Yorùbá has proven to be versatile language from a linguistic point of view. It uses a register tone system, vowel harmonization, extensive morphophonology, and numerous reduplicative processes to achieve a seamless communication. It is a language of sub-Saharan Africa; the native tongue of the Yorùbá people.
Due to homophonic nature of Yoruba words (i.e. words having same spellings and sound, but different meaning entirely), many people find it difficult to properly read Yoruba books or understand conversations between one another. The reason for this obscurity is not far-fetched; it is because of lack of Àmìn on the words.
Yoruba Tone Marks
Àmìn Ohùn is one of important segments of Yoruba Literature. Àmìn which is otherwise known as Syllabic Notation (also called tone mark) enables Yoruba speakers to read, understand and pronounce words, statements and sentences as exactly as the author intended - This helps people to read Yoruba fluently, as each word is rightly stretched with the appropriate tone-mark.
Yoruba has three (3) major core notations, namely:
(a) Do (\)
(b) Re (~)
(c) Mi (/)
The importance of putting the right Àmìn on Yoruba words cannot be under-emphasized. Supposing in a book, if words are not properly stretched with a correct tone mark (Àmìn), it will produce different sound and meaning to the readers which actually differs from what’s originally meant. In Yoruba Alphabet, each vowel has its notation and each in turn has its own unique way of pronunciation. Showing example will shed more light... The below statements demonstrate why Àmìn is highly necessary on words, let’s make use of the word “IGBA” as a study case.
|1||Mo ra Ìgbá l'ana||I bought garden egg yesterday (fruit)|
|2||Mo na Îgbâ l'oja||I spent two hundred in the market (number)|
|3||Mo n lo Ìgbà mi l'owo||I'm using my time (season)|
|4||Mo fo Îgbá m'ole||I broke the calabash (item)|
Worthy to note that, putting "Re" (~) sign on Yoruba words is completely optional. Hence, it may be ignored.
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