Hi my darling,
Even though I’ve lived in Lagos State, Nigeria all my life, my family is originally from Ogun State, Nigeria and the language we speak is Yoruba. I like to call it the language of the deep because there really is some unnecessarily deep sturv going on there😂.
Some people still find it hard to believe that I can speak, read and write my language very fluently so today, I’d be sharing 5 deep Yoruba proverbs and their meanings. Hold on to your wigs and get ready for some serious depth! 🌚
1. Ọwọ́ ọmọdé ò tó pẹpẹ, t’àgbàlagbà ò wọ akèrègbè
Direct translation – A child’s hand is unable to reach the shelf and an adult’s hand is unable to enter the calabash/gourd.
Meaning – Shelf here is used to refer to a high place where things are kept out of reach from children, while akeregbe is a calabash or gourd with a small opening where tiny things are kept. Only very small hands can enter it to retrieve things. This proverb simply refers to how everybody has their own limitations and so we all need each other to thrive.
2. Bí ọmọdé bá láṣọ bí àgbà, kò lè ní àkísà bí àgbà
Direct translation – Even if a child has as many clothes as the elderly, he or she cannot have as many rags as the elderly.
Meaning – This simply means that no matter how much wealth you have, it cannot beat having wealth of experience. So in certain matters, it’s important to listen to those who have more experience than you regardless of how much knowledge or wealth you have.
3. Etí baba nílé, etí baba l’óko, ènìyàn ní í jẹ́ bẹ́ẹ̀
Direct translation – A father’s ear encompasses the home, a father’s ear also reaches the farm. That is what we call human beings.
Meaning – News spreads like wildfire. Virtually every secret will eventually get exposed in the long run because human beings are naturally gossips and carriers of news.
4. Gbogbo alángba ló danú délẹ̀. A ò mọ èyí tínú n run.
Direct translation – All lizards lie on their bellies. We do not know which ones have a stomachache.
Meaning – Everyone looks the same or looks good outside but we are unaware of the problems they are facing in secret. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
5. Ẹ̀yìn kùlé l’ọ̀tá wà, inú ilé laṣeni n gbé.
Direct translation – The enemy lives in the backyard while the evil mastermind lives right inside the house with you.
Meaning – It’s used when you discover that evil is being done to or wished upon you by someone very close to you. It simply means that evildoers are almost always in close proximity.
This was a very fun post to write. I miss writing Yoruba. Let me know which of these proverbs is your favourite. Do you have any deep proverbs in your language? Feel free to share their meanings too. Stay safe.
Tomi of Lagos.