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Greetings in Yoruba: How to say Hello in Yoruba Language Correctly

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Do you want to learn how to greet correctly in Yoruba language or want to learn how to say hello in Yoruba? This write up will show the number of different ways to greet people in Yoruba that have the same meaning as “hello”.

Greetings in Yoruba

In Yoruba culture today, there are no generally-agreed-upon translation for the word “hello” in Yoruba language, since it can still be used to greet someone any time of the day(whether in the morning, afternoon and evening).

There are 5 Yoruba states in Nigeria today located in the South-west namely: Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti states. The tradition of the Yoruba speaking people places much emphasis on greetings, especially when it is addressed to elderly people.

How To Greet Elders in Yoruba Language Correctly

  1. E nle o: To greet the elderly people by showing respect based on gender either say “E nle ma” or “E nle sir”.
  2. E pele o: It means sorry in Yoruba but this particular greeting in Yoruba is widely used to greet elderly people. You can still differentiate it for gender purposes. Say “E pele ma” or “E pele sir”.
  3. E rora o: means take it easy in Yoruba but for elderly people, it can ne a form of greeting depending on the situation. Use “E rora ma” or “E rora sir” to attribute gender.
  4. E ku ishe o: used usually to greet someone who is busy with something to get their attention. For elders use either “E ku ishe ma” or “E ku ishe sir” to differentiate gender.
  5. E ku ikale o: Used for someone who looks relaxed. In the midst of elders, use either “E ku ikale ma” or “E ku ikale sir”, to differentiate gender.

Good Morning, Afternoon & Evening in Yoruba Language

Below are the various greetings in Yoruba language used specifically at certain times of the day to greet people:

  1. E kaaro o: means good morning in Yoruba. You can also add “ma”  or “sir”  when greeting the elderly. E.g E kaaro ma/sir for male and female as the case may be.
  2. E kaasan o: it is the meaning of good afternoon in Yoruba. For male elders, say E kaasan sir while for females E kaasan ma.
  3. E ku irole o: means good evening in Yoruba. Should be used between 4 to 7pm. For elders add ma/sir.
  4. E kaale o: means good evening but used at night time when it is dark, after 7pm. For elders say “E kaale ma/sir”.

As you can see, hello in Yoruba have different meanings unlike in Igbo land where hello means “kedu” in Igbo language. Lets learn to appreciate and promote our various culture in Nigeria by speaking our languages.

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