A Few More Heteronyms/Heterophones to Buttress
the Argument that Yoruba is a Language Isolate
Department of Physiology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Submission: April 14, 2019; Published: May 16, 2019
*Corresponding author: Seun Ayoade, Independent Researcher, Department of Physiology, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
How to cite this article:Seun Ayoade. A Few More Heteronyms/Heterophones to Buttress the Argument that Yoruba is a Language Isolate. Ann Soc Sci
Manage Stud. 2019; 3(3): 555614. DOI: 10.19080/ASM.2019.03.555614
“The Yoruba language is very musical….to distinguish the tones thus becomes very indispensable” . “In Yoruba, vowels are of greater importance than consonants, and tones than vowels; hence the peculiarity of this language, that musical sounds can be employed to convey a correct idea of words in speech” . “The language however abounds in contractions and elisions; a whole syllable may be dropped but the tone remaining. This is the crux of difficulty with foreigners trying to speak the language. There is no word accent in Yoruba, the tone governs everything…. .
“No consonants are used to represent a vowel by perverting them from their legitimate consonanted sounds as ‘h’, ‘w’ and ‘y’ are sometimes used in English .
“The labours of Mr. Crowther who reduced the language and collected into a vocabulary several thousand words and of Mr. Bowen who increased the number to about eight thousand words show most conclusively its fullness and variety which, in the progress of time, must become more and more manifest
as continual study and investigation develop its resources. It is capable of almost indefinite expansion and is so constructed that a scholar familiar with all its principles could increase the number of words ad infinitum. It is a language of vowels having but very few consonants and is thus rendered more difficult to acquire, especially those whose language is differently constructed…The language is most difficult because of the innumerable contractions made by the natives in rapid speaking. Not infrequently contracted into three and seven into four and five, so puzzling the learner that he considers it next to an impossibility to catch the words with any distinctness. If, on the other hand he tries to speak it he will oftentimes find himself expressing an idea he never thought of by wrong accent.
The language is abundant in proverbs and such expressions as indicate thought”  A few more examples of Yoruba homographs and heterophones/ heteronyms include the following: kindly note that the alphabet ‘d’ stands for the sound ‘do’ , ‘r’ stands for the sound ‘re’ and ‘m’ for ‘mi’ (Table 1).
Sese dd Fresh, recently
Dr get injured/wounded
Lana dd make something possible/create opportunity
Rm malfunction (especially of equipment/machinery)
Crowther Samuel (1852) A Grammar of the Yoruba Language Compiled by Samuel Crowther, together with introductory remarks, by the Rev. O. E. Vidal.London.
Johnson Samuel (2001) History of The Yorubas from the earliest Times tothe beginning of The British protectorate By the Reverend Samuel Johnson, George Routelegde and sons, London 1921, CSS. Standard Edition. Nigeria
Ibid Page xxx
Ibid Page xxvii
Clarke, William H (1972) Travels and Explorations in Yorubaland (1854-1858). University Press, pp. 269-271.