Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by DesEsseintes » 02 Dec 2013 18:12

Just wanted to say that I'm still following this. Really nice lessons. [:D]

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 08 Dec 2013 20:13

New lesson!

So, until now I haven't gone into a lot of detail about tense or aspect or anything. As it turns out, that part of Yoruba is comparatively simple. The distinctions in that area are made with simple, basically invariant pre-verbal particles.

To start off, we'll consider the most basic form of the verb phrase: no pre-verb at all. In this case the verb is taken to be imperfective, in either the present or the past tense (they are not distinguished). For example,

Mo lọ sí ibi kan. - I went somewhere.

Even though past and present aren't strictly distinguished in Yoruba, it sounds somewhat awkward in English to just say "I go somewhere." You can look at both the context and the semantics of a particular verb to figure out what's going on. In another example,

Mo ní ajá mẹ́tà. - I have three dogs.

...it seems more sensible to translate this as a present tense sentence, although there's no strict reason that it has to be in the present, this could just as well mean "I had three dogs."

The difference between English and Yoruba here is very big. In English, the bare form of a verb doesn't quite sound right as the main verb of a sentence. We can take the original example of this I stated earlier on in this lesson again: "I go somewhere." I think we can still all agree that sounds a bit strange. What we need is an added phrase that specifies things a bit, and maybe a few things changed around. If it becomes "I go there every Tuesday", then that sounds fine, but now we've run into a problem. This is the bare form of 'go', but it doesn't have a simple present imperfective sense. Instead, this is more like a habitual, periodic action. That's not what we want at all, we're just looking for a simple present tense sentence. In the case of English, present tense expressions are overwhelmingly spoken by way of the progressive. However, that is an entirely different particle in Yoruba. When we are talking about progressive actions, we need to use ń.

Besides the whole aspectual issue, there's another thing that needs to be talked about in relation to this particle. This is the first time we've really had to deal with the syllabic nasal thing that I mentioned way way back at the beginning of this thread. The actual pronunciation of this particle, in terms of place of articulation, can vary quite a bit. It tends to match its POA with the consonant following it (and there will ALWAYS be a consonant following it in this dialect of Yoruba), but this effect is most common with stops and nasals. Before fricatives and whatnot, and in isolation, it tends to be said either as a syllabic /m/ or /ŋ/. Either one of those is fine, but /n/ seems to be incorrect/unusual as a default.

Now I've gone over the usage of ń once before in these lessons, although not very thoroughly, and it tends to be used pretty much in the same way as the English progressive is. You can look back on the examples I wrote earlier on in the lessons, but I feel like it's such a natural idea to English speakers that you all shouldn't have a problem with it.

Now, past and present aren't distinguished from each other morphologically, but future tense is. The future tense is indicated by the particle máa, which according to my professor is actually obligatory. All of you are familiar with the future tense as a concept I presume, and it's not too special in Yoruba. A couple examples:

A máa lọ sí ilé wa ní ọjọ́rú tí ó ń bọ̀. - We will go home next Wednesday.
Mo máa ra ewéko. - I will buy vegetables.

The first example sentence, if you will notice, has quite a few separate little words in it but nothing in there is too scary. You should be able to pick out all the little pieces at this point, but the ending phrase is something that I'm pretty sure I haven't taught you about yet. In Yoruba, for time expressions, the words 'next' and 'last' are expressed using relative clauses. For 'next', you say tí ó ń bọ̀ - that is coming, and for 'last', you say tí ó kọjá - that passed. Perhaps a bit long-winded, but very intuitive at least.

It might be tempting to try and say something like ń máa or máa ń in an effort to translate the English "will be going" into Yoruba, but that does not get you where you want to be! Ń máa does not even exist, and máa ń is an entirely different concept than the future! At least we only have to deal with one new feature at a time, then.
Máa ń is the way to express habituals in Yoruba. This particle (or sequence of particles if you want to look at it that way) expresses things that you do regularly--as a tendency, or as a habit. For example:

Ó máa ń mu ọtí - He is always drinking alcohol (i.e. he is an alcoholic)
Mo máa ń ṣiré pẹ̀lú ajá mi nígbà tí mo dé sí ilé mi. - I usually play with my dogs when I get home.

Nothing too wild. This is what you would probably use in the case of bare verb forms in English, although again it depends on the semantics of the verb.

Now regretfully I have to say that this section is going to stay incomplete for now. There is a particle in Yoruba that corresponds to the perfective aspect but I'm not sure how it is used because we never got to it in my class here at the University. I'll try to do some research but I don't know if I'll be able to find out much about it. I'm very sorry. ):

We'll just have to move on! The next thing I'll probably talk about/introduce is Negation. Then after that we can do stuff about mood and subjunctives and whatnot. But that'll have to wait, because I'm ending this lesson here and taking a break from this while I do exams and stuff.

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 16 Dec 2013 19:49

In all this commotion with the holidays and whatnot going on, I have neglected these lessons for longer than I wanted to! Here's a new lesson for you all!


Negation in Yoruba can appear quite complicated for English speakers, but it is actually very straightforward. The only difference is that negation is not really its own separate morpheme. Instead, each tense/aspect particle has its own distinct negative form, and each copular verb has its own special negative form as well! The syntax itself and all that doesn't really change much, except for one small difference: in negative sentences (and a few other situations), the first and third singular pronouns change form. The first person pronoun becomes n and the third person pronoun is dropped completely. All other pronouns are kept the same. Since negation does not change any other factors, I'll simply list them out with a sentence or two about how they work. Not much detail is needed since we've already learned how these aspects operate.

The most common negative particle we will see is . negates both imperfective and progressive moods, so 'I did not walk' and 'I am not walking' are both N kò rìn.

Maybe the second most common, or at least the second most important negative to look at is kọ́ ni. This negates the particle/verb we went over earlier, ni. It works the same way; it still requires emphatic pronouns, and kind of operates as a topic marker. You may even sometimes hear 'Èmi kọ́', which simply means, "it wasn't me" or "not me" i.e. it wasn't my fault, I don't want to do it, I haven't done that, etc. Be careful to not confuse this one with kò ní which is similar in form but means something very different (to not have).

The negative form of jẹ́ is kì í ṣe. Thus, "He is not a student" is Kì í ṣe akẹ́kọ̀ọ́. Again, notice that the third person pronoun completely disappears in the negative. There's not much more to say about this one, just remember how jẹ́ works and what it is for.

The negative form of is kò sí. Now, this one does look a bit confusing-- is a word we've already learned as a preposition. We might be tempted to think that the that usually follows the verb would be replaced by ; after all, you can't have two prepositions in a row. That doesn't make any sense. However, it does in fact appear that way. For example, 'we are not on the moon' actually is written and pronounced as A kò sí ní òṣùpá. In this case it seems that simply acts just like a verb, just as does when it takes the role of the verb 'to have'.

Next, the negative of máa. The negative form of the future marker is kò ní í. Now things can get really confusing: we've got kò ní, kò ní í, and kọ́ ni, all of which are negative expressions and all mean very different things! Again, don't get tripped up by how similar they are, this could be a source of a lot of confusion and we wouldn't want that at all. Back to the future marker though--it doesn't do anything special. The example sentence N kò ní í padà sí ilé mi. means "I won't go back home", just as expected.

Finally, we'll learn the negative of máa ń, the habitual marker. We've seen both components of this particle individually, and it's tempting to think that you might be able to combine their negative forms to get the negative of this expression, but sadly that doesn't work. The negative of this particle is in fact kì í. It was often described to me as having a similar connotation to applying 'never' to a phrase in English. So if we read the exchange,

Ṣé o máa ń mu ọtí? - Do you drink (alcohol)?
Ó tì. N kì í mu ọtí! - No, I don't!

The answer basically means "No. I never drink alcohol!" It keeps the habitual sense, so you would say that if you didn't drink alcohol as a rule, like if you were a Muslim or a Buddhist or you took medicine a lot. It would also work just the same if it was illegal for you to drink alcohol or something like that. I'm just making it clear the kind of connotation habitual statements have in Yoruba.


Those are all the basic negative particles for declarative statements. There are other ways to negate sentences, but I will go over those later since they work into concepts that I am going over in future lessons. The next lesson I will do is questions, and also subjunctives and imperatives.

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 26 Dec 2013 21:25

New lesson! As I said before, this will be about questions, and I'll talk about relative clauses as well since they kinda go with question words.


In Yoruba, as in many other languages, there are two types of questions: yes-or-no questions, and content questions (sometimes called wh-questions apparently but I think that is poor terminology). Yes/no questions are much simpler, so I will go over them first.

Yes/no questions in Yoruba consist of a typical SVO clause as we have been discussing so far, but with an interrogative particle appended at the very beginning. The particle can be either Sẹ́ or Ǹjẹ́. Everything I have been told says that they are completely equivalent and can be switched out with each other without a change in meaning, but I still do hear sẹ́ much more often. There may be a dialectical difference here that I'm not aware of, but it's probably best to use sẹ́ mostly. Let's look at a couple examples:

Sẹ́ o fẹ́ mi? - Do you like me?
Sẹ́ ó jẹun jù lánà? - Did he eat too much yesterday?
Sẹ́ o máa padà sí ilé rẹ lọ́la? - Will you go back home tomorrow?

So, as you can see, there isn't too much special about this type of question in Yoruba. It should actually come quite easily to English speakers since we kind of do the same thing with 'do'. Notice that the particle itself is not inflected at all--the auxiliaries stay with the main verb, because the particle itself is no verb at all.
It doesn't do much good to know how to do yes or no questions without knowing how to say yes or no, so we'll learn that now! There's actually a couple different ways to say them. The most common way involves the word bẹ́ẹ̀, which means so, thus, in that way, etc. You could use it outside of answers to questions just as easily as similar expressions in English can. N kò sọ̀rọ̀ bẹ́ẹ̀, for example, would mean 'I don't talk like that'. The way to use it to answer questions is simple. For yes, you say bẹ́ẹ̀ ni, and for no, you say bẹ́ẹ̀ kọ́. Often speakers will repeat the clause in a declarative form:

Sẹ́ o fẹ́ mi? - Do you like me?
Bẹ́ẹ̀ ni, mo fẹ́ ẹ. - Yes, I do like you.

Another way of saying 'no' is Ó tì. This kind of has a little bit different of a connotation to it. It seems more emphatic to me. But it can also be used to tell someone they are doing something wrong, about to mess something up, etc. My professor often used this when we pronounced words incorrectly or used the wrong word, or anything like that.
Those are the main yes/no particles used in Yoruba. Now--on to content questions!

Yoruba does content questions in a way reminiscent of the way English does them but it's not entirely the same. The most important part though, is that Yoruba does have so-called "wh-movement". This is where that wild ni word comes in a lot--it's used to connect the question words to the main clause of the sentence. Let's list off our question words and go over them individually. There's three basic underlying question words that we can start off by looking at:

- what
ta - who
wo - which

The first two are pretty normal. They work as you'd expect them to, so questions with those always appear like these examples:

Kí ni a máa jẹ ní ilé ẹ̀? - What will we eat at her house?
Ta ni o fìyanu wò? - Who are you staring at?
Kí ni ó ní orí méjì? - What has two heads?
Ta ni ó fìyanu wò ẹ? - Who is staring at you?

Looking at these we can see a couple important things. One, the structure of the phrase after the interrogative part is exactly the same as it would be for a declarative statement. There is no special declension for verbs or anything like that. Two, subjects are *never* dropped. That will come in later when we get into sentences with multiple clauses and things like that.

Wo works pretty much the same way, but I'm talking about it separately because it shows up a lot more than in English. In fact, most of the other question words are formed through phrases involving wo. However, by itself it works just as you'd expect:

Aṣọ wo ni ẹ máa gbé? - Which clothes are you taking (with you)?
Ọmọ ajá wo ni o fẹ́ràn jù lọ? - Which puppy do you like the most?

Now, where does it show up so much, you might ask? Well, if you notice, we have not gotten any words for 'where' or 'when' yet. The interrogative phrase that you get for 'when' is nígbà wo which simply translates directly as 'at which time'. For 'where', you get níbo, which is in fact a contraction of ní+ibi+wo; i.e. 'at which place'. For statements of movement you might even see síbo 'to where' occasionally, but I think even for those expressions it's much more common to see níbo. The word for 'how'- báwo also seems to be a contraction of a phrase involving the word for 'which', although I don't know the breakdown of that one. Note that this how is only for 'in which way'. It is used for things like Báwo ni a ṣe ń kọ ìwé? - How does one write a book?

So now we've got three more interrogatives. Our full list so far is kí, ta, wo, nígbà wo, níbo, and báwo. We're missing a couple, though. There's a special word for 'how many/how much'. I have somehow not gone over numbers yet, but when we do that I'll definitely tell you guys about that word.
What about 'why'? Well, that is a bit of a weird one. There's two ways to say why. Both methods go through the word , but in different ways. The first way to say 'why' is nítorí kí 'for what reason'. The other way to say it is kí ló dé tí. This is the weird part of it, because this question-y phrase is different from all the others. For one, there's no ni after this. Actually, the ni is contracted inside the . This one sounds a bit awkward in a direct translation so I'm not going to try to do that for this one, but it still acts basically the same. Even though it doesn't have the ni after it, the whole main phrase of the sentence stays the same just as usual. For example:

Kí ló dé tí o lù mí? - Why are you hitting me?
or just the same, Nítorí kí ni o lù mí?


This post is starting to get really long but there's still something related to questions that I want to go over. An important distinction to make between the ways English and Yoruba do questions is that Yoruba does not use the same words for relative clauses as it does questions. and the others never act as complementizers. Instead, you have to use generic words for certain concepts and then apply the word , which is the equivalent of English 'that' for noun phrases. To make this clearer, a phrase like 'the dog that's sitting over there' would get : it translates like ajá tí ó jókòó níbẹ̀. Remember my earlier statement about subjects never being dropped? This is one of the places where it's important. Even in descriptive clauses like this you still have to have the subject. Now as for the relative clause markers that match the question words, I'll go ahead and list those out similar to the way I did the question words themselves.

ohun - thing
ẹni - person
ìgbà - time
ibi - place
ìtorí - reason

These are just ordinary nouns, so you can apply the relative clause marker to them in the expected way. So, if we were to write something like N kò mọ̀ ohun tí ó jẹ́ ẹ. it would simply mean 'I don't know what it is.' We could also say something like, Sọ fún mi ìgbà tí a máa pàdé rẹ̀. 'Tell me when we are going to meet him.' You can use ìtorí just fine for 'why' clauses, but to match the other 'why' interrogative, another way to do it is to say ohun tí ó dé but I think that's a bit of a roundabout way of doing things. It doesn't matter though, you can do it either way.

But yet again, we've got another thing missing! What about "how"? Well, it turns out we've got another special form for that. For expressions involving how, we use the word . It works as a sort of complementizer/subordinator itself, but it's best to see an example or two. Let's say we want to write "I know how to cook rice." Well, this would be written as Mo mọ̀ bí a ṣe ń sè ìrẹsí. (that is the impersonal a and not literally the first person plural, to be clear). Let's look at another example: Ṣé o mọ̀ bí ó ṣe ń kọ́ ọ? - Do you know how he built it? The whole ṣe ń VERB thing is a stock phrase, it never changes, and it's always there in bí clauses. However, there's another way to express some kinds of 'how' clauses. For the first, you could simply write, Mo mọ̀ ìrẹsí sè, and that actually works just as well. That construction doesn't work out for the second example (the question), because we don't have the generic pronoun in that example. You just have to use the construction in that case.


That's it for questions (until we get to numbers). I should be able to get another lesson up before the end of the year but if I don't, there's no need to worry. I'll keep doing these until I've spent every last bit of my knowledge of the language (:

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 31 Dec 2013 02:43

I'm gonna do a small post on imperatives and then some stuff expanding on that will come later, after New Year's. [:)]

Commands and Requests

So, Yoruba has a couple different ways of structuring imperative statements. The most common type of imperative sentence--second person--works generally the same way as they do in English and many other languages. For commands or requests that are given to single second person arguments, you simply state the verb without any explicit subject. Thus, things like Dákẹ́! 'Be quiet' or Fún mi ní yẹn! 'Give me that' are completely valid sentences. However, if you want to be polite or make a request to more than one person, you have to have the pronoun in the sentence, so in some cases it may be exactly the same as a present tense declarative sentence. As for politeness, another thing that can be added is the word jọ̀wọ́, which is the equivalent of the English word please (only in this sense though). It can be combined with the honorific/pronoun, so you could easily have something like:

Ẹ jọ̀wọ́, ẹ dáríjì mi. - 'please forgive me'

And that is certainly how it would traditionally appear if you were talking to someone of higher social status or an elder. If you wanted to negate an imperative sentence, you would add the word before the verb, and after the honorific if one is present. A very common usage of this 'prohibitive' particle is the phrase má bínú, which is what you'd say for "I'm sorry", but it actually means "don't be upset". Yoruba has a lot of English influence nowadays because of globalization and whatnot so you can actually sometimes see something like mo sọ̣́rì but we're learning YORUBA, and NOT English.

Let's not forget, there are other ways to form imperatives besides second person. I just did one in that first sentence (but totally not on purpose, just so you know). The usage of the word "let" this way can be translated directly with the phrase Jẹ́ kí..., and then whatever afterwards. You always include the subject in this case, which comes after the here, however this is one of those cases when mo changes to n, so don't forget that part. This is a fixed phrase and it occurs pretty often so there's actually some contractions that can occur. For the pronouns a, ó, and wọn we get

jẹ́ ká
jẹ́ kó
and jẹ́ kọ́n

These are frequently written with an apostrophe after the k. The Jẹ́ ká one is equivalent to the English phrase 'let's', so you should all be familiar with how that works. For all four pronouns available; i.e. n, ó, and wọn as well, it also simply has the literal meaning of let, 'allow'. So if you were trapped in a dungeon by some evil mastermind you could say Jẹ́ kí n lọ! and that would be 'let me go'. You could just as easily say Jẹ́ kí wọn lọ! if the evil mastermind showed you a videotape displaying how he had your wife and sister but not you. If you yourself were an evil mastermind, and the noble hero(ine) had just escaped, you could say Má jẹ́ kó sá jáde! which means *don't* let her/him escape, so it's just as easy to negate this sort of imperative (it works the same way!).

--end toast--

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 06 Jan 2014 22:46

New Lesson!

So, now we're going to talk about conditionals and irrealis statements. In the previous lesson I talked about "Let..." phrases, and you'll notice that one of the words is one we definitely know about: jẹ́ is simply a sort of copular verb. We've seen before, but the way it's being used in jẹ́ kí is different from the way we would expect, because the basic syntax we've learned so far forbids that sort of structure. While the syllable structure of this word is the same, it is a completely different grammatical form. What this is used for is statements of suggestions or commands. This makes sense in relation to what we've learned with the imperative forms, but there's a couple other ways to use this particle.

One way is to make the statements that correspond to English 'should'. For these statements there's an indirect sort of way that you have to say them. You have to say "It is [suggested/good/proper/etc.] that you...". To be explicit, these sentences look like this example:

Ó pàtàkì kí o wọ̀ ìbọ̀wọ́ lálẹ yìí. - You should wear gloves tonight; i.e. it is important that you wear gloves tonight.

The most common words to see in this construction are dára 'good', yẹ 'proper/acceptable', and pàtàkì 'important', but any word with proper semantics would be fine. Of course, you can also negate these statements:

Ó dára kí a má mu ọtí gan an ni. - One should not drink a lot of alcohol.

Something interesting shows up here: we're using here as our negating particle! is actually used for all 'suggesting' phrases, and not just imperatives.
We've learned about 'should', so now the obvious next step would be to learn about things like 'can', and 'must'. They actually are pretty easy in Yoruba, so I will go ahead and teach them now. "Can" is a lot simpler than "should" in Yoruba--it is just a simple particle, . This particle, too, is negated with :

Ó lè kọ ní dídára. - She can write well.
Ọmọ lè má sọ̀rọ̀. - Children may not speak.

Notice the difference in the English translations--lè má is 'may not', as in 'is not permitted to'. Kò lè is what you would use for physical inability.
For "must", there is kind of a weird situation. There are two different ways to say it, and they have different connotations, but either can be used in a generic statement. The two different ways are gbọ̀dọ́ and ní láti. The second one is a calque from English, but both forms are well absorbed into the Yoruba way of speaking. However, it's not really proper to negate them directly. For one reason or another they just cannot get negative markers, so the semantic scope that is missing must be filled in by other verbs and particles and whatnot.


So, another big part of conditional/modal type sentences is 'if-then statements'. However, by itself that is very complicated so I'm going to put it in its own post (I'm also really tired from school today so I want to take a break).

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 13 Jan 2014 20:41

New Lesson!

So, now we're going to talk about "if-then" statements. But before I get into the actual discussion of how the statements work, I have to discuss another minor note so the structure of the statements make more sense: there is actually more than one future marker in Yoruba. As a matter of fact, there are actually 3. We've learned máa, which pretty much always works for plain statements of what is happening in the future, but there is also the particle á. This one is special because it affects the subject pronouns phonetically. When á is used for the future marker, you get these combinations:

Mà á - I will
Wà á - you will
Á á - s/he will
À á - we will
Ẹ̀ ẹ́ - y'all will (or you will+politeness)
Wán án - They will

I believe á is commonly thought of as more casual or regional usage. There's also another future marker, yóò. This one is meant for very certain declarations of future events, rather than leaving things up to chance. You would only use this one if you were sure that something's going to happen, I guess. It apparently only takes emphatic pronouns but I have seen it with regular wọn and also in the third person it does not take any written pronoun at all. Soo,

Èmi yóò dé ilé. - I will come home.
Yóò dé ilé. - She will come home.

Now. If-then statements can be broken up into two types: counterfactual conditionals, and indicative conditionals. In Yoruba, the difference is indicated on the "then" part of the statement. Compare:

(1) Bí John bá ṣe iṣẹ́ rẹ̀ tán lóní, yóò gbà ẹ̀bùn. - If John finishes his work today, he will receive an award.
(2) Bí John bá ṣe iṣẹ́ rẹ̀ tán lóní, ìbá gbà ẹ̀bùn. - If John had finished his work today, he would have received an award.

If it isn't clear, the first is an indicative, and the second is a counterfactual. This is because the first is making a statement about a future possibility, implying that there is a reasonable chance that the action will be done. In the second, it is saying that the proposed action and result have not happened. Now let's examine the different little particles going on here. In both (1) and (2), we've got the two particles and surrounding the subject. These are what make up the 'if' part. You have to use both of them together to get this meaning, and they always surround the subject. Another way to think of it is that always comes before the verb--it actually is a verb-related particle. The difference between (1) and (2), as you can see, comes in the second clause, and it relates to the verbal particles used. In (1), we see yóò, which is the so-called emphatic future marker. However, we could use any of the three future markers we have learned here. The second clause here could just as well be á á gbà ẹ̀bùn, or ó máa gbà ẹ̀bùn as well.

The counterfactual statement (2) has the particle ìbá. This is actually exclusive to the third person (apparently wọn ìbá appears); in the other persons you take the normal form of the pronouns and change them to low tone before . Additionally, mo becomes ǹ. For example we can look at this sentence:

Bí o kò bá jẹ́ ènìyàn lásán gan an ni, à bá ràn ẹ́ lọ́wọ́. - If you weren't such a mean person, we would help you.

That's pretty much it for conditional statements. A couple small notes:
+The negative of yóò is kì yóò.
+I have no idea what the specific negative for á is.
+You can use outside of if-then statements as a conditional. When used in conjunction with lẹ́hìn 'after', it means that the second action will only happen if the first is completed. So Lẹ́hìn tí mo fọ́ ehín mi, mo máa sùn. means 'after I brush my teeth, I will go to sleep.' However, if is added before fọ́, it means that the speaker will not go to sleep until they are done brushing their teeth.
+The next lesson is on conjunctions.

later! :*

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by DesEsseintes » 16 Jan 2014 17:15

Always fun to find a new lesson in this thread. [;)]

I think I want to make a Yoruba-inspired conlang at some point. [:D]

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 16 Jan 2014 22:48

Thanks, Des! I'm glad to hear that you like them ^^

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 18 Jan 2014 04:37

New Lesson!

My computer is being really uncooperative (still haven't been able to buy a new one ;-; ) so this lesson is going to be as brief as I can make it. I may edit this post with more tomorrow or later as I deem necessary.

This lesson is on conjunctions. I think we are all familiar with the idea, but they do not work exactly the same in Yoruba. In this language, the biggest difference lies in the way 'and' conjunctions act. Rather than coming between the two clauses, they generally come directly after the subject of the second clause. Also, depending on which part of the sentence is being added to, you need a different 'and'. However, I'll start out with the simpler conjunctions first.

The two most common ones you're going to see other than the 'and' ones are the two words ṣùgbọ́n and tàbí, meaning 'but' and 'or' respectively. They act pretty much the same as their English counterparts do, except tàbí gets emphatic pronouns when it's between noun clauses:

Èmi tàbí Alex máa wá gbé ẹ. - (Either) me or Alex will come to pick you up.

Another conjunction that links clauses in the same way as these do is nítorí pé, 'because'. It just comes between clauses, like you'd expect.

Now on to the 'and' conjunctions. The easiest one is the noun-clause linking and: this usage takes the form àti. Note that it also takes emphatic pronouns:

Ìwọ àti ọ̀rẹ́ rẹ ga díẹ. - You and your friend are short.

The next one, perhaps the most frequently used of the verb clause linking ands, is . This links clauses speaking of two different activities that a single person does. For example:
Lẹ́hìn tí mo jí, mo fọ́ ehín mi, mo sì wẹ̀ ara mi. - After I wake up, I brush my teeth and take a shower.

An important thing to pay attention to here is that the subject pronoun is not left out in the second part of the 'and' construction. You actually have to do it this way--verbal clauses must always indicate a subject in some manner.

So, that is the 'and' that links together different verbs. What about the and that links subjects in different clauses? Well, this is indicated by the word náà. Because of the semantics of expressions like 'me too', this must always take emphatic pronouns as well.

-Mo fẹ́ràn ọkùnrin. - I like men.
-Èmi náà fẹ́ràn wọ́n. - I like them as well.

Then there is one more 'and' to look at. When the subject and the verb are both the same, but the object is different, we use tún.

Sẹ́ o pàdé àbúrò mi nítòtọ́? - Did you really go on a date with my sister?
Mo tún pàdé ọ̀rẹ́ rẹ! I went on a date with your friend too!

I guess that's all I have to say on conjunctions right now. It's not a terribly complicated concept.
P.S. àbúrò doesn't literally mean sister. It means 'younger sibling'. 'Elder sibling' is ẹ̀gbọ́n, but there are no gender specific terms for this type of relative. If you must specify, you can say àbúrò obìnrin 'female younger sibling', àbúrò ọkùnrin 'male younger sibling', etc.
P.P.S The next lesson is either going to be just numbers or numbers and sundry. There is a guarantee of numbers but who knows what else will be there!

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 28 Jan 2014 01:48

New Lesson!

Okay, so we're gonna do numbers. Yoruba is kind of a mixed base language, but the abstract sort of underlying base is 20. However, learning the numbers is easiest if we start with the first 10. Starting with one, we have:


These are the counting numbers. They're used only as nouns; when you want to use them attributively, like adjectives, you have to add the prefix m-. The one exception is oókan, which simply becomes kan as an adjective. So let's look at a couple examples:

A ní ajá mẹ́ta. - We have three dogs.
Mà á parí ẹ̀kọ́ mi lẹ́hìn ọdún kan. I will graduate in a year.

As you can see, they work as typical adjectives do in Yoruba.

For higher numbers, there are several ways they are formed. For numbers eleven through fourteen, you add -lá at the end of the number. Note that eleven does not get elided for its adjectival form like one does: the proper form is mókanlá. From fifteen to nineteen, the numbers are spoken with reference to twenty. For instance, fifteen itself is aárùndínlógún, translating directly as 'five taken away from twenty'. Thus eighteen would be ẹẹ́jìdínlógún. Twenty is ogún. Twenty one through twenty four are formed in a different way once again. Twenty three for example, is ẹẹ́talélógún. This translates as something like 'three added to twenty'.

Once you get to twenty five it mirrors the way fifteen and on went, except constructed with reference to thirty which is ọgbọ̀n. This system works for all of the numbers up to 200, which has its own special word again: igba.
The numbers divisible by twenty from forty all the way up to 200 are formed in a simple way: you take part of the number for twenty, and add part of the number twenty would have to be multiplied by to get that number. So forty is ogójì, sixty is ọgọ́ta, 140 is ogóje, etc. Tens not divisible by twenty; i.e. fifty, seventy, and so on, get the initial section àádó- and then a number part afterwards, mirroring the twenties. The way you figure out which number thing comes after the àádó- is you just use the one for the twenty-number immediately after that one. So, 170 is one ten short of 180. Based on our formula for twenties we got earlier, we know that 180 is going to be ọgọ́sàn, so 170 is àádọ́sàn. 190 has the special form ẹ̀wadínlúgba; i.e. ten from 200.
I don't know how the numbers after 200 operate so y'all are just gonna have to do without those.

One important thing to note is that numbers divisible by ten from twenty onward occur before the noun instead of afterwards like other modifiers. I think this is because the words for those numbers originally derived from non-numerical terms like "heap" and "bag".
I had something else for this post but I can't remember what it is. Maybe I will later, but if I do, I'll make sure to come back and post it then. c:

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by thetha » 29 Jan 2014 01:46

I remembered!

Now you get to learn comparatives!

In Yoruba, there are several words denoting the degree to which something has a characteristic. You have rárá which means 'at all' in negatives, díẹ for 'a little bit', púpọ̀ for 'a lot', gan for 'very much/really', and for 'exceedingly/too much'. I'll give an example for each of these:

N kò fẹ́ ẹran ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ rárá. - I don't like pork at all.
Àbúrò rẹ ga díẹ. - Your younger sibling is short (a little bit tall).
Sẹ́ o máa ń jẹ éso púpọ̀? - Do you eat a lot of fruit?
Mo fẹ́ràn ẹ́ gan (ni)! - I love you so much!
Ó lágbára jù. - He's too strong.

actually has a unique verbal meaning, although it doesn't really get used much/ever as a main verb. It is supposed to mean 'to surpass'. From that, it is pretty clear why this also happens to be the word used for the comparative.

In Yoruba, comparatives are formed in a fairly straightforward way, but it's easier for me to use an example and then analyze it to figure out the individual parts.

Amir sáré yárayára jù Stephen lọ. - Amir runs faster than Stephen does.

In the yoruba comparative, the less [whatever] person or thing goes between the two words and lọ. If there is no word in between them, it instead makes the superlative:

Amir sáré yárayára jù lọ. - Amir runs the fastest.
Amir yára jù lọ ní inú ẹni tí ó sáré. - Amir is the fastest runner. (Amir is the fastest among the runners)

And that's all there is to it! Now, I have an extra part for this lesson: more numbers!

For ordinal numbers, i.e. first, second, third, etc. you do a similar thing to how the attributive numbers are formed, except the prefix this time is k-, and the first syllable's high tone is lowered to mid. "First" is irregular, the word for that is kìíní, but all of the rest are completely regular. The common names for the months use these forms, so I could say Wọn bí mi ní oṣù kẹfa. - I was born on the sixth month.

For the set of number terms once, twice, three times, etc. you use the adjectival numbers, but with the prefix ẹ̀ẹ̀- added to the beginning, and again, the tone of the first syllable is lowered to mid:
Mo ti rí obí mi ẹ̀ẹ̀kan ní ọdún yìí. - I've seen my parents once this year.

There are two other productive number forms in Yoruba. The first, expressions like two by two, three by three, etc. are written as the adjective form of the number, but just said twice. Since you have already learned the adjective forms there's really no reason to teach these specially. However, the last set of numbers to learn are formed in somewhat of a complicated way.

If you look at the adjective form of the numbers, you can see that with the exception of 'one', they have the general form mV1CV2... . To form this last set of numbers, which corresponds to the words for each, both, all three, etc., they are written as mV1CV1V1CV2, where the tone of the second syllable is always low. This is a little bit abstract, so we'll look at an example to make sure what I'm saying is clear.
Ọmọ ilé mẹ́tẹ̀ẹ̀ta mi jẹ́ ẹni tí kìí jẹ ẹran. - All three of my housemates are vegetarians.

The word for 'each', formed in a reminiscent but ultimately somewhat irregular way, is ọ̀kọ̀ọ̀kan. This is also the word for 'one by one'.

Those are all the special number forms, so that'll be the end of this lesson. Dunno what I'll do next. What do y'all want to learn?

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Re: Ẹ Wá Kọ́ Ẹ̀kọ́ Èdè Yorùbá Pẹ̀lú Mi!

Post by Trebor » 11 May 2016 21:38

A Great thread. I have a fledgling conlang inspired by isolating West African natlangs such as Yoruba, and you've given me fufu for thought.

Here are a few things I'd like to ask (you can expect more in future [:P]):

1) Can you add interlinear glosses to the sentences that lack them?

2) What are the rules for words eliding?

3) How does Yoruba handle complex sentences such as found throughout this recent Reuters article entitled "Wildfire rages through Canadian city, forcing mass evacuation"?

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