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Yoruba phrasebook

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Yorùbá is a language native to West Africa, mainly near the Bight of Benin. With over 38 million speakers worldwide, Yorùbá is easily the most influential language in all of Africa. It is spoken chiefly in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. Internationally, Yorùbá can be heard in England, Maryland, Texas, and New York.


Pronunciation guide[edit]

Vowels[edit]

A - [ah] like in the Spanish alphabet
E – [a] like “a” in skate
Ẹ - [eh] like the first “e” elephant
I – [ee] like in sweet
O – [o] like “o” in sofa
Ọ - [or] like the first “o” in octopus
U – [u] like “u” in blue

Consonants[edit]

B – [be] like in bed
D – [de] like in dead
F - [fe]

G - geh
Gb – [gbe] is a strong ‘b’ like sound as in the name of the NFL star Gbaja-Biamila
H -
J - [ji] like "jee" in Jeep
K – [ki] like in kilo
L – [li] like in Lisa
M – [mi] like in Miso soup
N – [ni] like the word ‘knee’
P – [kpee] a strong 'p' unlike any sound in English.
R – [ri] like 'ree' in reef
S – [si] like the word 'see'
Ṣ - [shi] like the letter 's' in the name of the singer, Sade.
T - [ti]
U - ooh
W - wee
Y - yee

Common diphthongs[edit]

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Hello? (informal
Bawo ni?
How are you? 
Ṣé àlãfíà ni?
Fine, thank you. 
A dupẹ, ẹ se!
What is your name? 
Kíni orúkọ rẹ?
What are your names? 
Kíni orúkọ yín? (plural but also used for politeness towards elders)
My name is ______ . 
Orúkọ mi n jẹ _____. / Orúkọ mi ni ____.
Nice to meet you. (informal
Inu mi dun lati mọ o.
Nice to meet you. (plural/honorific
Inu mi dun lati mọ yin
Please. 
(Ẹ) jọọ (note: [ẹ] is plural in Yoruba but also used in respect to elders)
Thank you. 
ẹ se / o se (note: [o] is singular and used amongst friends.)
You're welcome. 
Ko si nkan kan . (ko to ọpẹ)
Yes. 
bẹẹ ni
No. 
bẹẹ kọ / ó ti / ra ra
Excuse me. (getting attention
E jọwọ
Excuse me. (begging pardon
E ma binu (literally: "Don't be angry.")
I'm sorry. 
(E) pẹlẹ.
Goodbye 
O dabọ!
I can't speak Yorùbá [well]
N ko le sọ Yoruba [daradara] / N kò le gbọ́ èdè Yorùbá [daradara]
I speak Yoruba a little bit
Mo gbọ́ èdè Yorùbá díẹ̀.
Do you speak English? 
Ṣe o le sọ èdè oyinbo?
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Ṣe ẹnikẹni wa nibi ti o le sọ oyinbo?
Help! 
ẹ gba mi o! / ran mi lowo!
Look out! 
(E) wo bẹ yẹn!
Good morning. 
(Ẹ) ku ãrọ = E kãro
Good evening. 
(Ẹ) ku irolẹ = E kurole
Good night. 
(Ẹ) ku ale = E kaale
Good night (to sleep
O di ãrọ! (note: could also be used as a dismissal. It literally means till morning.)
I don't understand. 
Ko ye mi.
I understand. 
O ye mi.
I have a question. 
Mo ni ibeeri.
Where is the toilet? 
Nibo ni ilé igbọnsẹ wa?

Problems[edit]

I have a question? Mo ní ìbéèrè

Numbers[edit]

ọkan or ẹni or kan
(one)

eji or meji
(two)
mẹta
(three)
mẹrin
(four)
márùn
(five)
mẹfa
(six)
meje
(seven)
mẹjọ
(eight)
mẹsan
(nine)
mẹwa
(ten)
mọkanla
(eleven)
mejila
(twelve)
mẹtala
(thirteen)
mẹrinla
(fourteen)
mẹdogun
(fifteen) note: fourteen is the last number in Yoruba, besides those in the tenth position)
mẹrindilõgún
(sixteen) note: to make sixteen Yoruba will subtract four (mẹrin) from twenty (õgún)
mẹtadilõgún
(seventeen)
mejidilõgún
(eighteen)
mọkandilõgún
(nineteen)
õgún
(twenty) note: Yoruba numbers uses increments of ten, but not like in English. It is shifted upward 15-24, 25-34, etc.
mọkanlelõgún
(twenty one) note: to make twenty one Yoruba will add one (ọkan) to twenty (õgún)
mejilelõgún
(twenty two)
mẹtalelõgún
(twenty three)
mẹrinlelõgún
(twenty four)
mẹdọgbọn
(twenty five)
ọgbọn
(thirty)
mọkanlelọgbọn
(thirty one)
márùndilogoji
(thirty five)
ogoji
(forty)
adọta
(fifty)
ọgọta
(sixty)
adọrin
(seventy)
ọgọrin
(eighty)
adọrun
(ninety)
ọgọrun
(one hundred)

===Time=== (Ago) ====Clock time==== ( Ago me loo lo lu? ( What Time is it?)

Duration[edit]

Igbawo ni (When)

Days[edit]

Ọjọ Aiku
(Sunday/Воскресенье)
Ọjọ Aje
(Monday/Понедельник)
Ọjọ Isẹgun
(Tuesday/Вторник)
Ọjọ Riru
(Wednesday/Среда)
Ọjọ Bọ
(Thursday/Четверг)
Ọjọ Ẹti
(Friday/Пятница)
Ọjọ Abamẹta
(Saturday/Суббота)

Months[edit]

Osu (oh-shu)

Writing time and date[edit]

clock-aago what is the time?-ki ni aago so Today-o jo oni

Colors[edit]

Àwọ̀

Transportation[edit]

All forms of air transport - Oko ofurufu (ofurufu being sky) All forms of rail transport - Oko oju irin (irin being steel/metal/rail All forms of water transport - Oko Oju omi. ( You can now ellaborate further with size e.g. Nla (large), for a ship; Kekere (little/small) for a canoe or boat... E.g. Oko oju omi kekere ni mo wo wa (I can by a small water vehicle (canoe/boat))

Bus and train[edit]

Train- Oko Oju Irin

Directions[edit]

Right: Otun, Left: Osi, Front: Iwaju, Back: Eyin/Ehin, Up: Oke, Down: Isale, Under: Abe/l'abe, On top of: L'orii.

Taxi[edit]

Many people use motorcycles to get around the heavy traffic in Nigeria. These motorcycle taxis are called OKADAs, pronounced oh-ka-dah. "Cabi" is Nigerian Pidgin, which is an alternative word for taxi.

Lodging[edit]

There are a lot of hotels in Nigeria where the staff can speak English fluently.

Money[edit]

Naira. There is about 155 naira to the american dollar and 240 naira to a British pound.

Eating[edit]

There is a variety from all over the world similar to McDonalds in Nigeria such as Mr Biggs.

There are a variety of restaurants ranging from the traditional eating outlets that serve local dishes as well as the franchised restaurants both foreign and local e.g. KFC, Nandos, Mr Biggs, Tantalisers etc, who serve continental dishes and are gradually increasing their menus to include popular local dishes. These restaurants are chiefly located in the state capital cities and some of the bigger towns. Most hotels especially in cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, etc, also have Chinese restaurants.

Bars[edit]

Shopping[edit]

Driving[edit]

Authority[edit]

The traditional leaderin Yorubaland is refered to as the "Oba" I.e.King He is supported by many "Ijoyes" I.e. Chiefs

Learning more[edit]

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