Yoruba Matchmaking Dialogue Exploration

Objective: To enhance Yoruba language skills through reading, discussing, and acting out a dialogue about match-making, while learning related cultural and linguistic aspects. By the end of the activity, learners will be able to discuss the topic of matchmaking in Yoruba by exploring cultural contexts for better language understanding.


  1. The learner will read the dialogue centered around match-making in Yoruba culture: “Ọkọ yẹ̀yẹ́,” found on pages 41-42 of Yoruba Wuyi.
  2. The learner will read the dialogue individually and underline unfamiliar words or phrases. Write down new vocabulary on a white paper.
  3. The mentor will discuss the meanings of the written words with the learner and provide explanations. Encourage learners to share their interpretations and thoughts first.

Key vocabulary:

ọkọ yẹ̀yẹ́ (a ridiculous husband)

A fẹ́ fẹ́ ọmọ yin. (We want to marry your child.)

Ọmọ wa wo? (Which child?)

Àkọ́bí ( first-born )

Ìlú yin jinna. (Your town is far.)

Ilé yin kere. (Your house is small.)

Kòkó yin ò so. (Your cocoa do not bear fruit.)

Ọmọ ilé yin ò mọ̀wẹ́ (Your children are not educated/bright.)

Ìwa yin ò daa tó. (Your character is not good enough.)

Ẹ n muti. (drink)

Ẹ n mugbó. (smoke)

Ẹ n bú mi. (insult)

lẹ́nu kan (In a word)

Ẹ jẹ ọmọ yin nigba naa! (In that case you can eat your daughter!)


  1. The mentor will explain the dramatic expressions in the dialogue and the significance of match-making in Yoruba culture, emphasizing family values, traditions, and social dynamics.
  2. The learner will create a new script of dialogue based on the matchmaking dialogue, incorporating newly learned vocabulary and cultural insights.
  3. The learner will give the script to the mentor and act it out. During the process, the mentor will correct the expression and the learner’s pronunciation.


In the process of completing this activity, my understanding of the Yoruba language extended beyond mere translation. Obviously, “Ẹ jẹ ọmọ yin nigba naa!” doesn’t really mean the speaker wants the listener to go eat his daughter. I can grasp the nuances of the words and phrases, appreciating the context in which they were used and the cultural connotations they carried. Also, I knew “mọ iwe” is literally translated as “know book,” but when the elder says “Ọmọ yin mọ̀wé,” now I know it has a deeper connotation of “being bright (in school), having wisdom.” It was fascinating to see how language served as a gateway to understanding the cultural intricacies embedded within the dialogue. When proposing a marriage, Yoruba people say “A fẹ fẹ́ ọmọ yin.” It means “we (the family) want to marry your child.” This is quite different from some cultures that view marriage as an individual issue. I not only learned new words but also gained deeper insights into the way these words reflected the Yoruba way of life.



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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.