Talk:Yoruba language

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Spelling Yorùbá vs Yoruba[edit]

This article uses the native spelling "Yorùbá" but I cannot find this as an English spelling in any of the major online dictionaries: AHD, Collins, Encarta, M-W. Could somebody add to the article explaining how this spelling relates to English, for instance, has Nigeria asked that people use this spelling even in English? If there is no evidence for this spelling, the article should be moved to the traditional English spelling without the native accents which indicate tones not used in the English pronunciation. — Hippietrail 08:22, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

I concur. Yoruba is the most frequent spelling. Just like we don't write 'Eʋe language' but Ewe language. — mark 08:25, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
I also concur. Out of the two "Yoruba" makes more sense since the ú and à aren't read differently in English.---moyogo 13:12, September 5, 2005 (UTC)

I've moved it. Plenty of space in the article to point out the real pronunciation. — mark 15:08, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

tables overlap[edit]

In my browser the table with consonants and the one with the general information overlap rather uglily. Is there no way of fixing this? David Da Vit 14:45, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

There is one that I know of: expanding the article. I will take care of it. — mark 17:22, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Well, thanks. It's okay right now. David Da Vit 10:34, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Yoruba wikipedia[edit]

To any native speakers of Yoruba reading this: please consider starting up the Yoruba Wikipedia. I think there is a lot of potential there. If you need any help, contact me; I was granted sysop rights there so I can help out with deleting pages, moving things, etc. — mark 09:51, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Yoruba Rhotic[edit]

The consonant table has a character under "alveolar approximant;" however, the symbol in this position is that of an alveolar flap. Which is the correct sound? GoodSirJava 07:13, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Good point. The flap [ɾ] is listed in Bamgbose's 1966 grammar; in southwestern dialects (Lagos etc.) you often hear [ɹ], so I suspect this is simply regional variation. I've added a clarifying remark. Of course, technically, [ɾ] should have it's own row in the table according to manner of articulation, but I've collapsed this row into the approximants to make the table a little neater. — mark 09:01, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Speaking of which, I notice the article now states "The voiceless plosives /t/ and /k/ are slightly aspirated; in some Yoruba varieties, /t/ and /d/ are more dental. The rhotic consonant is realized as a flap ([ɾ]), or in some varieties (notably Lagos Yoruba) as the velar approximant [ɹ]." But are we talking about [ɹ], or are we talking about a velar approximant? Because [ɹ] is not velar, it's dental/alveolar/postalveolar. QuartierLatin1968 El bien mas preciado es la libertad 21:26, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

We're talking about [ɹ], and it should read postalveolar, as it does now. Thanks for pointing it out! — mark 07:04, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

47 in Yoruba?[edit]

Can someone please tell me how to say 47 in Yoruba? I am collecting that number and I have reasons to think that the version I got is wrong. Please help... it would be nice if you could answer on my talk page. — N-true 13:39, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

The Yoruba number system is notoriously complex, so your best bet would be to ask a native speaker. But here's what Sachnine (1997) gives: 47 = 7 + 20 x 2 = méje.lé.ní.ogún.èjì ( In normal Yoruba speech, this would be rendered as méjelélógójì, i.e. the words are run together. What form do you have? — mark 14:10, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks very much. I had mẹtadiladọta, where the accents are missing and which (I think) means actually 3 less than 50. There don't happen to be any dots below the o or e in the version of yours? — N-true 15:46, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
No, seven (méje), twenty (ogún) and two (èjì) all are words without dots. Your version is an archaic one, also given by Abraham (1958:xxxv), but it looks like there are some typos in there. You are right that it means three less than 50; note that 50 is actually expressed as 10 less than 20x3 here (literally ten removed from (àádí) twenty (ogún) times (ò̩) three (è̩ta)). Properly spelled and accented, your older version looks like this: è̩tadíló̩gó̩ta. — mark 17:37, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Removing Sentence on Benin influence[edit]

I removed the sentence "North-West Yoruba is historically a part of the benin empire". I assume that the author meant the Oyo empire, since Benin influence was restricted to eastern sectors, but I'm not clear on why that would be useful in this linguistic context anyway. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Osomalo (talkcontribs)

Yes, that's a good change. — mark 07:43, 22 August 2006 (UTC)


"There are two ‘prepositions’: ní ‘on, at, in’ and sí ‘onto, towards’. " How does Yoruba express movement "from"?/Nicke L 23:41, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Good question... —Nightstallion (?) 16:37, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Actually Benin used to be part of Yoruba empire. It is either the writer was been offensive or very lack in knowledge. Oyo is a Yoruba kingdom.In fact Oba which is King is a yoruba language and the oba of benin is a decendant of Yoruba. Can this error be corrected because it is very misleading.Thanks.

'From' is expressed by the word 'ati' the grave accent on the a and the middle accent on the i. For example. Kehinde n bo l'ati ile ijosin (Kehinde is coming from the church of place of worship). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:49, 2 July 2010 (UTC)[edit]

Recently, the site was added to the external links a few times, but swiftly removed for being political and POV. Now, the site is definitely highly political, but that in itself wouldn't necessarily be a reason to remove it, if it offered useful info on the Yoruba language in manners specified in Wikipedia:External links. However, I have checked the YorubaResources board of the site thoroughly, and I have found that it is mainly a collection of materials found elsewhere on the web (including, even, a verbatim copy of Wikipedia's own entry on Yoruba). Copyright problems aside, I do not think this site contains "neutral and accurate material not already in the article". Therefore, I don't see the added value and support its removal. — mark 11:11, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

The link is still there... I visited the site, and though they do have some resources, they are either for sale, or material available elsewhere; so I removed the link. Elvisrules 22:21, 31 December 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Elvisrules (talkcontribs)

Number of Yoruba speakers[edit]

While the 'Yoruba people' article lists up to 44 million Yorubas in Nigeria alone, this articles says there are only 22 million speakers of the language? Why the discrepancy? I think that the number of Yorubas is inflated. I lived in Nigeria for my first sixteen years and doubt that Yorubas make up one-third of Nigeria's population. In any case, the number of Yoruba speakers should be higher than the number of Yorubas in Nigeria since Yoruba speakers exist in Benin and Togo as well as this article states. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 07:24, 11 December 2006 (UTC).

There is this trend for anonymous editors to come along and inflate the population estimates. That's where the 40 million in Yoruba people comes from; I have now reverted it. 22 million is much more realistic and it is based on reliable sources. — mark 08:07, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

17th century written Yoruba?[edit]

In this article it is said that Yoruba was written with Arabic script in the 17th century. There is a footnote and link to an article that deals with Arabic and Ajami manuscripts in the Northern Nigeria. I have not found, however, in that article any mention of 17th century Yoruba texts. Other sources usually claim that Yoruba was not written before 19th century. So is this claim of 17th century written Yoruba based on reliable information or is it somekind of mistake, perhaps? (talk) 18:47, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

There are quite a few other sources that don't seem to have taken it from this article. Elvisrules 23:21, 13 January 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Elvisrules (talkcontribs)

My point was that there doesn't seem to be any mention of 17TH CENTURY written Yoruba on the article that was linked as a source. Maybe I did not read those articles linked by Elvisrules carefully enough, but there doesn't seem to be such a claim in anyone of these either. Of course there ARE Yoruba texts written with ajami, I have never doubted that, but I suppose they are younger than 17th century (i.e. 1600 - 1699 AD). Actually some of these articles seem to confirm my point as they say that ajami tradition in Western Sahel is c. 300 years old (i.e. dates from 18th century)and Yoruba was certainly not one of the earliest languages written with the Arabic script. (talk) 18:12, 30 January 2010 (UTC)


I've removed several paragraphs by for what appears to be a combination of questionable source, POV, and irrelevance to the History section. Large parts of the paragraphs are copied verbatim by the same person to the Yoruba people page, which I have also removed. I checked out the source in question, and it appears to be a religious site, not a linguistics source. Talu42 (talk) 18:49, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Confusing Wording?[edit]

Yorùbá (native name èdè Yorùbá, 'the Yorùbá language') is a dialect continuum of West Africa with over 20 million speakers. The native tongue of the approximately 30 million Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo .

So Yoruba has 20 million speakers, yet is the native tongue of 30 million people... (Alright, it says 'over') The distinction between a native language and the language that certain people in a given ethnicity speak aren't always the same thing, and I think that it's a bit blurred here. What do other people think? Aikuaiki (talk) 23:51, 1 September 2010 (UTC)


The Yoruba words presumed to be burrowed from Islam are pretty well recognisable by Yoruba people except for 'Olorun' (the deity) said to be a derivative of 'Alahu'. That is absolutely not correct. Orun is the Yoruba name for the Heavens. Olu is the most common Yoruba name and it means 'the main one' or the 'hero'. The main one in heaven is the 'Olu Orun', written in the Yoruba fashion of amalgamating adjacent vowels, it becomes 'Olorun' —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oltunde (talkcontribs) 00:39, 31 October 2010 (UTC)


Baale is another word suggested as having an Islamic influence. This could not be further from the truth and if you pardon my enthusiasm, I think it is a little bit insultive to the Yoruba heritage. Baba is the Yoruba word for 'Father' or 'Elderly man'. Most words have alternatives but it is hard to find a suitable alternative to the word 'Baba' for 'Elderly man' in the Yoruba language. This is not surprising as most languages settle for similar words -papa for example. Thus, 'my father' is 'Baba mi' or 'Baa mi' when spoken. Other examples of the 'Baa' prefix are given below. It is certainly not acceptable to isolate one of them (for its similarity to a foreign word) and assume a totally different etymology when there is a very clear pattern already established.

me = mi. My Father = Baa-mi

War = Ogun. Father of War (General) Ba-l-ogun

Land/County = Ilҿ. Father of the Land (Lord) Baa-lҿ. Pronounced Baa-leh, leh as in 'less'

House = Ile. Father of my house, Man in my house Baa-le. Pronounced as in 'lay' —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oltunde (talkcontribs) 01:17, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

I removed that entire section, after restoring it. I don't know which is correct, but it went on to give the native Yoruba names for the seven days of the week -- but the Yoruba week didn't have seven days! It also wasn't well referenced. — kwami (talk) 09:41, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

'sh’ in Benin Yoruba and not 'c'[edit]

The 1990 National Languages Alphabet published by CENALA gives the digraphs gb, kp and sh. For sh the examples are : ōshó sorcerer, ɔ̄shɛ̄ soap. The letter C is not listed in the Yoruba and is used for the consonant /tʃ/ and not /ʃ/ in other languages. --Mᴏʏᴏɢᴏ/ ⁽ᵗᵃˡᵏ⁾ 09:42, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Huh. I've seen c in Pobe and Ketu, including road signs. Maybe it isn't official. — kwami (talk) 09:49, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't know. But the 1990 National Languages Alphabet book is pretty clear, Yoruba is not written with C, however it is used in Fon. Is Fon used in Pobe or Ketu? --Mᴏʏᴏɢᴏ/ ⁽ᵗᵃˡᵏ⁾ 10:03, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Only as the national language. But they could have been Yoruba place names in Fon transcription. Maybe. (Seems like a waste of a good letter, too. Oh well.) — kwami (talk) 10:27, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
They could also be French transcriptions, like the 'ou' in Kétou for Ketu. --Mᴏʏᴏɢᴏ/ ⁽ᵗᵃˡᵏ⁾
French would be ch, not c. Yes, there are plenty of those too, but these were African script. — kwami (talk) 01:59, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Are you sure about the kp? Pobe is just Pobe, not *Kpobe. — kwami (talk) 05:42, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
er... did I remove P ? I only added KP which is in the Yoruba alphabet given in the 1990 National Languages Alphabet book, along with other digraphs GB and SH. So yes I'm pretty sure. I can scan my copy and send it to you if you want to be sure as well. ---Mᴏʏᴏɢᴏ/ ⁽ᵗᵃˡᵏ⁾
No, not that you removed p, but I thought /kp/ was written ‹p› even in Benin. Don't bother with the scan, I'm sure it's fine. It's been a long time, and I may be misremembering, or implementation may have changed. — kwami (talk) 08:45, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
The following examples pípān (French: autorail) for P, and ākpá (French: bras), òshùkpá (French: lune) for KP, are given in the book. For the C used in road signs, it could be for French /k/ as in Cotonou (which is not Yoruba but is in the greater region). --Mᴏʏᴏɢᴏ/ ⁽ᵗᵃˡᵏ⁾ 10:29, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
No, not ‹c› for /k/, ‹c› for /ʃ/. I do know the difference! — kwami (talk) 11:21, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
So, you're saying place signs were using C for place names with the sound /ʃ/? Or were you saying you only saw the signs with the letter C (without hearing how names are pronounced -you only said you saw C earlier)?--Mᴏʏᴏɢᴏ/ ⁽ᵗᵃˡᵏ⁾ 18:30, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
No, these were place names that were spelled ch in French. When I said I 'saw c', I thought it would be understood that I meant for the value in question. Whether they were actually /ʃ/ or maybe /tʃ/ is too much to ask me to remember at this point, but they were in Yoruba-speaking areas. Unless local Yoruba has both c /tʃ/ and sh /ʃ/? — kwami (talk) 23:01, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
So you aren't sure whether those Cs were pronounced /ʃ/ or /tʃ/, but you are sure it was not /k/? Local Yoruba might have more than what's in the National Language Alphabet book. We'd have to find someone who knows or a reference. --Mᴏʏᴏɢᴏ/ ⁽ᵗᵃˡᵏ⁾ 08:05, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Pronunciation could have depended on native language, code switching, and the like (Fon only has /tʃ/), so I don't want to swear it was /ʃ/, even though that's how it was written in French. — kwami (talk) 09:38, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Some Issues In The Grammar Of Modern Yoruba A. Afolayan[edit]

Some Issues In The Grammar Of Modern Yoruba A. Afolayan. I believe this might help. Komitsuki (talk) 11:24, 6 June 2014 (UTC)