5 free resources for learning the Yoruba language: Beginners

So why did I start learning Yoruba? 

Well, could you imagine a language-learning enthusiast, who has NO command over her heritage language? That is sad, tragic, disastrous, calamitous, catastrophic, etc. 

Over the years, I only had and still have basic knowledge of Yoruba thanks to the argumentative conversation of our parents or our mothers’ guilty pleasures “Yoruba movies”, just like a lot of 90s kids. However, recently, there arose a patriotic urge to FINALLY learn my home language. 

What is the reason for this list?

The main issue is, how? I still have this problem today. Nonetheless, I will list the resources that I am currently using or will be integrating into my language study routine as time goes on. I doubt that I will reach the intermediate level next year, but I am very optimistic about my determination, which is backed up by other language-learning successful adventures. Furthermore, do note that this list will regularly be updated.

Types of resources per focus area

Reading and Writing

I understand the desire to start reading intermediate-level content such as news, novels, comics, magazines, etc. However, assuming that we are all at the beginner level, engaging with such content types will only be disappointing. Not only are the terms often topic-specific, but as a beginner, your passive vocabulary is still very weak. Therefore, I usually start reading very simple text/paragraphs, where the terms used are usually found in the most commonly used word lists.

Listening & Speaking

This is a bit tricky because I stay away from listening and speaking in the first few months of learning. As already mentioned, your known word list is most likely very limited, so trying to listen or speak can be depressing. But if you have the itch, I would recommend you simply listen to familiarise yourself with the tone and music of the spoken language. The focus here isn’t reinforcing already known words or learning new, but just to accustom yourself to this new sound. On that note, podcasts, music, and conversations in Yoruba movies are a good start. 

Resources

Naijish

This website seems to be targeted towards Yoruba kids, which is a great content start for beginners. Do not be embarrassed about the “for kids” part, just focus on consistency and progress. 

Link

Memrise

Remember I said your vocabulary is still weak at the beginner stages? This app will help you focus on the most commonly used words in Yoruba. Below is the link to a list.

Link 

Utexas

This was suggested on a Reddit forum, and I was greatly surprised by the amount of content, which is rare to find when it pertains to any Nigerian language. I am personally not at the level to use this content yet, but I look forward to using it. Click the “Chapters” to view a list of PDFs and audio lessons. Have fun!

Link

Yèyé Yoruba

As previously mentioned, podcasts are good for listening practice. So I accidentally stumbled upon this gift! Do you know how hard it is to find such a treasure? Okay, maybe I am exaggerating. 

Link

Real Yoruba

So another podcast. Non-apple product users, I apologise. Please reference the podcast directly above if you aren’t an apple user.

Link

That is all for today. See you all in the next post, happy language learning 😍.


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