Tuesday, 8 June 2010

New beginnings...new obstacles

Today is not the first day I've thought about learning Yoruba, or taken actions into doing so. I've wanted to for the past few years, and actually began to do so about a year ago. Excuses will never be a true justification, but time was indeed my restriction which led me to stop learning it, intending to resume later.

This is my later. June 2010. And a blog, well, a blog was never intended to be part of the learning process. I wanted to learn Yoruba this summer, and I also wanted to write a blog. That is how the two formed a union. And well...why not? I can share my thoughts and experiences of learning the language, help others, and gain their assistance in return. And I can record my learning process, and be motivated at times of distraction through the need to update my blog.

Last year, I set out to learn through a book I happened to pick up in the library...'Colloquial Yoruba'‎ by Dr. Antonia Folarin Schleicher. VERY GOOD. It's accompanied by two CD's, includes everyday situations with tones, variations depending on the age of the person you are speaking to, and cultural context. About a year on, I've bought the book and CD, along with 'TalkNow! Yoruba'. This is a software with fun and games that helps you gain a basic understanding of Yoruba.

So far only 'TalkNow!' has arrived in the post, and although it has its limitations (tones, and differences in speaking depending on the age of the person you're referring or speaking to)...IT'S FUN! Games and points scoring, and you can record your voice, play it back, and compare it to a native speaker. Very rewarding.

So far, I've noticed that I struggle on pronounication of shorter words, and find pronouncing longer sentences easier. I speak Twi (a language of the Asante in Ghana), and, Twi being a nasal language, I often use nasal pronounication when practicing Yoruba in places where I shouldn't.

An obstacle I've come across in writing this blog is how to type Yoruba words on here with the tonal accents, which I cannot seem to find on Microsoft Word. I have looked for websites that provide this in the past, but to no avail. I will keep looking, and any ideas from anyone of where I can find a virtual Yoruba keyboard would be more than appreciated. :)


MsAfropolitan said...

Great blog, and task you've taken on. I've been meaning to learn Yoruba for a long time too and have also bought the colloquial Yoruba DVD/book :o)

Have you considered studying Yoruba at a uni, like SOAS, or would it be more of a spare time endeavour?

Good luck and well done anyway, look fwd to reading of your progress!

learningyoruba said...

Hiya MsAfropolitan! Funnily enough I actually studied at SOAS, but did a History degree, and by my final year, regretted not taking Yoruba earlier. I wanted to a do a summer course but unfortunately only a yearly one is available, so in the meantime I am doing a self-study and will be seeking the advice of Yoruba lecturers at SOAS. I do hope to do a class soon though.

I'm so glad you read my blog! My faith in obtaining an audience was waning...but it's quickly growing again! By the way I love the stuff you write, and I will ensure to keep reading and commenting.