This article is about the common Yoruba greetings in Nigeria that you should know and get familiar with. Do you want to know how to say “hello” in Yoruba? Or probably you want to know some Yoruba greetings and their meanings as well as the responses to them. You may also want to know some simple Yoruba greetings as well as their more formal greetings to elders, all these will be discussed as we proceed and you will learn them in no time as they are really simple and easy to learn.
The Yoruba people of Nigeria are one of the major ethnic groups and tribes in the country and they occupy the whole of Yorubaland which span the entire south-western geopolitical zone in Nigeria. These States are collectively known as Yoruba speaking States and they are all collectively known as the children of Oduduwa, their god-like ancestor whose stool is located in Ile-Ife, Osun State, the cradle of the entire Yoruba race.
The Yoruba Language has so many dialects that distinguish people from one place to another across the entire south-west but we shall be focusing more on the typical greeting styles and responses that are central and easy to understand in the entire Yoruba Nation. Without further ado, let us proceed.
COMMON YORUBA GREETINGS IN NIGERIA YOU SHOULD KNOW
Seeing that you would like to learn the Yoruba way of greeting, you have come to the right place. Kindly keep in mind that there is no one universally accepted Yoruba translation for the word “hello”. Nigerian Guide will teach you a variety of alternative greetings in Yoruba that have the same meaning as “hello”, as the word “hello” is used as a type of greeting. In the Yoruba language, you can say “hello” to someone at any time of day.
Also bear in mind that respect has a highly significant role in Yoruba culture. It is vital to use the honorific pronoun “Ẹ” when addressing an elderly person in order to convey respect. With that in mind, let us look at the common Yoruba greetings that you should know in Nigeria today:
GOOD MORNING IN YORUBA
- Ẹ káàrọ̀ means Good Morning in the Yoruba Language
- Ẹ káàrọ̀ bàbá (bàámi) means Good morning my father/daddy
- Ẹ káàrọ̀ o màmá (màámi) means good morning my mother/mummy
- Parents or the elderly usually respond to this greeting with “Káàrọ̀ o”
- Young ladies may kneel to show respect to the elderly while greeting them while young men might prostrate as a sign of respect.
GOOD AFTERNOON IN YORUBA
- Ẹ káàsán means Good Afternoon in the Yoruba Language and this greeting is used when addressing an older person or a group of people
- Káàsán on the other hand also means good afternoon in the Yoruba Language but it is used when addressing a younger person or friend.
GOOD EVENING IN YORUBA
- Ẹ kú ìrọ̀lẹ́ means good evening in the Yoruba Language and it is used to address an older person or a group of people
- Kú ìrọ̀lẹ́ is the informal version of good evening in the Yoruba Language and it is used to address a younger person or a friend
- Ẹ kú alẹ́ also means good evening but is used much later in the night to address an older person or a group of people
- Kú alẹ́ is used to address a younger person or a friend.
Kindly note that Ìrọ̀lẹ́ (early evening) spans between 4:00pm – 6:59pm while Alẹ́ (late evening/night) is between the hours of 7:00pm – 11:59pm.
GOODNIGHT IN YORUBA
- Ó dàárọ̀ means Goodnight or see you tomorrow morning in the Yoruba Language and it has no formal or informal way of using it seeing that it is a general greeting.
HELLO IN YORUBA
The following are the various ways to say “hello” in the Yoruba Language:
- Ẹ nlẹ o – Depending on the gender, use “Ẹ nlẹ ma” or “Ẹ nlẹ sir” to sound more respectful to senior folks
- Ẹ pẹ̀lẹ́ o – Use “Ẹ pẹ̀lẹ́ ma” or “Ẹ pẹ̀lẹ́ sir” for older persons
- Ẹ rọra ó – Say “Ẹ rọra ma” or “Ẹ rọra sir” if the person is elderly
- Ẹ kú ìṣẹ o – most appropriate for greeting someone who is busy with something. Say “Ẹ kú ìṣẹ ma” or “Ẹ kú ìṣẹ sir” to seniors
- Ẹ kú ikalẹ o – best used to greet someone who is seated or relaxed. “Ẹ kú ikalẹ ma” or “Ẹ kú ikalẹ sir” should be said to elders.
OTHER FORMS OF GREETINGS IN YORUBA
- “Ẹ kú àbọ̀”/”Kú àbọ̀” means Welcome
- “Ẹ kú ilé” is a response to Welcome
- “Ẹ kú òtútù” is a greeting said when the weather is cold
- “Ẹ kú ọyẹ́” is a greeting for the Harmattan season
- “O ṣe”/ “Ẹ ṣe” means Thank you.