Yoruba World Center, dawn commission, Wikipedia, others begin work on standardisation of Yoruba Orthography

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To enhance a smooth take-off of the New National Language Policy in Yoruba Studies, the International Centre for Yoruba Arts and Culture (Yoruba World Centre), in collaboration with DAWN Commission, WIKIPEDIA and other stakeholders, is coordinating an international conference focused on the STANDARDISATION OF THE YORUBA LANGUAGE ORTHOGRAPHY on Tuesday, 20 February 2024. The Conference is to be capped with the first Southwest Joint Celebration of the INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUGE DAY on 21st, February.

The organising committee headed by Professor Oluwole Oyetade of University of Ibadan has begun elaborate consultations with teachers, learners and users of the language, as well as the ministries of education in Southwest, Kwara and Kogi States. According to the Professor, who is also the Dean of Faculty of Arts, the Committee comprises of the President of Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria, YSAN; President of the Association of Yoruba Language Lecturers in Colleges of Education in Nigeria, President of Egbe Akómolede ati Asa Yoruba; Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Publishers Association, Yoruba Writers Association and other stakeholders. This committee shall work not only on the Standardisation of Yoruba Orthography, but also on the continuous joint marking of the yearly Mother Language Day.

According to Professor Oyetade, “What we are doing is not new. Our fathers and leaders had done it before. But the last concerted efforts on Yoruba orthography was in the early 70s, which brought the 1974 approved orthography for the language. Even, then, there were disagreements on some of the words and their spellings. Now that we are beginning a new language policy in Nigeria, and because Yoruba language has now been accepted globally, we must have a universally accepted orthography. That’s the work we have given ourselves. We are not writing a new orthography, just to work more on the existing one.”

On the Joint Celebration, the Committee Charman says, “Mother Language Day is a United Nations programme to celebrate our language and culture. Yoruba have a rich culture, and our language is one of the best in the world. It is important that we continue to showcase the importance of these to our children, and even the world at large. There has not been a joint celebration among the Yoruba speaking states, everyone celebrates separately. We want to make this year’s a unique one, as it is to be marked as the beginning of joint celebration in Yoruba Speaking States.”

The Yoruba Orthography Committee shall be inaugurated by the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, while Governor Seyi Makinde is the Chief Host for the two-day events. Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu is the Guest Speaker on the Mother Language Day, with Orangun of Oke Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, supported by other Obas, as the Royal Father of the day. The Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale, shall host all dignitaries.