Yoruba Name Meaning & Origin

Yoruba

Pronunciation: n/a

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As an ethnic description, the word 'Yoruba' was first recorded in reference to the Oyo Empire in a treatise written by the 16th-century Songhai scholar Ahmed Baba. It was popularized by Hausa usage and ethnography written in Arabic and Ajami during the 19th century, in origin referring to the Oyo exclusively.

The extension of the term to all speakers of dialects related to the language of the Oyo (in modern terminology North-West Yoruba) dates to the second half of the 19th century. It is due to the influence of Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first Anglican bishop in Nigeria. Crowther was himself a Yoruba and compiled the first Yoruba dictionary as well as introducing a standard for Yoruba orthography.

The alternative name Akú, apparently an exonym derived from the first words of Yoruba greetings (such as Ẹ kú àárọ? "good morning", Ẹ kú alẹ? "good evening") has survived in certain parts of their diaspora as a self-descriptive.citation needed

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