Wolof originated as the language of the Lebou people. It is the most widely spoken language in Senegal, spoken natively by the Wolof people (40% of the population) but also by most other Senegalese as a second language. Wolof dialects vary geographically and between rural and urban areas. “Dakar-Wolof”, for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, and Arabic.
“Wolof” is the standard spelling and may refer to the Wolof people or to Wolof culture. Variants include the older French Ouolof and the principally Gambian “Wollof”. “Jolof”, “jollof”, &c. now typically refers either to the former Wolof state or to a common West African rice dish. Now-archaic forms include “Volof” and “Olof”.
Wolof words in English are believed to include yum/yummy, from Wolof nyam “to taste”, nyam in Barbadian English meaning to eat (also compare Seychelloisnyanmnyanm, also meaning to eat).
In Senegal, the Wolof form an ethnic plurality with about 43.3% of the population.
In the Gambia, about 16% of the population are Wolof. Here, they are a minority, where the Mandinka are the plurality with 42% of the population, yet Wolof language and culture have a disproportionate influence because of their prevalence in Banjul, the Gambian capital, where a majority of the population is Wolof.
In Mauritania, about 8% of the population are Wolof. They live largely in the southern coastal region of the country.
Senegali/ˌsɛnɨˈɡɔːl,–ˈɡɑːl/ (French: le Sénégal), officially the Republic of Senegal (République du Sénégal, IPA: [ʁepyblik dy seneɡal]), is a country in West Africa. It is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World or Eurafrasiaand owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi), and has an estimated population of about 13 million. The climate is tropical with two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.
Senegal’s capital is Dakar. During the 17th and 18th centuries, numerous trading posts belonging to various European colonial empires were established along the coast. France took control of Senegal in 1677. Senegal was granted independence from France in 1960.
The Gambia (i/ˈɡæmbiə/; officially the Republic of the Gambia and often called simply Gambia) is a country in West Africa. It is surrounded by Senegal, apart from a short strip of Atlantic coastline at its western end. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa.
The Gambia is situated on either side of the Gambia River, the nation’s namesake, which flows through The Gambia’s centre and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its area is 10,689 square kilometres (4,127 sq mi) with a population of 1,882,450 at the 15 April 2013 Census (provisional). Banjul is the Gambian capital, and the largest cities are Serekunda and Brikama.
The Gambia shares historical roots with many other West African nations in the slave trade, which was the key factor in the placing and keeping of a colony on the Gambia River, first by the Portuguese, during which era it was A Gâmbia, and later by the British. In 1965 The Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom. Since gaining independence, the Gambia has had two leaders – Sir Dawda Jawara, who ruled from 1970 until 1994, when the current leader Yahya Jammeh seized power in a coup as a young army officer.
The Gambia’s economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
Welcome to JangaWolof.WordPress.com. This is a resource for all things Wolof. Most entries will be mini Wolof lessons but we will also include links to other resources, articles of interest, notes on culture, etc. As many Wolof speakers are also Francophone we will include some basic French lessons as well with the occasional post about the other many native languages that are also spoken by those who speak Wolof.
We welcome submissions from native Wolof speakers and advanced students who wish to share their knowledge with us, please contact us at DaaraLaaka@hotmail.com with your submissions.
Wolof is the most widely spoken language in Senegal, spoken not only by members of the Wolof ethnic group (approximately 40 percent of the population) but also by most other Senegalese. Wolof dialects may vary between countries (Senegal and the Gambia) and the rural and urban areas. “Dakar-Wolof”, for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, Arabic, and even a little English spoken in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.
“Wolof” is the standard spelling, and is a term that may also refer to the Wolof ethnic group or to things originating from Wolof culture or tradition. As an aid to pronunciation, some older French publications use the spelling “Ouolof“; for the same reason, some English publications adopt the spelling “Wollof“, predominantly referring to Gambian Wolof. Prior to the 20th Century, the forms “Volof”, and “Olof” were used.
Compared to other African languages, Wolof has had a relatively large influence on Western European languages; banana is a Wolof word in English, and the English word yam is believed to be derived from Wolof/Fula nyami, “to eat food.”
Since Wolof was not formally a written language there is no universal system for the spelling of Wolof words which often makes it difficult for the begining student to distinguish between similar sounding words when reading Wolof as opposed to actually being able to hear it.
There are also different dialects of Wolof such as Gambian & Senegalese, rural & urban and even traditional & modern. Although the differences are generally slight it can still be somewhat confusing for non-native speakers trying to learn the language.
The distinction between short and long vowels is very important, because it is sometimes the only way to distinguish pairs of words which have different meanings. Long vowels are generally doubled, while short vowels are not.
(Tip: Mouse over the Wolof words and see the definition, also mousing over some of the English words will give the Wolof equivalent.)
banta, tapa, santa
laaj, naaj, caabi
dem, lem, gerte
nit, simiis, timis
siis, lii, kii
(see note) *
* There is no English equivalent for this sound, it is a slightly guttural sound that is between x and k. It may also be pronounced merely as h, especially among non-natives.
From time to time you may come across a Wolof word that uses an unsual letter that looks like this:
This is called ‘velar nasal’. It is another prenasalized consonant that sounds similar to the ng sound in the English word ‘sing’. This is not to be confused with the consonant ‘ng’ in the table above which has a ‘j’ sound.
For more on Wolof pronunciation please click HERE .
Proper greetings in the Wolof culture are very important. Often times one will spend several minutes with greetings and pleasantries before getting down to the purpose of their visit. Sometimes the whole visit will just be greetings. Even on Senegalese call-in radio shows the callers and hosts will exchange many greetings before getting on with the caller’s question or comment.
We have put here the four most common greetings you are most likely to encounter on a daily basis when visiting Wolof countries. We have included both Arabic and French as well as Wolof.
greeting a group of people
or entering one’s house
Wolof numbers are basically counted in groups of five. The numbers one through five (and ten) are the main numbers in the Wolof numeric system, all other numbers up to one-hundred are based on these numbers.
Wolof numbers are combined together to form new numbers. For example the
number twelve in Wolof is fukk ak ñaar (10 & 2), which when added together equals
twelve. With the exception of six through nine and all numbers divisible by ten, except for ten, up to one-hundred, such as twenty, thirty, forty, etc. all Wolof number combinations include the Wolof word ak which means ‘and’ or ‘with’.
When a larger number precedes a smaller number the numbers are added. For example the number sixteen in Wolof is fukk ak juróom benn (10 & 6 or 10 & 5 &1) which when added together equals sixteen. All numbers up to nineteen are in this order.
When a smaller number precedes a larger number then the numbers are multiplied. For
example the number forty in Wolof is ñeent fukk (4 & 10) which when multiplied equals forty. All numbers above twenty are in this order.
Wolof number combinations above twenty (except for 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 & 90) call for both addition and multiplication. For example the number thirty-two in Wolof is ñett fukk
ak ñaar (3 & 10 & 2), if written as a mathematical equation it would be 3 x 10 + 2 = 32.
Below is a table of Wolof numbers. Not all numbers are listed. We only included
the basic numbers and also tried to give examples of every kind of number combination. Click HERE for a complete list of Wolof numbers up to 100 along with their mathematical equations.
fukk ak benn
fukk ak ñaar
fukk ak ñett
fukk ak ñeent
fukk ak juróom
fukk ak juróom benn
fukk ak juróom ñaar
fukk ak juróom ñett
fukk ak juróom ñeent
ñaar fukk ak benn
ñaar fukk ak ñaar
ñaar fukk ak ñett
ñaar fukk ak ñeent
ñaar fukk ak juróom
ñaar fukk ak juróom benn
ñaar fukk ak juróom ñaar
ñaar fukk ak juróom ñett
ñaar fukk ak juróom ñeent
ñett fukk **
juróom benn fukk
juróom benn fukk ak benn
juróom benn fukk ak ñaar
juróom benn fukk ak ñett
juróom benn fukk ak ñeent
juróom benn fukk ak juróom
juróom benn fukk ak juróom benn
juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñaar
juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñett
juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñeent
juróom ñaar fukk
juróom ñett fukk
juróom ñeent fukk
fukki teemeeri junni
* The number zero (0) in Wolof can either be called tus or dara.
** The number thirty (30) in Wolof can either be called ñett fukk or fanweer.
We have covered some French & Arabic (tuuti rekk) which are of course common in much of the parts that Wolof is spoken but another common native language is Pulaar which is spoken by the Peul peoples. Although most Peuls in Wolof speaking areas will understand Wolof it is always nice to be able to say at least a few things to someone in their mother tongue. So here are a few “essential” phrases that you may want to practice…
Some of these expressions are not common in Wolof and may not always be readily understood by some Wolof speakers. Many of these (I believe?) were developed by medical professionals as a way to better communicate more precisely with non-Francophone Wolof speakers.
(mouse over for the french)
gémmiñ gi – mouth làmmiñ wi – tongue laa gi – tongue tied làmmiñ wu ndaw wi – uvula (thing that hangs in back of throat) denqaleñ bi – palate tuñ mi – lips tuñu kaw wi – top lip tuñu suuf wi – bottom lip ciiñ mi – gums bëñ bi – tooth bëñu reewu bi – incisor teeth bëñu sell wi – canine teeth bëñu déegéej bi – molar teeth bëñu màgg dey – wisdom teeth sofe – to have mouth ulcers wuum/uum – toothache cafko gi – sense of taste
Do you understand?Déggnga? (deg nguh) and now en français; Comprenez–vous?
I understand.Déggnaa. (deg naa) and en français; Jecomprends.
I don’t understand.Dégguma. (deg-goo-ma) en français; Jenecomprendspas.
I’ve had this blog up for a little while now and the stats show that it’s been getting a number of visitors. The goal of this blog on one hand is to help me build my own Wolof understanding but also to provide a place for others to learn or to improve their Wolof. There are a number of scattered sources online and a few in print but nothing much that is very comprehensive (at least for us Anglophones! There seems to be a number of Francophone sources.) So I hope to use this blog to sort of compile all the information out there in one single place…and also to inspire others with their own Wolof websites to expand their content. Please leave me a comment and let me know how I’m doing, what I should do differently, any suggestions, praise or criticism is welcome!
“That little crafty one.” (Euphemism given to AIDS in the poor suburbs of Dakar, Senegal.) Also means bad person, “playa”, pimp, crooked business person, etc. Used for men & women. Can be like an insult or badge of pride.
Bin Bins –
A string of beads worn on an elastic string. Senegalese girls typically wear them just beneath the top of their pants or skirts, or sometimes just above. It is considered flirtatious, or even slightly erotic to show one’s bin-bins, particularly to a guy. And if a guy gives a girl a set of bin-bins, it’s pretty clear what that means!
I do not know where this video is from but Décalé is very popular in the Ivory Coast which I have recently learned has a sizable Wolof population. At about position 1:20 in the video they do a call and response where the Wolof is very clear and easy to catch…much of what they say at this part we have already covered in this blog…test yourself and see if you understand what they are saying!
I have added a donation link in the bottom of the sidebar at the right-hand side of this page. If you feel that this website has been of use to you and you happen to be in a giving mood today, I would greatly appreciate a very small contribution. 🙂
Today is the Muslim holiday Tabaski. In most Muslim countries it is called Eid al-Adha but in much of West Africa it is called Tabaski. Tabaski is the commemoration of the Biblical patriarch Abraham’s (Ibrahim in Arabic) willingness to sacrifice his son as commanded by God. On Tabaski a sheep (or a goat) is slaughtered as a symbolic gesture of the ram that God substituted for Abraham’s son.
Youssou N’dour & Super Etoile performing “Tabaski” in the studio.
Below is a slide show of a Tabaski preparation and celebration in Dakar, Senegal (warning: a few of the pictures are of the slaughter so if you are squeamish to that sort of thing be aware!)
What’s orthography? It is basically a spelling system. Answers.com defines it as:
The art or study of correct spelling according to established usage.
The aspect of language study concerned with letters and their sequences in words.
A method of representing a language or the sounds of language by written symbols; spelling.
There are groups such as the IPA (International Phonetic Association) and CLAD (Center of Applied Linguistics of Dakar) that have developed Latin based spelling systems for historically non-written languages such as Wolof. The IPA uses a system with the same acronym as their association called the International Phonetic Alphabet. And although I have repeatedly stated that there is no universal standardized system for the spelling of Wolof words, the system devised by CLAD is probably the most widely used (or at least very close variations of it) and in my opinion the easiest to follow. Below are some examples of the same Wolof word for ‘thank you’ using different orthographies:
jërëjëf (Standardized CLAD spelling)
djeredieuf (Common Francophone spelling)
jayraijayf (Used by Nyima Kantorek in her dictionary)
I have also seen it spelled; jai-rruh-jef, jere-jeff & je-re-jef among a variety of other renditions.
There is also a writing system that was developed for Wolof using the Arabic alphabet. This system is called Wolofal.
These were taken from the Gambian Wolof – English Dictionary By David P. Gamble.
banxa – water lily caxa – necklace daay – bush fire, forest fire kaala – turban pat – a sore throat pukkus – storage place, a retreat raaf – to be destroyed, cease to exist seey – to dissolve tanna – to choose waramba – gown
If you are wondering why the weather and solar/lunar conditions for Banjul is not appearing (located on the side bar on the right-hand side) it is apparently because the “City is not reporting.” Which can be caused by equipment or communication failure which can last from a few days to a few weeks. Once the issue is resolved everything will return to normal.
Assalamu alaykum. – Peace be upon you. Wa alaikumus salam. – And peace be upon you. (reply to above) Allahu akbar. – Allah is greater. (takbir) Al hamdu lilah wa shukru lillah. – Praise belongs to Allah and all thanks to Allah. Bismillah ar rahman ar rahim. – In Allah’s name, most gracious, most merciful. Insh’Allah. – If Allah wills. (referring to a future action) Mash’Allah. – What Allah wishes. (indicates good omen)
Na nga def. – Hello. (singular) Na ngeen def. – Hello everybody. (plural) Jaam nga fanane. – Good morning. Jamm nga yendoo. – Good afternoon. Fanaanal jaam. – Goodnight. Ba beneen. – Goodbye. Su la nexee. – Please. Jai-rruh-jef. – Thank you. Agsil. – You’re welcome. (singular) Agsileen ak jaam. – You’re all welcome. (plural) Baal ma. – Sorry./Pardon. Wau. – Yes. Deh-det. – No. Jaam nga am? – Have you peace? (How are you?) Jaam rek. – Peace only. (I’m fine.) Yow nag? – And you? Naka-nga sant? – What’s your first name? Maa ngi tudd … . – My name is … . Fan nga dahk? – Where do you live? Fan nga joghe? – Where are you from? (singular) Fan ngeen joghe? – Where are you all from? (plural) Maa ngi joghe les USA. – I’m from the USA. Deg nga Angale? – Do you speak English? Deg nga Faranse? – Do you speak French? Angale rekk laa degg. – I speak only English. Degg naa tuuti Faranse. – I speak a little French. Mahn deggumah Wolof. – I don’t speak Wolof. Mahn deggumah Faranse. – I don’t speak French. Degguma. – I don’t understand. Dama bahggoon … . – I’d like … . Fahn la … ? – Where is … ? Soreh na? – Is it far? Cha kanam. – Straight ahead. Chammoon. – Left. Ndeyjoor. – right. Dugghal waay! – Get in! Lii naata? – How much is this? Seer na torob. – It’s too much. May ma jaam! – Leave me alone!
We have surpassed the 1000 mark for hits from unique visitors (in other words, 1000+ different people – or at least from different computers – have visited this site, not total overall visits).
I just want to thank everyone – JEREJEF! that have visited this blog…it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one reading it! haha.
This blog has only been up since November 19th of last year which I think is pretty good for a blog such as this with such a specific niche.
Let’s just hope that this spreads…it is not my wish to be the only or the best source for Wolof on the web but to inspire others to start, or add to their existing Wolof websites since I have found there are a number of sites out there but they all mostly just cover the basic same phrases. Although greetings are very important there is much more to the language and the culture!
May this new year bring you much happiness and joy…
Along with 12 other languages used in Africa, including French & Arabic, this little phrasebook has a great little Wolof section. Lonely Planet is probably one of the best publishers of guidebooks and phrasebooks for travelers. Other Lonely Planet materials I would suggest are; French Phrasebook and/or Fast Talk Audio French, Healthy Travel Africa and the latest edition of The Gambia & Senegal Travel Guide. (They also publish separate travel guides for Africa, West Africa & just about every other region & country of Africa.)
This Wolof-English / English-Wolof dictionary & phrasebook by Nyima Kantorek and published by Hippocrene Books is the only somewhat comprehensive Wolof dictionary in mass publication that I have been able to find anywhere. The one flaw of this book is that they chose to create a new orthography instead of using the established CLAD orthography which makes many of the words appear foreign even to native speakers but once you get used to it this book becomes a valuable (or is that invaluable?) resource for many new words and phrases. Hippocrene also publishes an excellent Pulaar dictionary.
Extended greetings are an important part of social interaction and many doors will open for you if you are capable of exchanging simple greeting phrases in the local language. Even a few words make a big difference.
Most areas are Islamic, and upon entering someone’s home, announce your arrival with a confident ‘Salaam aleikum’ (peace be with you), and your presence will be acknowledged with ‘Aleikum salaam’ (and peace be with you).
This is followed by inquiries about your health, the health of your family, the state of your affairs and those of your children. You’re never expected to give an honest answer at this point. In Gambia things are always fine; in Senegal the response is always ‘Ça va’. Never mind the real troubles that might be plaguing you – these can be mentioned later in the conversation.
Although it’s not necessary for foreigners to go through the whole routine, it’s important to use greetings whenever possible. Even if you’re just changing money, negotiating a taxi fee or asking directions, precede your request with a simple. ‘Hello, how are you? Can you help me please?’, rather than plunging right in.
Words & phrases with religious significance starting with the letter A.
Many of these terms may actually be Arabic or Wolofized Arabic. Many Wolof speakers practice Islam which uses the Arabic language.
ajaratu – title given to a woman who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca aji Makka – to go to Mecca aj gi – the pilgrimage Aji – title given to a woman who has made the pilgrimage ajjana, aljana, arjana – heaven, paradise allaaji, alxaaji – title of a man who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca allaaxira – the next world alla-akubaar, allahu-akbar – God is great alxamdulillaa – praise be to God alxuraan – the Koran amiin – amen astafurlaa – may God forgive, God help us. (an exclamation of astonishment) atte Yalla la – it is the judgement of God, it is fate
One day, the Senegalese heat made me desperate to find ways to cool
down. Impulsively, I walked into the nearest Salon de Coiffure and
asked for a haircut and shampoo. As I was getting my hair washed, I
remembered what Richard, my stylist back home, used to say: “Katie,
we’re not just cutting off your hair; we are cutting style and
elegance into your hair.”
The Senegalese stylist sat me down in front of the mirror and we went
through the familiar dialogue.
“How much do you want cut off?”
“About two inches, I really want it layered…”
“Here?” she asked, tapping with the scissors on the bunch of hair
fisted in her grip.
Since she had not combed it out, parted it down the middle or
sectioned if off, I was sure this was just our planning session.
“Yes. I like it best when it sort of comes behind…”
CHOMP. I watched stunned as clumps of my hair, ragged-edged and
uneven, fell to the floor.
The looks of bewilderment that she threw towards my head made it clear
to me that my new coiffeuse had never cut a white woman’s hair before.
It was to late to change the situation, so I just sat back and watched
in amusement, as each chop seemed to both confuse and fascinate her.
When she got to the back of my head, she looked at me through the
mirror and her eyes waved the white flag of surrender. I glanced over
my head of uneven tufts and patches of hair and decided to cut my
I thanked and paid her and ran to my friend’s house, where we spent
the afternoon trying to cut back in the style and elegance that had
been swept away at the Salon de Coiffure.
I have a list of links on the right hand side of this blog of places that teach Wolof. Check it out, perhaps there is a place near you. If you know of any other places please contact me so that I can add them to the list.
Mme Jóob:Nakasubangi? DéggngaAngale? Good morning. Do you speak English?
M. Mbaye:Jéggëlma, déggumaAngale. I’m sorry, I do not speak English.
Mme Jóob:Lukoyaq, tuutiWolofrekkladégg. Unfortunately, I speak only a little Wolof.
M. Mbaye:Baaxna. Xamnaalingawax. Salammiñsetnalool. That’s alright. I understand you. You speak very well.
Mme Jóob:Jëre-jëf. Thank you.
M. Mbaye:Yendulakjamm! Have a nice day!
A note on the usage of ‘Mme’ and ‘M.’, Mme is the French abbreviation for Madame the English equivalent being Mrs., it is not followed by a period. M., is the French abbreviation for Monsieur the English equivalent being Mr., it is always followed by a period. Although I did not do it here last names usually have every letter capitalized when in print in Senegal. Although Mme/Madame and M./Monsieur is very common in Senegal you may want to use the Wolof equivalents which are Soxna si and Góor gi respectively.
Words & phrases with religious significance starting with the letter B.
Many of these terms may actually be Arabic or Wolofized Arabic. Many Wolof speakers practice Islam which uses the Arabic language.
baakaar, bakaar – sin, evil baawaan – religious ceremony to pray for rain Baay Faal – a type of Mourit (Mouride) follower, characterized by long hair (dreadlocks), etc. baraka – blessing baraka Alla, barak’Allah fik – with God’s blessing, may the blessings of Allah be upon you (used to thank someone) barke – blessing barkeel – to benefit from a blessing bataaaxal, bataxel – letter, circular letter (generally prophesying the future) bayere – a charm for happiness; to be popular biddaa – belief, superstition billaay, billaxi – by God bisimilaay, bisimilayi, bisimilaahi – in the name of God bismillah ar rahman ar rahim – in Allah’s name most gracious most merciful bootal – man in charge of newly circumcised boys boroom daara – head of a religious school bu soobee Yalla – if it pleases God
The Diola people inhabit the Casamance region of Senegal, and also southwestern Gambia, where their name is spelt Jola. Their language is Diola or Jola, not to be confused with the Dioula or Dyola spoken in Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire. Diola society is segmented and very flexible, so several dialects have developed which may not be mutually intelligible between groups even though the area inhabited by the Diola is relatively small.
In Senegal they use the franc CFA(Communauté financière d’Afrique). But the traditional unit of currency is the dërëm which is counted by fives. Usually when dealing with money most people will deal strictly with the French terms for simplicity. If Wolof is used the dërëm is implied if not specifically said. So in the example below junni is 5000, not 1000, even though dërëm has been left off.
teemeeri dërëm = 500 CFA
(100 x 5 = 500)
ñaariteemeeri dërëm = 1000 CFA
(2 x 100 x 5 = 1000)
ñettiteemeeri dërëm = 1500 CFA
(3 x 100 x 5 = 1500)
juróombenniteemeeri dërëm = 3000 CFA
(5 + 1 x 100 x 5 = 3000)
juróomñettiteemeeri dërëm = 4000 CFA
(5 + 3 x 100 x 5 = 4000)
junni = 5000 CFA
(1000 x 5 = 5000)
I do not know if this is common or just happened to be the people I was around but instead of, for example, saying ‘fifteen hundred‘ as we might say in the USA for 1500, they would say ‘one thousand five hundred‘. Also CFA is pronounced like ‘see-uff-uh‘ almost like ‘safer‘ with an odd accent.
Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times. Islam established itself in the Senegal River valley in the 11th century. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of the Mandingo empires to the east; the Jolof Empire of Senegal also was founded during this time.
Various European powers – Portugal, the Netherlands, and England – competed for trade in the area from the 15th century onward, until in 1677, France ended up in possession of what had become an important slave trade departure point – the infamous island of Gorée next to modern Dakar.
In January 1959, Senegal and the French Sudan merged to form the Mali Federation, which became fully independent on June 20, 1960. The Federation broke up on August 20, 1960. Senegal and Sudan (renamed the Republic of Mali) proclaimed independence. Léopold Senghor, internationally known poet, politician, and statesman, was elected Senegal’s first president in August 1960.
After the breakup of the Mali Federation, President Senghor and Prime Minister Mamadou Dia governed together under a parliamentary system. In December 1962, their political rivalry led to an attempted coup by Prime Minister Dia. The coup was put down without bloodshed and Dia was arrested and imprisoned. Senegal adopted a new constitution that consolidated the President’s power. In 1980, President Senghor retired from politics, and handed power over to his handpicked successor, Abdou Diouf, in 1981.
Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia on February 1, 1982. However, the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989. Despite peace talks, a southern separatist group in the Casamance region has clashed sporadically with government forces since 1982.
Abdou Diouf was president between 1981 and 2000. Diouf served four terms as President. In the presidential election of 2000, he was defeated in a free and fair election by opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade. Senegal experienced its second peaceful transition of power, and its first from one political party to another.
Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa. Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until current President Abdoulaye Wade was elected in 2000. He was reelected in February 2007, but complaints of fraud led opposition parties to boycott June 2007 legislative polls.
Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania and to a lesser degree in other west African countries, and it is the native language of the ethnic group of the Wolof people. Like the neighboring language Fula, it belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of Sub-Sarahan Africa, Wolof is not a tonal language.
Wolof is the most widely spoken language in Senegal, spoken not only by members of the Wolof ethnic group but also by most other Senegalese. Wolof dialects may vary between countries (Senegal and the Gambia) and the rural and urban areas. “Dakar-Wolof“, for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, Arabic, and even a little English spoken in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.
“Wolof” is the standard spelling, and is a term that may also refer to the Wolof ethnic group or to things originating from Wolof culture or tradition. As an aid to pronunciation, some older French publications use the spelling “Ouolof”; for the same reason, some English publications adopt the spelling “Wollof”, predominantly referring to Gambian Wolof. Prior to the 20th Century, the forms “Volof”, and “Olof” were used.
About 40 percent (approximately 3.2 million people) of Senegal’s population speak Wolof as their mother tongue. An additional 40 percent of the population speak Wolof as a second or acquired language. In the whole region from Dakar to Saint-Louis, and also west and southwest of Kaolack, Wolof is spoken by the vast majority of the people. Typically when various ethnic groups in Senegal come together in cities and towns, they speak Wolof. It is therefore spoken in almost every regional and departmental capital in Senegal. The official language of Senegal is French.
The site senePortal.com facelift: new design, new structure
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