About:The Yoruba language is a NigerCongo language spoken in West Africa. The number of speakers of Yoruba was estimated at around 20 million in the 1990s. The native tongue of the Yoruba people is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas. A variety of the language, Lucumi, from olukunmi is used as the liturgical language of the Santeria religion of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the United States. It is most closely related to the Owo and Itsekiri language (spoken in the Niger-Delta) and Igala spoken in central Nigeria. Yoruba is classified within the Edekiri languages, which together with Itsekiri and the isolate Igala form the Yoruboid group of languages within the Volta-Niger branch of the Niger-Congo phylum. The linguistic unity of the Niger-Congo phylum dates to deep prehistory, estimates ranging around 15 kya (the end of the Upper Paleolithic). The AtlanticCongo core of this group would have formed roughly 8,000 years ago. The Benue-Congo branch (which also includes the Bantoid branch) separated from Atlantic-Congo around the 5th millennium BC, ultimately spreading out in the Bantu expansion, while Volta-Niger is one of the branches formed by the peoples who remained in the Atlantic-Congo core territory.
Also Called:Ede-Yoruba, Yariba, Yooba