I read in Serendipity about the new IPA phonetic symbol (first new one in twelve years).
It is a phoneme in several African languages, among which Mono.
This got me to thinking that I didn't know how to put my own name in IPA. I learned how to use IPA in various adventures in language-related Usenet newsgroups ten years or so ago, but for some reason I don't remember having hunted down the various sounds in Igbo that are fairly rare in other languages.
A good example is my own last name (and Chimezie's, of course): "Ogbuji". I tell most people to just treat it like a silent "g", but that's really a bit of an ugly approximation. As an example of how different "b" and "gb" are in igbo, the word "ebe" with high tone on both syllables means "where" (as subordinating conjunction or interrogative). The word "egbe" means "kite" (as in hawk-like bird). You probably don't want to mix those two up. There are many other such cases.
When people really do want to try to say it rightly, (so, for example when Lori wanted to be sure she was getting her new last name rightly), I tell them that the "gb" sounds a bit as if you filled your mouth with air and forced out the air suddenly, as if saying "b", while at the same time making the "g" sound in the back of your throat. Hmm. Surely linguists have to have a better description.
After some very enjoyable browsing through the Wikipedia's IPA section (which is very well done), I quickly found Igbo "gb" filed under "voiced labial-velar plosive" (/g͡b/). The description in Wikipedia of how to pronounce it is like mine, but more terse:
The voiceless labial-velar plosive is commonly found in West and Central Africa. To pronounce it, try saying [g], but simultaneously close your lips as you would for [b].
"voiceless" above is a typo for "voiced". There is a voiceless variant, more about that in a bit. Many phonetic symbol entries in Wikipedia have audio clips so you can hear the sound spoken, but not this one.
So the IPA for my last name is /oˑg͡buˑdʒiˑ/ (all the vowels are half-long).
A related Igbo sound is "kp" ("okpo" with low then high tone = "shrine", "opo" = "leprosy") which is the "voiceless labial-velar plosive" (/k͡p/)
The voiceless labial-velar plosive is commonly found in West and Central Africa. To pronounce it, try saying [k], but simultaneously close your lips as you would for [p].