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Yoruba is one of the three official languages of Nigeria. There are about 20 million speakers of the language in the Southwestern part of Nigeria. It has about twenty dialects, which show phonological and lexical differences. Some of these dialects are spoken around the border of Nigeria and the Republic of Benin and some parts of Togo. 

The language has also survived in Cuba (where it is called Lukumi) and in Brazil (where it is called Nago). Yoruba language is widely spoken in Sierra Leone, Venezuela, Cuba, Trinidad, Tobago, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. Yoruba is a language of significant interest to linguists across the globe.Yoruba classes provide students with the spoken knowledge of the language and cultural practices of the people. The skills demonstrated by mastery of Yoruba language and culture are valuable to employers and graduate programs, and fluency in Yoruba itself is sought by government agencies and international non-governmental organizations. At the University of Michigan, our students are eligible for highly competitive undergraduate Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships. If you have prior experience with Yoruba, please contact Gabriel Ayoola ( for enrollment guidance.

Student Projects

Meet Yoruba Instructors

Gabriel Ayoola, PhD

Holds PhD in Comparative Literature and Intercultural Studies from the University of Georgia, Athens. M.A, African Languages and Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a native speaker of Yoruba language from Nigeria. He is a seasoned instructor of Yoruba language. In addition to teaching of Yoruba language, he also teaches Classes in Black World Studies at the Department of AfroAmerican and African Studies, DAAS. 



DAAS Courses Offered During Fall Semester

AAS 125/AAS 517:  Elementary Yoruba I (Fall Semester) 4 Credits

AAS 225/AAS 625: Intermediate Yoruba I (Fall Semester) 4 Credits

AAS 325/AAS 725: Advanced Yoruba I (Fall Semester) 3 Credits

DAAS Courses Offered During Winter Semester

AAS 126/AAS 518: Elementary Yoruba II (Winter Semester) 4 Credits

AAS 226/AAS 626: Intermediate Yoruba II (Winter Semester) 4 Credits

AAS 326/AAS 726: Advanced Yoruba II (Winter Semester) 3 Credits

Study Abroad Opportunities

University of Michigan offers an incredible number of study-abroad opportunities for our Yoruba students in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin. For more information, visit the Study Abroad website.  

Weekly Conversation Tables

Make sure to check our calendar for Language Tables each semester!Members of the public are welcome. Please check with Gabriel Ayoola ( for updates.

Career Opportunities for Speakers of African Languages

A few of the many career opportunities for students learning African language(s) include:

· Career in journalism

· International finance

· Foreign affairs

· Industry

· Contractual and corporate law

· Academia and cultural exchange

· US department of states

· Embassy, Immigration, and Homeland security

Final Project produced by Maggie Barnard, Madelynn Carter, and Olivier Bahizi for Emeritus Professor, Dr. Nyambura Mpesha's Swahili course.