SOAS University of London

Africa Section, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Yoruba 1 (PG)

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year

PLEASE NOTE: This module will be divided into two 15-credit modules next academic year (i.e Language A and Language B). The overall objectives and outcomes for the year will not change. There may be some slight changes to the formal assessment. Students will be required to take a written test in the last week of Term 1 and should therefore not plan to be absent from SOAS at this time.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  1. knowledge and understanding of basic Yorùbá grammar
  2. knowledge and understanding of essential Yorùbá vocabulary
  3. knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic Yorùbá structures and expressions in a given context
  4. the ability to understand short passages in written Yorùbá on everyday topics
  5. the ability to produce short passages in written Yorùbá on everyday topics
  6. the ability to understand spoken Yorùbá and to engage in short spoken discourse on everyday topics
  7. knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Yorùbá in particular, in language-based scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students)


A total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

This module provides an introduction to Yorùbá language with emphasis on practical spoken and written Yorùbá on the one hand and reading and writing Yorùbea on the other. It covers phonetics and phonology (including consonants dual places of articulation, half-open vowels written with diacritics), verbs, nouns, noun formation and verb formation from nouns, basic markers for completed action, progressive continuous actions, expressing the past and the future. Communicative practice is established through learning language around dialogues dealing with a range of everyday situations, including travelling, buying and selling, and urban and rural family life.

This module provides students with a basic knowledge of Yorùbá and practice of using Yorùbá in a variety of everyday situations. It allows students to interact with Yorùbá speakers in Yorùbá and to use original Yorùbá language sources within the level covered in the module. This provides students with a basis to approach research topics relating to Yorùbá language and the histories, societies, institutions and cultures associated with Yorùbá.

A series of special PG lectures with associated seminars structured around the six themes Structure, Texts, Identity, Society, Translation and Transformation (provided for PG students studying different languages) introduces students to general questions of the role of language in language-based scholarship and research and provides them with the critical and methodological skills to relate their language acquisition to the thematic aspects of the studies.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written paper taken in May/June (50%); portfolio of language homework and exercises (30%); one 15 minute oral examination (20%).

Suggested reading

1) The module will be based on
  • Barber, Karin and Oyètádé, Akin Yorùbá Wuyì 2 Course Materials, Birmingham: CWAS and London: SOAS

and additional materials which will be made available throughout the course.

2) Additional Yorùbá References
  • Abraham, R. C. (1958) Dictionary of Modern Yoruba.  London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  • Awobuluyi, Oladele (1978) Essentials of Yoruba Grammar. Ibadan: University Press Limited.
  • Bamgbose, Ayo (1967) A Short Yoruba Grammar. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books Nig. Ltd.
  • Barber, Karin & Akin Oyètádé (1999) Yorùbá Wuyì Book 1. London: Hakuna Matata Press / Èdè Publications.
  • Oyètádé, Akin (1994/1997) Ìgbés¬ Àkºkº ní Yorùbá Kíkà (First Steps in Reading Yorùbá.)  London: Hakuna Matata Press.
  • Oyètádé, Akin (1996) Yorùbá Alákøºb¬r¬ 1. London: Hakuna Matata Press.
  • Oyètádé, Akíntúndé (1999) Ìwé Ìsödipúpø (Multiplication or Times Table Book)  London: Hakuna Matata Press.
  • Rowlands, E. C. (1969) Teach Yourself Yoruba. London: The English Universities Press Ltd.
  • Schleicher, Antonia Yétúndé Fölárìn (1993) J… k'á sö Yorùbá. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.
  • Schleicher, Antonia Yétúndé Fölárìn (2008) Colloquial Yorùbá: The Complete Course for Beginners plus 2 CDs. New York and London: Routledge.
Yorùbá Learning Resources
On-line resources
  • Yorùbá on-line resources: Yorùbá books, CD-ROM, AudioCD, Audiotapes, Yorùbá Newspaper Reader – Textbook, Yorùbá Newspaper Reader – Audio CD-ROM from Wisconisn-Madison
  • Yorùbá resources by Akinloyè Òjó at the African Studies Institute, University of Georgia at:
  • Yorùbá for Kids by Söjí and Títí Oyènúgà at:
  • Yorùbá books and CDs by Káyødé J. Fákinl¬dé at:
  • Colloquial Yoruba (Colloquial Series (Book Only)) (Paperback) Antonia Yétúndé Folárìn Schleicher at:
  • Yorùbá radio and video on-line see:
  • Adébùsºlá Önàyëmí Bis Bus International, Canada:
    Ölºládé Òtítºlójù – African Languages Made Easy Series:
  • Babatºlá Alºba
  • Yorùbá Wikipedia:
Online dictionaries:
  • Èdèyèdè Project: Internet Living Yoruba Dictionary
  • Öröèdè, a searchable English to Yorùbá dictionary
  • Yorùbá Dictionary (uses YorubaOK.ttf 8-bit font)
Yorùbá fonts
  • Yorùbá Font (PC Version) and Yorùbá Font (Mac Version) are available on the web for $20 each at:
3) Additional resources relating to language-based scholarship discussed in the PG lectures
  • Austin, Peter, ed., 2008, 1000 Languages: The world-wide history of living and lost tongues, London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Baker, Mona, 1992, In Other Words: A coursebook on translation, London: Routledge.
  • Duranti, Alessandro, 1997, Linguistic Anthropology, Cambridge: CUP.
  • Geertz, Clifford, 1973/2000, The Interpretation of Cultures: selected essays, New York: Basic Books.
  • Pinker, Steven, 1994, The Language Instinct: the new science of language and mind, London: Allan Lane.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules