FACTOID # 4: Just 1% of the houses in Nevada were built before 1939.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Yoruba language
Yoruba
èdèe Yorùbá
Spoken in: Nigeria, Benin, Togo and elsewhere
Total speakers: more than 25 million (Sachnine 1997 as cited in Ethnologue) 
Ranking: 49
Language family: Niger-Congo
 Atlantic-Congo
  Volta-Congo
   Benue-Congo
    Defoid
     Yoruboid
      Edekiri
       Yoruba 
Official status
Official language of: Nigeria
Regulated by: no official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1: yo
ISO 639-2: yor
ISO 639-3: yor

Yoruba (native name èdè Yorùbá, 'the Yoruba language') is a dialect continuum of West Africa with over 22 million speakers.[1] The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and traces of it are found among communities in Brazil, Sierra Leone (where it is called Oku), and Cuba (where it is called Nago). Yoruba is an isolating, tonal language with SVO syntax. Apart from referring to the aggregate of dialects and their speakers, the term Yoruba is used for the standard, written form of the language. Yoruba is classified as a Niger-Congo language of the Yoruboid branch of Defoid, Benue-Congo. This is a list of languages, ordered by the number of native-language speakers, with some data for second-language use. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... Map showing the distribution of Niger-Congo languages The Niger-Congo languages constitute one of the worlds major language families, and Africas largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers, and number of distinct languages. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... In the classification of African languages, Volta-Congo is the major branch (in terms of number of languages) of the Niger-Congo phylum. ... The Benue-Congo group of languages constitutes the largest branch of the Niger-Congo language family, both in terms of sheer number of languages, of which 938 are known (not counting mere dialects), and in terms of speakers, numbering perhaps 550 million. ... The Defoid languages constitute a branch of the Benue-Congo language family, and the name of the language family derives from the fact that nearly all of the ethnic groups who speak member languages refer to the city of Ilé Ifè as their place of origin - Defoid = èdè (language)+ if... Yoruboid is a group of languages comprised of Igala, a language spoken in central Nigeria, and the Edekiri group, the members of which are spoken in a band across Togo, Benin and southwestern Nigeria. ... The Edekiri languages are spoken in a band across Togo, Benin and Nigeria. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... A dialect continuum is a range of dialects spoken across a large geographical area, differing only slightly between areas that are geographically close, and gradually decreasing in mutual intelligibility as the distances become greater. ... The Yoruba (Yorùbá in Yoruba orthography) are a large ethno-linguistic group or ethnic nation in Africa; the majority of them speak the Yoruba language (èdèe Yorùbá; èdè = language). ... An analytic language (or isolating language) is a language in which the vast majority of morphemes are free morphemes and considered to be full-fledged words. By contrast, in a synthetic language, a word is composed of agglutinated or fused morphemes that denote its syntactic meanings. ... It has been suggested that Tonal language be merged into this article or section. ... In linguistic typology, agent-verb-object (AVO), commonly called subject-verb-object (SVO), is a sentence structure where the agent comes first, the verb second, and the object third. ... Yoruboid is a group of languages comprised of Igala, a language spoken in central Nigeria, and the Edekiri group, the members of which are spoken in a band across Togo, Benin and southwestern Nigeria. ...


The traditional Yoruba area - currently comprising the southwestern corner of Nigeria, the republics of Benin and Togo and mideastern Ghana - is commonly called Ìlẹ-Yorùbá or Yorubaland. The Nigeria component is comprised of today's Ọyọ, Ọṣun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Lagos states as well as the western part of Kogi state. Geophysically, Yorubaland forms part of a plateau (elevation 366 m) bordered to the north and east by the Niger River. A large part of it is densely forested; the northern part however, including Ọyọ, lies in the savanna to the north of the forest. The Yorùbá are the largest ethnic group in Nigeria, comprising approximately 26 percent of that countrys total population, and numbering about close to 100 million individuals throughout the region of West Africa. ... Ọyọ State is an inland state in south-western Nigeria, with its capital at Ibadan. ... [Olagunsoye Oyinlola|Ọlagunsoye Oyinlọla] (PDP) Date Created 27 August 1991 Capital Osogbo Area 9,251 km² Ranked 28th Population 1991 Census 2005 est. ... Ogun State is a state in South-western Nigeria. ... Ondo State, Nigeria was created on 3 February 1976 from the former Western State. ... Ekiti State is a state in southwest Nigeria, created on October 1, 1996 alongside five other new states by military dictator General Sani Abacha. ... Kwara State is one of the 36 states of Nigeria. ... // History Lagos State, Nigeria was created on May 27, 1967 by virtue of State (Creation and Transitional Provisions) Decree No. ... Categories: Africa geography stubs | States of Nigeria ... Map of Niger River with Niger River basin in green The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending over 2500 miles (about 4180 km). ...

Contents

History

The ancestor of the Yoruba speakers is, according to their oral traditions, Oduduwa, son of Olúdùmarè, the supreme god of the Yoruba. Although they share a common history, it is only since the second half of the nineteenth century that the children of Oduduwa share one name. Before the abolition of the slave trade, Yorubas among the liberated slaves in Freetown were known among Europeans as Akú, a name derived from the first words of Yoruba greetings such as Ẹ kú àárọ̀ ‘good morning’ and Ẹ kú alẹ́ ‘good evening’.[2] Remi-Niyi Alaran 2007 contends that the word Yoruba comes from the phrase “yi o rú ẹbọ” or "yorúbọ", meaning “will make sacrifices”, referring to the Ẹbọ (ritual sacrifice that complements Ifa divination) in Yoruba spirituality. At some stage the term Yariba or Yoruba came into use, first confined to the Ọyọ Kingdom; the term was used among the Hausa (as it is today) but its origins are unclear. [3] Under the influence of the Yoruba Samuel Ajayi Crowther, (first Bishop of West Africa and first African bishop of the Church of England, who was a war captive freed on the high seas en-route to slavery) and subsequent missionaries, and for a large part due to the development of a written version of the language, the term Yoruba was extended to include all speakers of related dialects. Oduduwa (sometimes contracted as Odudua, Oòdua) is generally assumed to be the ancestor of the Yoruba kings. ... Freetown, population 1,070,200 (2004), is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone. ... Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther (c. ...


The first appearance in print of any variety of Yoruba dates from 1819, in the form of a small vocabulary collected by Bowdich, an English diplomatic agent in Ashanti.[4] This is relatively late for a West African language spoken as widely as Yoruba (cf. Akan, 1602; Ewe, 1658); it can be attributed to the fact that virtually no European trade took place on the Yoruba coast before the nineteenth century. Linguistic means —including, for example, historical-comparative linguistics, glottochronology, and dialectology — used along with both traditional (oral) historical sources and archaeological finds, have shed some light on the history of the Yorubas and their language before this point. The North-West Yoruba dialects, for example, show more linguistic innovations. According to some, this, combined with the fact that Southeast and Central Yoruba areas generally have older settlements, suggests a later date of immigration for Northwest Yoruba.[5] A shrunken Ashanti Confederacy near the end of its existence in 1896 The Ashanti Kingdom or Confederacy was a powerful state in West Africa in the years prior to European colonization. ... The Akan language belongs to the Kwa language family. ... The Gbe languages (pronounced ) form a cluster of about 20 related languages stretching across the area between eastern Ghana and western Nigeria. ... Glottochronology refers to methods in historical linguistics used to estimate the time at which languages diverged, based on the assumption that the basic (core) vocabulary of a language changes at a constant average rate. ...


Varieties

Dialects

The Yoruba dialect continuum itself consists of over fifteen varieties which can be classified into three major dialect areas: Northwest, Central, and Southeast.[6] Of course, clear boundaries can never be drawn and peripheral areas of dialectal regions often have some similarities to adjoining dialects.

  • North-West Yoruba (NWY).
    • Abẹokuta, Ibadan, Ọyọ, Ọṣun and Lagos areas
  • Central Yoruba (CY)
    • Igbomina, Ifẹ, Ekiti, Akurẹ, Ẹfọn, and Ijẹṣa areas.
  • South-East Yoruba (SEY)
    • Okitipupa, Ondo, Ọwọ, Ṣagamu, and parts of Ijẹbu.

North-West Yoruba is historically a part of the Ọyọ empire. In NWY dialects, Proto-Yoruba /gh/ (the velar fricative [ɣ]) and /gw/ have merged into /w/; the upper vowels /i ̣/ and /ụ/ were raised and merged with /i/ and /u/, just as their nasal counterparts, resulting in a vowel system with seven oral and three nasal vowels. Ethnographically, traditional government is based on a division of power between civil and war chiefs; lineage and descent are unilineal and agnatic. Oyo (OÌ£yoÌ£ in Yoruba orthography, pronounced ) is the name for a Yoruba city in modern-day Nigeria and also the loose empire which that city controlled in the 17th and 18th centuries. ... Unilineality is a system of determining descent groups in which one belongs to ones fathers or mothers lineage. ... In hereditary monarchies, particularly in more ancient or in more underdeveloped times, seniority was a much used principle of order of succession. ...


South-East Yoruba was probably associated with the expansion of the Benin Empire after c. 1450 AD.[7] In contrast to NWY, lineage and descent are largely multilineal and cognatic, and the division of titles into war and civil is unknown. Linguistically, SEY has retained the /gh/ and /gw/ contrast, while it has lowered the nasal vowels /ịn/ and /ụn/ to /ẹn/ and /ọn/, respectively. SEY has collapsed the second and third person plural pronominal forms; thus, àn án wá can mean either 'you (pl.) came' or 'they came' in SEY dialects, whereas NWY for example has ẹ wá 'you (pl.) came' and wọ́n wá 'they came', respectively. The emergence of a plural of respect may have prevented coalescence of the two in NWY dialects. This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Cognatic succession is the succession to the throne or other inheritance which allows both males and females to be heirs. ...


Central Yoruba forms a transitional area in that the lexicon has much in common with NWY, whereas it shares many ethnographical features with SEY. Its vowel system is the least innovating of the three dialect groups, having retained nine oral-vowel contrasts and six or seven nasal vowels, and an extensive vowel harmony system.


Standard Yoruba

Main article: Standard Yoruba

Standard Yoruba (also known as literary Yoruba, the Yoruba koiné, common Yoruba and often simply as Yoruba) is a separate member of the dialect cluster. It is the written form of the language, the standard variety learnt at school and that spoken by newsreaders on the radio. Standard Yoruba has its origin in the 1850's, when Samuel A. Crowther, native Yoruba and the first African Bishop, published a Yoruba grammar and started his translation of the Bible. Though for a large part based on the Ọyọ and Ibadan dialects, Standard Yoruba incorporates several features from other dialects[8]. Additionally, it has some features peculiar to itself only, for example the simplified vowel harmony system, as well as foreign structures, such as calques from English which originated in early translations of religious works. Standard Yoruba (also known as literary Yoruba, the Yoruba koiné, common Yoruba and often simply as Yoruba) is the written form of the West African Yoruba language, which is commonly taught at schools and spoken by newsreaders on the radio. ... Standard Yoruba (also known as literary Yoruba, the Yoruba koiné, common Yoruba and often simply as Yoruba) is the written form of the West African Yoruba language, which is commonly taught at schools and spoken by newsreaders on the radio. ... // In linguistics, a calque (pronounced ) or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word (Latin: verbum pro verbo) or root-for-root translation. ...


Because the use of Standard Yoruba did not result from some deliberate linguistic policy, much controversy exists as to what constitutes 'genuine Yoruba', with some writers holding the opinion that the Ọyọ dialect is the most pure form, and others stating that there is no such thing as genuine Yoruba at all. Standard Yoruba, the variety learnt at school and used in the media, has nonetheless been a powerful consolidating factor in the emergence of a common Yoruba identity.


Writing system

Yoruba orthography originated in the early work of CMS missionaries working among the Aku in Freetown, notably Kilham and Raban. They assembled vocabularies and published short notes on Yoruba grammar. One of their informants in Sierra Leone was Crowther, who later would proceed to study his native language Yoruba. In early grammar primers and translations of portions of the English Bible, Crowther used the Latin alphabet largely without tone markings. The only diacritic used was a dot below certain vowels to signify their open variants [ɛ] and [ɔ], viz. ẹ and ọ. Over the years the orthography was revised to take care of tone marking among other things. In 1875 the Church Missionary Society (CMS) organised a conference on Yoruba Orthography; the standard devised there was the basis for the orthography of the steady flow of religious and educational literature over the next seventy years. The Church Mission Society, known as the Church Missionary Society in Australia and New Zealand, is an evangelistic society working with the Anglican Church and other Protestant Christians around the world. ... An open vowel is a vowel sound of a type used in most spoken languages. ...


The current orthography of Yoruba derives from a 1966 report of the Yoruba Orthography Committee, along with Ayọ Bamgboṣe's 1965 Yoruba Orthography, a study of the earlier orthographies and an attempt to bring Yoruba orthography in line with actual speech as much as possible. Still largely similar to the older orthography, it employs the Latin alphabet modified by the use of the digraph gb and certain diacritics, including the traditional vertical line set under the letters E̩/e̩, O̩/o̩, and S̩/s̩. In many publications the line is replaced by a dot (Ẹ/ẹ, Ọ/ọ, Ṣ/ṣ). The vertical line has been used to avoid the mark being fully covered by an underline. The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Example of a letter with a diacritic A diacritical mark or diacritic, also called an accent, is a small sign added to a letter to alter pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words. ... An underline is one or more horizontal lines immediately below a portion of text. ...

A B D E F G Gb H I J K L M N O P R S T U W Y
a b d e f g gb h i j k l m n o p r s t u w y

The Latin letters c, q, v, x, z are not used.


The pronunciation of the letters without diacritics corresponds more or less to their International Phonetic Alphabet equivalents, except for the labial-velar stops k͡p (written as <p>) and [g͡b] (written as <gb>), in which both consonants are pronounced simultaneously rather than sequentially. The diacritic underneath vowels indicates an open vowel, pronounced with the root of the tongue retracted (so is pronounced with an IPA [ɛ̙] and with an IPA [ɔ̙]). <s̩> represents a postalveolar consonant [ʃ] like the English sh, <y> represents a palatal approximant like English y, and <j> a voiced palatal plosive, as is common in many African orthographies. Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Labial-velar consonants are doubly articulated at the velum and the lips. ... A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... An open vowel is a vowel sound of a type used in most spoken languages. ... In phonetics, retracted tongue root, abbreviated RTR or –ATR, is the retraction of the base of the tongue in the pharynx during the pronunciation of a vowel. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Postalveolar (or palato-alveolar) consonants are consonants articulated with the tip of the tongue between the alveolar ridge (the place of articulation for alveolar consonants) and the palate (the place of articulation for palatal consonants). ... The palatal approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages. ... The voiced palatal plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ...


In addition to the vertical bars, three further diacritics are used on vowels and syllabic nasal consonants to indicate the language's tones: an acute accent (´) for the high tone, a grave accent (`) for the low tone, and an optional macron (¯) for the middle tone. These are used in addition to the line in and . When more than one tone is used in one syllable, the vowel can either be written once for each tone (for example, *òó for a vowel [o] with tone rising from low to high) or, more rarely in current usage, combined into a single accent. In this case, a caron is used for the rising tone (so the previous example would be written ǒ) and a tilde for other possibilities. A nasal consonant is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... The acute accent (   ) is a diacritic mark used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin and Greek scripts. ... The grave accent ( ` ) is a diacritic mark used in written Greek until 1982 (polytonic orthography), French, Catalan, Welsh, Italian, Vietnamese, Scottish Gaelic, Norwegian, Portuguese and other languages. ... A macron, from Greek (makros) meaning large, is a diacritic ¯ placed over a vowel originally to indicate that the vowel is long. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The tilde (~) is a grapheme with several uses. ...

Á À Ā É È Ē Ẹ / Ẹ́ / É̩ Ẹ̀ / È̩ Ẹ̄ / Ē̩ Í Ì Ī Ó Ò Ō Ọ / Ọ́/ Ó̩ Ọ̀ / Ò̩ ̄ / Ō̩ Ú Ù Ū /
á à ā é è ē ẹ / ẹ́ / é̩ ẹ̀ / è̩ ẹ̄ / ē̩ í ì ī ó ò ō ọ / ọ́ / ó̩ ọ̀ / ò̩ ọ̄ / ō̩ ú ù ū /

Linguistic features

Phonology

The three possible syllable structures of Yoruba are consonant+vowel (CV), vowel alone (V), and syllabic nasal (N). Every syllable bears one of the three tones: high  ́, mid  ̄ (generally left unmarked), and low  ̀. The sentence 'n̄ ò lọ' I didn't go provides examples of the three syllable types:

  • [ŋ̄]I
  • ò — [ó]not (negation)
  • lọ — [lɔ]to go

Vowels and consonants

Standard Yoruba has seven oral and five nasal vowels. There are no diphthongs in Yoruba; sequences of vowels are pronounced as separate syllables. Dialects differ in the number of vowels they have; see above.

Yoruba vowel diagram. Oral vowels are marked by black dots, while the coloured regions indicate the ranges in possible quality of the nasal vowels.
Yoruba vowel diagram.[9] Oral vowels are marked by black dots, while the coloured regions indicate the ranges in possible quality of the nasal vowels.
  Oral vowels Nasal vowels
Front Back Front Back
Close i u ĩ ũ
Close-mid e o    
Open-mid ɛ ɔ ɛ̃ ɔ̃
Open a  

The status of a fifth nasal vowel, [ã], is controversial. Although the sound does occur in speech, several authors have argued it to be not phonemically contrastive; often, it is in free variation with [ɔ̃].[10] Orthographically, nasal vowels are normally represented by an oral vowel symbol followed by n, i.e. in, un, ẹn, ọn, except in case of the [n] allophone of /l/ (see below) preceding a nasal vowel, i.e. inú 'inside, belly' is actually pronounced [īnṹ].[11] Image File history File links Yoruba_Vowel_Diagram. ... Image File history File links Yoruba_Vowel_Diagram. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... An oral vowel is a vowel that is produced by air that escapes through the mouth only (as opposed to nasal vowels, in which air also goes out through the nose). ... A nasal vowel is a vowel that is produced with a lowering of the velum so that air escapes both through nose as well as the mouth. ... Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. ... A close vowel is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. ... A close-mid vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. ... The open-mid vowels make a class of vowel sounds used in some spoken languages. ... An open vowel is a vowel sound of a type used in most spoken languages. ...

  Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Labial-velar Glottal
Plosive b   t  d   ɟ k  g k͡p  g͡b  
Nasal m   (n)          
Fricative   f s ʃ       h
Approximant     ɾ   j   w  
Lateral approximant     l          

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 postalveolar approximant [ɹ]. Like many other languages of the region, Yoruba has the labial-velar stops /k͡p/ and /g͡b/, e.g. pápá [k͡pák͡pá] 'field', gbọ̄gbọ̄ [g͡bɔg͡bɔ] 'all'. Notably, it lacks the common voiceless bilabial plosive /p/, which is why /k͡p/ is written as <p>. It also lacks a phoneme /n/; though the letter <n> is used for the sound in the orthography, it strictly speaking refers to an allophone of /l/ which immediately precedes a nasal vowel. In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. ... In phonetics, labiodentals are consonants articulated with the lower lips and the upper teeth, or viceversa. ... Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli (the sockets) of the superior teeth. ... Postalveolar (or palato-alveolar) consonants are consonants articulated with the tip of the tongue between the alveolar ridge (the place of articulation for alveolar consonants) and the palate (the place of articulation for palatal consonants). ... Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth). ... Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum). ... Labial-velar consonants are doubly articulated at the velum and the lips. ... Glottal consonants are consonants articulated with the glottis. ... A stop or plosive or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... A nasal consonant is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... Fricatives (or spirants) are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. ... Approximants are speech sounds that could be regarded as intermediate between vowels and typical consonants. ... Laterals are L-like consonants pronounced with an occlusion made somewhere along the axis of the tongue, while air from the lungs escapes at one side or both sides of the tongue. ... Labial-velar consonants are doubly articulated at the velum and the lips. ... A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... In human language, a phoneme is the theoretical representation of a sound. ... In phonetics, an allophone is one of several similar phones that belong to the same phoneme. ...


There is also a syllabic nasal which forms a syllable nucleus by itself. When it precedes a vowel it is a velar nasal [ŋ], e.g. n ò lọ [ŋ ò lọ] 'I didn't go'. In other cases its place of articulation is homorganic with the following consonant, for example ó ń lọ [ó ń lọ] 'he is going', ó ń fò [ó ɱ́ fò] 'he is jumping'. A nasal stop is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... In phonetics and phonology, the nucleus is the central part of the syllable, mostly commonly a vowel. ... Sagittal section of nose mouth, pharynx, and larynx. ...


Tone

Yoruba is a tonal language with three level tones: High, Low and Mid; the latter is the default tone. [12] Every syllable must have at least one tone; a syllable containing a long vowel can have two tones. Contour tones (i.e. rising or falling tone melodies) are usually analysed as separate tones occurring on adjacent tone bearing units and thus have no phonemic status.[13] Tones are marked by use of the acute accent for High tone (á, ń), the grave accent for Low tone (à, ǹ); Mid is unmarked, except on syllabic nasals where it is indicated using a macron (a, n̄); see below). Examples: This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

  • H: ó bẹ́ 'he jumped'; síbí 'spoon'
  • M: ó bẹ 'he is forward'; ara 'body'
  • L: ó bẹ̀ 'he asks for pardon'; ọ̀kọ̀ 'spear'

Assimilation and elision

When a word precedes another word beginning with a vowel, assimilation or deletion ('elision') of one of the vowels often takes place [14]. In fact, since syllables in Yoruba normally end in a vowel, and most nouns start with one, this is a very common phenomenon, and indeed only is absent in very slow, unnatural speech. The orthography here follows speech in that word divisions are normally not indicated in words that are contracted as a result of assimilation or elision: ra ẹjarẹja 'buy fish'. Sometimes however, authors may choose to use an inverted comma to indicate an elided vowel as in ní ilén’ílé 'in the house'.


Long vowels within words usually signal that a consonant has been elided word-internally. In such cases, the tone of the elided vowel is retained, e.g. àdìròààrò 'hearth'; koríkokoóko 'grass'; òtítóòótó 'truth'.


Grammar

Yoruba is an isolating language. Basic constituent order is subject, verb, object (SVO), as in ó na Adé 'he hit Adé'. The bare verb stem denotes a completed action (often called perfect); tense and aspect are marked by preverbal particles such as ń 'imperfect/present continuous', ti 'past'. Negation is expressed by a preverbal particle . Serial verb constructions are common, as in many other languages of West Africa. An analytic language (or isolating language) is a language in which the vast majority of morphemes are free morphemes and considered to be full-fledged words. By contrast, in a synthetic language, a word is composed of agglutinated or fused morphemes that denote its syntactic meanings. ... SVO is an acronym for several terms: SVO denotes the sequence Subject Verb Object in Linguistic typology. ... The serial verb construction is a syntactic phenomenon common in many African and Asian languages. ...


Yoruba has a distinction between human and non-human nouns; probably a remainder of the noun class system of proto-Niger-Congo, the distinction is only apparent in the fact that the two groups require different interrogative particles: tani for human nouns (‘who?’) and kini for non-human nouns (‘what?’). The associative construction (covering possessive/genitive and related notions) consists of juxtaposing nouns in the order modified-modifier as in inú àpótí {inside box} 'the inside of the box', fìlà Àkàndé 'Akande’s cap' or àpótí aṣọ 'box for clothes' (Bamgboṣe 1966:110, Rowlands 1969:45-6). More than two nouns can be juxtaposed: rélùweè abẹ́ ilẹ̀ (railway under ground) ‘underground railway’, inú àpótí aṣọ 'the inside of the clothes box'. In the rare case where this results in two possible readings, disambiguation is left to the context. Possessive can refer to: Possessive case Possessive pronoun This is a disambiguation page &#8212; a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


There are two ‘prepositions’: ‘on, at, in’ and ‘onto, towards’. The former indicates location and absence of movement, the latter encodes location/direction with movement (Sachnine 1997:19). Position and direction are expressed by these prepositions in combination with spatial relational nouns like orí ‘top’, apá ‘side’, inú ‘inside’, etí ‘edge’, abẹ́ ‘under’, ilẹ̀ ‘down’, etc. Many of these spatial relational terms are historically related to body-part terms.


Vocabulary

To the north of Yorubaland, Hausa is spoken. The long-standing contact between the Yoruba and the Hausa culture has influenced both languages. The imprint left by Hausa on Yoruba can be seen most clearly in the many loan-words. Two kinds of Hausa loan words can be distinguished: first, words of pure Hausa origin; and secondly, words that can be traced back to Arabic which have entered the Yoruba lexis through Hausa. Examples of the first type include gèjíyà 'tiredness' (< H. gàjíyàà), Ọbángíjì 'Almighty God' (< H. Ùbángíjì, lit. 'father of the house'). Examples of the second type include words like àlùbáríkà 'blessing', àlàáfíà 'well-being', and àlùbọ́sà 'onion' (Oyètádé & Buba 2000). Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 24 million people, and as a second language by about 15 million more. ... Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ...


Literature

Main article: Yoruba literature

Yoruba has an extensive literature, both oral and written. Yoruba literature is the spoken and written literature of the Yoruba people, the largest ethno-linguistic group in Nigeria, and in Africa. ...


Oral literature

Ifá is a system of divination that originated in West Africa among the Yoruba ethnic groups. ...

Written literature

Akinwande Oluwole Wole Soyinka (born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright. ... Nobel Prize in Literature medal. ... Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa MBE (1903 - 1963) was a Nigerian author who pioneered the Yorùbá language novel. ... Adebayo Faleti is a Nigerian poet, writer and actor. ... Professor Akinwunmi Isola (b. ... Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Afolabi Olabimtan (b. ...

Notes and references

Notes

  1. ^ Ethnologue 2005, Sachnine 1997
  2. ^ For discussion, see Hair 1967:6, 6n12; Fagborun 1994:13.
  3. ^ Fagborun comments that '[i]t is definitely not morphologically indigenous' (1994:13).
  4. ^ Bowdich, T.E. (1819), Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee, pp. 209, 505, as cited in Hair (1967)
  5. ^ Adetugbọ 1973:192-3. (See also the section Dialects.)
  6. ^ This widely followed classification is based on Adetugbọ’s (1982) dialectological study — the classification originated in his 1967 PhD thesis The Yoruba Language in Western Nigeria: Its Major Dialect Areas. See also Adetugbọ 1973:183-193.
  7. ^ Adetugbọ 1973:185.
  8. ^ Cf. for example the following remark by Adetugbọ (1967, as cited in Fagborun 1994:25): "While the orthography agreed upon by the missionaries represented to a very large degree the phonemes of the Abẹokuta dialect, the morpho-syntax reflected the Ọyọ-Ibadan dialects".
  9. ^ After Bamgboṣe (1969:166).
  10. ^ Notably, Ayọ Bamgboṣe (1966:8).
  11. ^ Abraham in his Dictionary of Modern Yoruba deviates from this custom, explicitly indicating the nasality of the vowel; thus, inú is found under inún, etc.
  12. ^ Several authors have argued that the Mid-tone is not specified underlyingly, but rather is assigned by a default rule (Pulleyblank 1986, Fọlarin 1987, Akinlabi 1985). Evidence includes examples like the following:
    rí 'see' aṣọ 'clothing' → ráṣọ 'see clothing', contrasted with rí 'see' ọ̀bẹ 'knife' → rọ́!bẹ 'see a knife'
    In the first example, the final vowel of the verb is deleted but its High tone easily attaches to the first syllable of aṣọ, the Mid tone of which disappears without a trace. In the second example, the Low tone of the first syllable of ọ̀bẹ is not as easily deleted; it causes a downstep (marked by !, i.e., a lowering of subsequent tones. The ease with which the Mid tone gives way is attributed to it not being specified underlyingly. Cf. Bamgboṣe 1966:9 (who calls the downstep effect 'the assimilated low tone').
  13. ^ Cf. Bamgboṣe 1966:6: The so-called glides (…) are treated in this system as separate tones occurring on a sequence of two syllables.
  14. ^ See Bamgboṣe 1965a for more details. See also Ward 1952:123–133 ('Chapter XI: Abbreviations and Elisions').

Underspecification is a phenomenon in theoretical linguistics where certain features are omitted in underlying representations. ... Downstep is a phonemic or phonetic downward shift of tone between the syllables or words of a tonal language. ...

References

  • Adetugbọ, Abiọdun (1982). "Towards a Yoruba Dialectology", in Afọlayan (ed.): Yoruba Language and Literature, 207-224. 
  • Afọlayan, Adebisi (ed.) (1982). Yoruba language and literature. Ifẹ / Ibadan: University of Ifẹ Press / Ibadan University Press. 
  • Ajayi, J.F. Ade (1960). "How Yoruba was Reduced to Writing". Odu: A Journal of Yoruba, Ẹdo and Related Studies (8): 49-58. 
  • Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1965a). "Assimilation and contraction in Yoruba". Journal of West African Languages (2): 21-27. 
  • Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1965b). Yoruba Orthography. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press. 
  • Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1969). "Yoruba", in Elizabeth Dunstan (ed.): Twelve Nigerian Languages. New York: Africana Publishing Corp, 166. ISBN 0-8419-0031-0. 
  • Fagborun, J. Gbenga (1994). The Yoruba Koiné – its History and Linguistic Innovations, LINCOM Linguistic Edition vol. 6., München/Newcastle: LINCOM Europe. 
  • Fresco, Max (1970). Topics in Yoruba Dialect Phonology, (Studies in African Linguistics Supplement Vol. 1), Los Angeles: University of California, Dept. of Linguistics/ASC. 
  • Ladipọ, Duro (1972). Ọba kò so (The king did not hang) — Opera by Duro Ladipọ, (Transcribed and translated by R.G. Armstrong, Robert L. Awujọọla and Val Ọlayẹmi from a tape recording by R. Curt Wittig), Ibadan: Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. 
  • Oyètádé, B. Akíntúndé & Buba, Malami (2000) 'Hausa Loan Words in Yorùbá', in Wolff & Gensler (eds.) Proceedings of the 2nd WoCAL, Leipzig 1997, Köln: Rüdiger Köppe, 241-260.

History

  • Adetugbọ, Abiọdun (1973). "The Yoruba Language in Yoruba History", in Biobaku, S.O. (ed.): Sources of Yoruba History, 176-204. 
  • Biobaku, S.O. (ed.) (1973). Sources of Yoruba History. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 
  • Hair, P.E.H. (1967). "The Early Study of Yoruba, 1825-1850", The Early Study of Nigerian Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Law, R.C.C. (1973a). "Contemporary Written Sources", in Biobaku, S.O. (ed.): Sources of Yoruba History, 9-24. 
  • Law, R.C.C. (1973b). "Traditional History", in Biobaku, S.O. (ed.): Sources of Yoruba History, 25-40. 

Dictionaries

  • Abraham, Roy Clive (1958). Dictionary of Modern Yoruba. London: University of London Press. 
  • CMS (Canon C.W. Wakeman, ed.) (1950[1937]). A Dictionary of the Yoruba language. Ibadan: University Press. 
  • Delanọ, Oloye Isaac (1958). Atúmọ̀ ede Yoruba [short dictionary and grammar of the Yoruba language]. London: Oxford University Press. 
  • Sachnine, Michka (1997). Dictionnaire yorùbá-français, suivi d’un index français-yorùbâ. Paris: Karthala. 

Grammars and sketches

  • Adéwọlé, L.O. (2000). Beginning Yorùbá (Part I), Monograph Series no. 9, Cape Town: CASAS. 
  • Adéwọlé, L.O. (2001). Beginning Yorùbá (Part II), Monograph Series no. 10, Cape Town: CASAS. 
  • Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1966). A Grammar of Yoruba, [West African Languages Survey / Institute of African Studies], Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Crowther, Samuel Ajayi (1852). Yoruba Grammar. London. 
    the first grammar of Yoruba.
  • Rowlands, E.C. (1969). Teach Yourself Yoruba. London: The English Universities Press. 
  • Ward, Ida (1952). An introduction to the Yoruba language. Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons. 

Ida Caroline Ward (1880 - 1949) was a British linguist working mainly on African languages who has done influential work in the domains of phonology and tonology. ...

External links

Leave a Knowcycle calling card to collaborate on the topic of the
Yoruba language
Image:Wikipedia-logo-yo.png
Yoruba language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  Results from FactBites:
 
Yoruba language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3052 words)
Yoruba is an isolating, tonal language with SVO syntax.
Yoruba is classified as a Niger-Congo language of the Yoruboid branch of Defoid, Benue-Congo.
Yoruba is a tonal language with three level tones: High, Low and Mid; the latter is the default tone.
Yor?b? (678 words)
Even though the official language of Nigeria is English, Yorùbá together with Igbo and Hausa are the quazi- official languages that serve as lingua francas for speakers of the 400 odd languages spoken in Nigeria.
It became one of the first African languages to have a written grammar and a dictionary that were published in the mid 1800s.
Since Yoruba is related to Xhosa and Zulu, one can estimate that it is also a Category II language.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m