Selected Works of Chief Isaac O. Delano On Yoruba Language
This book provides four of the major language-related works of Chief Isaac Oluwole Delano. They constitute the masterpiece of his pivotal contribution to the Yoruba language and, in a way, to its literature, a feat that places Delano over and above his contemporaries in the pioneering efforts of intellection on the broad field of Yoruba studies. With this anthology, comprising of four books, A Modern Yoruba Grammar; Agbeka Oro Yoruba: Appropriate words and expressions in Yoruba; Conversation in Yoruba and English; and Atumo Ede Yoruba, we showcase and bring to the close range of students, teachers, scholars and other beneficiaries of Yoruba, a lifetime achievement of a mega-lover of the Yoruba language, culture and literature. This document, in excess of 900 pages, is a valuable “mobile library” so much needed in an age when indigenous knowledge bases are endangered and the potential beneficiaries of such knowledges are the first to run away from them.
Michael Oladejo Afoláyan, Ph.D., a former student of Chief Isaac O. Delano, is currently an Independent Scholar, and a retired professor from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. He also retired from the directorate of Illinois Board of Higher Education’s Academic Affairs Division, Illinois, USA. Afoláyan is the current co-founder and President of M & P Educational Consulting International. As an eclectic scholar with backgrounds in Yoruba language, linguistics, education, and literary analysis, he draws from a rich pool of multidisciplinary scholarship to investigate and interrogate theoretical, philosophical and pragmatic ideas. He embraces a lifelong studentship of cultural knowledge and intellectual curiosity. Educated earlier in life in the organic indigenous Yoruba epistemology (at the feet of village elders), and later in life at three Western citadels of learning – University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, Nigeria; the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Afoláyan has authored and co-authored many journal articles, book chapters, and books. He is the author of a memoir, Fate of Our Mothers: The Collected Stories of An African Village Boy and currently he is co-authoring a translation of Joseph Odumosu’s (1895) Iwe Iwosan.
Toyin Falola is a historian of the Yoruba and Nigeria, founder and co-editor of Yoruba Studies Review. He has produced over 160 books, and honored globally —including seven honorary doctorates— for his scholarship and service. He is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor and Frances and Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University Of Texas at Austin.
The works and life of Chief Isaac Delano underscored his invaluable conviction that language is the software for the creation and development, processing, storage, retrieval, and for the preservation and use of culture. The Yoruba say, Ibadan l’omo, o mo layipo, and Delano’s compendium of Yoruba language, history and anthropological chronicles is also a signifier to knowing the “layipo” of the Yoruba people. Language plays an indisputable role for the understanding, interpretation and deciphering and decoding of the Yoruba cultural values and beliefs that are obscured in proverbs, sayings and conversations, unique grammatical structure, and their family system, gender equity, and democratic political culture and communal philosophy but not communist governance and governmentality. Toyin Falola and Michael O. Afolayan have in a manner of speech archaeologically excavated or exhumed and brought alive the erstwhile buried works and life of Chief Delano for us all to enjoy and learn from. I commend this must-read encyclopedic work to students of language in general and to decolonization of the Yoruba mindset and to posterity for the preservation of the endangered Yoruba language, cultural values and beliefs.
Bola Dauda, author of Life Begins at 70! and the co-author of Decolonizing Nigeria 1945-1960