Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nigerian Love - Romantic names in local languages



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I got this email from one of my new readers and I wanted to share with you guys so you can also add your perspective. Now this post is not about inter-cultural relationships or the people in the email in particular, I just want us to share our experiences about Nigerian love and romance. How do we keep our relationships fresh and fun?

Hi Myne! I ran across your very interesting site as I was attempting to find a romantic name or phrase for my new friend, (insert igbo male name here). He is Nigerian... but I am already smitten. We both ... agreed to keep our courtship fresh and fun. i know nothing about African men...what offends them, their culture. Could u help me understand the culture a little better please?! Thanks in Advance...



I'll use Atala and I as an example. I am from Asaba and can only speak Igbo fluently, with very small dashes of Hausa and Yoruba. Atala is Yoruba but barely speaks it, I've never heard him hold a conversation in it. So, we speak English to each other, all the time. I'm not very good with new languages but we try to teach each other bits and pieces of Yoruba and Igbo in fun ways. We're not succeeding much I can tell you :)

Now to the romance bit. I don't know about you all, but there are times when English is not enough and I just want to express my love in my mother tongue. Now, I don't think Igbos are given to vocal outbursts of affection but they are not completely without either so I have a few in my arsenal.I have also heard about what the Yoruba call Oriki (praise singing) and find it awesome. I wish I could do that, I would be rubbing Atala's head everyday, the guy is just too much. Of course some of it will fly over his head, lol...

Some words and phrases, both Igbo and Yoruba I use at sweet moments include Obim(my heart), Nkem (my own), Ife mi (my love), Usom (my sweetie), Oko mi (my husband), and Nwoke oma (good man). Those versed in titles can add more like - Nwoke di mma Nwoke eji eje mba, Ife nkili, etc (Please add more). Oh yes, I love you in Igbo is A hurum gi n'anya, and in Yoruba, mo fe e






55 comments:

  1. HAhahahaha...I sha love of these type things!!!
    Most times I use "em" behind YY's pet name e.g "Switiem"
    Thankfully, I am Yoruba with an oriki. Because of you let that boy go on a rampage of affectionate names, choi! E no go easy. So apart from the usual cheesiness somentimes, he just uses my oriki which is "Agbeke" (one who should be pampered).

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  2. lol@ Honeydame, i married a Yoruba man, though my dad's family is from cotonou , we all claim badagry since they settled their, my mum is yoruba so that is the language we all speak well and i married an omo eko. i have an oriki Anike, but hubby probably does not even remember it so never uses it, we are more into oyinbo romance, we are boring i guess, cos we use the regular sweetheart babe etc, but i gave hubby an oriki (since he is without one) and it is Ayanfe ..literal translation "chosen to love", am told it simply means beloved in yoruba..

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  3. I hope more will comment because i'm copying and saving these. He's been trying to teach me I love you since forever but he's not very patient. I'm glad I saw it here. Maybe when I read the words it will stick.

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  4. All this are making me want to get married.Ha!!! LOL Anyway,i dated an igbo gurl who called me 'Obi'm' meaning my heart and i really loved it sha.LOL

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  5. lol. honeydame, na dis kain tin yu go like.
    im more into the "oyibo" kinda loving but when i want to show my igbotic self i say things like:
    odim no'bi(the one in my heart), dim oma(my good husband)...........bekee(thats more for teasing him when he's sounding too english) plus his name alone sef is enough "sweetness".lol
    p.s. i am not married yet o. ehen

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  6. Lue, biko o!!! If na u nko? lol..
    Just thought I should come back to clarify that I am not married yet too..but sebi it is the elders that say practice makes perfect...so consider all that I said earlier as my form of practice.
    By the way, "Babe" works both ways too. For us, it is completely gender neutral.

    Another one which is common (though doesnt apply to me yet) is Olowo Ori mi (He who paid my bride price)

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  7. I was just grinning from ear to ear as I read through the romantic names. Love is sweet o! LOL @ rubbing Atala's head everyday.

    The words that come to mind right now are "Onitemi" (My very own) and "Ololufe mi" (The one who loves me).

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  8. Ahhh...I'm glad I put up this post. I am loving some of the names here. Thanks Luciano and Relentless Builder.

    @Honeydame, I agree with you that practice makes perfect. In relationships, it is good to start as you mean to go on.

    @Jemima, you're in luck then. I love that last Oriki, so sweet! :)

    @Wendy, Enjoy :)

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  10. My Pet names were simply Nna or obimo *embarrass thats all i know*. It’s funny I use to hate when my uncle would call my aunt Nkem or Mines. Thought it was so barbaric typical Igbo Oppressive Man to wife. But Now I swoon over it soo cute.

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  11. Toks, I find it funny when people try to mimic accents, I find it's never done well. Nothing like the real deal, eh? LOL...

    @IFNA, lol...how our eyes open as we get older. Since Nkem is my name, it doesn't really move me as a pet name, I'm too used to it I guess. :)

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  12. How interesting! I married a man who speaks Arabic as his mother tongue. Although we speak in English, sometimes he throws in Arabic words for fun!

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  13. @Talli, switching up the languages can really be fun. I remember some of the romance novels I read with Arabic or latin lovers, it's so sweet when they go affectionate in their mother tongues...

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  14. I think it's more fun when the names you give your loved one has some meaning with a memory/story behind it. It means a lot more to them when you say it. For example, my boyfriend chose to called me Aduke (which is actually my oriki) after we had a misunderstanding and were talking about it. He was telling me how it's hard to stay mad at me because of how he sees me. (Some background story - his prayer when we started dating was that he would see me the way God sees me, and God answered that prayer) So after the fight he was explaining to me what God told him about me and how God sees me and he was saying that my oriki describes it perfectly. My oriki Aduke, means Beloved (in less words). So he started calling me that. I didn't even know what my oriki mean't then lol. But whenever he calls me that, I feel really loved.

    I also wanted to find something that expressed the way I feel about him.
    Before we started dating, I had mixed feelings because he didn't meet my criteria of what I considered to be a handsome man. I mean he looks good but he wasn't my type of good looking. I'm usually drawn to the pretty boys lol (eg Mario, I used to crush so bad on Mario, the guy that sang You should let me love you). My sister on the other hand liked rugged looking boys, I can't think of a perfect example right now. So, I struggled with that a bit (actually a lot) cos I'm like argh aren't you supposed to find ur loved one really attractive and stuff. But God exposed the sin in my heart to me and started talking to me about my boyfriend. He has a really beautiful heart and after a while I just couldn't see him like before. I still think that God hid the boy's beauty from me just to deal with that issue in my heart. I don't know what I was looking at before cos the guy is hot! The hard part of all of it all was when God asked me to tell him how I felt about this issue. I really didn't want to, cos how do you tell someone you don't think that they are attractive? lol. Anyway it was through all that that I gave him his name. I call him Arewa, which means beautiful. I felt like handsome didn't cut it (even though society says we should call guys handsome lol). But handsome wasn't enough, like it only tackles the physical appearance. Beautiful on the other hand seems to capture inward and outward appearance. So I chose to call him Arewa (beautiful in yoruba).

    Thank God that he didn't struggle with self image because this could have been a disaster, well there's nothing that God can't heal, right? lol.

    I'm so sorry for the long epistle, it's just that this has a special place in my heart lol.

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  15. @ Cor, I don't mind the long epistle at all, I loved the back ground you gave it. Your Oriki is lovely too :)

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  16. onyem bu n'obi and onyem huru nanya are a mouthful but they always giving me butterflies to say and to hear lol. and omalicha'm, nwunye'm (who doesn't like being called wifey even without the ring right lol) as well.

    and on a personal note, only 1 person in life has managed to call me Ngo-Ngo and make it sounds so wonderful lol- and i didn't even like him like that.

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  17. Love wantiti mehn. I have been smiling all the way through the comments.
    Sweet sweet comments.
    I find these names romantic:
    Eni tokan mi yan(My heart's desire)
    Olowo ori mi

    If you now add My baby with a soft voice...meeeehn...Bullseye!
    @Honeydame...hmmmm...You like love too much jor LOL!

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  18. Ngo, how could I forget those ones. There was this radio programme I used to listen to way back when that had a couple's segment, and I remember someone said those then. Nice...

    @Mikey, I think you too love this topic a lot, lol...I like Eni tokan mi yan, sweet!

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  19. I have enjoyed reading all the comments so much.
    Nothin beats ATR(African Traditional Romance).
    I am Ele( babe) to my husband and he is 'Olowo ori mi ale elomi.
    And he gets his full traditional oriki when I want money.....lol

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  20. my mom calls me "Asake" (means one chosen to be cared for). Its my oriki.

    I absolutely understand the moment when one feels like bursting out in praises of one's better half. Unfortunately, I have dated non-nigerians and they often dnt have a clue.

    But, if and when i date a nigerian, I will be saying...Olowo ori mi( the owner of my head), temi (mine), ayanfe mi(the one my hrt chooses), etc.

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  21. Loving this post :). My pet name for my hubby and his for me is a mix of Nigerian and english and even then is still too risque to share here...(LOL)...Wish I could, but i'm blushing hard just thinking of putting it here.

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  22. I wish I were well versed in cultural luvings...lol.

    Its so romantic

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  23. Aww love on another level. Smiling for days. Please o, I'll come back and pick a few ones later ;)

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  24. Aww, i want to marry now now.
    totaaly feeling Cor'Harmione's long epistle. Bless you!

    I have loved the name Kikelomo since i first heard it. I was told it means my own to love.
    I have called and been called Omalicha :). I also love Obi diya...lets whisper it into Atala's ears. I have also used nwoke-oma..and meant it.

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  25. I like this post...I am supposed to be on a blog holiday :) most of the ones written I already use. I learned at a tender age that sweet talk and good cooking is the way to a man's heart. To add to this I add "Dede'm"; "Daddy'm"; "Ihe-umu-nwanyi-n'acho"; "Obinwunyeya"; "disogburumnso"; "dioma"; "omalichadi" I can go on and on you get the point basically whatever flows to either get him to smile, tease him, to get him on my side or to calm him down so that he can listen to me :) yes abi wayo woman lol

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  26. I am liking this post o..
    Hmm me i dont like expressing emotions verbally oh plus my 9ja language skills is still wearing parachute oh..it flew outta the plane before I learnt it..

    I think I have said my love or babe...I am jotting down all this sweet sweet ones.. like ifunnaya or oyin or ife..

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  27. I think when Mr. Right comes around, his native pet name will be Olowo Ori mi, ale nobody (The owner of my head and a concubine to none).

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  28. @Ginger, Kikelomo does NOT mean 'my own to love', it means, ' a child should be pampered' literally.


    For the only time I have dated, his name was 'Onitemi", meaning, 'My own". So I just called him, 'mine'.

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  29. Sighs.... to love and be loved in return. There's nothing like it. Going through this comments just warms me all over inside. Oya, back to the main point. I love Onyenkem, Dimoma, Onyembunobi. I wanna get married now now. *sobbing and running away embarrassed* ;-D

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  30. My turn!!!! The hubster calls me "Olori", "omoge" or "arewa". They make my spine tingle!!! We are both Yoruba

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  31. This is so cute! I unfortunately do not speak any naija language..but these made me feel all fuzzy inside..:D

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  32. i like being called nne and omalicha, so i call him odimnobi, recently added nnam.....

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  33. *rethinking about relationships* I am in love ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...God bless you all for this post. i was just browsing oriki names for my yoruba boyfriend and i googled and dis came up. I am sooooooooooooooo Touched.

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  34. I love these commentaries. My grandmother used to sing to my little brother Ododo mi which means ...my flower. Please can anyone translate fufu nene for me. It is in a Yoruba song. Also my heart in Yoruba is what? How can I say my pure blossom and Piercing eyes in Ibo. What about my treasure/ diadem, my peace, my white flower in both Yoruba and Ibo. Appreciate.

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  35. Funfun nene.....means 'pure white'I.e wvout blemish in yoruba.
    My heart in yoruba cld simply be 'oloomi'
    Treasure cld be 'wura' in yoruba nd white flower 'ododo funfun'.
    Hope av bn of sum help.

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  36. wonderful comments here! Love this post. We should indeed value our tribal heritage more. And the good thing is now that we are bombarded with much western elements, our tribal heritage would seem much more like treasure.

    In Idoma, my tribe, some romantic names include Akum (my own), Adam (My father. Probably in romantic reference to the man's role as a breadwinner), Enem (my mother. Probably in romantic reference to the woman's ability to take care of the man as his mother did in the past.), okpani'm (my master. Said by the woman as a mixture of love and respect.), Andra (Andra is a beautiful-looking and sweet fruit. So the name is usually used as a pet name to mean the lady is beautiful and sweet as the fruit.)

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  37. i enjoyed reading this post. currently am dating a "Nwoke oma"....i am not Ibo but am sure he will smile alot when i call him this lovely names.
    thanks for the post everybody.
    and #Chemo....thanks for the one in Idoma, its the only one here.

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  38. I am south African dating an Igbo guy really I am impressed would like to charm him more with these phrases.Thanks a lot

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    1. Am also south african dating a yoruba nigerian man olufemi babalola his my king de words he use to. Smitten me take my breath away am in luv truely in love

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    2. Beware of Nigerian men! Alot of them are scammers and have wives in Nigeria and just come to the US to obtain their US citizenship. They are major scammers and manipulators. This is just how they are taught to survive. They see nothing wrong with lying and cheating to get the outcome they want. Check them out before you marry them. Go to Nigeria and listen if someone tells you they are married because more than likely they are. There are plenty of good men in the US so my advice is run

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  39. Am Currently dating a Rivers guys am an igbo gurl but don't know any pet names in his dialect and he loves traditional pet names alot cos he showers me wit lots of them and feels its not reciprocal. Please Help with both Rivers & Igbo pet names.

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  40. Thanks to everyone for your inputs here.
    I'm a Yoruba guy and have been in a relationship with an Ibo lady, four years, 7 months today.
    I'll definitely address her with some of the new sweet names i've learnt from hear today.
    I'm sure she wld be supprised at hw i came about them... I guess surprise is a part of the fun of luv.

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  41. Am south african dating a yoruba nigerian man I always go on de the net to impress my man with sum nigerian sweet words,b today he wnt knw wat hit him am so romatic cause his blog,his name is "Olufemi"

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  42. Am from Zim n got plenty pet names for my Igbo hubby by my fav is Obim n he goes crazy if i call him by that name n he says baby you dey make my head scatter looool! I also gave him a pet name in my own native language "Mudiwa" which means My Love n i love it wen he calls me by that name. Love is beautiful n i thank God for my husband, he is my best frend

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  43. Are there any romantic names you can call an Edo boyfriend..I'm Yoruba soo very clueless..

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  44. I'm Yoruba, what per names cal I call my Isoko (Delta) girlfriend. She call me 'Ife mi' and I've been looking for a pet name for her too

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  45. The smile on my face reading through this post and the comments... I am a sucker for pet names(my parents spoilt me with that) I particularly like tribal pet names cos i feel special effort was made in pleasing me. Bobo mi calls me 'TWIL' meaning 'the woman i love' and i call him 'Shimayam' meaning 'my heart' in Tiv. Uwam- Mine,Adoomshima-the one that pleases my heart,Ordedoo wam-my good man,Pendaityo wam-my strength or where i place my head(this is used by husbands for their wives).

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  46. my luv looks like koby bryant so i call him my kobe. I'm sure he will see this post as i posted this link up on my facebook. LOL.LOVE YOU BABY

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  47. This post is really informative to all kind of people. I am very happy to see the post. I will request you to give more information about this. I have gotten many knowladable speech form here. I have also website where you can get some knowledge which may be for your welfare. Visit here…..
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  48. How am I just seeing this post. Anyways....brings out pen and paper, I have started copying names. Nice post.

    www.lifestreasury.com

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  49. i need a pet name for my idoma sweetheart...i tired of giving her ibo names she doesnt understand... plssss

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  50. Beware of Nigerian men! Alot of them are scammers and have wives in Nigeria and just come to the US to obtain their US citizenship. They are major scammers and manipulators. This is just how they are taught to survive. They see nothing wrong with lying and cheating to get the outcome they want. Check them out before you marry them. Go to Nigeria and listen if someone tells you they are married because more than likely they are. There are plenty of good men in the US so my advice is run

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  51. Very interesting names! I like such different romantic texts from http://sweetytextmessages.com/best-romantic-text-messages-for-girlfriend.html, it can express my feelings.

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  52. this are making me so happy being a kenyan its harf finding such cute names for your better half. Dating a niger man now and he calls me obimo i love it.

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  53. I'm american my husband is Nigerian (Yoruba)...I don't speak the language. He calls me Asake...... enjoying these comments

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