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How to cite this article: Mister Seun Ayoade. A Few More Heteronyms/Heterophones to Buttress the Argument That Yoruba is a Language Isolate. Glob
J Arch & Anthropol. 2019; 9(2): 555759. DOI: 10.19080/GJAA.2019.09.555759
“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 labors 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 investiga
tion 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, new
Dr get injured/wounded
Lana dd make something possible/create opportunity
Rm malfunction (especially of equipment/machinery)