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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 enables students who have no previous experience in Yoruba to develop speaking, listening and understanding, writing, and reading skills in Yoruba. Students will also be exposed to Yoruba culture.

Gen Ed: FL.

Grading status: Letter grade.

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

This course is for students who have already acquired the basics of Yoruba to reinforce their ability to learn speaking, listening and understanding, writing, and reading Yoruba. Evidence of basic knowledge of Yoruba is required.

Requisites: Prerequisite, YORU 401.

Gen Ed: FL.

Grading status: Letter grade.