Friday, January 16, 2004

Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Yorùbá

Ever wanted to see what written Yorùbá looks like? Well here's your chance! The link above is to a translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from which I provide an excerpt consisting of the first two articles, along with the Yorùbá translation. First the English language bit,

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

and then the Yorùbá equivalent:

Abala kìíní.

Gbogbo ènìyàn ni a bí ní òmìnira; iyì àti è̟tó̟ kò̟ò̟kan sì dó̟gba. Wó̟n ní è̟bùn ti làákàyè àti ti è̟rí-o̟kàn, ó sì ye̟ kí wo̟n ó máa hùwà sí ara wo̟n gé̟gé̟ bí o̟mo̟ ìyá.

Abala kejì.

E̟nì kò̟ò̟kan ló ní àǹfàní sí gbogbo è̟tó̟ àti òmìnira tí a ti gbé kalè̟ nínú ìkéde yìí láìfi ti ò̟rò̟ ìyàtò̟ è̟yà kankan s̟e; ìyàtò̟ bí i ti è̟yà ènìyàn, àwò̟̟̟, ako̟-n̅-bábo, èdè, è̟sìn, ètò ìs̟èlú tàbí ìyàtò̟ nípa èrò e̟ni, orílè̟-èdè e̟ni, orírun e̟ni, ohun ìní e̟ni, ìbí e̟ni tàbí ìyàtò̟̟ mìíràn yòówù kó jé̟. Síwájú sí i, a kò gbo̟dò̟ ya e̟nìké̟ni só̟tò̟ nítorí irú ìjo̟ba orílè̟-èdè rè̟ ní àwùjo̟ àwo̟n orílè̟-èdè tàbí nítorí ètò-ìs̟èlú tàbí ètò-ìdájó̟ orílè̟-èdè rè̟; orílè̟-èdè náà ìbáà wà ní òmìnira tàbí kí ó wà lábé̟ ìs̟àkóso ilè̟ mìíràn, wo̟n ìbáà má dàá ìjo̟ba ara wo̟n s̟e tàbí kí wó̟n wà lábé̟ ìkáni-lápá-kò yòówù tí ìbáà fé̟ dí òmìnira wo̟n ló̟wó̟ gé̟gé̟ bí orílè̟-èdè.

If your eyes are hurting from all the diacritical marks above and below the vowels of each word, it's because Yorùbá, like Chinese, is a tonal language; in consequence, one has to know the exact pitch of a word to grasp its' meaning, and speaking Yoruba therefore has a lot in common with singing. For instance, depending on the pitch of the last vowel, the word "oko" can mean either "forest" (plain "oko"), or "penis" ("okó").

NB - If you're using Internet Explorer and the above looks like garbage, make sure to set your encoding (look under the "View" menu) to "UTF-8"; afterwards, click on
"Tools->Internet Options", and in the resulting dialog box, click on the "Fonts" button; then, under the "Latin based" language-script option, set the "Web page font" to "Arial Unicode MS". Mozilla and Firebird users shouldn't need to do anything to see this post as intended.