Spoken L1 Language: Izi-Ezaa-Ikwo-Mgbo

Comments on subclassification

Meier, Paul E. and Meier, Ingeborg and Bendor-Samuel, John Theodor 1975: 15-16

AES status:
not endangered
Izi-Ezaa-Ikwo-Mgbo (izi-izi) = 5 (Developing).

Retired in ISO 639-3: Split into Izii [izz], Ezaa [eza], Ikwo [iqw], Mgbolizhia [gmz]

  • Change request: 2012-078
  • ISO 639-3: izi
  • Name: Izi-Ezaa-Ikwo-Mgbo
  • Reason: split
  • Effective: 2013-01-23

Excerpt from change request document:

Although oral history says that these four groups have a common ancestor, over the course of time, they have drifted apart and become separate socially, culturally, politically, and linguistically.

These languages are not mutually intelligible. When speakers of one of these languages meet with speakers of another, they speak English or Igbo together rather than their own languages. The government, for the above reason, allowed each of these languages to be taught in the primary schools in their respective areas, each with its own distinct curriculum.

Each of the four has a distinct social and cultural identity. The Ikwo have 8 days in their weekly calendar. The Ezaa have 4 days in their week. The Izii and the Mgbolizhia have 5 days in their week. Recognizing their distinct cultural identities, the government built separate cultural centers for each of the four groups. Each of the four groups has its own paramount traditional ruler. Each celebrates its own traditional festival separately at its respective ancestral home. The New Year Festival for each group is at a separate time between July and September. Each group celebrates the New Yam Festival separately, at different times.

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