The University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill has introduced courses for the Yorùbá language of Nigeria in three levels of 3 credits each.
The institution is a prestigious research university and one of the oldest public universities in the United States, chartered in 1789. It comprises 16 universities and one high school, making it one of the largest public university systems in the United States.
According to UNC, at the end of the third program, students are expected to have a convincing understanding of the Yorùbá language, culture, as well as significant oral and aural activities, that should increase with their level of active vocabulary.
Yoruba is primarily spoken by the ethnic Yoruba people of southwestern and central Nigeria. It is one of Africa’s most widely used languages, with over 45 million first-language speakers and millions more who speak it as a second language. Beyond Nigeria, other Yoruba-speaking communities can be found in Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia.
Across the African diaspora, Yoruba lexicon and words are also used in Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion; in Caribbean spiritual systems such as Santería; and is associated with the religious legacies of African Americans in North America.
At UNC, students now acquire Yoruba cultural competences through various interactive classroom activities, discussions, dramatizations, films, novels, and poetry. The department also plans to expand its Yoruba language track to offer courses at advanced levels.
YORU 401. Elementary Yoruba I. 3 Credits.
This course is an introduction to Yoruba and is intended for students with no prior knowledge of the language and culture of Yorubaland. The course emphasizes spoken and written Yoruba, as used in present day West Africa. At the end of this course, students are expected to reach Novice High according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines.
YORU 402. Elementary Yoruba II. 3 Credits.
It introduces more advanced grammar and emphasizes more fluency in speaking, reading, and writing in standard Yoruba. The course develops students understanding of the Yoruba culture and the West African people who use Yoruba as the language of wider communication. To learn the Yoruba language and culture, students cover a wide range of socioeconomic and political topics including greetings, nutrition, health, housing, business and political leadership.
YORU 403. Intermediate Yoruba III. 3 Credits.
Intermediate Yoruba III is a continuation of Elementary Yoruba. It is the first of two intermediate level courses of the language. Students taking this course are assumed to have taken Yoruba Elementary I & II where basic elements of Yoruba language and culture are introduced. Emphasis is placed on reinforcing the basic structures learned in Elementary Yoruba I and II through oral and aural activities and increasing the level of active vocabulary.
The university’s courses adds to the increasing list of American Universities that now offer Yorùbá language both as credit unit courses and as degree programs. This list includes prominent universities like Harvard, Yale, Michigan, Cornell, Stanford, Howard, Indiana and more, making Yorùbá one of the most well studied African languages in America.
Recently eight new Yorùbá language teachers were recruited into various U.S Universities to teach the West African language.