Last weekend I had some fun learning Yoruba during the #LangJam Challenge. Because Yoruba is not a language I particularly am interested in, I wasn’t too concerned about making much progress in the language. Instead, I took the opportunity to simply familiarise myself with the language a bit, and have a look around for resources, in case anyone else wants to learn Yoruba.
Learn Yoruba on YouTube
YouTuber Diamante Box has 35 lessons and Yoruba language videos in her Yoruba Lessons Playlist. I quite liked her lesson videos. She didn’t only give Yoruba vocabulary, but also gave examples of situations in which phrases or sentences would be spoken. Most of the vocabulary were phrases or sentences, rather than simply a word. There are only a few phrases per video, but it was entertaining listening to her. It was also interesting listening to the Yoruba language videos she has recorded (ie videos about other topics, speaking in Yoruba). Particularly interesting was the mid-sentence code-switching, like in her video “5 Things I Love About Being Black”.
FSI Basic Yoruba Audio Files
Other than these YouTube videos, I also listened to the first couple of tracks of the Foreign Service Institute’s public domain (ie free) Basic Yoruba course. These courses are designed for intensive, in-class learning for Diplomats and other public service individuals, but have a lot of great material – and did I mention… FREE! 🙂
As a tonal language, Yoruba is a little tricky to get the hang of, but not TOO tricky. There are three tones, and they aren’t sliding tones, so not too bad.
It was interesting to watch the Yoruba videos and see the mannerisms of Blessing (of Diamonte Box) cross over from Yoruba to English, and how some of them don’t. It’s difficult to know what is of Western influence, and how much is Yorubu culture of course, but fun to watch.
I haven’t ever considered learning Yoruba before, or any African language with the possible exception of Kiswahili, but if I was going to learn, Yoruba sounds like a good option. At least there are some resources for it!
So that was #LangJam July 2019… it’s possible that there may be another Indigenous Languages LanguageJam later this year, continuing to celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019. So make sure you get yourself on the notification email list and put the next challenge in your calendar for later this year!)