Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
An Osun monarch, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, has called on Yoruba scholars to embark on an intensive research with a view to developing the Yoruba language and positioning it for global recognition.
He pointed out that Yoruba language, being one of the strongest and recognised languages in Africa and across the globe, requires an intensive research by Yoruba scholars to be able to to coin Yoruba equivalence for some foreign words, especially English.
He stressed that developing the Yoruba language to such a global status is a part of enriching the Yoruba culture and tradition to accord the race a global attention.
While expressing worries over the inability to translate some English words into Yoruba, the monarch said that Yoruba had failed to move with current times to assert its identity among the highly recognised languages used for corporate communication across the globe.
The Oluwo, however, noted that as a custodian of Yoruba culture and tradition, he owed the race a duty to advocate their development by advancing the cause of the Yoruba language.
He lamented that failure to interpret some English words in Yoruba had put a question mark on the integrity and future of the language.
“Tell me what Yoruba call the following words: Hectres, block, screw driver, bulb, video, cocoa, cashew, coffee, watermelon, strawberry. I am not saying that parents should not encourage their children to speak the Yoruba language. As a custodian of culture and tradition, it is my responsibility to ensure the language ranks among the best in the world. What I am advocating is how to find a way to resolve this problem I have identified,” the monarch said.
He further lamented that the Yoruba words inherited from the forefathers hundreds of years ago were still the ones being spoken today.
“This is an evidence of stagnation in a dynamic world. When was the Yoruba dictionary updated? The point is that we are still sleeping. As far as I am concerned as the Oluwo of Iwoland, I will continue to move with time because what we call culture must move with time. You don’t live on past glory and be respected. We have to create our own legacy so that the future generation would make reference to it,” he stressed.
Oba Akanbi enthused that less than one week after he had expressed his mind on the limitations of the Yoruba language, the Oxford Dictionary announced inclusion of about 29 Nigerian usages into the use of English Language.
“But how many of Yoruba words were included in the updated Oxford Dictionary,? he asked rhetorically.
He said that he would continue to use social media to upgrade himself and follow the trends on the global stage.
“This is simply because a 21-century king should not keep himself in the palace and wait for for things to happen to react,” he noted.
“Kings must have a voice on public issues to show leadership and direction to his people. We should come to terms with the realities of the century in which we live now. We should not live like zombies whose lives are controlled by myths and superstitions of the past.”