My Journey of learning the Yoruba language

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E kaaro, E kaasan, E kuurole.

I want to share with you the journey i took in learning the Yoruba language. The good parts, the bad parts and the STRESSFUL parts hehe. P.s i will be writing in Yoruba in some parts of this post.

We all know Yoruba is a very difficult language to learn if you are not raised in a area where Yoruba is not used. For me, Ah! it was not easy o! i spent so much time Reading, and writing and pronouncing over and over and over. Mo feran ede Yoruba, but i have to admit, it is not an easy language to learn. let me just tell u about the Yoruba language for those who no sabi.. hehe

Yoruba is a Language of over 30 million people. Yoruba language is used in different parts of the world, not only Nigeria as some people think! lol Yoruba is a tonal language, which makes it much more difficult to learn than other languages. The three tones in Yoruba are “Do Re Mi” which look like this \ _ / (Do=\) (Re=_ ) (Mi=/) WITHOUT the brackets and = sign. The middle tone (re) is  just basically normal tone used in English.  The (Do) tone is a lower tone, and the (mi) is a higher tone. Yoruba also has its own alphabet. (a b d e e f g gb h i j k l m n o o p r s s t u w y) Unfortunately i do not have the Yoruba keyboard to write the Yoruba alphabet with the tonal marks but as you can see, it has some missing letters like “c” “z” and also has 2 of the same letters like “o, s, e” which with the tonal marks, gives it a individual sound. Also unlike the English alphabet it has “gb”. Anyways, other than having different letters, Yoruba also has several words that can mean so many different things depending on how you pronounce it which is VERY important!!. this is what makes it difficult for people to learn. Yoruba is also a language of Respect! You should always show respect to elders when using Yoruba, for example, you shouldn’t say “oshayyyyyyyy” to someone who is way older than u! lool! u should greet parents and elders in the right manor, “Ese ma” or “e se pupo sa” with a little bow down is fine. To show Respect. Many yoruba youths have started using slang and all but i personally use traditional Yoruba. I would only use slang for joking around with friends.

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Next i want to let everyone know my own journey in learning Yoruba. Listen well well :p I chose to learn this Language After Failing in Swahili lol So i feel in Love with the Yoruba Language after hearing it so many times. I started a long time ago, and omg! it is not easy atall! who ever says it is easy, ah! i don’t agree! lol mo ri o po lo po isoro. It is very time consuming, and i would say that someone who is always busy, probably shouldnt try this language loool!! When i started out learning Yoruba, i had alot of free time and that is why i became better in the Language.

I was soo vexed at times because it was like every time i learned something, i would forget it after a week, and when i tried to remember something and got it wrong, i would get angry at my self be like “ah!! mtchewwww” lol but gradually i became better and better. I used a very traditional method of learning which is very very difficult but gave me the ability to Read and write in Yoruba very well. The pronouncing  came later. When people started seeing me Writing in Yoruba they were like “ah ah! who is teaching u sef!” lol many people got vexed and some got excited. no one seemed to believe i taught myself at home but oh well! abeg! make u no vex lol thats people for u.  lol

Yoruba also has a lot of nice proverbs, my favorite one is “Ife l’akoja ofin”  it is a very short but sweet proverb.

I am very excited and happy about learning Yoruba and proud of it because it is one of my great achievements and i didn’t think it was possible. I love to teach myself everything, for me, its the best way i can learn something. So weather it is African history, culture or Language, I will put a lot of work into it until i can pat myself on the back and say i did it hehe

My advice to anyone who wants to learn Yoruba, is to get FREE time! lol its no easy o.

Well i hope you enjoyed reading about my Yoruba learning journey. The next task i am giving myself is to learn the Igbo Language or Hausa. That will probably be later on in the year. i’ll keep you posted hehe.

thanks for reading. Ese Pupo! O digbose

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33 thoughts on “My Journey of learning the Yoruba language

  1. Abeni, o se fun alaye t’o se s’ibi. O fi han gedegbe pe o ni ife lati mo ijinle ede ati asa Yoruba. O si fi han pe o ti rin jinna ju awon elomiran t’a bi si ile Yoruba tabi ti awon obi nwon je omo Yoruba sugbon ti nwon ngbe ni ilu Oyinbo.

    O le fe tun wo “Speak Yoruba Apps” l’ori web. Ona ti nwon fi gbe ede Yoruba kale dara gan ni.

    Oro mi ko ju bayi lo.
    Emi ni Iya Aafin Omotola Adenle (Tola Adenle)

    Dear Abeni,

    Thanks for the exaplanations here. It shows clearly that you have a love of the language. It also shows that you’ve really gone further than even some people born in Yoruba-land or those born of Yoruba parents residing in Europe, The Americas, etceter (Ilu [the towns/countries of] Oyinbo white people!).

    You may wish to check out SPEAK YORUBA APPS on the web. No, the ad I carry for the app is free, not a paid one!

    I have to stop here [although “oro” is word/s and colloqually is my words are not more than these!)
    OMOTOLA ADENLE or Tola Adenle.

    PS. If you have personal question, contact me through my tolaadenle@emotanafricana.com

  2. Abeni,
    I just came across your blog and very impressed that you taught yourself to speak Yoruba! I’m Yoruba but I don’t speak the language as well as you do. It is a shame that I do not know how to write in Yoruba. I am slowly picking it back up; my boyfriend is Yoruba and refuses to speak English to me ;-).

    Well done, well done!

    Tayo

  3. Wow you truly are an inspiration. I am getting married in Nigeria in a few months time and have been teaching myself Yoruba with the help of my Fiance and you are right it is very difficult to learn. Loving your blog, keep up the good work 🙂

  4. I am glad you could speak my language well. Olorun a tunbo maa fun e l‘oye ijinle si. Amin. God will keep on giving you indepth knowledge. Amen. Mo fe se akiesi kekere kan ni ranpe ninu bi o se lo ede ni gba ti o fe ki wa wipe Odabo to fi ni pe Odigbaose. Eni to ti ku tabi tia ko le ri mo lailai la ma n ki wipe Odigbaose. I want to tell you about an observation from your use of a yoruba word you used to greet us good bye “Odigbaose“ that word is used for saying good bye to someone who is dead. I tot you should have used just Odigba or just Odabo (bye bye). Kudos to you Abeni. You are good and I like your courage of learning and its so amazing to know you can speak and write yoruba.

  5. Hello. I’m trying to find a college or anywhere else they teach or have a course in Yoruba. Please help out. I’ve called many colleges and places and all say no. I would love to learn Yoruba, any information would be great. Thank you

    Adi.fox11@yahoo.com

  6. OyinboAfrica it is nice to see this blog. This is creativity of highest order. You have done a wonderful job by encouraging our children to know that life is not about English alone. You may not know how excited I am to read your blog. I am multi- lingua desk officer in my office and our purpose is to teach people how to speak and write other language apart from their Mothers Tongue(MT). Abeni mi owon, O se pupo. O di gba ooo.

  7. Arábìrin Àbèní, àló re mú kí okàn mi fò f’áyò, ó sì fi hàn wípé o ti s’isé kárakára lati ni ìmò èdè Yorùbá, o sì ti tayo. B’ó tilè jé wípé Yorùbá mi dára púpò, mo n lati jéwó wipe mo tun kó òrò kan tàbí méjì ninu àló re. Kú isé o, Abeni.

    Abeni, your story made me very happy, and shows that you’ve worked very hard to learn Yoruba, and you’ve excelled. Even though I’m proficient in Yoruba, I must confess that I’ve learned a word or two from this story. Well done!

  8. Waoh!
    Can I just say you rock?
    I am a yoruba lady and I don’t think I can write as well in Yoruba,
    Words escape me at this moment but can I just ask what your inspiration was? Are you married to a Nigerian?

  9. Abeni dear,I am astonished that you can speak and write Yoruba. Please how did you learn Im still trying to learn and teach my children.

  10. Ise takuntakun ni ise to o se Abeni. Mo ri i wipe igbinyanju re so o di eni ti opo n wa lati sunmo. Ku ise daada yi. Eyi yoo ko opolopo lati mo wipe o dara lati ko ede wa lakoyege. Mo ti kowe kan ni ede Yoruba ati geesi, ti mo pe ni Okanlelugba Imoran, yoo maa gori intaneti laipe. Eyi yoo ma je iranloewo fun opo ti won n wa lati ko ede Yoruba.
    You had done a marvelous job Abeni. This gives you an edge on many who are yet to get their foot well grounded in their mother tongue. Thank you. I have a book which i wrote in Yoruba and English, titled Okanlelugba imoran (201 Words of Wisdom) which shall be online soon.This will be of great help to many who are desirous to learn the Yoruba language.

  11. E ku’se.

    You wrote ‘E kaaro, E kaasan, E kuurole’ where did you leave E ku’yaleta? Midmorning between 10am and noon. Haha.

    And by the way thank you for the reminder of this beautiful proverb – “Ife l’akoja ofin”

    E se pupo. O digba kan na

  12. I am married to a Yoruba man and would really love my kids to learn to speak Yoruba. My oldest is 6. What is the best way to teach them and myself, do you know anyone who offers classes in person or online?

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