Igbo Vowels and Vowel Harmony

Igbo Vowels
The Igbo vowels are A E I Ị O Ọ U Ụ. The Igbo term for vowel is ụdaume. Igbo vowels are divided into two groups: the light group (A Ị Ọ Ụ) and the heavy group (E I O U). The Igbo term for light vowel is ụdamfe, heavy vowel is udaarụ

Vowel Harmony
The Igbo term for vowel harmony is ndakọrịta ụdaume. Individual words are usually spelt with only vowels from one group. The few exceptions to this rule are discussed below.

Exception (Compound Words)
A compound word is a word formed by two or more words. For example, the word 'ụda' means sound. The two vowels in 'ụda' are from the light group. The word 'ume' means breath. The two vowels in 'ume' are from the heavy group. The compound word formed by 'ụda' and 'ume' is ụdaume, which means vowel. Ụdaume has vowels from both groups which is an exception to the vowel harmony rule.

Exception (Borrowed Words)
Words borrowed from other languages may not have vowel harmony. Example is akamu which is the food pap. Amusu is witch.

Exception  (Natural Words)
There are very few words that naturally do not have vowel harmony. For example, odibọ - servant, agadi - old person, dibịa - doctor, alo - suggestion, abuke - fowl with scanty feathers. There are less than ten of such words in the Igbo Izugbe dialect. However, dialects in border towns might have many more, because their dialects are influenced by neighbouring non-Igbo languages.