The Yorùbá language consists of three major tones: high tone, mid-tone, and low tone. For reading these are illustrated in the letters of the Yorùbá alphabet with accent marks. Dò (low-tone, depicted by a grave accent), Re (mid-tone, depicted by the absence of any accent), Mí (high-tone, depicted by an acute accent).
A dynamic aspect of the Yorùbá language and worldview is the ability to pun with words in poetry form by mischievously exploiting the different possible meanings of a words by identifying one meaning from the other through the accent mark or pitch variations in pronunciations.
Here, the poet Baba Akile illustrates this beautifully by playing with the four meanings of the word Igba.
The different variations of the word Igba;
Igbá, Ìgbà, Ìgbá and Igba are each distinct from one another.
They each struggle in the context of being the most relevant and the most significant…