About the Book

Book Protagonist: Odenigbo, Ugwu, Olanna, Richard
Publication Date: 2006
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction


Half of a Yellow Sun

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

'Half of a Yellow Sun' uses words from the Igbo dialect. Though many unique words used in the novel are Igbo, some are pidgin, a simplified form of English that uses literal elements of Nigerian languages.

The inclusion of many locally unique words to the story of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ made the book create an ideal scenario of Nigeria before and during the civil war.

Half of a Yellow Sun Glossary
  1. Sah: Sah is a pidgin word used in place of sir.
  2. Kedu afa gi?: Kedu afa gi is a question that translates from Igbo to English as “what is your name?”
  3. Akpu: Akpu is a West African delicacy made from fresh or fermented cassava. It looks like dough.
  4. Umunna: Umunna is an Igbo word used to address a distant relation from someone’s paternal side.
  5. Ugu: Ugu is a tropical vine that grows in West Africa. The vine has edible seeds and leaves made into a soup delicacy.
  6. Agbogho: A short version of the Igbo word Agboghobia which means “young lady.”
  7. Aja: The Igbo word for “sand.” It also alternatively means “appeasing the oracle.”
  8. Akamu: Akamu is a delicacy of pap made from corn.
  9. Akara: The Yoruba word for “Bean cake.”
  10. Aku: Winged termites that appear during the rainy season.
  11. Anara: The Igbo word for “Garden egg.”
  12. Aro festival: The word Aro translates to “spear.” Aro festival is a cultural festival held by the Aro people with their fierce masquerades.
  13. Oga: A pidgin word that refers to someone in a position of authority or someone wealthy.
  14. Biko: Translates to the English word “please.”
  15. Chineke: The Igbo word for “God the creator.”
  16. Fada: Fada is a pidgin word for father.
  17. Fiam: Fiam is used to express hurriedness.
  18. Garri: Garri is a popular West African food produced from processing cassava tubers into dried cassava flour.
  19. Ichie: Ichie is an Igbo word used as an honorary title for respected elders in a community.
  20. Ifukwa gi: Translated from Igbo to English as “look at you.”
  21. In ugo?: Translated from Igbo to English as “You hear?”
  22. Isi owu: This is a traditional Igbo hairstyle plaited with a wool attachment.
  23. Jollof Rice: A rice dish made combining spices, pepper, and tomatoes in the same pot with rice. It gets made during weddings or party occasions in Nigeria.
  24. Koboko: Koboko is a twined whip produced from rawhide.
  25. Moi-Moi: A steamed bean pudding delicacy made from washed and peeled beans, onions, pepper, and spices.
  26. Nee Anya: An Igbo word meaning “watch out” in English.
  27. Mmuo: An Igbo word meaning “spirit” in English.
  28. Nna m: A phrase that means “our father” in English.
  29. Nne: The Igbo word for mother.
  30. Nwa m: The Igbo phrase for “my child.”
  31. Nwanyi: The Igbo word for woman.
  32. Nwoke: The Igbo word for man.
  33. O ginidi?: A question that means “What is it really?” In English.
  34. Ofe nsala: Ofensala means white pepper soup. The delicacy is distinct for its colorlessness.
  35. Okpa: Okpa is a popular Igbo food made from dried flour of peas. The delicacy gets made into a cooked pudding.
  36. Okporoko: Imported dried stockfish from Norway.
  37. Red oil: Red oil is palm fruit oil.
  38. Sha: A pidgin phrase for “excuse me.”
  39. Yeye: A pidgin word meaning “useless.”
  40. Kiosk: A small shop popularly made from sheet metal or wood.
  41. Chin-chin: A delicacy made by rolling wheat flour into tiny puddings and frying them.
  42. Biko: The Igbo word for “please.”
  43. Biafra: The Igbo nation that was created by Colonel Ojukwu.
  44. Ugba porridge: A porridge made from fermented African oil bean seed.
  45. Tufia: A word used to declare a forbidding remark.


What is the main indigenous language used in Half of a Yellow Sun?

The main indigenous language used in ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ is Igbo.

What is pidgin?

Pidgin is a simplified form of English that uses grammatical elements from other indigenous languages.

What is Garri?

Garri is a popular food eaten in Nigeria made by processing cassava into creamy flour.

Joshua Ehiosun
About Joshua Ehiosun
Joshua is an undying lover of literary works. With a keen sense of humor and passion for coining vague ideas into state-of-the-art worded content, he ensures he puts everything he's got into making his work stand out. With his expertise in writing, Joshua works to scrutinize pieces of literature.
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