I bought this dictionary expecting to find a decent amount of translation between Yoruba and English. It far exceeded my expectation. The dictionary is packed with words! It's like the author had an English dictionary beside him and word for word, translated it to Yoruba. There's even a Yoruba primer at the begining.
I will echo the other reviewers in saying that this is probably the best Yoruba dictionary on the market. I have yet to look for an English > Yoruba translation and not find it. That being said, there is a definite lack of Yoruba > English (the Yoruba > English section is less than half the size of the English > Yoruba section) so it is much less helpful in translating from Yoruba into English than the other way around. As a student studying Yoruba, it is not as helpful when I am reading a Yoruba text and attempting to find the meaning of a Yoruba word. My Yoruba professor has also identified some errors in translating English into Yoruba.
My largest disappointment with this dictionary, however, is with its CLEARLY Christianized and biased stance toward the Yoruba indigenous religion. It translates "devil" as "Esu" for example, when years and years of scholarship have indicated that this is an incorrect association (Esu is a deity in the indigenous religion and is in NO WAY analagous to the Christian devil). Additionally, it translates "idolater" as "aborisa" which is also incorrect (an aborisa is one who practices Yoruba indigenous religion and most would take issue with being referred to as "idolaters" particularly since it is clear that this term is being used pejoratively). There are several other translations of this sort which are extremely off-putting and disappointing. Outsiders have demonized Yoruba religion -- and African religions more broadly -- enough without someone who is of the culture doing so in a book that is supposed to be a neutral reference guide (to the extent that anything can be "neutral"). This is not to mention that it does not include any of the names for traditional Yoruba ceremonies, even though many of them are still undertaken by Yoruba people regardless of religious affiliation.
Hippocrene often offers American readers dctionaries of foreign languages by rebranding those published abroad. The YORUBA MODERN PRACTICAL DICTIONARY is one example. Compiled by Kayode J. Fakinlede, the dictionary is cleared aimed at a Nigerian audience, both Yoruba speakers working with English and non-Yoruba learning this major national language.
Fakinlede is not a professional lexiconographer, but a research scientist and, as we are told, "avowed Yoruba nationalist." One of the key aims of this dictionary seems to be facilitating the development of Yoruba scientific terminologies. There's a 10-page listing of English to Yoruba wood roots (e.g. "bio-", "cardio-", "quadri-"), and the English-Yoruba portion of the dictionary contains an usual amount of specialized scientific terms for such a relatively small dictionary. There's also some example texts of mathematical operations in Yoruba at the end, such as "To divide D in a ratio of A to B, find the sum of the ratios: A + B".
That the dictionary was written for a Nigerian audience is evident in the glossing of each English listing in the English-Yoruba portion. Listings such as "nosegay [a small bouquet, a bunch of flowers] or. idi ododo" are clearly meant to help out readers whose English might be shaky. And, of course, the preface written by attorney-general and civil rights activist Bola Ige, shortly before he was assassinated, is the sort of thing that would attract a local Nigerian audience.
However, the dictionary can still be useful for English-speaking students of Yoruba outside of Nigeria. A 13-page grammar gives a good sketch of the language, and the dictionary itself contains 26,000 entries with few noticeable lacunae. I'm not aware of any better dictionary that is widely available in the United States. However, the dictionary does suffer from a fault common to all of Hippocrene's dictionaries: extremely amateur typesetting. The bulk of this dictionary, a trade paperback reaching nearly 700 pages, could have been lessened had so much space not been wasted on each page.
This dictionary has it all. It is very good and basically can replace the need of a grammer book. In the beginning pages, it teaches you some of the grammar used in the Yoruba langauge. Tone patterns, the vowels, question types, greetings, verb conjuctions and word roots.
Besides that, this dictionary contains the meaning of just about any word you could think of in the English or the Yoruba language. Really, it has some odd and wierd words in here that you would never think you would even say in a sentence. Also, the dictionary itself doesnt just give the definition, it also defines small variances of the word. (Ex: See: lati ri (nkan); Let me see: Je ki nriran; To understand: lati ye; I see: O ye mi.) It also translates the English word to Yoruba. (Ex: Shout [A loud cry] or Fox [Doglike wild animal])
This book is a must-have for anyone trying to learn Yoruba. It contains so many words, even primitive Yoruba word such as Ireti which means Hope or Gbimo which means Plan. It contains over 26,000 entries.
The only thing I would advise anyone to do, is to learn the Yoruba alphabet if you do not already know it. That will immensely help you pronouce the words correctly, because of course, there is no audio that comes with this book to help you. (...)