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Nigerian Languages

Nigerian Traditional languages:

Nigeria is a nation with an outstandingly diverse set of languages and dialects. With over 200 distinct languages, cultural and ethnic dichotomy, the people of the nation come together under a uniform umbrella to form the country called Nigeria. Its official language is English.

Below are the languages spoken in varied parts of Nigeria.:

Abinis Abong Abua Acipa Afade Agatu Agoi Agwagune Ake Akoko Akpa-Yache Akpes Alago Alege Amo Anaag Angas Aten Atsam Ayu Ba Bacama Bada Bade Bagimi Bakor Bakpinka Bali Bana Bangwinji Barawa Bariba Bashar Bassa- Kontagora Bata Batu Basuhi Bekwarra Bele Berom Bete-Bende Bile Biliri Bina Biseni Biitare Boghom Bokkos Bokyi Bole Buduma Bumaji Bura-Pabir Burak Busa-BokoCara Che Cibak Comokarim Dadiya Daffo-Batura Dassa Defeka Degema Deno Dghwede Dijim Doka Doko-Uyanga, Dong Duka Dulbu Dungu duwai Dyerma Dza Ebira Edo Efik Efutop Eggon Ejagham Ekajuk Ekit Ekpeye Elelme Eloyi Emai-iuleha-ora Engenni Epei Eruwa Esan Etulo Evand Fam Fulfulde Fungwa Fyam Fyer Ga�andaGade Gadi-Shingini-vadi-baangi Galambu Gbagyi Gbari Gbaya Gbiri-niragu Geji Gengle Gera Geruma Gevoko Ghotuo GiwoGlavda Goemai Gokoana Gude Gudu Guduf Gun-gbe Gurmana Guruntum-Mbaaru Gwa Gwanmhi-wur Gwandara Gwomu Gyem Ham Hausa Hedi Horom Huba Hungworo Hwana Ibani Ibibio Ibino Icen Iceve-Maci Idoma Idon Idun Igala Igbo Igede Iguta Ijo Ika Ikpeshi Ikulu Ikewere; Irigwe Isekiri Isoko Ivbienorth-Okpela-Arhe Izere Izi-Ezaa-Ikwo-Mgbo Izora Janji Jara Jarawa Jera Jibu Jida-AbuJimbin Jimi Jiru Jju Jorto Ju Jukuntakum Jukunwurkum Kadara Kagoma Kaivi Kalabari Kam Kamantam Kamo Kamuku Kamwe Kanakuru Kantana Kanufi-Kaningdon-Nindem Kanuri Karekere Karfe Kariya Katab Kiballo Kinuku Kiong Kir-Balar kitimi Koana Koenoem Kofyar Kohumono Koma Kona Kono Koro Korop Kpan Kpasam Kubi Kudu-Camo Kugama Kugbo Kulere kulung Kumba Kupto Kurama Kushi Kutep Kuturmi Kuzamani Kwaami Kwanka Kyak Laka Lala-Roba Lamang Lama Lamja Laru Leelau Legbo Lela Lemoro Lenyima Leyigha Libo Lijili Lo Loko Longuga Lopa Lotsu-piri Lubila Luri Maaka Mabas Mabo-Barkui Mada Mafa Mak Mala Mambila Mangas Marghi Mbe MbembeMboi Mbula-Bwazza Mburku Mini Miship Miya Momjango Montoi Mumuye Mundat Munga Mvanon Mwaghavui Nandu-Tari Nde-Nsele-Nta Ndoe Ndoola Ngamo Nggwahyi Ngizim Mgwaba Ninzam Nkem-Nkum Nkoroo Nkukoli Nnam Nungu Nupe Nyong Nzanyi Obanliku Obolo Obulom Oduai Odut Ogbah Ogbia Ogbogolo Ogbronuagum Okobo Okodia Okpamheri Okpe Okrika Olulumo-Ikom Oring Oron Ososo Otank Pa�a Pai Pero Piti Piya Polci Pongu Puku-Geeri-Keri- Wipsi Putai Pyapun Reshe Rubasa Ruma Sambakada Sambaleko Sanga Saya Sha Shagawu Shall-Zwall Shanga Sheni Shiki Siri Somyewe Sukur Surubu Tai Tala tambas Tangale Tapshin Tarok Teme Tera Tiba Tiv Tsagu Tula Turkwam Ubaghara Ubang Uhami-Iyayu Ukaan Ukpe-Bayobiri Ukpet-Ehom Ukue-Ehuen Ukwuani-Aboh Ulukwumi Umon Uneme Urhobo Utugwang Uvbie Uzekwe Vin Vute Waja Waka Wandala Wapan Warji Wase Wom Yala Yashi Yekhee Yendang Yeskwa Yiwom Yoruba Yukuben Yungur Zangwai Zari zeem.

Esan Proverbs

Esan, like many of the tribes south of the Sahara, is rich in proverbs. Itan is the Esan word for proverb (plural: itanh). Being a polysemous word, itan also means insinuation or innuendo. To differentiate which one is being employed in a speech, the verb that precedes the Esan noun would always be the deciding factor: kpa itanh means speak in proverbs while fi itan means insinuate, make allusion.
This collection of Esan proverbs is by no means exhaustive, since the use of proverbs is a common feature among nearly all Esan. When placed beside any of the proverbs below, the acronym LIT means Lost in Translation, which is to suggest that that particular proverb couldnt be translated to be true to its original meaning. For instance, the proverb Ojie kha la le ọ ki zi ọgbọn is a short form of Ojie kha la le ọ ki zi ọgbọn ọhle ojie Udakpa da yọ ni Aah khue alogbo rẹkhan ọle. If translated, it would be A kings ascension to the throne is initially followed with fundamental changes, which was the reason the king of Udakpa ordered to be escorted with musical instruments.). Besides being lengthy, the reader who has little knowledge of Udakpa in South-East Esan and the many political changes that have transformed it will fail to grasp the message in the proverb. When rendered in Esan language, however, the proverb offers some literary appeal and reminisces the distant past of that ancient community. Also, italicized phrases in the English translations are additional information which is meant to aid easy understanding, especially of non-Esan and those who arent so good at appreciating adages. Where a proverb has an English equivalent, it is given and preceded with the conjunction Or and the abbreviation cf (compare).

Ose ii gba ni usẹnbhokhan. ( A young man's beauty is never without defects.)
Eji Aah nyẹlẹn ọhle Aah khọ. (People resemble where they live.)
Udo ni Aah daghe ọ' vade ii degbi ọrhia bhi ẹlo. (A missile that one sees coming does not blind one.)
Eji ọboh da gui otọ ọhle ọle da horiẹ. (A native doctor disappears only where he is used to.)
Aah ii ri ebi Aah nanọ bui awa re. (You dont tempt a dog with something to lick, since dog is an avid licker.)

Aah gheghe yọ ni olimhin kha mhẹn bhi ẹlo, ọhle Aah da ri ukpọn bhọ. (Clothing a corpse is simply to beautify it.)
Aah ii fi ini bhi otọ kha khin oha-ọtan. (Do not go hunting for squirrel while you have an elephant as a catch.)
Aah ii di isira ọnọ khin eni khin ẹkpẹn. Or, Aah ii khin ẹkpẹn man ọnọ khin eni. (You dont change to a tiger in the presence of one who can change to an elephant.)
Amẹn ni ọrhia la muọn ii gbera ọle a. (The water one would drink can never flow past one.)
Aah ii yi ọbhẹnbhẹn khui ọkhọh. (Do not ask a mad man to chase fowls away, since he would do it madly.)
Ene wwue bhi uwa kha yyọ ele mmin okpodu, ?bi ene wwuẹ bhi ole ki da ta yẹ. (What would they say who slept outside if those who slept inside complained of harassment?)
Uu ii ji Aah gui na. (Death is impervious to appeal.)
Ẹwaẹn Aah rẹ gbi efẹn nọ ribhi ẹkẹ akhe. (Killing a rat that is holed up inside an earthen pot requires wisdom.)
Ufẹmhẹn si obhokhan kha na, Aah ki yọ owualẹn kkani ọhle ni ọle. (When the arrow from a childs bow travels far, an adult is suspected to be responsible.)
Ọnọ gbi ọnọdeọde ọhle ọnọdeọde viẹ bhi itolimhin. (In a funeral each mourner mourns the fate that befalls him, not the deceaseds.)
Ọmọn nọ yyu ọle mhọn ose nẹ. (It is the deceased child that is always the prettiest.)
Ohu bha lẹn ebialẹn si ọhle. (Fury does not know its owners strength otherwise a weaklings rage would be tempered with restraint.)
Agbọn khi ese. (It is human beings that do disguise as supernatural forces.)
Ọnọ ii ribhi eni, ọle Aah ri enyan si ọle tọn bhi egbi eraẹn. (It is the absent one whose yam would always be kept beside the fire.)
Eto kha rẹ re, Aah yẹ lẹn eji ukẹhae nae. (No matter how hairy the head becomes, the forehead remains distinct.)
Aah kha yọ ni Aah sikoko, Aah bha yyọ ni Aah simama. (A call to gather together is not an invitation to muddle together.)
Aah kha khin ẹkpẹn fo, ebi Aah khiẹn ki fo. (After changing to a tiger, you simply have no other thing to change to.)
Aah kuẹ ri ikhilẹn khin ẹguae ọba, ọba kuẹ nyẹn uge. (The king need not tiptoe in order to peep at a dance coming to be staged at his palace.)
Ọni Aah bbhobholo ii bhobhi ọrhia. (The one who is carried on ones back cannot back someone else.)
Oẹ ọkpọkpa Aah zẹ bhi okọ-ẹdin. (In a palm oil dish, you take one step at a time.)
Irẹlobhegbe zzẹ ni ọkhọ bha da lli afiamhẹnh. (But for forbearance, the chicken would have taken into eating birds.)
Ose ba ni emiamhẹn. (Beauty is more painful than infirmity.)
Ọnabhughe ọ min olimhin ni Aah ri izagan mun. (It is the truant that comes in contact with a corpse wrapped in basket.)
Aah ii ri ẹbhe ni oruan ọrhia rẹmhọn. (To ensure a lasting relationship, do not offer a goat to your in-law for safe-keeping.)
Aah kha kha gbi ugan bhi evele, Aah ki ri ukpọn bhọ re. (If it is being debated, a man should undress to counter claims that he is suffering from penile bloat.)
Ebi Aah bha mmin Eboh, Aah bha rruẹn ebeh-ọghẹdẹ. (Prior to the arrival of Europeans, no one wore banana leaves, but clothes.)
Ẹnyẹn ni otuan ọkpa miẹn ọhle khi ubhiọ. (It is the serpent seen by a single person that is called a lizard.)
Uhọmhọn na ji ikọ ọ ii gbi ikọ. (An envoy isnt punished for the message he conveys.)
Ọkhin ẹkpẹn ii khin eni. (He does not change to a tiger one who changes to an elephant. Or, Everyone has an area where he is talented.)
Aah kha rui ẹlo, Aah ki kha ri ẹwuaẹn khian. (Blindness demands caution. Or, When one is blind, one learns to walk with care.)
Afiabhẹn ni Aah ri igẹnh si ọhle lui emhin, ẹjẹje Aah min ọhle ele. (The bird whose feathers are treasured must walk circumspectly.)
Ebe bha ji ọrhia rẹ lẹn egbe, ọhle ọrhia da tẹ. (Disgrace is sure to come from that over which one cannot exercise self-control.) Ebe yi okhuo zẹ bhi ileghe re, akun ọ ye. (That which compels a woman to reduce her waist beads lies in her waist.)
Ọ ii yi ọta ni ekhẹnh ta yi ẹki, ọ ii yi ọhle ele ta vae. (Traders subject of discussion to the market differs from their homeward discussion.)
Ọ ii yi ẹdẹ ni Aah muin ure ọ ii yi ẹdẹni Aah ri ọhle zọ ese. (It is not the same day a snail is found that it is offered as sacrifice to an idol.)
Eji Aah tan sẹ, ọhle Aah da ji uhọmhọn. (A persons head must grow where his height stops.) nearly LIT
Ure kha lo bhi ẹbọ, ọ ki khin ẹbọ. (When a snail inhabits a shrine, it becomes an idol.)
Ọsakọn Aah lẹlẹ, Aah ii lẹli ọmeto. (It is the dentist that can be tricked, not the hairdresser.)
Odin ii talọ, ọta ri ọle bhi unu. (Although speechless, the mute has something to say.)
Ojie ii gbo yọ ni Aah ri ojie tọ bhi itikun. (A king never asks a king to be buried in a refuse site.)
Okhuẹlẹn nẹko kpe. (A grass-cutters plumpness is achieved in hiding.)
Ẹmhọn ri ọdan ba bhi egbe, ọhle rri ikpea do bhi omin. (LIT)
Ọbo ii bọ bhi ebi ọle lẹẹn. (A native doctor doesnt consult his oracle concerning that which he knows.)
Nine bha jji Ebo llu. (Despite his ingenuity, the white man could not create the number nine.) nearly LIT
Elamhẹn nọ ii mhọn akọn, ọhle ki odalo bhi ishi oyi. (It is the toothless beast that is always the first arrival at the orchard.)
Usẹn bi usẹn ko yi egbe halo. (It is age mates that greet each other with hello.)
Ẹdebe ọhle Aah rẹ ye ọkhae re. (A hero is often remembered on a bad day.)
Ọ ii yi ọnọ ka kha khọmhọn ka yu. (The first person to fall sick is not always the one to die first.)
Ọbo kha wuo ni ọbo, ọ ki ri ọbo khuọn ẹkpa. (LIT)
Ogun bi ogun kha min egbe, ughamhan ele rẹ tui egbe. (When blacksmiths meet, both salute each other with iron.)
Aah kha kha viẹ, Aah yẹ daghe. (Even in tears, it is not impossible to see.)
Ẹghe ni Aah bha rẹ llẹn ẹlo ikpakpa, ọhle ikpakpa ki rẹ ggbi ọrhia. (Men only died of toxin beans when they lacked knowledge of the food.)
Okhuo ii yi okhuo biẹre khi ọmọn fui ọlle bhọ. (A woman doesnt ask a fellow woman to put to bed that she herself is childless.)
Ẹruẹ ii yi ẹruẹ ọyabhihue. (English version: A kettle does not call a kettle black.)
Ebi Aah miẹn ofẹn ii muin uki, ?bi ọhle ii da bha ọsi adamhẹn. (If not for fear, why doesnt the moon shine in the daytime?)
Ẹlo ọriọbhe bhiae, ọle ii rẹ daghe. (Although he has good eyesight, a stranger doesnt see with his eyes.)
Ọnọ rẹre, ọle Aah da ọle obọ. (It is the generous person that would always be approached for assistance.)
Ọriọbhe giẹrẹn lumhin eman, ọle bha lẹn eji Aah ri ubhokọ gọ. (Although a stranger pounds pounded yam well, he lacks knowledge of where to keep the pestle.)
Aah ii ri emhin ni ọkhian re mhọẹn. (You dont give something to a traveller to keep.)
Ẹdẹ ni okhuo rẹ nyin eman ebe, ẹdẹni ọlle rẹ le nẹ. (It is on the day a woman cooks a bad meal that she eats best.)
Elamhẹn ọbhebhe ii ni isọn emẹdin ebeiyi uriẹi. (Except porcupine, no other animal has palm waste in its excreta.)
Uu bha gbi iban, ọhle di khin ẹdin. (The flower of a palm tree will eventually become palm nuts if death spares it.)
Oghian ọrhia zẹ ni uu da ba bhi egbe. (It is ones enemy that makes death hurtful.)
Obhokhan kha ni isọn ebe, Aah ki ri ebe ugbolimhosaka gbo ọle uwedin a. (If a child defecates repulsive excreta, the leaf of a spiky plant will be used to wipe his buttocks.)
Aah kha kha gbi ugba, ọtẹtẹh rie. (At the repeated shaking of the calabash, insects find their way out.)
Aah bha min ebi Aah khin ọkhọmhọn yẹ, Aah ki zaghi ọle eraẹn a. (If because of his illness you cant hurt a sick person, you can at least extinguish the fire that keeps him warm.)
Aah bha min ebi Aah khin ojie yẹ, Aah ki si ọle bhi ẹbho re. (If because of his power you cant challenge a king, you should quit his kingdom. Or, cf. If you live in Rome, do not strive with the Pope.)
Ẹghe ni Aah rẹ llui ẹmhọn, Aah rria ọhle a. (The time spent on lawsuit is time wasted.)
Aah kha ri egbe yi isi ojie, ọshọ folo. (When people take themselves to the kings palace for lawsuit, they cease to be friends.)
?Ji uzo ki ri aho ọ ni ọhle da rẹ bi iweva. (From where has antelope got the strength to give birth to twins?)
Ukpokpo ni Aah rẹ ggbi ẹwobi, Aah bha refia, Aah ki rẹ gbi ọbhata. (The whip that was used on a stupid person, if it is not disposed of, will be used on an innocent.)
Aah ii min ebe khi ọkhọ ebeiyi akhokholẹ. (Nothing resembles a chicken as does a bush fowl.)
Ese kha la zi emhin, ẹkẹn-ọkhọ ki va udo a. (When supernatural forces are at work, it is not impossible for a hens egg to crack a stone.)
Ebe ka llui ọkhọ di yẹ lui ẹbhe. (A goat will by no means escape the fate of a chicken as long as feasts last.)
Ọkpọkpa Aah gbe ni okhọẹn da lọ. (A war is sustained till the end by gradual killing rather than by outright annihilation. Or, cf. English version: Rome was not built in a day or One thing at a time.)
Aah ii dunu bhi igbanaka. (LIT) ?Ji ehọ ni Aah la rẹ họn, ọhle Aah nẹ emhin na. (The very fact that certain things are offensive to the ear is the reason they are considered taboos.)
Ojie kha la le, ọ ki zi ọgbọn re. (A kings ascension to the throne is initially followed with fundamental changes.)
?Bi Aah la le ẹlẹna, ?bi Aah la le akha, ọhle ukhumhun rẹ fo. (The question of todays meal and tomorrows provision is how a famine abates.)
Aah ii ri afe nani umhẹn. (You dont start licking salt simply because you are wealthy.)
Aah ii nọ ọnọ mhọn igho bi ọle la dẹ. (You dont ask the moneyed man what he will buy with his money.)
Ẹsọn ka ggbi enefe. (The rich once suffered hardship.)
Ẹbọ kha kha to, ọhle mhọn ohẹn si ọhle. (No matter how austere an idol is, it has its priest who pacifies it.)
Ọkaleteh ii kpọ. (Heroes are hard to find.)
Ughe ughulu da ho ukhuọ ọhle ni Aah kha yọ ghe khi ẹkẹ ọhle mun ni ọhle. (That hawk makes love to its wife in the open sky is to debunk rumours that it impregnated her out of wedlock.)
Aah ii ri ugbele si Akogho loli ugbele. (LIT) Uhẹn-ẹlẹ zẹ ni Aah ii da nẹ bhi ẹki. (Dont defecate in a marketplace because it will be there for you to see on the next market day. Or, cf. English version: The evil that men do lives after them.)
Ẹwaẹn Aah rẹ gbi udia nọ timan bhi ikpẹkẹn. (Killing a tsetse fly that perches on ones scrotum demands wisdom.)
Uhọmhọn ni Aah bha ji obhokhan ele, ọhle kha gbi ache bi uwawa bhọ, ọhle ki ha osa. (A child must pay for the destruction of items that results from carrying out a task that was never assigned to him.)
Uzehia kha zẹ bhi eji obọ ii sẹ, Aah ki yi ọhle lala a. (If one has boil in a part of the skin beyond reach, the boil is advised to rot.)
Aah ii gẹn ọmọn bhi isira ọle. (Dont sing praise of a child in his presence.)
Emhinh erebhe ne ribhi omhọn ti egbele itata. (Every ingredient in soup likes to be seen as meat.)
Ọ ii yi ẹlo ni Aah rẹ lie man, ọ ii yi ọhle Aah rẹ kha elamhẹn. (The attitude with which food is eaten differs from that with which meat is shared amongst the eaters.)
Ese kha la zi emhin, omhọn ni inodẹ ki oto obọ a. (It becomes possible today for yesterdays soup to burn ones hand once supernatural forces are at work.)
Ọ ii yi ẹlo ivin ivin rẹ ni udẹn. (A palm kernel would never produce palm ointment unless under the searing heat of the pot.)
Aah ii ni ọnọ wuẹle gbi ugan si ebhohiẹ. (You dont argue about a dream with its dreamer.)
Ọbhẹbhẹn yyọ ghe khi ena ọle rri eraẹn fiọ, ghe ọnọ to khian ni ọle bha lẹn ẹlo bhọ. (A mad man only knows of the spot where he dropped fire but cannot account for the offshoot ravaging the forest.)
Aah kha rẹkhan ẹkpẹn khian, Aah ki li elamhẹn; Aah kha rẹkhan ẹbhe khian, Aah ki li ebeh. (A companion of tiger will feed on meat but a companion of goat will eat leaves.)
Ebale kha sike ebgi unu gbe, ọ ii ji Aah le. (Food that is too close to the mouth is difficult to eat.)
Ọba ii de Esan, Ọzọloa ii ri Ẹdo. (No Benin monarch visits Esan land, just as Ọba Ọzọloa who was slain in Esan will never return to Benin.)
Ọgbihiagha bhi uhọmhọn nain ọka yyọ ghe ọhle lẹn otu si ọhle. (The dreadlocked maize insists it knows its age mates.)
Evẹkpẹn kha vi ẹkpẹn fo, Ibhioba ki bi ebeh. (The people of Ibhioba clear the leaves after the butchers of tiger are done.) nearly LIT Eni ediọn kha le, enai ẹlimhin ki khọn. (When the elders eat, the spirits are full.)
Ọnọ ii mhọn ọmọn ii mhọn oruan. (The one who has no child cannot have an in-law.)
Ọnọ ri ebeh bin uwa kha dia khẹ efi. (He who builds a house with leaves should expect the storm.)
Aah gbudu yi ọba họọ! (Even the king can be reprimanded.) Ebi Aah gbe bha yu, Aah ii mun bhi ẹkpa. (Until the animal you are killing is dead you dont put it in a sack.)
Ebi Aah ko ta, ọhle khi ẹmhọn ni inẹdeso. (What was discussed earlier is what can be cited as a previous discussion.)
Aah ii tti egbe emhin, ọhle enele da tto uwa a. (That the house was gutted by palm waste was due to disregard for something.)
Ẹdẹ ii tughu ọ bha sẹn. (A river must become crystal-clear after being upset.)
Ijan ọkpa ọmọle feọ nọ da hu. (If a mans urine must foam, he must urinate on one spot. Or, cf. English version: A rolling stone gathers no moss.)
Aah bha min ebe re nọ ii fo. (Theres nothing without an end. Or, Whatever is in vogue ultimately expires.)
Ukpọn ni ahoho sabọ, ọhle ọ re bhi ifi. (The wind only picks the dress that it can take off the rope.)
Ebe ii yi emhin ọhle ho alo. (It is the insignificant thing that struggles over the forefront.)
Ọnọ mhọn ivie bhi uru bha lẹn si ọ ghanmhin. (He who has a gold necklace round his neck does not know its worth.)
Etin kha di oya, Aah ki ri abọ eveva fi ọhle. (When a blow becomes a challenge, the two hands will be used to apply the blow.)
Osẹ ko eran ni ọnọ ii mhọn uze. (It is God who provides firewood for the one who has no axe.)
Ebe ba bhi egbe ii ni araẹn re. (A painful experience does not necessarily bring out blood.)
Ohuẹ ii tie bi ọle miẹn bhi ikhẹeran. (A hunter never discloses the happenings in his hunting expedition.)
Omhọn nọ mhẹn bhi unu ii si eman. (Delicious soup is often inadequate for a meal.)
Ẹbho ni Aah ii da min ahiẹlẹkpẹnh ọhle ọkhọh da lui mama. (It is in the land where there are no hawks that chickens have leverage.)
Aah ii tọni egbe bi eji egbe rẹ tọnọ. (Do not scratch your skin just the way it itches you.)
Unẹ bha sẹ khin unẹ ọhle okhuo da ri obọ muin inyẹẹnh mhọẹn. (A woman holds tight to her breasts only when a race has not assumed seriousness.)
Aah ii walan si uu bhọ. (Man is senseless before death.) Ese ii muin ẹdẹ. (No amount of trouble can prevent daybreak.)

Source: The Illustrated Dictionary of Esan Language (unpublished), by Iseribhor Okhueleigbe Linguistics and Esan Language
Esan is one of the numerous languages of the Kwa subdivision of the Niger-Congo language family, one of Africa's largest subgroups. Unlike English, Esan is a tone language (like many of its neighboring settlements) not unlike Chinese. Dictionaries and grammar texts of the Esan language are being produced, which may help the Esan appreciate their written language. There is a high level of illiteracy among the Esan, and a large number of dialects, including Ẹkpoma, Ẹkpọn and Ohordua. Most annual Esan Kings' Council meetings are largely conducted in English for this reason. Linguistic finding has shown the word gbe to have the highest number of usages in Esan, with up to 76 different meanings in a normal dictionary. Names starting with the prefixes Ọsẹ; Ẹhi, Ẹhiz or Ẹhis; and Okoh (for male), Ọmọn (for female) are the commonest in Esan: Ẹhizọkhae, Ẹhizojie, Ẹhinọmẹn, Ẹhimanre, Ẹhizẹle, Ẹhimẹn, Ẹhikhayimẹntor, Ẹhikhayimẹnle, Ẹhijantor, etc; Ọsẹmundiamẹn, Ọsẹmhẹngbe, etc; Okosun , Okojie, Okodugha, Okoemu, Okouromi, Okougbo, Okoepkẹn, Okoror, Okouruwa, etc. To any Oko-, 'Ọm-' the suffix of the name can be added to arrive of the female version e.g. Ọmosun, Ọmuromi, etc. Nouns
All Esan nouns begin with vowel letters (i.e. a, e, ẹ, i, o, ọ, u): aru, eko, ẹbho, itohan, ozẹ, ọrhia, uze, etc. Due to the influence of neighboring tongues and Western languages, especially English, there is the tendency among Esan to pronounce many non-Esan nouns beginning with a consonant letter. In the event of such within the boundary of Esan write-up, an apostrophe may be employed before the first consonant letter both to Esanize and ease the pronunciation. In speech however such apostrophe is often pronounced as i /i:/: bazaar, Jonah, labour, zoo, etc. Each Esan noun ends in either a vowel letter (e.g. ato, Ẹkpoma, uri, oya) or the vowel-associated letter n: agbọn, eran, ẹnyẹn, itọn, isẹn, etc. Exception to this rule is the writing of proper nouns where a name can end in letter r always after a letter ọ to make it sound like or in English as well as the use of letter h after a letter o to make it sound as oh in English: Isibor, Oko'ror, Okoh, Okoọboh, etc. In nouns, following the first vowel letter is always a second consonant letter: ahoho, avan, ilo, udia. For the expression of a feminine gender, the second consonant letter following a vowel letter is doubled: ahhihi (=female ant), ọsshọ (=female friend), ọrrhia (=female person), etc. This gender-sensitive style is better understood by French speakers, who usually differentiate genders masculine, feminine, neuter. Exception to this rule has to do with certain nouns that consist of vowel letters only e.g. 'oẹ' (leg, plural 'ae'), 'oo' (mother), 'uu' (death), etc. Pluralization in Esan is of two forms, the first of which has to do with nouns that have original plural forms, in which case the first letter is replaced/displaced by another letter: ọmọn (baby), imọn (babies); ọmọle (man, male), imọle (men, males); okpea (man), ikpea (men); okhuo (woman, female), ikhuo (women, females); ọshọ, ọmuọe (friend), ishọ, imuọe (friends); obhio (relation), ibhio (relations); obhokhan (child), ibhokhan (children); oghian (enemy), ighian (enemies); usẹnbhokhan (boy), isẹnbhokhan (boys); ọmamhẹn, ọmọhin (girl), imamhẹn, imọhin (girls); ọwanlẹn (elder, adult), iwanlẹn (elders, adults); ọrhia (person), erhia (persons); ọbo (doctor), ebo (doctors); Ebo (English citizen), Ibo (English citizens); obọ (arm), abọ (arms); oẹ (leg), ae (legs); use (nail), ise (nails); udo (stone), ido (stones) The second has to do, not with the above which have original plural form but, with a large number of other nouns which do not. In this case, a suffix (as the use of 's' in English) is used by adding it to the noun in question, but without a change in pronunciation. For example: uwaebe (school), uwaebeh (schools); eran (stick), eranh (sticks); emhin (something), emhinh (some things)
Sentence order

The use of Esan is open to three orders or arrangements: (subject-verb-object (SVO), object-subject-verb (OSV), and object-verb-subject (OVS)) to express themselves Okoh h gbi ele (SVO). Okoh imẹn ddaghe (OSV). Ena yẹ imẹn (OVS). SVO is commonest and most employed. The use of OVS is restricted to a limited number of grammatical constructions. Verbs
All Esan verbs start with consonant letters and end in either vowel letter or the vowel associated letter n: bi, dẹ, fan, hẹn, lolo, etc. In expressing the past, doubling of initial letter of a verb takes place such that bi changes to bbi and hẹn becomes hhẹn. A verb can also begin with a diphthong: khian, gbe, bhanbhan. The formation of past tense in this case is not different: kkhian, ggbe, etc. Some Esan dialect such as Uzea makes use of ah (or h) to show present participle (as in He is going home.). Although this is absent in majority of Esan dialects, it is used and placed before the main verb when writing: Ele h khọa = Theyre having bath. Adjectives
An Esan adjective, as does an English adjective, modifies a noun or pronoun. That is, it gives more information about a noun or pronoun and makes its meaning more specific. It can appear before or after a noun. The only difference between Esan and English adjectives is that like Japanese, some Esan adjectives are verb-like in that they inflect to show tenses: Ele mhẹnmhin. = They are good. // Ele mmhẹnmhin. = They were good. The doubling of the initial letter of the adjective 'mhẹnmhin (good)' like verbs, clearly demonstrates this point. Esan adjectives are of two distinct types: word adjective and phrasal adjective. Word adjective.
A word adjective is an adjective consisting of a single word: esi, khọlọ, hu, jian, etc. This form of adjective is subdivided into five types: pre-noun adjective, post-noun adjective, numeral adjective, nounal adjective, and restricted adjective. A pre-noun adjective appears only before the noun it modifies, provides information about the nouns size and/or quantity, and they start with a vowel letter: ukpomin, ekitui, udede, ikwẹkwi, etc. These adjectives are not subject to the law of tenses and do not take the suffix mhin. A post-noun adjective comes immediately after the noun it modifies: khọlọ, khọriọn, fuọ, ba, to, han, lẹnlẹn, bhihi, hu, khisin, khere, re(le) (far), re (deep), re (grown up), re (well attended), bue, tan, etc. These adjectives are subject to the law of tenses such that they are used to reflect time (e.g. Okoh rẹ kkhọriọn. = "Okoh is ugly."). Except the adjective khọriọn, all others can be used with the suffix mhin, and (ebe and esi which are also called noun adjectives) they all start with consonant letters. A numeral adjective is one that can be used to answer such question as how many?: ọkpa, eva, ea, igbe, etc. Because they are also nouns, they all start with vowel letters. They are neither subject to the law of tenses nor can they be used with the suffix mhin. A nounal or noun adjective is one that comes before a noun and can easily be manipulated to become a noun in usage: esi, ebe. It can neither be used with mhin nor are they subject to tense law. A restricted adjective is one that can only be used with a particular noun e.g. bhibhi in 'ewewẹ bhibhi' (early morning). Some adjectives that can be placed under the word adjective are adjectives that are formed from the doubling of a word adjective: fanọn-fanọn (unkempt; untidy), rughu-rughu or ragha-ragha (disorderly), sankan-sankan (muddy and rough), yagha-yagha (untidy), kpadi-kpadi (rough or even), ose-ose (beautiful). This system can also be used thus: fanọn/2, yagha/2, kpadi/2, sankan/2, ose/2, etc. Phrasal adjective.
A phrasal adjective is one that consists of more than one word; it is made up of a phrase. More often than not, an adjectival phrase usually contains either a noun + verb or an adjective+preposition+noun which combine to perform the work of an adjective. Some common examples are: rui ẹlo (blind), yi ehọ (deaf, rebellious), di ọmalẹn (old, senile), di itọn a (wretched), bhọn ose (beautiful), fi ahiẹ a (serene), fua amẹn (light-complexioned), ba bhi egbe (painful), mhẹn bhi egbe (body-friendly), mhẹn bhi unu (sweet), mhẹn bhi ẹlo (beautiful or not offensive to sight), mhẹn bhi ihue (not offensive to the nose), mhẹn bhi ehọ (not offensive to the ear), khọ bhi unu (unpalatable; offensive), khọ bhi egbe (unbearable), etc. Below are some Esan adjectives and their meanings (and those that can be used with the suffix mhin are shown.The addition of the suffix 'mhin' to a word turns it from adjective to noun just as the suffix 'ness' in english does.) Ukpomin (little), ekitui (many; much), udede (big), ikwẹkwi (tiny; trivial), khisin-mhin (small; diminutive), khere-mhin (small; little), hu-mhin (big; foamy), khuẹlẹ-mhin (slim), re-mhin (far; deep; well attended; grown up), dia-mhin (straight; appropriate), bhala-mhin (light-complexioned), bhia-mhin (large, spacious), riẹriẹ-mhin (smooth), rẹrẹ-mhin (restless), kpoloa (smooth), gọ-mhin (crooked) kpono-mhin (slippery), kwọn (slippery; slimy), to-mhin (irritating), kpọ-mhin (widespread), khia-mhin (holy, righteous), fu-mhin (peaceful), bhiẹlẹ-mhin (lazy), fa-mhin (dirt-free, clean), lẹ-mhin (scarce), tua-mhin (quick), zaza-mhin (skilful), sun-mhin (slimy), kholo (spherical), hian-mhin (efficacious; alcoholic), nwun-mhin or mun-mhin (sharp; alcoholic), khọlọ-mhin (bad; painful), sẹ-ẹ (ordinary), nọghọ-mhin (difficult), kpataki (real), lo-mhin (inexpensive; deep), khua-mhin (heavy; hot), tọnọ-mhin (itchy), luẹn (ripe), khekhea (sour), riala-mhin (bitter), fua-mhin (white), bhihi-mhin (black; dark-complexioned), kẹnkẹn-mhin (multicoloured), kọnkọn (fat), kaka-mhin (hard; serious), toto-mhin (serious; taut), ghan-mhin (costly), ghantoa (costly), wualan-mhin (wise), sọnọ-mhin (offensive), lẹkhẹ-mhin (soft), khẹrẹ-khẹrẹ (muddy), gban-a (expansive), tan-mhin (tall; elegant), guẹguẹ (ingratiating), mhẹn-mhin (good), lẹnlẹn-mhin (sweet), zeze-mhin (strong), wo-mhin (powerful; mature), bie (cooked or done), fe-mhin (wealthy); fanọn-fanọn (unkempt; untidy), rughu-rughu or ragha-ragha (disorderly), sankan-sankan (muddy and rough), yagha-yagha (untidy); rui ẹlo (blind), yi ehọ (deaf, rebellious), di ọmalẹn (old, senile), di itọn a (wretched), bhọn ose (beautiful), fi ahiẹ a (serene), fua amẹn (light-complexioned), ba bhi egbe (painful), mhẹn bhi egbe (body-friendly), mhẹn bhi unu (sweet), mhẹn bhi ẹlo (beautiful or not offensive to sight), mhẹn bhi ihue (not offensive to the nose), mhẹn bhi ehọ (not offensive to the ear), khọ bhi unu (unpalatable; offensive), khọ bhi egbe (unbearable), etc. Determiners

ọni in Esan is equivalent to the (as singular) in English: ọni emhin = the thing
eni in Esan is equivalent to the (as plural) in English: eni emhinh = the things
ni in Esan is equivalent to that in English: emhin ni or ọni emhin ni
na in Esan is equivalent to this in English: emhin na or ọni emhin na
In the determiner phrases below, the determiners are in boldface:
ukpi (pl. ikpi) in Esan is equivalent to the indefinite article a/an in English:
ukpi ẹmhin = a thing
ikpi emhinh = ... things
ọsoso (pl. esoso) in Esan is equivalent to any in English:
emhin ọsoso = any thing
emhinh esoso any things
eso /ayso/ in Esan is equivalent to some in English:
emhinh eso = some things
ikpeta in Esan is equivalent to few in English:
ikpeta emhinh = few things
nekirẹla in Esan is equivalent to whoever/whichever in English:
emhin nekirẹla = whatever thing
erebhe in Esan is equivalent to all in English:
emhin erebhe = all things
eveva in Esan is equivalent to both in English:
Emhinh eveva = both things
ekitui in Esan is equivalent to many in English:
ekitui emhinh = many things
(The Lord's Prayer in Esan Language)
OTUẸ SI EBIALẸN IMAN
(ERA IMAN NỌ RIBHI OKHUN)
Era iman nọ ribhi Okhun,
ji elin uwẹ khin ebi Aah gẹn,
ni ejele sẹ vae, ni Aah lu bhi otọ na bi eji Aah lu bhi Okhun.
Rẹ ebale ni iman la le ẹlẹna ni iman le.
Ri olukhọ si iman humhin iman
bi eji iman rẹ rẹhumhin ene lui iman khọlọ.
Kha ii ji iman deọ bhi edọmhẹn
himhin iman sibhi ebeimhẹn re.
[Ọsẹ khi ọni ejele, ọni ahu bi ọni oriri-ejele dabhi eji Aah
ye na rẹ sẹ bhi ẹdẹdẹmhẹndẹ.]
Isẹ.
OUR LORDS PRAYER
(OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN)
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
Provided: Courtesy of Ibhie Esan Association of South Africa.

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