The Yorùbá people of West Africa speak the Yorùbá language, a language with about 28 million speakers. So what are the features of the Yorùbá language?
Yorùbá is one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, along with Igbo and Hausa.
Yorùbá’s pronunciation is melodic and has different tones: high (´), middle (¯), and low (`). Although the Yoruba language is an oral language, the first attempt to encode the language into writing started with the Aljami script, an adaptation of Arabic text. Later on, the Reverend Samuel Ajayi Crowther and the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) adopted the Latin alphabet to write Yorùbá. As a result, we use Latin script to write Yoruba language today with the addition of digraphs and tonal markings as we saw above.
The Yorùbá speaking people of West Africa certainly are famous for their creativity in terms of art and craft. From cloth weave to sculpting, moulding with clay for pots and effigies. In fact, the Yorùbá are art and craft specialists because of the dexterity in the artistic realm. All arts and craft are referred to as iṣẹ́ ọ̀nà.
A famous Yorùbá proverb is “oromi tó ń jó, onílú rẹ̀ ń be nísàlẹ̀ odò” – the water lily that dance on the water, has its drummer under the river. These proverbs point to the love the Yorùbá people have for dance and music. Musical objects like ìlù, ṣẹ̀kẹ̀rẹ̀ and agogo play major roles in bringing songs to life.
You too can learn all this, and more, in our online Yorùbá course!
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You don’t need formal qualifications or language learning abilities to take any our courses. You might need specialist equipment for some (like our music or art courses), but we’ll tell you this on the course information page, in the Requirements section.
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