Learn Yoruba From Home

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After posting a few posts before about my experience in learning the Yoruba language i have had a lot of emails and comments from people who are trying to learn Yoruba them self.

Now, first of all i understand how hard it can be and how frustrating it can be when you don’t know where to start or what books to use etc so i thought i could share some tips and suggest some books to you and also name a few books that i also used.

First of all i would say that patience is the number one key to learning Yoruba and i have learned that the hard way! I was someone who wants to know how to speak Yoruba NOW.. i had no patience when i was younger and got frustrated at why i wasn’t learning as fast as i would have liked. It does take a good few years to really get a good grip of the language and i learned that only about a year after i started learning Yoruba. So please have patience and give it time. Don’t forget that Yoruba is a tonal language so it is a bit more difficult too. I am Scottish so you can imagine the difficulty i had trying to speak Yoruba with a Scottish accent lol Try and adjust your accent to the correct tone.

Below are some more useful tips that i found very helpful when learning Yoruba:

  1. Spend at least 1 hour every night reading and speaking Yoruba – This keeps it fresh in your mind. Reading your books and also writing in Yoruba too. If you are not confident enough to speak it in front of others then speak it on your own and try videoing your self so you can hear where you are going wrong and learn from any mistakes you make in pronouncing etc.
  2. Watch Yoruba movies with subtitles – Watching Yoruba movies is very helpful as it can help you hear how certain words are pronounced rather than just reading it from a book. It also helps you take it in more when you are hearing it from another person.
  3. Listen to Yoruba music – Again, like watching movies, this helps hear the pronunciations. For me this is one that helps me a lot because if you think about it, when you are listening to music, that song gets stuck in your head all day correct? So having a song sung in Yoruba stuck in your head can help you remember certain words. I also advise you to look up the lyrics of the song, that way you know what they are singing and learning how to say it at the same time!
  4. Try and surround your self with Yoruba friends – I have a lot of Yoruba friends but unfortunately i was not confident enough to speak Yoruba with them as i always thought i would sound silly given i have a Scottish accent lol But looking back now, i see that it was just lack of confidence as a person not only in speaking Yoruba. I wasn’t really a confident person a few years back but now that im fully grown i wouldn’t think twice before speaking Yoruba aloud! lol Confidence comes with age i think so don’t worry if you are still young and lacking confidence. It will come naturally later on. Don’t stress on it too much.
  5. Try practicing speaking Yoruba with your closest family member – This one is the part that came easy to me. I was always scared of speaking it with friends as i worried so much about making mistakes or that they would laugh. But with my sister (my closest family member) it came naturally and we just had fun in speaking it. I even taught her some words here and there and even till this day we speak it and joke around with it. Its always more comfortable speaking it with a close family. That way you won’t feel scared about making mistakes.

Below are also a few books that i used while learning Yoruba –

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Beginners Yoruba by Kayode J. Fakinlede

This is a beginners book and it comes with 2 audio CD’s which is very helpful for hearing how the words sound. It is very well written and contains enough information to have you speaking basic and daily conversations. This can be bought on Amazon or Book Depository.

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Teach Yourself: Yoruba – A complete course for beginners 

I found that this book is only very good if you want to be perfect in writing and reading Yoruba BUT i wouldn’t suggest using this book if you want a fast track to speaking basic sentences. This book is more detailed and very time consuming because it covers every word, phrase and sentence you can think of lol some of which you will never really use on a daily basis. I would only fully suggest this book if you were about to sit a Yoruba exam or something way more deep than just learning Yoruba for daily conversations. I got rather impatient with this book as i wasn’t really learning how to speak Yoruba but rather learning how to write and read Yoruba only.

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Je K’A Ka Yoruba – ~An Intermediate Course by Antonia Yetunde Folarin Schleicher

This book i wouldn’t suggest until you are passed the beginner stage. It isn’t quite as detailed and helpful for beginners, of course this is because it is an intermediate course duh lol The book is mostly written in Yoruba and not much English translation. So i would really only suggest getting this book when you are further into your learning. The main reason i posted this book was because it covers a lot of phrases and information that the beginners book may not cover. Its a helpful book to have at a later stage.

So as you can see there is a lot of useful tips and books to help us learn Yoruba right at home without paying huge fees and taking endless expensive classes to learn Yoruba. I am not saying going to study Yoruba or join classes is a bad idea but learning from home in your own comfort zone at your own pace is somehow a better way to fit it around your every day life style and job etc.

Just remember that Yoruba isn’t something you will learn over night and it is ok to take a longer time to learn it or to make mistakes! It is all part of learning and even myself still learns new things and new information about Yoruba so it is a learning path just like everything else in life.

If you have any questions or would like to add me on facebook or drop me a message for any other information then feel free to do so 🙂 All my contact information is in the “Contact” section of my blog.

Thanks again for reading and good luck learning Yoruba! 🙂

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How to Greet Yoruba parents and elders.

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In Africa there are many ways to Greet parents and elders. In most parts of Africa they  Kneel to there parents or elders.

What some people don’t know is greeting Yoruba parents or elders is different from the “normal” African Greeting. In the past Yoruba male children will greet there elders by laying down on the ground in front of there parent/elders and female will kneel on both knees with her hands at her back and greet them with “Good morning ma/sir. Hope you slept well” etc. or what else you may like to add. The elder will place their hand on the child’s head as they speak, you will then wait to be told to stand before you get up from the ground. Rushing up after saying good morning is not good and shows some kinda of lack of respect. Unfortunately a lot of Yoruba’s these days don’t greet there parents in this way, the more “modern” day way of greeting parents/elders is females going to them and kneeling on one knee and males bending over or droping there hand to their feet. I guess as the years have past things have changed lol

Something you must NOT do, is walk up to an elder and shake there hand or hug them. This is a big NO GO! Kneeling is a sign of respect and culture so to just shake someones hand is like you are meeting a stranger. Even if it is your first time of meeting the person, this doesn’t mean you should shake there hand and see them as a stranger. So far they are older than you are and they are Yoruba or even just African, then you should show your respect to them. Respect must ALWAYS be shown to elders. Anytime of any day.

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I would really advice youths of these days to practices their greetings more and not to become lazy in greeting elders lol a lot of young people these days have became lazy in greeting and just  kneel a little not even to the floor, then get up and go. Its a real shame.

Yoruba parents and African parents will try to raise there children to have respect to their elders, so for a Yoruba kid to meet their auntie or uncle at home and just say “hi!” is really an embaressment for the parents. I dont mean the parents havnt done a good job i mean the child is not playing their role well like they have been taught. So if you have been taught by your parents on how to greet and show respect, please make sure you do so when meeting elders.

No parent loves anything more than being praised on how well their child has been raised 😉

Thanks for reading and i hope you have learned a thing or two 🙂

My 4 simple steps to a quick Efo riro ati iyan

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Efo riro is a very easy and common dish around Nigeria, mostly Yoruba people eat this dish.

People have many different ways of making their efo riro. Any way you make it will still taste delicious, but I personally love to make it this way. follow my steps below for a quick and easy Efo Riro dish!

You can find the following ingredients in any local Nigerian store/market.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 tin/Jar of chopped tomatoes (or 4 small fresh tomatoes if you prefer)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 scotch bonnet chili
  • 2 large bunches of fresh spinach
  • Palm oil
  • Efo seasoning
  • salt
  • chili powder (optional)
  • Maggie stock cubes
  • chicken/Beef/Goat what ever u prefer
  • Yam or powdered Yam <<Not advisable, Real yam is always better
  • water

Directions:

Step 1 – Add your chicken/beef/goat meat to a large pot with water and 2 or 3 maggie stock cubes and a little salt. Allow to cook for 30 to 40 minutes.

Step 2 – Get a large pot or pan and add 3 table spoons of Palm oil. Now chop 1 onion into very small pieces along with your scotch bonnet, add the seeds too if you like it spicy!. Add your onion and chili to the oil and allow to fry for 5 minutes.

Step 3 – Now blend all you tomatoes/ chopped tomatoes together and add to your oil with 2/3 table spoons of Efo seasoning and 1 table spoon of chili powder (optional) and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes. Then wash your spinach through out. Chop your spinach up and wash again. Now add your spinach and cover the pot and allow to steam/cook for 15 minutes. (some people cook for 5 minuets but i personal like it well cooked as does my Yoruba Boyfriend) Add your chicken/meat to the soup when your chicken/meat is cooked through out.

Step 4 – Prepare your yam!

Fresh yam – If you are preparing fresh yam, I would advice you to:

  • Cut and dice your yam before preparing the soup, then boiled your yam in a pot.
  • When your yam is cooked and soft (you can check if it is ready by stabbing it with a fork to check if it is soft) put your yam pieces into you pestle and begin pounding.
  • Pound all the large peaces first and then pounded all the lumps out of it. (this can be tiring) hehe. Add water little by little to get the right texture. Its best to use the water you cooked your yam in as it has more starch!
  • Powdered Yam- Simply boil water, about 2 cups, in a pot and add the yam powder and mix through out, try to mix fast and press against the side of the pot to remove any lumps.
  • Set your yam by shaping it with your hands (wet your hand first)
  • Rap your yam in clingfilm to keep its shape and heat if you are not going to eat it right away.

Now serve and Enjoy! 🙂

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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Traditional Yoruba Weddings.

Traditional Yoruba weddings are very different from your average wedding. Although all weddings have the same outcome, two people in love get married and live happily ever after, oh so we wish lol

Anyway, I thought i would let everyone know who doesn’t already know, a bit about Traditional Yoruba weddings as i plan to have one of my own in Nigeria.

First of all, if you want to marry a Yoruba lady, you must get her parents permission. So this will start off with the groom and his parents going to meet the bride and her parents to have their blessing and to agree to give their daughter to her future husband. The groom and his family will also take along gifts for the brides parents. If the brides parents dont agree with the groom, then it will not be great for him, because in order to marry her he will have to please her parents and get his permission. This is how it is done traditionally although modern day people have started slacking on this, which i think is not good. Keeping up with your tradition is always best.

Soon after the meeting of the two parents, a date will be set for the wedding and planning will take place. Another wonderful thing about Yoruba weddings is the clothing. Yoruba clothing is very beautiful and colorful. You can see some pictures below of traditional Yoruba wedding clothes.

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Funmi's Engagement 1

Yoruba weddings are usually large and full of many people.  There will be a lot of dancing and lovely food. Also the grooms relatives will greet the brides family in the traditional Yoruba way. This is known as “Yoruba prostration”.  They will lay out on the ground to show their respect to the brides family. This will take place as soon as they enter for the wedding to begin.  You can see in the picture below an example.

greeting

Greeting Yoruba parents  in the right way is VERY important. You can read more on about this in my previous post “how to greet Yoruba parents”. Next, after they enter and greet the family, The Proposal and Acceptance, This  proposal ‘letter’ is presented by the grooms family and read out loud by the youngest member of the brides family. After which an acceptance letter is given by the brides family. The groom will now enter to join the family and bride.  Their will be prayers by both families for the bride and groom.  The groom will then prostrate once with his friends for his family before proceeding to his seat. Next the bride will enter, greeted and welcomed with prayers and blessings.

Finally it gets down to the rings! The groom will take the ring from the bible/Quran and place it on the brides finger. Pretty much what happens in every wedding haha. i also once read about the “Bride Price”… Various envelopes containing everything from the bride price to money for the wives, children and elders in the her family are handed over to the brides family. It is very common practice for them to the envelope containing the bride price, the belief is that both families have become one and are giving their daughter away versus ‘selling’ her.

Next the cake will be cut, Final prayers will be said and from then on, Dancing, singing and eating plenty Lovely Yoruba dishes. 😀

yoruba wedding, cakes

So as you can see, Yoruba weddings are a little different from other weddings. I cannot wait to have my own Yoruba style wedding one day 🙂 With traditional Yoruba attire.  We love traditional weddings, with their vibrant colors, rich food, playful banter and more, what’s not to like?

Not all Yoruba’s Celebrate weddings in the same way but the traditional Yoruba wedding is most likely to be like this.

I hope you learned a thing or two from my post and feel free to add anything as i love to learn anything i don’t already know 🙂

Thanks Again for all the views and comments.