10 Reasons You Should Learn Yoruba

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Yoruba is an African language. People who want to visit or study in Africa, must learn this language. Yoruba is one of the four official languages in Nigeria. It is  spoken by almost 22 million people. It’s spoken by the people of southwest Nigeria, Benin, Togo, the UK, Brazil and the USA. Today I am going to share 10 reasons why we should learn the Yoruba language.

Yoruba is a difficult language for new learners, but it’s necessary if you go the the southeast part of Nigeria, Benin and mostly Africa. Some may know a bit of English, but most people in Africa & in Brazil speak Yoruba.

There is a very old cultural saying of the people in Yoruba that, whenever a new infant is born, he is sprinkled with water to make him cry. No word should be spoken until the infant cries. Also, no one younger than the mother should be present at the birth. The infant then is taken to the backyard. Marriages are arranged. A man must negotiate with the girl’s father. If he is approved he must bring the family a payment called a bride price, paid in three installments.

 

Nowadays no one needs a tutor to learn something which is totally unfamiliar to him or her. There is Google or search engine. There are millions of sites and portals where Yoruba can be learnt. But you may contact a coaching or tutor to learn too.

English alphabets therefore do not exist in Yoruba: C, Q, V, X, Z. In addition, except C, their phonetic sounds do not exist in Yoruba. All Yoruba letters have only one sound. This makes the language quite easier to learn.

 

Not only in Africa but also outside of it, a large number of people speak Yoruba since birth. Yes! It’s true. Even in some parts of USA too. So, it’s clear that Yoruba is not important only if anyone wants to go to Africa or Brazil, it’s useful for some other countries too.

Yoruba oral literature is very rich. Written Yoruba was first produced in Ajami which is  an adapted Arabic script but extensive written texts in Yoruba began to be produced after the advent of Christian missions in the mid 19th century and were written in the Roman alphabets. Some famous poets in the literature of Yoruba are D.O. Fagunwa, Adebayo Faleti, Oladejo Okediji, and Akinwumi Isola.

 

The film industry in Holland is called Hollywood, same goes for Bollywood in Bombai (Now Mumbai). Now Nigerian film industry is called Nollywood. Nigerian traditional films are made of Yoruba language.

 

Yoruba music includes songs of irony and praise & lullabies, religious songs and war songs. These usually follow a ‘call and response’ pattern between a leader and chorus. Drums, iron gongs, cymbals, rattles, and hand clapping provide rhythm to those music. Other instruments include long brass trumpets, ivory trumpets, whistles, stringed instruments, and metallophones. Perhaps the most interesting musical instrument is the ‘talking drum.’

Traditional clothing is still worn on important occasions and in rural areas where people speak Yoruba from birth. It is very colorful and elaborate. Traditional fabrics are block printed with geometric designs. Women wear a headscarf made of a rectangular piece of fabric. Western-style dressing is worn in urban areas.

 

Yoruba has many dialects, but its speakers can understand each other. Yoruba is a language of tone. The same combination of vowels and consonants has different meanings depending on the pitch of the vowels.  Yoruba Vowels.

 

To know the antic history of Africa, Southeast Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Brazil, there is no alternative of learning Yoruba as it’ an ancient language of 19th Century. Bishop Ajayi made the biggest contribution in Yoruba between 1806-1891.

Educational system in Nigeria for foreign students are great. So, to keep pace with local students, Yoruba must be learnt first.

 

Language is an integral part of our history and culture. The different African languages (Yoruba) show how diverse we are as a people. Retaining different languages and cultures gives the feeling that they have not completely lost their identity to colonialism and the slave trade. During the four centuries of the slave trade, Yoruba territory was known as the Slave Coast. Uncounted numbers of Yoruba were carried to the Americas. Their descendants preserved Yoruba traditions. In several parts of the Caribbean and South America, Yoruba religion has been combined with Christianity.

The mentioned map shows the original parts where Yoruba is spoken. But obviously this is not all. Among all African languages, Yoruba is one of the hardest one to learn if you’re not born there.

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