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Yoruba is a West African language that is primarily spoken by the ethnic Yoruba people of southwestern and central Nigeria. It is one of Africa’s most widely used languages, with over 45 million first-language speakers and millions more who speak it as a second language. Beyond Nigeria, other Yoruba-speaking communities can be found in Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia.

Across the African diaspora, Yoruba lexicon and words are also used in Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion; in Caribbean spiritual systems such as Santería; and is associated with the religious legacies of African Americans in North America. While much of the vocabulary, syntax, and grammatical rules of Yoruba have been lost over a period of generations, strong traces of the language and its associated cultural elements can be found among Africa-descended communities across the Americas.

Yoruba Courses at UNC-Chapel Hill

Currently, undergraduate and graduate courses are offered in Yoruba at the Elementary levels. Students enrolled in Yoruba language courses are taught Yoruba greetings and cultural codes, vocabulary, grammar, literature, culture, and tradition with an emphasis on building strong communication skills gradually. Students acquire Yoruba cultural competence through various interactive classroom activities, discussions, dramatizations, films, novels, and poetry.

The department plans to expand its Yoruba language track to offer courses at the Intermediate and Advanced levels.

Elementary Yoruba I (YORU 401). 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to Yoruba and is intended for students with no prior knowledge of the language and culture of Yorubaland. The course emphasizes spoken and written Yoruba, as used in present day West Africa. At the end of this course, students are expected to reach Novice High according to the American Council Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines.

Making Connections Gen Ed: FL

Grading Status: Letter grade

Global Language: Level 1

Elementary Yoruba II. (YORU 402). 3 Credits.

It introduces more advanced grammar and emphasizes more fluency in speaking, reading, and writing in standard Yoruba. The course develops students understanding of the Yoruba culture and the West African people who use Yoruba as the language of wider communication. To learn the Yoruba language and culture, students cover a wide range of socioeconomic and political topics including greetings, nutrition, health, housing, business and political leadership.

Making Connections Gen Ed: FL

Requisites: Prerequisite, YORU 401; Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.

Grading Status: Letter grade

Global Language: Level 2

Intermediate Yoruba III. (YORU 403). 3 Credits.

Intermediate Yoruba III is a continuation of Elementary Yoruba. It is the first of two intermediate level courses of the language. Students taking this course are assumed to have taken Yoruba Elementary I & II where basic elements of Yoruba language and culture are introduced. Emphasis is placed on reinforcing the basic structures learned in Elementary Yoruba I and II through oral and aural activities and increasing the level of active vocabulary.

IDEAs in Action Gen Ed: GLBL-LANG

Making Connections Gen Ed: FL

Grading Status: Letter grade

Global Language: Level 3