A Niger-Congo language, usually assigned to the Kwa branch, spoken by c. 15 million people in south-east Nigeria (especially in Anambra, Abia and Imo states), where it has official status. Since 1970s it has been increasingly used as a second language in the region.
The language is spelt in the Roman alphabet standardised in 1961. Modern standard Igbo is based on the Onitsha-Owerri dialect, although there is a variety of other dialects spread over. From the 1970s on an extensive written literature has been produced in Igbo.
Tone in Igbo is of cardinal phonemic importance. Meaning is a function of tonal pattern and word position.
CLASSIFICATION = Niger-Congo family , SCRIPT = Roman