A university lecturer, Dr. Moses Mabayoje, has stressed the need to intensify efforts in the study and use of Yoruba language to guard against its extinction.

Mabayoje, who is a Yoruba Language expert, said this while presenting 10 students, on a two-month course on Yoruba from two American universities, to the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Friday.

The students, under the Summer Intensive Yoruba Course between University of Ibadan and the University of Florida, United States of America, visited Yoruba towns and tourist centres during the programme.

The lecturer, who expressed satisfaction with efforts of UI to propagate Yoruba language through the establishment of the Yoruba Language Centre, said, “The Yoruba Language is facing serious problem of extinction.

“This is the first time we are doing the exchange programme. The programme, which is taking place between the University of Florida and the University of Ibadan, is expected to run for four years.

“In my first year of sojourn abroad, many people asked me to teach them and their children how to speak the language. One man called Femi Odediran, who married a Chinese woman, asked us to teach his wife and children Yoruba language.

“We should take the study and use of the language very seriously so that we would not end up learning the language from the whites. We should not lose the language because it is our heritage. Yoruba Language is the only symbol of unity for the people and an important binding force.”

“As the language is facing extinction in Yorubaland, it is taking roots in other lands, where the language is considered as one of the important languages in Africa. In spite of this, Yoruba is regarded as one of the endangered languages.”

“The students from American universities, have learnt so much about the language and culture within the period in the country. They appreciate the culture of hospitality and they would like to go further in the study.”

In his remarks on the occasion, Adewole said the university would ensure that the teaching and learning of Yoruba Langauge were intensified.

He said, “Proficiency in the language is of immense benefit. We have pledged that we would do all within our reach to improve the study of Yoruba Language. One of the things that we would do is to give the Yoruba Language Centre an additional lecture theatre.

“We would make provision for a projector and other learning materials. Many people in the university community, who cannot speak Yoruba, would be exposed to the language.”

Among the foreign students were medical students, an architect, a computer science student and others taking courses on Africa and humanities.

Speaking on behalf of others, Oluwabunmi Fayiga from the University Florida, and Oluwadamilola Shonaike from University of Texas, described Yoruba language as fascinating, saying they were not encouraged to use the language as young learners.