is the spoken and written literature
of the Yoruba people
, the largest ethno-linguistic group in Nigeria
, and in Africa
. The Yorùbá language
is spoken in Nigeria, Benin
, and Togo
, as well as in dispersed Yoruba communities throughout the world.
Yoruba did not have a common written form before the nineteenth century. Many of the early contributions to Yoruba writing and formal study were made by English
priests.The first Yoruba grammar was published in 1843 by Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther
. He himself was of Yoruba origin.The written form of the Yoruba language comes from a Conference on Orthography from the Church Missionary Society in Lagos, in 1875.The first history of the Yoruba people was compiled by Reverend Samuel Johnson
in 1897 who was also of Yoruba origin. Thus, it must be noted that the formation of written Yoruba was facilitated by Yoruba people themselves despite the use of the Roman alphabet.
is intertwined with history, with Yoruba claiming to descend from divinities, and some kings becoming deified after their deaths. Itan
is the word for the sum of Yoruba religion, poetry, song, and history. Yoruba divinities are called Orishas
, and make up one of the most complex pantheons in oral history.Ifá
, a complex system of divination, involves recital of Yoruba poetry containing stories and proverbs bearing on the divination. A divination recital can take a whole night. The body of this... Read More