Yoruba is one of many tribes located in Africa and is one of the largest ethno- linguistic groups. Majority of the native people of Yoruba are a part of Southwestern Nigeria and Benin. However, a great percentage of Yoruba is populated by modern day Nigeria. Moreover, the Yoruba culture was an oral tradition, and majority of the people were native speakers of the Yoruba language. The native name of the Yoruba language is ‘Ede Yoruba’. The language originated through the Yoruba people because they were believed to be descendants of Oduduwa. Oduduwa, was the son of a powerful God named Oludumare. And the Yoruba people referred to themselves as ‘Omo Oduduwa’ meaning Oduduwa’s children. The Yoruba language is the pride of the Yoruba people and over 22 million people speak it. The Yoruba language had been spoken within other languages in neighboring countries such as Benin and Togo. Other traces of the Yoruba language has been spoken in Sierra Leone, where it’s referred to as “Oku” and Cuba known as “Nago”.
Moreover, like many other African languages, the study of Yoruba language was conducted by missionaries. These missionaries were interested in translating the scriptures for evangelical purposes. As a result, of these studies this led to the emergence of writing and studying of the Yoruba language and culture. The development of written Yoruba language was led by Samuel Crowther, a fluent Yoruba speaker who published the first Yoruba grammar. In 1884, He translated the Holy Bible from the Standard English version into Yoruba dialect. Afterwards, his work was accepted as the standard for Yoruba language among a variety of dialects. His Yoruba-language Bible served as an example of the written Yoruba that was widely adopted by the majority of Yoruba dialects.
Before the slave trade was abolished, the Yoruba people were known as “Akus” by the Europeans. The “Akus” did pioneering work on the writing and studying of the language. By 1849 Yoruba was known as the first African language to have a written grammar and dictionary in 1849. The name “Aku” derived from the word “Eku” often used when greeting in Yoruba language. For example, “eku’aro” means ‘Good Morning, and “eku’ale” means ‘Good Evening’. Because of tribal variation amongst the Yoruba people the language dialects varied. There are over ten dialects spoken throughout the various tribes in Nigeria.
In the Republic of Benin, Yoruba dialects include Ketu, Nago, Ije, Ajase, Idaitsa, Tsabe. However, Yoruba is divided into three major dialect areas which includes; Northwest, Central, and Southeast. In North-West Yoruba were people from Lagos, Osun state, and through areas like Oyo. Central Yoruba were the western central areas of Nigeria in places like Ife, Igbomina, Ekiti and Akure. South-East Yoruba was in the mid southeastern parts of the country, in areas like Ondo, Owo and parts of Ijebu.”
Because, the pronunciation of each dialect is different, the vowel system in each dialect is different...