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The Efik Word Iköñ: Meaning, Types and Usage

By Holyns Hogan

Efik generally calls LEAF iköñ .This, however, doesn’t exclude the fact that depending on where requisite tilde is placed to determine accent and/or motif, iköñ equally infers Efik word for cough and to knock, nail or hang something on/to something eg. Efiöñ ököñ iköñ (Efiong has coughed), Eyak iköñ enye ke eto (let’s knock/nail him to/hang him on the tree).

Naturally, there are innumerable types of leaves in Efik (as is in English, Latin, French and Spanish etc), yet they can easily be broadly classified and treated in learning as follows.

1). IKÖÑ UDIA/UDIADIA IKÖÑ
This directly translates to edible leaf or vegetables used in cooking food/soup in Efik. Eg. Iköñ uböñ (fluted pumpkin leaf), mmöñ mmöñ iköñ (waterleaf), Afañ, Eritan, Etidot, mkpa, ntöñ and ikö etc.

2). IKÖÑ IBÖK
This directly translates to medicinal [plant] leaf or herbs used mostly by native doctors, herbalists or juju priest to cure ailments, cast away evil spirits, prepare concoction, magic powers, spells, “love portion” or manufacture poison used in killing animals or human beings. Eg.iköñ Aran Umön and Iköñ mkpatari.

3). IKÖÑ IKPÖ YE MKPRI ETO
Efik name for big and small trees leaves, usually nonedible leaves of either edible or non edible plants’ fruits, tubers or grains etc. Eg. Silk cotton Oak, Kola, Mango, Apple, Maize, groundnut, cassava, yam and Tomato leaves etc.

4). IKÖÑ MBANA
This infers ornamental leaves used for decoration eg. flowery leaves as produced by some tree plants/ flower plants used in beautifying the environment, making bouquets, nail polish, wreathe, love symbol and in flower vases to design homes and events venues etc.

5). IKÖÑ ÑKPAÑI
Reeds leaves. See reed plant or MONEYWORT leaf as example.

6). IKÖÑ MBIET
This is the general name for every grass or weed plant leaf”. It is directly translated to grass leaf. Eg. Iköñ nyanyanga, iköñ awawa mbiet etc.

7). IKÖÑ ÑWED
This literally infers book leaf and only applies rightly when used in relation to a sheet of paper or a leaf of book. Note that ubak ñwed infers a piece of paper or half of a book; ikpa ñwed refers to a page in a published book /book pagination; while ikpehe ñwed infers a published book’s chapter, series and/or Act if a play. All these mentioned …contextually differ as specified from iköñ ñwed.

Eg. Ñwed emi edi iköñ edip (this book is 20 leaves), Nnö mi ubak ñwed ñwed mkpö (give me a piece of paper to write something), Ñwed emi edi ikpa duop eba (this book is 12 pages) or kuböde ikpa ñwed Abasi se se ewetde (open a page of the Scripture and see what is written), Ñwed emi enyene ikpehe ita (this book has three chapters).

8). IKÖÑ MMÖÑ ÑWED
This is the general name for any leaf type (s) that produces colour, thick or chemical substance that could be easily used as natural/ processed dye/ink for fountain or ordinary pen.