Saving Igbo and the Ahia Ngwugwu Theory

Many of the world’s more than 6,500 languages have been classified as endangered. As globalization crystallizes, language endangerment has become a serious problem facing nations.

Recent UNESCO studies project that the Igbo language could go extinct in the next 50 years, as the number of active speakers continues to decrease due to diverse and interrelated socio-linguistic factors. One way to help the Igbo language survive is through the Igbonization project.

Many contributors to this thinking have suggested more egalitarian democratic approach through which everyone has freedom to bring something to the table. For example, I have noticed contributions where the Igbo people and language are being juxtaposed in an Israelisation or should I say ‘Jewdaic’ paradigm.

While I do not challenge this view, however, we must be careful not to allow adoption of unconfirmed morphological and/or quasi-historical process to further endanger an already endangered language.

I have also read Igwe and Aito (2011), who examined igbonization as a process of lexical creativity. I respect what they achieved, particularly their work led to Microsoft republishing the Igbo Style Guide for product localization, in which technical terms in the field of informatics have been derived by subjecting English language terms to minor pronunciation and orthographical changes to adapt to Igbo language phonetic patterns.

My contribution to the survival of the Igbo language until date has been my ‘versucht’ to mainstream theory development, one of which is the development of ‘The Ahia Ngwugwu Theory (TAN) in relation to technological innovation.

The ‘Ahia ngwugwu’ theory follow a number of market interaction theories that are being used to explain the buyer-seller relationship in a free market economy. For example the theory of design hierarchies, which examines the interaction between product design ‘look and feel’, and buyer decision-making & choices; also some neoclassical theories that can predict accurately how customers act in well-functioning market place, invoking psychological feelings and levels of customer experience when making purchasing decisions.

The Ahia Ngwugwu theory premises on purchasing packaged good, with its resultant unknown, risk, and uncertainty. TAN can be viewed as an extension of three competing concepts, the unknown, the uncertainty, and the risk behaviour.

The issue is that one has to deal with the uncertainty that the unknown is ‘pregnant’, and buying a packed good brings some level of risk taking, because the ‘pregnancy’ of the unknown gives a statistical head or tail result.

While the Igbo sees the result of the ‘unknown’ as luck, or the activities of terrestrial invisible beings (ndi mmuo), I conjure that the result is preprogrammed by economic agents. Whether those who packaged the products without putting expiration dates, or the retailer who kept the product for so long on the shelve without recourse to potential expiration date.

There are two ways to understand the activities of economic agents. First, products that have been intentionally brought to the market after they have passed expiration date, will certainly produce negative results, even when the customer doesn’t know it.

Second, products that have tendency to expire ‘at will’ should be sold unpackaged, because it’s ethically wrong to mislead consumers to invest in rot. Of course we know that profit is the singular goal of capitalism and in some economies, ethics and customer care do not come to fore.

The Ahia ngwugwu theory is a basic concept that underlie our choice in the marketplace.The nature of its evolutionary process has implications for the dynamics of competition and the management of market innovation.

This is a new intellectual paradigm based on an established Igbo notion. The intellectual property is at early stage, but several market solutions that make economic sense are being projected in the light of the TAN theory, e.g. a product quality scanner, so not much can currently be revealed.

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