one ittm. 

This saying is common in a meeting where 
so many items arc discussed. If someone 
fears that two much time is wasted on one 
item he might warn: ofon nnyin itre do 
mbak iku uhit eduek eyop idu9 akwa. 

EsaQa ke edem eyen ecuk eka aba 

Meaning: Literally it means: Having accfss to a 
womaa's brtans through the baby she 

13 



is holding. One can intentionally touch a 
woman's breasts while playing with the child 
she holds. GenerjUy it means; to have 
access to something ihrough another person 
or to win favour indirecdy. 

Enyene ufsk e$e odomo mbol ufok esie 
Meaning: You have the right to manage your 
affairs as you like. 

Enyene esit enyene ekikere 

Meaning: It is your own responsibility Your feelings 

come from your heart. You have the right 

to decide as you like. 

E$e eda ub^k ukpobbo nsug, ekpobbo DkwDk 

Meaning: Literary it means that it is the very hand 
that we use in catching a fly that we wll 
ue in catcbiog a bee. in other words we 
should check our bthaviour else we shall 
fall into a big trouble. A similar maxim 
is: loua usak imam ke ese eda ctua eyot. 

Edim akpan iQwari, ikpanke udua 

Meaning: Rain may prevent people from working 
on the farm but not from going to the 
market. This maxim stems from the fact 
that markets unlike- farm are usually held 
once a week and so people cannot afford 
to stay for a whole week without going 
to the market. Ano her idea is that there 
are shelters at the market places. 

Ecuene ekwDi) uweme 

Meaning: A late comer, A late starter. 

14 



Ekut mfDn emek ukut 

Meaning: No one neglects a thing that he judges 
to be good. 

Eda gkpD akpa-Df^g, edi^g akpa-DfDg 

Meaning: You are rewarded by your own effort 
that is — according to what you present. 
Kindness begets kindness. 

Ekit owo mkpa ke enyin esakka mmDrj eyot 

Meaning: One who is at the scene of event will 
understand more the situation, and will be 
more sympathetic. 

Ku use nte uruk - ikDt DnyoDg aka ubara ikar) ukeene 

Meaning: Do cot be drastic towards someone 
because of his behaviour. 
Do not seek revenge. 

Efut ikar) emen nsug 

Meaning: To gain from one's endeavours. 

EXERCISE TWO 

I What is the meaning of each of the following 
proverbs and maxims? 

(a) Emen etap odioco nde unan ke usuo itog 

(b) Eyen ifiokke, eka itemmeke 

(c) Eyen ekit ete isinanake mbuk 

(d) Enyene idem odiogo nte mfat idcep 

(e) Eyen iliat ese ana D?e eka ana 

(f) Eno inuij, eie iyem uiasi 

15 



2 Enyong osong akan ebok, odook 
Who is ''ebok" in this context ? 

Give the full meaning of the following saying: 
(i) Eyeo uwene ese oko ikot, ikoho ufok 

(ii) Ekpedi udua etibume, odoho akpan udua 

(iii) Ekenam cyen eka eoo usen mbaba 

3. Complete the following sentences using suitable 

words or phrases : 

(a) Ekpo use enyin . .^_ afia 

(b) Ekpo akpa enyin utoq 

(c) Edim usen kiet . Isdq 

4. Supply the missing words in the following 
sentences : 

(a) Eyot DdDk „ aba, ^idiDQDke 

(b) Ekit owo mkpa _ . . eyot 

(c) Eyen Itiat odok ^.^ „ esit 

(d) Enag ama akpa, ayak ukut ikpa 

(e) Eyen_ „.. __es@ ... uforo usuk usuk 

16 



Idiag IsibDppD enyin in^ ntan 

Meaning: It is the characteristic of a brave man 
not to run away from diiBculties 

ImD edi ufen 

Mvaoiog: We have to toil if we want to be rich 

Ifiok iyuhDke owo 

Meaning : Our knowledge is imperfect. That means 
we do oot know everything 

IkpDF) ikemme ukoono 

Meaning: O ie perfon canoot face a group 

Idoho eka keet obok Inem efere 

Mealing' Virtue is cot practised only by a few 
fximily. 

Idat enyene ama 

Meanu g: Nobody is without a fiiend 

Idat eyem efere ese en^ ke eba 

M.aning: Anxiety breeds difficulties 

Ikpat eka unen isiwotdo ndit^ 

Meaning A hen's f^et cannot kill the chickens 

That means ihe mother's actions a^e never 
meant to be harmful to the childien. 

Idoho usen etibbeke ube ke mbt ese oduD oduk 

Meaning : It is not the very day that a pit is dug 
that ffog will fall into it. That meaas 
success is not always achieved m a day. 

17 ' 



Ikaij aka ata Ikit, edido unen ayarake ndak ke edem 

Meaning If fire can burn tortoise how much less 
a fowl. That mean^ a person who is not 
stror^g enough will not b^ able to face the 
situation. 

IkD etip anana owo 

Meaning: A person without supporters hardly wins 
cast s. 

IkwDt e$e ataKima nte ekpere ube 

Meaning: One should approach a person in whom 
one has confidence In other words wc 
should act prodently. 

Ibritam ete in^ owo, afo udoho owo 

Meaning: Do unto others ss you would like others 
do lin^o you. In the days of slave trade 
the Arcs slave raiders were fond of saying 
this: Ibritam ete ino owo; i. e. Ibritam 
w&nts slaves. But people would rebut: 
*'AI J udoho owo?"— Are you not a man? 
It «'3s rebuff to the wicked demand. 

i^D DkDtj:> edt-: ekpe, uwene DkDi)D ndaam 

Meaning: A wealthy man wears costly jewels where- 
as a poor man puts on raffia (a mean dress). 
lo other words we should act according 
to our ability, 

Ifltke mfuk Inannake enyin 

Meaning: To receive a guest coldly by offering him 
neither food nor drink. Kini ntoho Dekosi 

18 



ndi, ami mma aka ufok omo edi cnyo 
ikcfi^de mfuk, inaanake enyin. 

Ifiok Dtuk ikpD5 

MeaniEg: One person's knowledge is not sufficient 

Inuen edo ndD ke ekpuk or ke ete, ke ete, idoho odusat 
Meaning: Birds do not mate outside iheir families 
The sayiog simply implies that people should 
marry within their own circhs. 

Idop, idop ewa, enye ata okpD unam 

Meaning: It is a qu:ei dog that eats the fatest bone 

Isua iciaba idoho ekim 

Meaning: Seven years is not forever 

IdJDg ebre nto ntie 
Meaning: First come first served. 
If^nke f^n obu enye onwune ekug 
Meaning: Every events has a cause 

Idd ese eyierjc ibit okoneyo 

Meaning: It is a ihicf who is always afraid of the 
night's drum. 

Explanation: A dium signal is not ui^ually given at 
night unless i«ere is an emergency, especially 
in cases of burglary or tbett. A thitf who 
has stolen something will be afraid of such 
signal. He will always keep his ears open 
ai eight for such drum signals to as to 
find a way to escape 

IsDr) ekpekpene, edi isopke sop 

Meaning: Long standing debti are not irrecoverable 
Idi^k enyir) owoc ewa 

Meaning: Having a bad reputation is not good. 
it is unworthy to have a bad name 

19 



Iso ukaha edem utimmeke 

Meaoing! "You neither go forward nor backward. 
That means to be in a fix 

Ik^ etip IkpDg 

Meaning: One who has no support cannot win a 
case. 

tfbk ohn editibe 

Meaning: Two heads are better than one 

Ikwa etip mbobo etlp uyal 

Meaning: To miss both chances. To be completely 
rejected. 

EXERCISE THREE 

1 What is the meaning of the following maxims? 

(a) IfJDk obn editibe 

(b) InD cse eyiene ibit okoneyo 

(c) Idem osoi) akpara uweme 

(d) Idem etok e/en ese eyere idip idip 

(e) isidoho ekpe isimke Afaha ebak 

2. Complete the following sentences using suitable 

words: 

(a) Idat ese . ama 

(b) Idiag enyin^.^ ««-.ntan 

(c) IkD etip '^ owo 

3. Ikang aka ata ikit. What is the meaning of "ikit" 
in this context. Write the proverb ia full. 

4. What is the meaning of the following words? 
ukpotio iko, ufiot, nke. 



20 



Mbuk ikit, /doho efit Ido akpanJkD 

Meanmg: There is little or no truth in the story. 
The siruation is doubtful. 

Mbime odukpo ebot (A question of the dead goat) 

Meaning: A hypocritical question An unnecessary 
question. 




MfDn ekewot edat 

Meaning: Too much kindness can ruin a man. 

MbDpiso okpoebot ikpanna unyam 

Meaning : Communal duly is compulsory. 

Qtarja ndia ufDk eka ese oboiyo mbDhD 

Meaning Stealing often start from little dishonest 
practices at home. 

r)kpD ntak udua 

Meaning: A profitless venture. A worthless person 

IJkpD ifonke ntim nnam 

Meaning: Too much care can ruin something 

nyuk inyar) nime ikag 

Meaning: Show your might. Do your worst. 

21 



QkpD ekpenam anaan etem ke obot 

Meaning! Let evil befall an obstinate person so 
that he may Jearn a lesson. 

Qkop ke ebek ifja 

Meaning : The news came from outside source. 

Nwan unwDf) ini okutde eyo 

Meaning: Make hay while ihc sun shines. 

rjkpD akanam Ik^t, mf^q adat 

Meaning There is no smoke without fire. 

Ndun^Qd item icie efere ^hn ke edisinkt kSQi ^kpai) 
Meaning: Forewarned is forearmed 

Owo Qwan ohon ub^k etem E s d 

Meaning: A good woman does not neglect 
housekeeping 

Nnanenyin esin idap udua 

Meaning: It is hardship that brings misery and 
despair 

Nnun ubak Idihe ukem- ukem 
Meaning: People arc not equal 

Ndbo edim ekeycm uwem yak enye ekeduk inyag 

Meaning: If you want safety you must not isolate 
yourself from your society. 

QkpD ata okook ete Od^d^ 

Meaning: To accuse wrongly. To blame a wrong 
person or thing. 

22 



1 



Qwakha ntDr}D uduag isi/DkkD nto 

Meanirg- Something that produces little or no effect 
It is a minor contribution, 

NdibD ndDQ ke atibe ekpat 
Meaning: To live a wasteful life. 

r)kpD ItukhD asaga iba 

Meaning: It is helpful to have a companion. 

r)kpD mbaba isibake ndek 

Meaning: If you want something eagerly you will 
spare no trouble to aquire it. 

Nnam nte esa, ete ke enye ekeyit atat isin 

Meaning* Imitation is bad. \ similar proverb is: 
Nduboiyo ete ke enye eyire owo efik. 

r)kpD akak owo ayat 

Meaning: An unbearable situation. 

Nte ubDf) ama idem anim ifen 

Meaning: You are free to go to where you like. 

r)kp3 edi enen ekim 

Meaning: P^ace is being threatened or danger is 
approaching 

Nsb isine ke idip idiag Ikan ekpa nsur) 

Meaning: It is a minor affair or a common thing 



23 



QkpD ekcnam obu onwune ekug 

MeaQing: Something must have caused the crayfish 
to grow a hunch on the back. 

Odoro ke eyo owo, odoro ke eyo owo 

Meaning: From one generation to another. That 
is from one era to another or from age to 
age. The philosophical implication here Is 
thfit no era of government is permanent. 

Owo Isldutke edltlm eyen eka isin ke gkag 

Meaning: Nobody would deliberately do something 
to mar his brother's success. 

Ofurl usen cnyene Iod, edi usen klet enyene enyene inwa^ 

Meaning: A thief will one day meet his doom. 

That is one day be will be caught GcBcrally 
it means that there is a day reckoning for 
evil-doers 

Owo isinaha qkai) kiet ide idap 

Meaning: One should not depend on one means 
©f earning a living 

Owo efen :>S3SDk owo edem isimke Isin 

Meaning: No person is like a brother or a relative 

Owo akpa akpa oboho etlbc «nyfn 

Meaning: Nobody is free from trouble or mis- 
fortune until he is dead. 



24 



Owo DdbQD nte amana, idbQDke nte akpt 

Meaning : Nobody knows his or her destiny. A 
penon can say; "This is where I was born" 
but he cannot say; "This is where I will die." 
No one can ascertain his future. 

Owo Islmaha mkpar) nyak ke Idem Idin 
MeaniTig: Decent peopl:^ do not like ugly thing or 
treatment 

Ob^khD mkpasi akpa ekim 

Meaning : To escape from a dangerous siiuation 
but fall into another one. Not to be able 
to free oneself completely from trouble. 

OfjgD etjbe 

Meaning: A desperate person 

DbD^k unen Isitaha ukpib 

Meaning: To get no reward for your labours 

DduDk nt^ij ke ntDij ekeene 

Meaning: The shaft which is aimed at another turns 
against one who cast it. 

Odbij ufon 

Meaning: A useless person 

OtDk edinyehe 

Meaning: A scape goaf, A mean person. A target 

OtD IkpDg eyem gkok 

Meaning : He who marries wants a child. This 
means that the primary aim of marriage is 
to raise children. 

25 



Os3i) esit ata oton 

Meaning: On>y a bmve man can endure fcardsbip. 

OtDi)D uduag DkpD-usur) efre, andiyege isifreke 

Meaning: People tend-to forp;:;! their wrong actions, 
but those wio suffer (torn such actions are 
not apt to forget ihem. In other vvords 
people do DCt easily forget their misfortunes 

Owdtd efut ete idJDrjDke tke ubDk ama 

Meanmg: It i?". a matter luck or it is matter of 
trial and error. 

OtDt owo \ko idoho idek 

Meaning: To lay complain aga nst anoih^r person 
is no sign of cowardice. In oth:ir words to 
ptoiest IS no act of cowardice. 

Ofum ese ekpep eto unek 

Meaning Li^erilly it means that it is the wind that 
teaches the tree bow to dance. It is some- 
one's action that gentrat;s good will m 
aooiher ptrsoa. 

OkpDSDf) inemesit ese ada ntuaga edi 

Meaning: Too much happiness may brir?g dtspair 

Se efut akama aya ow^d iba 

Mf-aning: What is hidden under iha anus will be 
51 en by the pant. In other words what a 
mao can do another man can also do. 
It implies competition by two opponents. 



26 



Se iWDTD ke ifia unen aya eben emen 

Mearing : I am ready to face the sftuat'on. The 
saying implies a challenge to an oppODent. 

Sik sag, sik sar), ama dDd owo Itle or yesa, yesa ama dBd Eflk Isd^) 
Meaning To much ccirpromise is not good. 

Kuse edem se iso 

Meaning : Don't look back, look forward 

Kudara akpa edim 

Meaning: Do not rejoice at your initial success. 

Ke ece, ke ete idoho odusat 

Meaning: Sharing of property accordmg to the 
family groupings is poi an act of dcscrimi- 
nation but for fair and orderly distribution 
of property. In other words, charily begins 
at home. 

Tui)D akaba mbre udiaha ib^k 

Meaning: You have ill-luck or you are in a serious 
trouble. 

Ubak ukpa odo ubak umana 

Meaning: Early to bed early to rise. 

Unam Db^kha afia ababaak enDnuk eto 

Meaning : The animal that escapes from a trap is 
always afraid cf something that looks like 
a trap. Or.ce bitten twice shy or a burnt 
child dreads fire. 

27 



Un^ ekpene itiehe nte uno akai 

Meaning : The c!o>er our relationship to soaie cue 
th:^ stronger the ti^ 

Ukltde iwut eyen ebesk ntan 

Meaning: Never prepare sacd until you see the 
dead of the child in other words; Do not 
count your ch'ckens before they are harched 

UkDt asaqa t^p tep y/ofo abai) 

Meaning: Lfttle drop>. of water make mighty ocean 
Utu ke mbDk esin udi, yak edim edep 

Meaning: To avoid a fight let us abandon ths 
business. 

Utu ke unam aka ama yak ebiat ikpa 

Meaning: Do noi allow a hunted animal to escape 
FoF a hunter \o al'ow an animal to run away 
without being killed is regarded as a great 
loss. The saying metaphorically means thai 
we should try to minimize our loss. 

Ycm obubit ebot ini eyo mikime 

Meaning: Do something at the right time. 

Udia efen okposop owo ikpodoho mkpuk 

Meaning: It is a great loss to lose an important 
thing, or something that has been well 
cared for. 

Ukag ebreke eno, Inekke 

Meaning: He does not do what he is expected to do 

28 



Utere ndia 

Meacis^g: A shameless psrson, a beggar 

Utere uduDk uduag 

Meaning: "Vou are desparate, you are unlucky. 

Udua ^hn i)ka idem 

Meaning* Do it yourself is better. This is supposed 
to have been said by a male sheep (ram) 

Utin ikpDi) ese aka ukag inyag 

Meaning: It is ons sided affair 

Uyio escn owo enem akan ekere 

Meaclng: It is interesting to hear a stranger talking 

Unen akama nditD isinaha ke Dkom uf^/c, ekpena ndit^ esomo. 

Meaning: A hen with chickens, never sleeps on 
the roof. 



EXERCISE FOUR 

1. What is the meaoing of the following proverbs? 

a Mbuk ikit idoho efit ido akpaoiko 

b Ndal mmana ifiok, tnye osog ifiok 

c Nkpo ntom ke ikot uku omum unen 

d Oworo efut etc idiorioke eke ubok ama 

e Utu ke mbok esio udi, yak edim edep 

f Uduafj oworo ]<r- efut, cte efene 

g Ekpan ikopo, ibuot eycm ntan 

29 



g ObDi) ese akpan utok isikpanna mfa^a 
h Nek unek kedibi isoo 

Complete the following sentences with suitable 
word^ in the bracket 

a Owo isidutke- .-_eyen eka isin ke nkag 

(Mon, ekpat, editim, ikoo) 

b 0^31} c&it._ -^-oion (men, duok, ata) 

c Se iwuo ke ifia ehen imen (ebot, unen) 

d Mbuk unyorj mfo qkop ke ebek «^ 

(eto, okpoho, ifia) 



3. Explain the following sayings 

(a) Mb^ck nkot eyop isimaha if en 

(b) Owo ese ob'om etok aba9 akag iba 

(c) Usut) inw3g ama onyooo oboho, inwag ese 
osofop. 

(d) Owo amadak inek unek edcnoi cmem 

(e) UsD isisuaha item 

(f) Se ubDk obop odo eku 

4. What is ?h:^ mean'ng of the following proverbs: - 

fa) Dkp3-UDam emen ekim ikpoi) aka udua 

(b) Ndao ukot isibiatda usoro 

(c) Noun ekeduk adan ke ese esio efip 

(d) N»io isine ke cfut etikke no ckpikkc oduok 
{€) Owij isitukho aban ikwa afa^j 

(f) Asua eka ebe, eka ebe 

30 



MORE PROVERBS 

The Ibibios like to use Proverbs is tleir conversations. In old 
days a speaker who had a gord ccmniaDJ cf pri Vwiband idioms 
was highly respected by his fcllow/nen People: who want to be 
deplomatic cften employ proverbs in their cocversations. 

The following are some of the Ibibio proverbs 



! Afo atip mfat 3wu3 pyaya 

2 Abiyo iso lyak enye onoDno enyin idim 

3 Andirakha Ukaar) okop ke idem omo, Ukaaq qko onyuQ okcp 

4 Eda iko inua owo ebiere ikpe eno owo 

5 Eyem akwa rjkpo ese okoga mbar) a>ara enai) 

6 Ebot osog edor) 

7 Ese owo inua enye odiogo se owo atag 

8 Ekpa Ekpe 

9 Ka nte abak oyoho ikpar) 

!0 Ndikke Uboikpa isidoho isua keet 

11 Owo isidi3r)3ke ikpat ubog 

12 Anwan minyeneke sc otot ebe, ete ke mmog ifaha kc cdet 

13 Ebet owo ikdt isimme nto 

14 Udogo iwuoho itie mmlm 

15 Abia idioQoke se abia akama (A challenger may not kaow 
the strength of his opponent) 

16 Ukat ekpedia se adia, ifreke unystj; (A captive navfr forgets 
bis home no matter how wdl he is treated by his captors) 

17 Dn>og osog akan ebok odook: (To over reach oneself) 

31 



18 Eto inwan isikpaha ima (A race cannot perish completely) 

19 Inua nsak imaai enye ke ese edad etua eyet (The mouth 
with which we Uugb, is the same with which we shall cry) 

20 NduROQO item itie efere ofon ke emisinne ikpag (It is better 
to give advice before sonaeihiog starts) 

21 Ekpediiok ntak, rtak otoho (If the cause or origin of an 
event is omitted then ihs event is not well explamsd) 

22 Ison isiwotd© nya uno 

23 Eseo owo isidisqoke usug otode eko swuo enen 

24 Owo isibake gka ese ebak hot) 

25 Ifonn3 editop itiat nsin ke itie emi adan aaaha 

26 Oduk idak ebok enye atakha ebok idip 

27 Owo isikpikheke mkpat ntok idem iduok 

28 Etoro ndip ukot ekan ifakho 

29 Ds3p ubok enye adianna ekwoQ enyog 

30 Omum idem udora 

31 Ewa otoiyo se akadia okoro inua 

32 Uaam ekpefro Akpan no Udo atakha. osuk aka eso keet 

33 Ekpjdo abar) ektbot Idem akpa osio inua ona ote enye ama 

34 Ino asasa ekebo ke ikpisaga iba imo ikpiyipe ino 

35 Akama isip keet idoho unyim 

36 Owo ekpefut ikar) cmen nsug 



32 



37 Idiok ioua iko ekesio Akpaa-ndo cka ke ekog 

38 Afo a^pog afar) awakba csai 

39 Unie owo enye ©do mfon emana 

40 Ekpedo eka omum even uman ana eyie ubok 

41 Udogo ama ebidat owo idem ana edip abia 

42 Ndiaha ebcn owo ^kot isu 

43 Eayia ok*:«n emomODDO ^kaga 

44 Ewok ev/ok ckufre enim 

45 Eka iyak abaak eoyin owo akpa mbok 

46 Idadat eyom ebekhe cduk otu mfoij 

47 Okube adat akam dbokhs afia 

48 Aoie idur) ese eticn ndem idur) omo 

49 IkD Nnuene-akwa isog isor) okop eD>Dg ikoppo 

50 Nse mfa isog ikan ebect 

51 Ufa iyiDFD ese ekedodo akaan 

52 Owo akpa daga idem cnyegge 

53 Ataba aiaha, Eko©i) ke odo 

54 EtDk eoyin eno idiok owo item, anam ukere 

55 Edl kis« ikot ©wo isikamake mmai) 

56 Nsesin ikwa, mbakabak 

57 Owo odiogo ifiok idiogoke nnyaai) 

58 r)kp3 ikwo! isitippe mfat 

59 Akpas ukut ekebo ke ise ijkem cnysg 

60 Kpa anam utoho okpok ukpikke isim 

33 



61 Owo isikamake rjkpa ubok iba idook ebect 

62 UmiaQa inua, oyoro imea oyoro ikokko 

6 J Ntuen ibsk isinanake ke itig ukok ibok 

64 **Etem utemme" ay a ekit **etie udakha" 

65 Utere odo ododi^QO eyeyen enye skar) edet 
i6 Mbobo ekpekam uuaa, ns@ ido ubok adaa 

67 Owo isitiehs cnyin afia ibak uaam 

68 Ewa ata udu3k ueam isitimmske ik3( 

69 Utu ke aowan abia ibok amac iba idip anabuQO 

70 Mfine mmi ese oduD ebeek 

71 Ubok obop edip, obop kpa edip. 

72 Eycn ekpemum eka uman esc cyie ubofc 

73 Oboo ebet nsue, ibetde eniin 

'7* Nkakat adat ntan ekpep isar) epyoi) 

75 Yak u^iurj esine ke udug ebet esea 

76 Anwan ikwereke ke mben nro 

77 Ekit owo ke ikot idiogoke ke oto ufok 

78 Nnun ubok keet isioho ndag ke iwut 

79 Aka iti<? eyop aka edoQO 

80 Eben rjkaoya gka efe obo maa owo ikene ekim 

81 Owo isitohokc ikot ke uka, ese etoho ke unyogo 

82 Ebot ata udia enye ke iwa anaam emi 

83 Owo aimikpaha gkst itreke 

84 Ekpesat ttdisuf) ejop, nso ikpiwuo adan 

34 



85 Ikp^r) ibiotke, ekim adia 

86 Owo utifnme ke cdtrm, ete esuk ukeae 

87 Ikag uta inua adia ofop 

88 Umunamma etok unen riVpo, ana ad^ppa akpukpa ke ikag 

89 Udia cdo ododiogo f.kpap odok 

90 Ebok sma efit idip iyakka emo tmo efit 
y\ Ikpar) awakha ioua ama ouo gkoro 

92 Akama eyop keet idoho uoyim 

93 Ese odo etetim uyara ke edoi) eben eka iwut 

94 Umiimke mum inuen ke ubok, okoot ekpa 

95 Anwan akama ison, ese atar) uyo ebc 

96 Idoho efit iraam ke ese enyiin edet 

97 Owo ama ebidia gkpo inyim cyen uwene, ttc abaat ubok 

98 Idoho efit ekpo ese edu^k ibit 

99 Akpa Ilka idim, akpa ubom absQ 

100 FjkpD owo isibiarake ikpoQ 

101 Adiana iba is5p edur) ufok keet, edo keet ikitdde keet iso 

102 Ofr>n owo edifi3r)0 ndek skan edifiaijo umiana 

103 Iwut ebot isisoppo ke eso 

104 Owo ekpedia s« dia ubok idu^rjo inua 

105 Eso ekebo ke ikpa buut ikot ete 

106 Owo isifcroke idem ikpo 

107 Se ubok obop od© eku 

i08 Isidoho eoyie ufok idiah^i gfcpo efere akuege ks iso 

109 Aban ikpaha, ikim iwkbike inua 

1 10 Mmamana ndikit ebol inukho 

35 



PART TWO 
CHAPTER THREE 
IDIOMATIC EXPRESSION 

Whv^n a person says '*Ku nsiak iou^" or "Ku 
mbeen inwek" he is obviously using idiomatic expre- 
ssion meaning: don't make me talk excessively. 

"Enye araa nwuk mbara" is a popular expression 
mraning: He lipped me off. The meaning of these 
expressions canoot be taken literally They are some- 
times employed for rhetorical effect and they are 
very important in our language for they are more 
forceful than plain expressions. 

Fiak furo: Dare to escape again ! 

It is a way of mocking at someone or an enemy who 
did something wrong and escaped and later was 
cauhgt again. 

\ire mmia?: (Go and perish) — Go and never come 
back in time. It is angry remark usually made against 
servant who has gone on an errand but fails to 
return in lime. Another form of it is 'ka ke kpa 
akpek'. 

Siak owo ifot:— Accuse a person of witch-craft. 

Nwot iman:— The ace of committing murder, fn 
Ibibio when a man has intentionally or committed 
murder, the act at is described a^ '*nwot iman". 
The offender may be expelled from tbe town or 
made to pay restitution for the family of the deceased 

36 



UduD obom— The act of committing violence or 
serious breach of th:; law or custom 

Bd ke ime— Be patieCit 

Siak inua— To cause someone to do a lot of talking 

e.g A disob*dienJ child can make his parents 

to talk to him more often than is necessary 

Ayara owoden— A man of valour 

TuQD utoij— Listen attentively 

Aya uyaar) inam— You are going to be deceived. 

Wuk owo mbara— Reveal information to a man in 
confidence. 

Buk mbuk wut inan—Narrate story to a deaf man 
If a person tells you something of which 
you have no previous knowledge, to show 
how interested you are in what he is teihng 
you, you may use the expression, it is a 
way of asking the informant to repeat the 
information in detail. 

Nimme ntim:— Kill, nip in the bud. 

Kubo nkuk— Sit tight 

Aya adatibekhe— There is going to be an unusual 
show. 

Uta eslt?— Does it hurt you? or Are you annoyed? 

This i«5 a son of course. 
Kup iko:— Kill, nip in the bud. 

^it eyei;— Intervene, mediate, make p::ace. 

Sin asuan:— Stir up trnuble amoDg people e.g. Sin 
asuan ke o*u ndito eka. Asin asuan— One 
who courses trouble. 

37 



Ku okpuk iwat— Don't wo^ry me, iwat means white 
hairs. 

Tehe ubf— Rest, loosen gr'p, ''ube" is the part of 
a trap wbich springs up with great force and 
dra?^s tight the loop wht.i the trap is 
disengaged. 

Duk edem— Canva>, look for supporters. 

Ku ndikhe uwem or ku uuwemme — Don't ihreaten 
my life 

Mum ukat — Confine a person as a prisoner. Make 
a person captive. 

Ka ekot inan— Be heedless, don't pay attention. 

Da owo ubr'k udom — Reveofje or weaken by des- 
troying the righ: hand man. 

Kop ic^em ke akpap — To place oneself in a position 
where it is difficult io gel out. To handicap 
oneself. 

Suk itOQ, suk ide, suk ubok (calm down, cure). 

Men etap— Pause (when talking.) 

Sio ekpe ke ubom— To accomplish diflScult task to 
tske a great riik 

Mia ubok— Put more; put extra (e. g. when 
buying something) 

Mia ata— Bet, Mia sta mme Bas&ey Arikpo aya 
akan ke anwan emi. 



38 



,Sio owo ikpat wut esien— Couse someone anxiety. 
It is usually addressed by parents to a bad chilJ. 

Ofo? akpa mor)— A faded cloth, A hopeless man or 
woman. (Isadok ese osioDo uyo ke abaQ) 

Fak ofog nam gkpo— Be brave ! Be daring ! 

Qkama nsia kc ubok— My heart is in my mouth. 

Tie ke odug ekom ta ekom — To bite the fingers that 
fed you. To criticize fearlessly. To do evil to 
someone while still under him. 

Asat ewa iwuo:— The situation is hard to manage. 
A dog's nose is always wet and if it becomes 
dry the dog must have b^en facing a difficult 
situation so as to exhaust all the water 
in its nose. 

Edikit idem;— Having too high an opinion of oneself 
conceited, proud. 

Na ubiog: — Bail a person out 



EXERCISE FIVE 

1. Give the meaning of each of the following 
idiomatic expressions 

(a) Kubo nkuk 

(b) Tuoo utog 

(c) Mia ata 

(d) Yirre mmiari 

(e) Ku Qkpuk iwat 

39 




2 Complete the following sentences using a suifabh 
word in the brackets 

a Enye f^kama nsia ke (idip, ubok, ekpat) 

b Fo?k ofDQ cam (unek, iiok, r)kpo) 

c Ku utie ke oduQ ekora ek^m (uta, use) 

d rjkpo oro asat ewa — (inua, iwuo, etap) 

3. Explain the following idioms: 

(a) Sio ckpe ke ubona 

(b; Men etap 

(c) Kop idem ke akpap 

(d) UduD obom 

4 Use the following words in the sentences show 
idiomatic meaning, 
(aj Eye! (b) Ntim 

(c) Iko (d) Nsia 

5. Give the meaning of each of the following 
words and expreisions 
(3) Ikaan (b) Tdo 

(c) Okpo unam (d) Dkpo ntibe 



EXERCISE SIX 

Additional Proverbs and Maxims 

1. Complete the following proverbs and give th?ir 
meanings: 

a Afo atip mfat, owuo — 

b Aka iso enye.- enyin idim 

40 



(c) Anditakha uka? okop ke idem.- 

(d) Eda iko inua owo eno owo 

(c) Oyom akwa gkpo ese __ mba9 

ayara enao. 

Explaia thf following Maxims 

a Ebot os3g edog ' 

b Ese owo inua enye odio^D se owo atao 

c Ekpe duok Dtak, ntak otobo 

d Eto inwaij isikpaba ima 

e Ekpa ekpe (A leopard's stomach) 

f Ka nte abak oyoho ikpaQ 

Complete the following proverbs with suitable 
woids in the brackets 

(a) Owo isidioDoke .uboQ (ukot, ikpat) 

(b) Ubet owo usimke nto iufok, iko, ikot) 

(c) Udooo iworoke iti55_ kaoa (mmim, mkpa) 

(d) Mfet mfuk enye esia _.inwag 

(litre, ukpene) 

(e) Ab;a idioooke se... .-.akama (owo, abia) 

Translate the following into English to show the 
correct meaning of ttie idioms 

(a) Asuan mkpasip ekebo nditot ele enye 
okuyak akim onD imo nnyD 

(b) Ukat ekptdia se dm, ifreke unyog 

(c) Mmori ama ekprne ke abag aca odoqo mbok 

(d) !sog isiwotdo nya uno 

(e) Oko osDi) akan enag ebet edem 
(fi Ndikbe aboikpa isidoho isua keet 

(g) Owo r)wan emiyenekc se Dtot ebe, ete ke 

mr,^o^ ifaha ke edet. 
(h) Ekit r)kpD ke enyin ofick mbuk 

41 



Types of copttnictions; 

(a) Verb form with Se, Si 

SE is generally translated by: 

I always or I used to: 

Nse mba ke Uyo nyam udua. Ese anam so 
ndubi eyio ? Ami nse mbre mbre ye &kpan eka 
mmi. 

SI is translated by: 

I don't always: 

Ami nsimaha ndisuhd nsu. Enye isimaba ndifebe 
itok. Enye isinaaha ediduQ ke obio-Efik. Enye isi- 
maha ediyie idem omo. 

(b) Imperatives 

The root of the verb is the imperative 

da ! — (stand) do ko — (stand thcra) 

fehe — (run) fehe di — (run up) 

ka — (go) ka ko — (go there) 

sa9a — (walk) saoa di — (walk here) 

di — (come) di mi — (cone here) 

(c) Co'^nectives 

•'^'e" and **me" may be used as connectives 

(a) Ami ye eka mmi iya ikaa udua 

(b) Ami mme eka mmi iya ika udua 



42 



"Me" can also be used in special coDstruction to 
mean: Is it? 

Me afo ke odo? Is it you? 

Me ami? — Is it me ? Me enye? 
Me afo ? Me afo odo oboD Ukat? — Are you the 
Chief of Ukat? Me afo odo oboQ etibe? 

(dj GENDER: 

Tbe words ayara and uman stand for male and 
female respectively and may be attached to names of 
animals to show differences in gender except where 
there is a paracular name for the male or female 

Example ! 

okpo ebot (he goat) 

uman ebot 

ekiko unen 

uman unen 

ayara enaQ 

uman enai) ^ 

ayara ewa 

uman ewa 

(e) NEGATIVE ENDINGS : 

no, ke, me, ma, de, ha, ho, and ho etc. May 
be attach d to some verbs to express the negative. 
Tbey are living suffixes. 

Examples: 

ndeppe, nyemme, isoppo, ifonno, ndobo (J won't 
marry) mmaha, idiokho, iyukhoka, ntaha, if:)roke, 
mboho, mfeheke. 

43 



OTHER EXPRESSIONS 

IBIBIO NUMERALS 

In the old days our for.'fathers rarely counted 
up to a thousand because there was no necessity 
for that. As a result, we have no ready made 
names for numbers above thousand. 



(a) CARDINAL 

\ Kect 11 

2 Iba 12 

3 Ita 13 

4 Inaf) 14 

5 Ition 15 

6 Inokect 16 

7 Itiaba 17 

8 Itiaita 18 

9 Aoankeet 19 
10 Duop 20 



30 
40 
50 
60 
70 
80 



Udotkeet 

Udotiba 

Udotita 

Udotinag 

Udoition 

Udotitiokeet 

Udotitiaba 

Udotitiaita 

Udot-anankect 

Edip 



Edipmeduop 4C0 ebip inag 
Edipiba 500 Ebip ition 

Edipibameduop 600 Ebip itiokeet 
Edipita 700 „ itiaba 

Edip-itameduop 800 „ itiaita 
Edipinaq 900 „ anankeet 

90 Edipioagmedurp 1000 Tosin (coined from Ecglish) 
lOO Edip ition or ebip 2000 Tosin-iba 
200 Edipduop or cbipiba 3000 Tosin-ita 
300 Ebipita 10,000 Tosin-duop 



44 



(b) ORDINAL 
Akpa — First 

Udiana or oyoho iba — 
OyohD ita — Third 



Second 



NOTE: Oyoho is the word prefixed to cardinals 
above one to form ordinals. 



Dyoho 


du©p 


— tenth 




Oyoho 


edip 


— twentieth etc. 




SALUTATIONS : 




Morning 




Afternoon 


Evening 


Emesiere 




(none) 


Esiere 


Tie-do 




(Tie-do) 


tic-do 


Da-do 




Da-do 


Da-do 


Saga-suQ 


( 


'same as morning) 


same as morning 


Ka-di 






?» 


Wara 






Wara 


Emeoyot) 






Emenyog 


Idemmfoo 






Idem mfo-o 


Aba die 






Aba-die 


Etie-die 






Etiedie 



SOME COMMON WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS; 
lya (an expression of surprise) 
lya mmi ! 
lyo — no 
Ih — yes 

45 



I 

2 
3 
4 

5 

6 
7 
S 
9 
10 
11 
12 
13 
14 
15 
16 
17 
18 
19 
20 
21 



IbOTl 

Inyti9 Ibom 

Abasi Ibom 
Ikpai) Ibom 

Ikono Ibom 

lb oao Ibom 

Imaa Ibom 

Ibiaku 

Iboku (Oku Iboku) 



Great or high 
the mighty river 

The Almighty God 
Big spoon 

An Ibibio clan 



19 



Abasi Isoo 
Ndem Iso9 
Obrt) udua 
Dbcf) cnaij 

Obrri isog 
^bDii ikpa-isog 
Esop id CD 



— God of the earth 

— Spirits of the earth 

— Market master 

— Chief who settles cases 
coDcernmg cows 

— Village Head 

— Paramount Chief 

— Village Council 

Esop ikpa isog— Central council for village groups 
Iso ndem —Land surrounding a cult 
Ikot okpo —Sacred land used for burial purposes 
Udua — Market 



Adan — 
Mbriyoij — 
U*ua — 
Okpot ~ 
Okpoho — 
Ubaha-esen 
Uweme 
Ndubi 
Okon 
Uyai 



oil 

Plantain 
exsemy 
pawpaw 
Mo^icy 

— Morning 

— Afternoon 

— Evenmg 

— Night 

— Beauty 



46 



22 Mbobo — beautiful girl 

23 NkpD niibe — accident 

24 E6k — heoia 

25 Unan — wound 

^6 Nkpo unam — trouble 

27 Ufok r)wed — School 

28 Ukara idem — self government 

29 Udo obot (slang) — policeman 

30 Usin-r)wed — election 

31 Ukara or odukara — government 

32 ObDrotik — politics 

3 Ino - thief 

34 Ekpu — rat 

35 Ikag — fire 

^6 Ikaan ~ evil spirit 

37 Eralo r)wed — Printer 

38 Lkit-idem — Hypocrite 

39 Ih — yes 

40 lyo — No 

41 Ufa — New 

42 Soiyo — descend 

43 Ebre — Women's Society 

44 Ntinya — A special cap for title holders 

45 Ukabisua — Christmas 

46 Iban Ibibio — Ibibio Women 

47 Ikwo — Song 

48 Akwa — A wooden container 

49 Jdo — culture 

50 Edu-Uwem — Character 

47 



51 Edu - Habit 

52 Ntara-^,nyia — Civilization 

53 Unwana ...... Enlightenment 

54 Owoden (owo-edea) A man from eden (Eden 
is Hebrew word) 

55 Owonwan (owo-uiiwan) a help mete 

56 Tar) (speak) Gather together to form sense. 
Tag iko = Gather words to form speech. 



odog-ndoQ 


— Orator 


Uficn 


— Negative 


Ndon 


— Oration 


Odoyik 
Odoya 


— Logic 

— Lawyer 


Mbet 


— Law 


Mfaoa 


— Arguement 


Ntak 


— Reason 


Uyo-iko 


— Statement 


Sic uyo 


— Make statement 


Usuuk-iko 


— Conclusion 


Ukot iko 


— Major Statement 



48 



1 NNEME (CONVERSATION) 

Nso ke ekedia? 

Ami nkedia ekpaD Qkukwo 

Nso ke eketem ? 

Ami rjketem iwa mme afag 
Nso ke ekebok? 

Ami Dkebok otukho ebre 

2 Adiaha: Nko, emesiere ! 

Nko : Ufan, emesiere nde! 

Adiaha: Idem mfo-o? 

Nko : Mmodo 

Adiaha : Afo aka uke ? 

Nko : Ufan, ami gka Uyo 

Adiaha: Afo aka dso do? 

Nko: Ufan, endo ke gkag udo 

Adiaha: Tag akpaniko ? 

Nko : Mbok ntag akpaniko 

Adiaha; Kadi, kom ubet 

Nko : Ufan, sosoQO, tim ba 

FOREIGN WORDS: 

Some foreign words have been absorvcd into 
our vernacular language. 

Tn do''ng this we should avoid mixing two 
different ounds. At present our vernacular language 
IS not well written. It is mixed with different soundjj. 

49 



Foreign words can be absorved into our language 
by making them conform to the way we speak. 



EXAMPLES: 

Muto 

Nsinia 

\eriko 

Yisosi 

Udotadam 

Yercsedem 

Dondon 

Dekosi 

Kadaba 

Kpotakod 



Motor 
Engineer 
Jericho 
Jesus 

Rotterdam 
Jerusalem 
London 
Lagos 
Calabar 
Port-Harcourt 



SEASONS: 

Ibibio seasons are thrfe: Ini nda eyo, Ini-cdim 
and Ini ekarika. 



(a) Ini nda-eyo 

(b) Ini c<iim 

(c) Ini ekanka 



Summer 
Rainy Season 
Harmat an Season 



Farming seasons are divided into three, namely, 
Ini ntem, Ini uto, and Ini idok. 

(a) Ini ntem — Bush clearing season 

(b) Ini uto — Planting Season 



(cj Ini idok 



Harvest Season 



DAYS OF THE WEEK 

Ibibio days of the week are eight. They are 
also important market days. They were associated 
with certain events in the ancieai days. 



50 



(i) FiOgadan — A day for worshiping moon 

(ii) Ederetaha — A day of rejoicing 

fiii) Ataetaha — A day of worshiping God of 

creaiion (obot) 

(ivj Udua Ukat — A day when people are taken 

captives. 

(v) Fiogetok — A day for worshiping minor 

planets such as stars 

(vi) Edere obo — A day of rejoicing 
(vii) Obo — A day for farming 

(viii) Udua cbom — A day after obo 



The Ibibios used to dedicate special days for 
the worship of heavenly bodies and for other impor- 
tant religious events Tbe names of the days were 
therefore associated vviih tbe diffeient cv.nt^ end 
objects which they worshipped. For example, Fiog- 
adan is derived from lae word ofioD (moon). 



C) 



51