The Meaning of the Word, “Nsukka” - Onyeji Nnaji



The etymology of the name Nsukka is traced to no other people than the very people who speak the language collectively termed “Nsukka”. Its lexicography is traced to the history of the settling of the Nsukka ancestors in the days of the beginning. Remarkable among the host of the vast Igbo speaking dialects, or better put, language as a people with a set of lexicon that differ from the various types of the same Igbo spoken by Nsukka predecessors, Nsukka was seen as a different people in the fold of the Igbo consort.  

Therefore, they were formally called “Nsukka” following their different linguistic features. The linguistic condition that characterised the naming of Nsukka the very name the inhabitants today speak of was founded on the fact that the version of Igbo language spoken by the ancestors attested distinctly that the superiority the inhabitants are immersed in proved clarity in their tongue.

When Nsukka ancestors arrived like other ancestors of the Igbo race, Eri (The first man to descend) and other elders set out on a journey to the new land inhabited by another band of celestial brethren. It was remarked by the Igbo oral thought that Eri lived for four thousand years. He lived to the appearance of all the Ncestors of the igbo race before he ascended back to the cosmos. According to the Nag Hammadi, the ancestors arrived in four completely generations which, of course, is estimated in the Origin of Time to be four thousand years. So, when the new ancestors incepted, the representatives of the fore-existing ancestors (Eri, Dioka and Idu) visited as the tradition demanded.

Upon arrival to at Nsukka, the Nsukka anscetors recognised who they were and, unanimously, they remarked thus, "Chukwu okike abiama," translated to the creation god has arrived. Immediately, Eri exclaimed thus, "Ha, nke a bu Nsu ka," translated to mean, ha this is exotic tongue." Erisaid this because of the new ancestors' use of abiama which was different from abiago, abiawo and The ancestors were welcomed in the manners of the god-men; discussions we're held bothering on the distinct role of the new ancestors (the Nsukka). In the end, Eri heaved a sigh of relief, having seen the last ancestors and he said appealingly thus, "Okike ezugo," meaning, creation is over.

Lexicographically, Nsukka is the amalgam of two Igbo lexicons: they are “NSU” and KA”.There is a clipping of the affricative /k/,considering the word “Nsukka” serially by its composite letters.  The first may be better translated equivalently as the gerund (verbal noun) “Speaking”. It is also used to explain stutter (to speak with involuntary disruption or blocking of speech by spasmodic repetition or prolongation of vocal sounds). Ka in the Igbo language can be used for the comparative, “greater” or the superlative, “greatest”. 

Put together, Nsukka refers to the language greater than others of its kind in terms of its restricted audience. As the last group of the Igbo ancestors to arrive at the part of the Igbo settlement where they have as their home presently, Nsukka was marked as the home of the gods, considering the extent of the energy these ancestors had. Therefore, Nsukka means a people with greater tongue.

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