Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa
Phrasebooks > Yoruba phrasebook

Yoruba (èdè Yorùbá) is a language native to West Africa, mainly near the Bight of Benin. With an estimated 50 million speakers worldwide as of 2020, Yoruba is one of the most influential African languages. It is spoken chiefly in Nigeria, Benin, Togo, and Ghana, where it is an official language. Internationally, Yoruba can be heard in Brazil, where it is a recognised minority language, plus England, Maryland, Texas, and New York.

Pronunciation guideEdit

VowelsEdit

A a - [ah] like in the Spanish alphabet
E e – [a] like “a” in skate
Ẹ ẹ - [eh] like the first “e” elephant (dot written underneath the vowel to get the new sound: E / e + ̣: E / é)
I i – [ee] like in sweet
O o – [o] like “o” in sofa
Ọ ọ - [or] like the first “o” in octopus (dot written underneath the vowel to get the new sound: O / o + ̣: O / O)
U u – [u] like “u” in blue

ConsonantsEdit

B
like boy (IPA: b)
D
like do (IPA: d)
F
like fin (IPA: f)
G
like go (IPA: ɡ)
Gb
the g and b of go and bed at the same time (IPA: ɡ͡b)
H
like hello (IPA: h)
J
somewhat like geek (IPA: ɟ)
K
like skit (IPA: k)
L
light L (higher-pitched, non-dental), like British light (IPA: l)
M
like milk (IPA: m)
N
like nose (IPA: n)
P
the k and p of skit and spin at the same time (IPA: k͡p)
R
rolled/trilled R (IPA: r)
S
like seem (IPA: s)
like ship (IPA: ʃ)
T
like still (IPA: t)
W
like will (IPA: w)
Y
like yacht (IPA: j)

Common diphthongsEdit

Phrase listEdit

BasicsEdit

Hello? (informal)
Ẹ ǹlẹ́ o?
How are you?
Bawo nI?
Fine, thank you.
Daada ni, Ẹshe.
What is your name?
Kini Orúkọ rẹ?
What is your names?
Kíni Orúkọ yin? (plural but also used for politeness towards elders)
My name is Eseosa .
Orúko mi n jẹ Eseosa. / Orúko mi ni Eseosa.
Nice to meet you. (informal)
Inu mi dùn lati mọ̀ ọ́.
Nice to meet you. (plural/honorific)
Inu mi dùn lati mọ̀ yín
Please.
(é) Ẹ jọ̀ọ́/ Ẹ dákun (note: [e] is plural in Yoruba but also used in respect to elders)
Thank you.
ẹ ṣe / o ṣe (note: [o] is singular and used amongst friends.)
You're welcome.
Kò si nkan kan . (ko to ope)
Yes.
bẹ́ẹ̀ni
No.
bẹ́ẹ̀ ko / ó ti / ra ra
Excuse me. (getting attention)
Ẹ jọ̀wọ́
Don't be annoyed. (begging pardon)
Ẹ ma bínú (literally: "Don't be angry.")
I'm sorry.
(E) jè bù rẹ́/ E ma binu
Goodbye
O dabọ̀!
I can't speak Yoruba [well]
N kò lè sọ Yorùbá [daradara] / N kò le gboo èdè Yorùbá [daradara]
I speak Yoruba a little bit
Mo gbọ èdè Yorùbá díẹ̀
Do you speak English?
Se o le s èdè oyinbo /gẹ̀ẹ́sì?
Is there someone here who speaks English?
Sé énikéni wà nibi ti o lè sọ òyìnbó?
Help!
ẹgbà mi o! / ran mi lọwọ!
Look out!
(E) wo bẹ̀ yẹn!
Good morning.
ku àárọ̀ (singular) = Ẹ káàrọ̀ (plural and used to show respect to elder ones)
Good evening.
ku ìrọ̀lẹ́ /Kaalẹ (singular)= Ẹ ku ìrọ̀lẹ́/ Ẹ Kaalẹ (plural and used to show respect to elder ones)
Good night.
O dàárọ̀ (dismissal at night to bed)
I don't understand.
Kò ye mi.
I understand.
O ye mi.
I have a question.
Mo ni ìbéèrè
Where is the toilet?
Nibo ni ilé ìgbọ̀nsẹ̀ wà?

I am Hungry

Ebi npa mí

ProblemsEdit

Leave me alone
Fi mi silẹ
Don't touch me!
Maṣe fi ọwọ kan mi!
Police!
Olopa
Stop! Thief!
Duro! Olè jíjà!

It's an emergency:Pajawiri ni

I'm lost
mo sonu
I lost my bag
Mo padanu apo mi
I lost my wallet
Apamọwọ mi ti sọnu
I'm sick
Mo ṣaisan
I've been injured
Mo ti farapa
I need a doctor
Mo nilo dokita kan
Can I use your phone?
Ṣe mo le lo foonu rẹ

NumbersEdit

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)Edit

Clock timeEdit

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

DurationEdit

Igbawo ni (When)

DaysEdit

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 (Oṣù)Edit

January = Ṣerẹ

February = Èrèlé

March = Ẹrẹ́nà

April = Igbe

May = Èbìbí

June = Okúdù

July = Àgẹmọ

August = Ògún

September = Ọ̀wẹ́wẹ̀

October = Ọ̀wàwà

November = Bélú

December = Ọpẹ́

Writing time and dateEdit

Colors (Awo)Edit

Red
Pupa
Blue
Bulu
Silver
Awo fadaka
Whit
Funfun
Black
dudu
Yellow
ofee fee

TransportationEdit

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 trainEdit

Train- Oko Oju Irin

DirectionsEdit

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

TaxiEdit

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.

LodgingEdit

MoneyEdit

Eating (Ohun jíjẹ)Edit

Àmàlà (made from yam or bananas. It's more better to be taken for dinner at night as it's lighter than other food substances. Furthermore, it can be taken with Vegetable soup known as Ẹ̀fọ́ rírò, or Ewédú combined with gbẹ̀gìrì)

Gbẹ̀gìrì (made from beans)

Ewédú (Draw soup)

Iyán (Pounded yam, made from yam)

Ẹ̀bà (made from cassava flakes otherwise known as Gàrí in Yorùbá Land)

Ẹ̀fọ́ (Vegetables used to prepare vegetable soup)

Fùfú ( Also from cassava flakes but made in a different taste)

Ìkokóré or Ìfokóre (depending on the dialect) to the Yoruba's(the Ijebu people to be precise) or Epé people in Lagos

Parts Of the BodyEdit

head
ori
face
oju
eyes
eyin oju
ears
eti
nose
imu
throat
onafun
chin
agbon
neck
orun
shoulders
ejika
chest
aya
waist
ibadi
arms
apa
wrists
orun owo

FamilyEdit

Father
bàbá.
Mother
ìyá.
Grandfather
bàbá bàbá.
Grandmother
ìyá ìyá/iya gbà.
Child
omo.
Child(male)
omo okunrin.
Child(female)
omo obinrin.
Husband
oko
Wife
ìyàwó.
Sister
aburo/egbon obinrin.
Brother
aburo/egbon okunrin.
Cousin
ara.
Cousin(male)
arakunrin.
Cousin(female)
arabinrin.

BarsEdit

ShoppingEdit

DrivingEdit

AuthorityEdit

King

Oba, Otunba

Learning moreEdit

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