Proverbs are wholesome sayings with profound meanings.  They are at the core of Yoruba culture.

The use of proverbs are common with the elders in the society during discussions among themselves, or when talking to the young ones.  The young ones listen, and learn from them; but they are not expected to use proverbs while talking to elders, without acknowledging them (elders).  Otherwise, it is regarded as an affront or disrespect of the elders.

Proverbs are difficult to use or interpret, unless you are a native speaker.

Yoruba proverbs are used for several purposes including the following:

  • To warn a person of an impending disaster.
  • To buttress a matter being discussed.
  • To crack jokes on matters which otherwise would have been offensive.
  • To encourage good behaviour or healthy competition.
  • To educate or enlighten someone about new things.
  • To impart virtues into the young ones.
  • To summarise a lengthen discussion in few wise sayings.
  • To hide important information from children or non-Yoruba speakers during a discussion.
  • To settle disputes between warring parties, and enhance peaceful co-existence.

Therefore, I will be sharing Yoruba proverbs with you on this page regularly, in order to enrich your understanding of the language.

Let’s begin with this:

Yorùbá:  Ìgbà ti a bá rira ẹni lòwúrọ̀ ẹni.

English:  Whenever we see each other is our morning.

Usage:  It is used to explain the fact that we start our assignment as soon as we meet.