Ore Yusuf is from the Igbomina Yoruba-speaking area of Kwara State, Nigeria. His early education up to the high school was done in and around this community. He was in the pioneer set of students in the community secondary school; Esie/Iludun Grammar School. After this, he was selected as one of the pioneer students in an Ohio University experimental school in Kano; a USAID and Northern Nigerian Government cooperation. This is now known as Ahmadu Bello University Advanced Teachers' College (ATC), Kano. Here, his love for rural life kept him close to the Hausa peasants and in this way acquired the rudiments of their language which he later studied and polished for four years in the United States under Russ Shuch (UCLA) and Phil Jaggar (now of SOAS, London)!
After the war, he entered the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)), Ile-Ife where he studied a curious mixture of Fine Art and English in the Faculty of Education. After the National Service Youth Corps (again a pioneer in this program, 1973-1974) in Lagos, he was employed as a graduate assistant in Ahmadu Bello University's ATC (1975), his alma mater to teach English. Fate directed his life to linguistics, and thus returned to the University of Ife (1978) where again, he was in the first set of students to graduate from the department of linguistics. He completed his graduate studies in linguistics, in the University of California
UCLA in 1986.
Ore Yusuf taught in the Universities of Ilorin (full time) where he rose to be professor of linguistics and Nigerian languages, and Ibadan (2-year part-time). His teaching experiences include teaching Yoruba as a graduate student in the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Yale University, New Haven, CT,and Ohio University, Athens, OH.
Although most classmates of his would think he's a fine art teacher, but as a matter of fact he's more associated with linguistics, particularly syntax and Yoruba grammar, a later-life obsession. Fine Art remains a stong tool and an enduring ally for him.
Asked once by his linguistics student what he cherishes most in his life experiences, the answer was swift; "I ain't dead yet". But behind that laconic, and cryptic response, there are volumes and decades of story; the initial enthusiasm for agriculture switched to immersion in fine art, and when he was making an intaglio there, he convinced his dean to allow him major in English. Then he became head of department of linguistics while he's still craning his neck to see what's happening in computers and graphics!
His academic publications include five books in linguistics: Syntactic Analysis: A Students' Guide (1992), Introduction to Linguistics (1992), Girama Yoruba Akotun ni Ilana Isipaya Onidaro (1995,2000), Transformational Grammar: An Introduction , Fundamentals of Syntax and the Study of Nigerian Languages (1998) a language learning text Spoken Yoruba (in press)
and a number of journal articles and chapters in books. His present preoccupation is with the acquisition of Yoruba as a foreign or second language, after a stint with African languages in the US.
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