How to Say “I” in Yoruba

Welcome to our guide on how to say “I” in Yoruba! As one of the four major languages spoken in Nigeria, Yoruba has a rich linguistic heritage. Understanding how to express oneself in Yoruba is not only useful for communication but also helps in building connections with Yoruba-speaking communities.

Formal Ways to Say “I” in Yoruba

When addressing someone formally or in a respectful manner, there are a few ways to say “I” in Yoruba. It is important to understand these variations to show the appropriate level of respect in different situations.

1. Mo (Mó)

Mo is the most commonly used formal way of saying “I” in Yoruba. It is a simple and respectful word used by individuals of all ages and genders. When introducing yourself in a formal setting or speaking to someone older or with higher authority, “mo” is the go-to word.

Example: Mo jẹ́ Tolu. (I am Tolu.)

2. Ẹmi (Ẹ́mi)

While less common than “mo,” “ẹmi” is another formal way to say “I” in Yoruba. It carries a similar level of formality and respect as “mo,” but it is more commonly used in traditional or religious contexts. For instance, when referring to oneself in a spiritual or divine setting, “ẹmi” is the more appropriate term.

Example: Ẹ́mińi súgbon ni ire. (I am small but blessed.)

Informal Ways to Say “I” in Yoruba

When addressing friends, peers, or family members, a more casual way of saying “I” is commonly used in Yoruba. These informal variations help create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in conversations.

1. Mó (Mo)

In addition to being formal, “mo” can also be used informally among friends and people of the same age group. It is a versatile word that works well in both formal and informal settings. When interacting casually, “mo” is the most frequently used way to say “I” in Yoruba.

2. Mí (Míí)

“Mí” is another informal way to say “I” in Yoruba, mainly used in colloquial conversations among friends and close acquaintances. While it is less commonly used than “mo,” it adds a personal touch to your statement and strengthens the connection between speakers.

Regional Variations

Yoruba is a diverse language with regional variations, but when it comes to saying “I” in Yoruba, the variations are minimal. The terms mentioned above, like “mo,” “ẹmi,” “mó,” and “mí,” are widely understood and used throughout Yoruba-speaking regions. Nevertheless, slight pronunciation differences may exist between regions, especially in intonation and emphasis.

Tips for Learning Yoruba Pronunciation

Learning the pronunciation of Yoruba words can be a bit challenging for beginners, but with practice and guidance, it becomes easier. Here are some useful tips to improve your Yoruba pronunciation:

  • Listen to Native Speakers: Listening to native Yoruba speakers will help you grasp the correct pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm of the language. You can find audio or video resources online or consider connecting with Yoruba-speaking language partners.
  • Practice Regularly: Consistent practice is key to improving your Yoruba pronunciation. Set aside dedicated daily practice sessions where you focus on repeating words, phrases, and sentences aloud.
  • Pay Attention to Tone: Yoruba is a tonal language, meaning that the pitch or tone with which a word is pronounced can change its meaning. Paying attention to tones will greatly enhance your communication skills in Yoruba.
  • Record Yourself: Recording yourself while speaking Yoruba allows you to evaluate your own pronunciation and identify areas that need improvement. Compare your recordings with audio samples from native speakers to fine-tune your skills.


Congratulations! You’ve now learned different ways to say “I” in Yoruba. Remember that using the appropriate form of “I” in Yoruba depends on the situation—using “mo” for formal or “mo” and “mí” for informal conversations. As you practice and refine your pronunciation, you’ll become more confident in expressing yourself and building connections with Yoruba-speaking communities. Enjoy your journey in learning Yoruba and the cultural insights it brings!

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