Idoma love poem
Ojuju kur ipo gigo
Wo cha ocha olohi kum fear dudu ar
Oya a ya feya ka ge bi
Anu wa mome kum a "Awo ihotu kum a".
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A small translation of the love poem into idoma (Idoma Central, Oturkpo, Okpogu, Idoma West, Ijigbam, Igumale, Akpoto, Igwaale, Idoma South), the Nigerian-Congolese language of the Kwa group, of the Idomas people in Nigeria.
This idiom is part of the Idomoid Akweya language group, it is spoken by 650,000 people in the western and southern regions of Benue State, as well as by a few groups in Nasarawa and Cross Rivers States in Nigeria.
The tradition is still well transmitted by the oldest who often only speak Idoma, which remains essentially an oral language.
Helen Obeya, tells me that she chose a possible translation way, because her idoma language would allow to express other nuances.
Let's take: Awo ihotu kum a = I ℓ ♥ √e u, as a small example, to show you all the richness of the languages that humans speak, and the extraordinary loss with all those which are disappearing.
In Idoma "ihotu" which means love, can be dissociated into two words "iho" and "otu". Iho "means: love, purity, holiness, and also evokes moral uprightness and the human capacity for sacrifice." Otu "means: the spirit (intellect, feeling, mind, emotion), the heart (the organ). (Ada Agada - University of Tuebingen).
So you who are reading these lines, try to compare the notions behind the word love in your language ... translating from one language to another, one word by another, will never reveal notions, which are often very different from one language to another.
The Idomas (3.5 million), are generally farmers and hunters, they inhabit Idomaland, and their traditional colors are black and red.
Yam, millet and sorghum are the heart of their harvests and very important in the exchanges with their neighbors ... exchanges which often lead to inter-ethnic marriages.
Apa, the ancestral land of the Idomas, which they left, was located in the north-west of the Idomaland that they now occupy.
The Apa was part of the kingdom of Kwararafa (Okolofa), which united them with other peoples. In the 19th century, they were driven back by the Peuls, at the confluence of the Niger and Bénoué rivers.
The Idomas lived in compact villages, where they regrouped in extended families, in which the patrilineages were dominant. There were several men societies who governed their rites, especially those around death and the afterlife.
Their traditions remain very strong, and the organization of celebrations continues to be very important. The masks they make, for dances, during ancestor worship and respect for the lineage, are famous.