Introduction to Yoruba

About The Yoruba Language

The term “Yoruba” describes both a language and an ethnic group, thus Yoruba language is spoken by the Yoruba people, that is, people who primarily identify as belonging to the Yoruba ethnic community. The Yoruba is a West African language spoken by approximately 50-55 million people worldwide. As first language, Yoruba is spoken in Southwestern Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Sierra Leone (Schleicher 2008). It is also dominant in Lagos state as well as parts of Kwara and Midwestern States of Nigeria (Oso 1975). The Yoruba language, culture and religion is also present in the Diaspora, in countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti. The Yoruba culture is intricately linked to Yoruba religious beliefs, observed both in Yorubaland West Africa and the diaspora. It is the most widely studied west African language, with extensive literature and prominent scholars. One such prominent scholar from Yorubaland is Wole Soyinka.


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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.