“THE DEATH OF YORUBA LANGUAGE?-YORUBA IS DYING-YORUBAS ARE BUSY MIXING/DESTROYING THE LANGUAGE WITH ENGLISH-AT YORUBA WEDDING CEREMONIES,CHURCHES,PRIVATE SCHOOLS ETC.-STOP KILLING YORUBA LANGUAGE:YORUBA RUNU!

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FROM speakyoruba.blogspot.com

LEARN YORUBA LANGUAGE-THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE!

Saturday, July 3, 2010
“THE DEATH OF YORUBA LANGUAGE?”-BY YEYE AKILIMALI FUNUA OLADE(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER,2005
((originally first published in the guardian newspaper)

She is the Chief librarian of the African Heritage Research Library,and in this article, makes a case for Yoruba language

THAT English, the ready-made weapon of British-American cultural imperialism, is not just trying to destroy African languages, but is attacking all other languages worldwide, I agree. Ojoogbon Akinwunmi Isola, related to me during a discussion with Ojoogbon Babatunde Fafunwa, the problem the French are having with English. He stated that the French government had recently warned all French broadcasters to stop polluting French with English, as is now popular in general French conversation, or face dismissal.

The greatest tragedy in Yorubaland today, however, regarding language is the dominating trend to speak only English to their children, making it their first language, then sending them to private nursery school, who only teach in English and causing Yoruba children to value English above all other languages! (After all their WAEC will not be in Yoruba, one highly*educated Yoruba man told me!) And see the result! These English-speaking children will rudely use English to disrespect all and sundry (after all English does not have pronouns of respect for anybody). Ask them or some of their parents and they will tell you they don’t know the original Yoruba for the popular phrases that many literate and non-literate leaders and followers commonly use throughout Yorubaland.

As a Black-American, who has come back to her Yoruba roots these past 26 years in Nigeria, I want to break down in tears over this “iyonu”! How can Yorubas kill their own language? What sort of curse is this? Obviously the curse of european-american imperialism/colonialism/slavery! As a result I have declared “War Against Destroying Our Nigerian Languages” from today. And it must start from Yorubaland. Are not the Yorubas the “wisest and the greatest”? As everything good seems to start from Yorubaland in Nigeria, “let it be so”. Full-blooded Yoruba, as of today should consciously seek not to mix English with their Yoruba. Yoruba leaders must slowly speak, watching their tongues, not to include any English word inside their Yoruba.

It has gotten to a state where such leaders cannot avoid mixing English as they speak Yoruba and their every sentence includes whole English phrases! The late Yoruba leader, Oloye Bola Ige was a pure Yoruba language speaker and other Yoruba leaders should follow his example. All clubs and organisations in Yorubaland should hold bi-annual and annual Yoruba Speaking Competitions for the “Best Yoruba Speaker”, with heavy monetary prizes (N20,000 plus) to get Yorubas to consciously practice speaking Yoruba without any English mixture. Yoruba broadcasters are guilty of promoting this deadly trend. In schools, Yoruba teachers must stress the importance of not mixing Yoruba. All private schools in Yorubaland must be required to have classes in Yoruba language from nursery through secondary school levels. And any student who fails to pass Yoruba in Yorubaland must not be allowed to graduate!

The Yoruba press must be commended for indeed holding the banner high and not polluting Yoruba with English. More effort, however, must be made to eliminate “pasito”, “professor”, “dokita” words as most of them have genuine Yoruba words that can be enlisted and popularised among their readers. Yoruba departments in Nigerian and foreign universities must start churning out more research on modernising Yoruba for technical, scientific and other vocabulary and making it available through special courses for the media and the general Yoruba public. Yoruba writers must begin to write and publish bilingual publications. For any publication they publish in English, its Yoruba equivalent must be done. In the same book (Yoruba-from the front, turn upside down, English from the back) is one way to do it or in a title simultaneously released. More books, magazines, other publications like club histories, year books must be published in Yoruba. Yoruba music too, has been assaulted by Yoruba artists, unknowingly killing Yoruba language. The mixture of English has reached a new high in Fuji. Yoruba gospel has started mixing English inside Yoruba songs within Yoruba cassettes, adding along side complete English songs! Olodumare!

Such artists must be warned—no more killing of the language in this manner. If it is English you want then put that on an English cassette. Do not replace our God-given Yoruba in a Yoruba music cassette! Yoruba movie practitioners are perhaps the biggest offenders and must take up this challenge to save Yoruba language. English nixing should absolutely be banned in all Yoruba films. I have not researched the topic but I suspect that Hausa, is probably the most unpolluted language in Nigeria, and in all their films that I have seen no English there at all. The beauty of the Yoruba language must be showcased by having more Yoruba Cultural Festivals to be held by all clubs and organisations in Yorubaland annually.

Odua’s People Congress and other enforcers of law and order in Yorubaland must be in the vanguard, not only by stressing among its members that Yoruba should not be polluted but by holding bi*Annual Yoruba Speaking competitions for the “Best Yoruba Speaker”. They must lead the way in correct Y oruba speaking and have literacy classes for all their members to learn to read in Yoruba and encourag them to speak Yoruba in the home to their children: Yoruba must become again the first language of Yorubas at home and abroad. A private Yoruba school system must be set up. These schools will teach all subjects in Yoruba from nursery up to the university eventually. If it must be like a “mushroom school”, starting with nursery school first and adding class by class this must be done. This Yoruba Academy can be supported extensively by Yorubas abroad, eventually having board houses were Yoruba children from abroad can join their counterparts here, (including all “classes of children, street children etc.) This Yoruba Academy will inculcate Yoruba culture into our children also. With the help of our Yoruba scholars we can build on Ojoogbon Babatunde Fafunwa’s successful “Mother-tongue Education” at University of Ife in the 60s. Afterall, even UNESCO has proven that Mother-tongue Education is the best for all children.

Let Yoruba Language not die! God has given the Yoruba race a language to be proud of, anywhere in the world (there are at least 60 million or more Yoruba speakers throughout the world). Let’s not destroy it with our own mouths! Let us pass it on in its richness to our children, daily in our home. Let us proudly speak it daily, read it daily, champion it daily. Yorubas cannot remain great without our language. And let us be in the vanguard of saving all Nigerian and African languages. Biu, Ogoni, Urhorbo, Igele, Ogoja, Ebira, Idoma, Efik, Tiv, Langale: Tangale, Kagona, Kutep, Oron, Legdo, Bubiaro, Esan, Afima, lsekiri, Ijaw, Edo, Ikenne, Joba, Gwari, lbo, Igala, Hausa, speakers are you listening?

http://www.tribune.com.ng/16062007/arts.html
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06-16-2007 11:46 AM#2vince
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Death ke?!Iro o!Agbedo!
Eledumare teaming up with Orunmila will never let it happen!
Eewo orisha!
Ko gbodo shele!
Ka ma ri!
Long live,yoruba language and all the other african lingos,ojare!
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06-16-2007 11:54 AM#3vince
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The writer is a little bit too optimistic,though.Speaking yoruba without polluting it….sorry,supporting it with ede geesi in this modern times,is a bit dificult o!But i can understand where he/she is coming from,and going to.
Now here is something really strange(just in case none of you have observed it yet),when you try to “speak” 100% yoruba,you’ll mostly find the going very tough,but start writing it and you find it a lot easier!Now,that’s weird!How can one be able to write a language in it’s pure form,while one finds it so tough to speak it?
Maybe somebody can explain that to me.

My final parting salvo is this,”Kolo metality is still very much alive and kicking.Africans are still playing the i-want-to-belong-in-a-whiteman’s-world game as if their lives depend on it.”

Don’t be surprised to discover that quite a number of africans unconsciously harbour the belief that the more western you are,the closer you are to entering the kingdom of heaven.No english name,no visa to heaven.No ability to speak english,and the gates of heaven will remain closed on you for eternity.
It is a neverending struggle to “fit in”, for the black race.Pathetic.
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06-16-2007 12:41 PM#4praizes2000
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Yoruba cannot remain great without our language.

True talk my sista, i hope we will all learn especially the so called rich men that prefer private school for their kids.

What happened to afasefetepe, afahonferigipe my Yoruba langage that i learnt in my school (Naija) in those days.
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06-16-2007 01:08 PM#5kolinzo
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This writer is not lying at all o. Yoruba Language is not the only language gradually goint into extinction but the Yoruba local dialects as well. Kolo mentality has a lot to do with this. However, I have taken it upon myself to play my part of the Yoruba language preservation -which means Yooba would be the first language for my unborn child. What parts are you guys going to take?
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06-16-2007 02:10 PM#6Peaches
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tough one. My friend only a few weeks ago baptized her daughter: Mirabelle! I just wondered what was wrong with Motunrayo or Modupe or something like that. Shame!
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06-17-2007 06:53 AM#7vince
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Originally Posted by kolinzo
This writer is not lying at all o. Yoruba Language is not the only language gradually goint into extinction but the Yoruba local dialects as well. Kolo mentality has a lot to do with this. However, I have taken it upon myself to play my part of the Yoruba language preservation -which means Yooba would be the first language for my unborn child. What parts are you guys going to take?
If i ever start making movies,99% of them will be in naija lingos,and a lion share will be in my own native tongue,yooba.That will be my own preservation contribution.
And no foreign name for my pickin,as well.
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06-17-2007 03:31 PM#8Tiron
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Yes, we all have a part to play in keeping our indigenous languages alive.

I have an unusual and uncommon Yoruba first name. When I first started in my professional field, students and fellow colleagues used to smile whenever I introduced myself to a new group. No one EVER forgot/forgets my name.

My children, though UK born and bred, also have Yoruba names. They also understand some Yoruba. I speak it to them diluted with English in most cases I admit!

I have this British Naija friend called Shola. She gets mad whenever some of her “Asan” Naija friends or English colleagues/friends pronounce her name “Show-u-lar”. In fact, it was one of the reasons why she fell out with an “asan”, plum-in-her-mouth, friend of hers recently.
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06-17-2007 04:36 PM#9gqbabe
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http://www.tribune.com.ng/16062007/arts.html
i agree wif the text in purple but i think the text in bold is bullcrap!
http://r.yuwie.com/partypeoplepresents – Get paid to browse!!!

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06-18-2007 08:16 AM#10vince
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Originally Posted by gqbabe
i agree wif the text in purple but i think the text in bold is bullcrap!
I think it is in order.A concrete,even draconian steps like that need to be taken to preserve that precious gift from God to us,yoruba language.
The british did it to us with their language and left us to continue to do it to ourselves(no english,no graduation).
So why can’t the yorubas do it for the sake of preserving their own language in yorubaland?
Bullcrap,it is not.IMHO.

I just think that those sleeping yoruba intellects need to wake up from their slumber and get down to updating and upgrading yoruba language to fit the modern era.
Telling modern yorubas to start speaking old yoruba is very unfrealistic.The language needs to be modernised to fit our era.
How they set out to do this is their headache.Shebi they are the intellects.
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06-18-2007 11:51 AM#11Gen Sani Abacha
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Originally Posted by vince
If i ever start making movies,99% of them will be in naija lingos,and a lion share will be in my own native tongue,yooba.That will be my own preservation contribution.
And no foreign name for my pickin,as well.
That’s why I have made a commitment to write fiction in Yoruba as well as English!
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06-18-2007 11:54 AM#12Gen Sani Abacha
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Originally Posted by vince
I think it is in order.A concrete,even draconian steps like that need to be taken to preserve that precious gift from God to us,yoruba language.
The british did it to us with their language and left us to continue to do it to ourselves(no english,no graduation).
So why can’t the yorubas do it for the sake of preserving their own language in yorubaland?
Bullcrap,it is not.IMHO.

I just think that those sleeping yoruba intellects need to wake up from their slumber and get down to updating and upgrading yoruba language to fit the modern era.
Telling modern yorubas to start speaking old yoruba is very unfrealistic.The language needs to be modernised to fit our era.
How they set out to do this is their headache.Shebi they are the intellects.
They have already been on it for the past 30 years. Check out Prof Longe’s efforts towards a Yoruba language publication of the mathematical theories underpining computer science. He did this back in the early 1980s. Someone else also published a dictionary of Engineering physics in Yoruba, that was in the early 1990s. You should try to find out the activities/publications and research of the Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria(Egbe Ilosiwaju Imo Ijinle Yoruba Naijiria).

ciao
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06-18-2007 02:56 PM#13vince
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Originally Posted by Gen Sani Abacha
They have already been on it for the past 30 years. Check out Prof Longe’s efforts towards a Yoruba language publication of the mathematical theories underpining computer science. He did this back in the early 1980s. Someone else also published a dictionary of Engineering physics in Yoruba, that was in the early 1990s. You should try to find out the activities/publications and research of the Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria(Egbe Ilosiwaju Imo Ijinle Yoruba Naijiria).

ciao
All their efforts since all that time has little influence on the yoruba acaedemia,talkless of on the common man.And that is the sticking point.
These yoruba studies association,does it have a website?I am keen to link up.
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06-18-2007 03:32 PM#14gqbabe
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when i was younger, my mom used to yab me tht when God was creating me He put cotton buds in my ear cos other than english i dnt understand any other language. Now if it is made compulsory that you pass yoruba to graduate, then some1 like me wld never graduate. Or if tht person managed to pass, then they’d not be able to communicate wif non-yorubas, as the likelihood of them understandn another language is negligible!
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06-19-2007 04:25 AM#15Gen Sani Abacha
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Originally Posted by vince
All their efforts since all that time has little influence on the yoruba acaedemia,talkless of on the common man.And that is the sticking point.
These yoruba studies association,does it have a website?I am keen to link up.
Remember Prof Akinwunmi Isola, the author of Oleku the book and the scriptwriter of the film ? He is part of that cadre of academics. They have a lot of input into the teaching syllabus of Yoruba language. They also act as consultants sometimes for major Yoruba movies. They also advise government on language policy(although the govt doesn’t seem to take any notice of their advise!).
I don’t the Yoruba Studies Association has a website, neither do their sister organisation, the Yoruba Teachers Association of Nigeria.
UP ISI-EWU!! UP NIGERIA!!!

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14 Responses to ““THE DEATH OF YORUBA LANGUAGE?-YORUBA IS DYING-YORUBAS ARE BUSY MIXING/DESTROYING THE LANGUAGE WITH ENGLISH-AT YORUBA WEDDING CEREMONIES,CHURCHES,PRIVATE SCHOOLS ETC.-STOP KILLING YORUBA LANGUAGE:YORUBA RUNU!”

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  3. Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:

    from gyardian newspaper 2005

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    Saving Yoruba Language

    Professor Adeboye Babalola’s response to my article “The Death of Yoruba Language?” in The Guardian, August 8, was enlightening. It is the tiredless efforts of such Yoruba scholars that have academically placed Yoruba on the world map. Now we have Google in Yoruba as a result of such hardworking scholars! We want to build on this solid foundation that Babalola, Akinwunmi Isola, Oladipupo Yemitan, Adebayo Faleti and so many others have laid.

    In an amended version of the same article I have advanced that all state legislatures in Yorubaland must declare Yoruba as their first language of discourse. Here the legislative terms already worked out in Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa will come into use! Also it should be noted that Yoruba on the World Wide Web is booming. Tiwantiwa, (uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/tiwantiwa), created by Molara Wood in London is protecting the purity of the Yoruba language and should be supported by clicking on and joining its growing membership.

    The response to the article has been tremendous from all over the Yoruba World, so I look forward to a soon to be announced Conference on “Saving Yoruba Language” to be held both in Nigeria and the USA. I have talked on the web and in workplaces where I go in Nigeria to many people as a result and have received many suggestions on how we will save Yoruba and other Nigerian languages. One female security guard, after reading the article promptly declared that from that day forward all Yoruba speakers on the staff would be corrected and fined by her to make sure they stopped polluting Yoruba!

    Then she proudly corrected herself and addressed me as “Iya” instead of the “Mama” she had minutes before been calling me! One large Lagos company I visited and took time to pass copies of my articles around to read, had the female receptionist organising staff there to a meeting where ogas of each section would be convinced to stop mixing and to issue fines for any mixture to be collected and used for charitable donations!

    On the Net I was written to about the heavy assault of “born-again” churches on Yoruba speaking in the church and outside. I replied , as a Christian myself that “righteous ” members should organise “Yoruba services” and evangelise so much in the community that these services would become the most attended, a feat which I am embarking on in my own church.

    Keep the suggestions flowing and act on solutions that occur to you O Great Nigerians and Yoruba, Urohbo, Ogoja, Ibo, Gwari and all other endangered Nigerian languages will be saved!

    Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade

  4. kambiri Says:

    In Trinidad we are now trying to learn Yoruba with a Course set up by both the UWI school of Languages and UTT.Really I never thought about being in the classes until recently and now that I have read your article I realise the need, it was always my opinion that when I get to Nigeria people will be speaking English anyway. So now I have a different perspective on it this is my new goal.

    • Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:

      Kambiri, my beloved aburo-YOU MUST LEARN YORUBA LANGUAGE NOW! YOU MUST SPEAK IT AND START CORRECTING ANYONE WHO IS MIXING THE LANGUAGE SO THAT WE CAN SAVE YORUBA LANGUAGE! THE YORUBAS IN NIGERIA DON’T CARE/UNDERSTAND THE SERIOUSNESS OF THIS AND WE YORUBAS FROM ABROAD WILL MAKE THEM WAKE UP!

  5. Ajani Says:

    Bravo for addressing this issue… this is rampant across all over Africa. Africa is dying slowly and slowly; and we’re doing this to ourselves. Very sad indeed.

    • Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:

      EVERY YORUBA CAN DO THEY PART TO SAVE YORUBA. IN YOUR PRAYER POINT ASK OLODUMARE HOW YOU CAN SAVE YORUBA EVERYDAY. “EACH ON CORRECT ON”-EVERYTIME A YORUBA MIXES INFRONT OF YOU,PROVIDE THE CORRECT YORUBA SO THAT HE/SHE WILL CORRECT HERSELF!

  6. Sesan Says:

    We Yorubas living in Denmark are trying our best to make sure our language does not vanish, we organise Yoruba class for our children born her and our family living here in Denmark, for instance some Nigerian married to many white men and women here i am happy to tell u dt ome of them attends the school and speak Yoruba. For further info visit, yorubasindenmark.org

    • Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:

      E KU SE! E KU TOJU EDE YORUBA DAADAA! I AM PROMOTING “BEST YORUBA SPEAKER CONTESTS” WITH HEAVY MONETARY PRIZES TO BRIBE YORUBAS TO SPEAK YORUBA WITHOUT MIXING! AT ANY ANNUAL MEETING,GATHERING OF YORUBAS HAVE THESE CONTEST TO SEE HOW LONG A YORUBA CAN SPEAK YORUBA WITHOUT MIXING-15 MINUTES,30 MINUTES…AT IGBEYAWO OMO MI WE WILL HAVE THIS CONTEST AND THE PRIZE WILL BE N10,000! LET’S THINK OF PRACTICAL WAYS TO STOP YORUBA FROM DYING! CONTINUE THE FIGHT TO SAVE YORUBA IN DENMARK(OF ALL PLACES!)CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG- speakyoruba.blogspot.com

  7. Adeniji Taoheed Ishola Says:

    Ẹ̀yin éyán mi, Yorùbá l’óni ká sọ̀rọ̀ ká fa kòmóòkun yọ. Kíwá lódé tí a kò lè gbe l’árugẹ. I am hundred percent Yorùbá.

  8. Adeleke Owoade Philip Says:

    E mi ni omo alade aladikun,
    omo alabgede oyeerin
    akorin bowu
    omo arorin tunrin ro
    agbede susu lona ire
    omo jagunjagun ti nbe ni molete
    agboyin ogun dide.

    It is so bad these days that many of us do not want to bear yoruba names let alone speaking yoruba language, amazingly, they don’t even have good good control of the said english languaage they are proud of. I am a typical viellage boy and ready to take the glory of yoruba culture to any level the good God enables me. Yoruba is the richest nation in the world, the best cultural heritage you can evre imagine. God was so magnanimious to yoruba race that He endowed us with all these values and cultural assets. the best language my children speak is YORUBA, english is secondary to me.
    But our political leaders are lossing focus as they do not emphasise on our language and culture again in our schools. Help appeal to them to remember that posterity will evrer wait for us.
    Adeleke Owoade Philip

  9. Tola Says:

    This is a great article. What is urgently needed is a PRACTICAL SOLUTION.

    Tola

    • Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:

      Beeni o! Start with organizing “Best Yoruba Speaker Contests” for all the clubs you belong to-speaking PERFECT Yoruba for 15 minutes without one word of oyinbo! Get money Prizes-N10,000 ati UP! Then any Yoruba Igbeyawo Reception must also have ! We can bribe Yorubas to stop mixing!

    • Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:

      Beeni o! Start with organizing “Best Yoruba Speaker Contests” for all the clubs you belong to-speaking PERFECT Yoruba for 15 minutes without one word of oyinbo! Get money Prizes-N10,000 ati UP! Then any Yoruba Igbeyawo Reception must also have ! We can bribe Yorubas to stop mixing

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