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29 October 2014
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Yoruba today
The history of Yoruba
Names and writing system

The history of Yoruba

Yoruba is a member of the Kwa branch of the Niger Congo family of languages and is spoken by 17 million people in Nigeria, Benin and Togo. Yoruba speakers make up about 21% of the population of Nigeria, many of whom live in the city of Ibadan.

Most city dwelling Yoruba are bilingual or multilingual. In addition to their own language, many speak a regional language such as Hausa, as well as the official language (English in the case of Nigeria and French in Benin and Togo).

The Yoruba area is predominantly Protestant and Anglican. However, there are also Muslims and Africanized churches that blend traditional Christian and indigenous symbols.

Yoruba, like other Niger Congo languages, is a tonal language. This means that distinctions in the pitch of a single syllable may be used to change the meaning of words. Yoruba has three tones: high, mid and low.

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