Yoruba refers to a dialect continuum in West Africa which has more than 25 million speakers. It belongs to the Niger-Congo languages family with most of its speakers being concentrated in Nigeria, Togo and Benin. Other regions where they are found in comparatively smaller numbers are Sierra Leone, Brazil, Cuba, Northern Ghana and also in the USA and UK. Yoruba is the native language of nearly 28 million Yoruba people. It is the third largest spoken among native African languages and serves as one of the official languages of Nigeria.

Tomedes works with a talented and highly experienced team of Yoruba language translation providers who bear expertise in translating between Yoruba and many other languages enabling us to provide Yoruba translation for a vast number of language pairs including Yoruba to English, and English to Yoruba translation.

  • Yoruba language may be referred to by different names depending upon the area where it is spoken. For example, in Cuba it is called Nago and in Sierra Leone Oku.
  • The written form of Yoruba first appeared in the 19th century.
  • Yoruba is described as an isolating, tonal language that follows a Subject-Verb-Object word order.
  • Along with referring to a collection of dialects and their speakers, the term Yoruba also refers to the standard written form of the language.
  • Although Yoruba is itself a dialect continuum it can be divided into several dialects. The various dialects spoken in Yorubaland of Nigeria can be grouped into three main dialect areas, they are Northwest, Central and Southeast. These groups of dialects are not divided sharply especially in the peripheral areas of dialectal regions which may display similarities with adjoining dialects.
  • Standard Yoruba is an independent member of the dialect cluster. It refers to the written form of the language which is taught at schools and used by newsreaders on radio broadcasts. It is based largely on the Ibadan and Ọyọ dialects but has also borrowed several features from other dialects. It also contains some features which are peculiar to itself, like the simplified vowel harmony system and foreign structures (calques from English).
  • Yoruba was written in the Ajami script in the 17th century. Modern Yoruba orthography has its origins in the early work of CMS missionaries who worked with the Aku in Freetown. These missionaries put together the vocabulary and also published short notes based on Yoruba grammar.
  • Yoruba orthography reflects actual speech to the maximum degree possible. It resembles the older orthography and uses the Latin alphabet which has been modified using the digraph gb and some diacritics.
  • Standard Yoruba uses seven oral and five nasal vowels. It is a tonal language having High, Low and Mid tones.
  • The Hausa language is spoken in the northern part of Yorubaland and there has been a long-standing contact between the Hausa and Yoruba culture which has influenced both languages. Consequently Yoruba has many loan-words from Hausa. These loan words are of two types, one being words that are of pure Hausa origin and the other being those words which originated in Arabic and entered the Yoruba vocabulary through Hausa.