About This Site

Geographic Location

Yoruba is a native West African language spoken by 22 million people in Southwest Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Brazil, and the United States. ₁  In Nigeria the language is spoken in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo Osun, Kwara, Lagos States and the western part of Kogi State. Yoruba is part of the Niger-Congo language family which is composed of 1419 languages in Central and South Africa.  There are twelve to twenty-six different dialects of the language but the three most common are Northwest Yoruba, Southeast Yoruba and Central Yoruba. ₂


Orthography and Linguistics

The Yoruba alphabet consists of twenty-five Roman letters. It is a tonal language which means that the meaning of a word can change based on the tone in which the word is said. There are three basic tones—low tone, mid tone, and high tone—which are depicted on the vowels of the word. There are no consonants in the Yoruba language, and most words end with a vowel or nasal sound. ₃


 1. http://www.omniglot.com/writing/yoruba.htm

 2. http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Profile.aspx?LangID=22&menu=004

 3. http://www.transparent.com/learn-yoruba/overview.html