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Description[edit | edit source]
Benin is a diverse country linguistically. A total of 55 languages are spoken in Benin, with 50 being indigenous. Of those, French is the official language, and all the indigenous languages are considered national languages.
Of the Beninese languages, Fon, a Gbe language, and Yoruba are the most important in the south of the country. In the north there are half a dozen regionally important languages, including Bariba language, once counted as a Gur language and Fulfulde.
The multilingual character of Beninese society is characterized by the number of languages spoken, ethno-linguistic diversity, stratification of language use (whereby French is used officially and other languages used in other spheres of activity), and by the fact that many Beninese are polyglots. A polyglots is someone who has knowledge of several languages, consisting of the ability to understand, speak, read, or write these languages.
The only official language of Benin is French, according to title I, article I of the Constitution of Benin. According to Ethnologue, it is spoken by 3.8 million people (2016) out of more the total population of more than 10 million. For the majority of French speakers in Benin, it is the second language.
For word list and help researching in Benin records, see:
Fon[edit | edit source]
Fon is the most widely spoken indigenous language, spoken by 24% of the population. To date, there are about 53 different dialects of the Fon language spoken throughout Benin. 
Yoruba[edit | edit source]
Yoruba is classified among the Edekiri languages, which together with Itsekiri and the isolate Igala form the Yoruboid group of languages within the Volta–Niger branch of the Niger–Congo family. The linguistic unity of the Niger–Congo family dates to deep prehistory, estimates ranging around 15,000 years ago (the end of the Upper Paleolithic).In present-day Nigeria, it is estimated that there are over 40 million Yoruba primary and secondary language speakers as well as several other millions of speakers outside Nigeria, making it the most widely spoken African language outside Africa.
Yoruba is a member of the Volta-Niger branch of the Niger-Congo family of languages. It is spoken by about 28 million people in southwest Nigeria, Benin, Togo, the UK, Brazil and the USA. It is one of the four official languages of Nigeria, along with English, Hausa and Igbo.
Yoruba first appeared in writing during the 19th century. The first Yoruba publications were a number of teaching booklets produced by John Raban in 1830-2. The person who made the biggest contribution to Yoruba literacy was Bishop Ajayi (Samual) Crowther (1806-1891), who studied many of the languages of Nigeria, including Yoruba, and wrote and translated in some of them. Crowther was also the first Christian bishop of West African origin. A Yoruba orthography appeared in about 1850, though it has undergone a number of changes since then.
Word List(s)[edit | edit source]
My Languages is a great page to help you with word lists and to learn Yoruba vocabulary words from English to Yoruba.
YouTube is a YouTube page with Yoruba Most Common Vocabulary 600 Words.
Phonetics is a list of 148 words in English and the spelling and pronunciation in Yoruba.
Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]
Fon[edit | edit source]
The following information on Fon was found at Wikipedia.  Fon has seven oral vowel phonemes and five nasal vowel phonemes.