Certainly one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria and often referred to as a tribe, the Yoruba are known to occupy most of southwestern Nigeria as well as the Republic of Benin in southeastern and central Dahomey.
They thrive on unique traditions and a rich cultural heritage, and as such, the way of life, attitude and personality of their true indigenes are quite peculiar. While most argue that attitude and personality are not dependent on culture, it is irrefutable that your place origin of sets you up with quirks that single you out as unique.
Ever met a Yoruba person and immediately figured out who they were in mid-conversation or just by observing?
1. The ‘Aaah’ interjection
So many jokes have been made and skits produced on how frequently the Yorubas use the long “aah” sound as interjections, but it is no put-on. From joyful outbursts, complaints, sorrowful proclamations and stern commands or admonitions, real Yourba indigenes repeat the sound in nearly every conversations. If you find someone who does this, be amiable enough to let it slide.
2. The favorite curse word ‘Ode’
Ode literally translates as “fool”, and while it may not necessarily sound harsh or compare in abrasiveness with the regular western curse words, it is the Yoruba favorite go-to word for cursing out assailants. Matter of fact, it is so common that pre-teens around the area also use it in random conversations.
3. The “abi”, “shebi” and ‘ni’ end phrases
This is more like a cool thing for most Yoruba people now as it gives different meanings to different phrase and helps listeners gain different interpretations. It is now so widespread that they commonly adapt it in other languages like English and even French. Have you ever heard someone say something as absurd as “It’s my own ni” in an argument, or “Your name is Jennifer, abi?” that person is most probably a Yoruba person who thinks he is cool.
4. The silent “H”
The most famous quirk of the Yoruba which affects how they speak every other language is the silent “h” or as it is popularly called, the “H” factor. This is a dead give away for most yorubas. Note that while this is usually recognized in their articulation of English, it is also present in how they speak other languages including local dialects like Hausa and Igbo.