Category Archives: Gambia/Gambian

Gambia: The Formidable Baye Janha – An Incredible Guitar Legend

An African man playing the xalam.

Baye Janha plays the guitar like the ancient Khalam of the Wolof tribe of the Senegambia region and the Ganawa south Moroccan sound to a mass effect with his guitar. He was the band leader of the Gelewarr band, the Super Alligators, Fabulous Eagles, Supreme Eagles, Tambato band, the Karantaba band and Ifang Bondi. His playing technique can be distinctly heard on the SARABA CD/ALBUM recorded in Senegal on Griot records. He was awarded a medal in Algeria as one of Africa’s top guitarists with his solo group The Karantaba Band.

Full story: http://allafrica.com/stories/201207130531.html

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Basic Wolof Phrases

See original list here: Some Essential Wolof Phrases
For help with pronunciation see: Pronunciation Guide


↓ scroll down for more resources ↓


Essentials | sólo

English
Wolof / Français
pro·nun·ci·a·tion
[Pulaar / Mandinka]

 

Hello.
Salaam aleekum. / Bonjour.
sa·laam a·ley·kum / bon·zhoor
[P: No ngoolu daa. / M: I be ñaading.]

Goodbye.
Mangi dem. / Au revoir.
maan·gee dem / o·rer·vwar
[P: Ñalleen e jamm. / M: Fo tuma doo.]

Please.
Bu la neexee. / S’il vous plaît.
boo la ney·khey / seel voo pley
[P: Njaafodaa. / M: Dukare.]

Thank you.
Jërejëf. / Merci.
je·re·jef / mair·see
[P: A jaaraamah. / M: I ning bara.]

You’re welcome.
Amul sólo. / Je vous en prie.
uh·mool so·lo / zher voo zom pree
[P: Enen ndendidum. / M: Mbee le dentaala.]

Yes.
Waaw. / Oui.
wow / wee
[P: Eey. / M: Haa.]

No.
Déedéet. / Non.
dey·deyt / non
[P: Alaa. / M: Hani.]

Sorry. (Excuse me.)
Baal ma. (Jéggël ma.) / Pardon. (Excusez-moi.)
baal ma (jey·guhl mah) / par·don (ek·skew·zay·mwa)
[P: Achanam hakke. (Yaafo.) / M: Hakko tuñe.]

Do you speak English?
Ndax dégg nga angale? / Parlez-vous anglais?
ndakh deg nguh an·ga·ley / par·ley·voo ong·ley
[P: Ada faama engale? / M: Ye angkale kango moyle?]

Do you understand? (Do you speak … ?)
Dégg nga? / Comprenez-vous?
deg nguh / kom·pre·ney·voo
[P: (Ada nana … ?) / M: (Ye … kango moyle?)]

I understand.
Dégg naa. / Je comprends.
deg na / zher kom·pron
[P: Mi faami. / M: Ngaa kalamuta le.]

I don’t understand.
Dégguma. / Je ne comprends pas.
deg·goo·ma / zher ner kom·pron pa
[P: Mi faamaani / M: Mma kalamuta.]

Help!
Wóoy! / Au secours!
wohy / o·skoor
[P: Ballal! / M: Nso orangzola!]

Continue reading Basic Wolof Phrases

Wolof Vocabulary: Meat

 

beef – yarpe-nack
chicken – yarpe-ganarre
goat – yarpe-baiy
hamburger – hamburger
lamb – yarpe-harre
meat – yarpa
pork – yarpe-mbam
shrimp – cepa-cepa

 

Source: Wolof Dictionary & Phrasebook, Nyima Kantorek.

Wolof Grammar: Conjunctions

 

The coordinating conjunctions in English are: and, but, or, yet, for, nor & so.

 

In this post we will be dealing specifically with the and conjunction which in Wolof is ak/ag when connecting nouns and pronouns or te when connecting verbs and phrases.

 

Below are examples of ak in use:

 

ak kan? – and who?
man ak yow – me and you
ndey ak baay – mother and father
bile ak bale – this and that
suma xaalis ak sa xaalis – my money and your money

 

Ak also means with:

 

mu tase fa ak bukkihe encountered there a hyena
ak jamma – with peace, in peace
kaay ak ñun – come with us
pañe bi dafa fees ak dojthe basket is full of stones
dox na ñaar i fan ak fas am – he went for two days with his horse
mu rendi ko ak paaka – he cut its throat with a knife
kaay lekka ak ñun – come eat with us

 

When used with numbers ak is used like plus:

 

fukk ak benn – eleven
fukk ak ñaar – twelve
fukk ak ñett – thirteen

 

Source: Gambian Wolof – English Dictionary, David P. Gamble.

Wolof Grammar: Suffixes

-a : indicates distance from the speaker (usually on def. art.); fas wi – this horse here; fas wathat horse there

-aale : indicates ‘somewhat’; ‘-ish’; ‘with’; soreyaalesomewhat far; weexaale – whitish; yobbuwaale – to take with one

-aan : indicates habitual or professional action; woyaan to sing as a profession; nooraanto spend the dry season (habitual)

-aat : indicates ‘again’; ñowaat – to come again

-aay : indicates abstraction; rafetaay – beauty (rafet = beautiful)

-adi : implies diminution;  dofadi – to be slightly crazy

-agul : indicates ‘not yet’; ñowagul – he has not yet come

 

source: David P. Gamble, Gambian Wolof-English Dictionary

Wolof Vocabulary

  1. a  –  it is (cf. la); Yallaa ko def. – It is God who did it. [Yalla + a]; Omar a ko wax. – It is Omar who said it. Man a. – It is I.
  2. balafoŋ bi  –  xylophone
  3. cof  –  to peck
  4. dey (de)  –  emphatic article; Man dey… As for me…
  5. e (a + e = ee)  –  a suffix making intransitive verbs transitive; genna to go out; gennee to put out
  1. custom/tradition  –  aada ji (Ar.)
  2. Adam  –  Aadama (a name given to a twin, the other being Hawa [Eve]); doom i Aadama yi – human beings
  3. desire/need  –  aajo ji (Ar.)
  4. whitish (to be)  –  weex-aale
  5. protect (to)  –  aar; kaar gi – protection; aar yaram wi – to protect the body

Source: David P. Gamble – Gambian Wolof – English Dictionary

 

Ferry Transportation – Phrases & Breakdown

 

Ferries cross every day from Banjul to Barra, and to Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The accomodations range from basic to luxury. Schedules vary, but the ferries are quick and reliable. – Nyima Kantorek

Note that the source for these use an unusual orthography

 

Where is the ferry going? – Fern la ferry be de dem?
fern/fan = where (also: day/date), ferry = ferry (chalupe in Senegal), be/bi = the, dem = go

I want to go to… – Dama buga dem
dama = I would like, buga/bëgg = desire/like/need/want/intend/intent

How long would it take to get to…? – Fe behnyarta wahhtu lar jaile?
fe/fi = here, beh = until, nyarta/ñaata = amount/cost/many/much, wahhtu/waxtu = hour/time, jaile = take

How many passengers does the ferry take? – Ferry be nyarta nitt lar ebb?
nitt = person/people, ebb = load/pack

How long does the ferry stay in…? – Ferry be de na yarga…?
na/naka = how, yarga = last

What time is it returning? – Bern wahhtu lar lay dealusy?
bern/ban = which/what, dealusy = come back

 

Phrases and definitons from the Wolof Dictionary & Phrasebook by Nyima Kantorek, published by Hippocrene. The only Wolof/English dictionary in mass publication as far as I can tell; For that alone it makes the book a worthwhile purchase, however the book uses a very non-standard orthography that, although specially designed for English speakers, makes it more difficult to learn the language. Every Wolof speaker that I’ve shown it to, whether native or as a second language, did not recognize it as Wolof and even they had a hard time with it. The book is primarily Gambian dialect.

 

J’apprends le Wolof #3

Translated from J’apprends le Wolof by Jean-Leopold Diouf et Marina Yaguello. This is the introduction to the book.

Introduction

1. Design Manual / Conception du manuel

This book is a method of learning wolof, a language foreign to francophones. It is intended for residents, the cooperating, businessmen and tourists. It could also be useful for teachers in national languages, or any other person wishing to have a better knowledge of the language wolof.

The method is especially designed for a learning guide. However, it is possible to use individually. In one case as in others, can not be overemphasized recommend a learner’s most total immersion in environments requiring a practice wolof.

To accommodate the manifold needs of learners, we chose themes as diverse as family relationships, professional, social, friendly, commercial, civil, etc.., Containing an elementary lexicon, but enough to face a different situations communication.

In addition, we sought to ensure a balance between learning wolof by a communicative approach and learning wolof by an analytical approach.

The points of grammar that may fall in the manual have been carefully selected and should allow the learner to acquire the basic structures of wolof. All these points are explained in the units or they appear.

The written exercises are planned at the end of each unit. Their number varies from one unit to another depending on the difficulty of the grammar has acquired.

All exercises should be made and, as many times as a learning experience need.

For each exercise, a model is given. The learner must study the structure therein is made, before formulating are shown next to each segment of the year. A system cache that the learner is confectionnera prevent him throwing a glance the answer before he made the effort necessary.

2. The place of wolof in Senegal / La place du wolof au Sénégal

The wolof is part of the language group called west-Atlantic. It is mainly spoken in Senegal and Gambia, but also in Mauritania.

There are, in Senegal, six languages that have received the status of national languages: wolof, Serer, Pulaar, the Mandingo, soninke and Diola.

These languages were officially selected for communication in the media, and education. Moreover, the French remains the official language.

Of the six national languages, wolof is most spoken. It is the language of ethnic wolof who figure 2,285,000 people, representing 40% of the population of Senegal. The traditional Wolof area extends from north to south, from the delta of the atlantic coast of the desert Ferlo.

But it is also wolof language vehicle. About 80% of the population on the practice throughout the territory and this, mainly in urban areas.

The advantage that the wolof had on other national languages can not be explained both by the number of native wolof or by their geographical distribution (Walo, Cayor, Diolof, Baol, Saloum) and by the fact that the first contacts s’effectuèrent colonial powers with the Wolof and made the area wolof the pole of attraction for other ethnic groups. In mid wolof, the day saw the first counters and, with them, groundnut basin or develop a flourishing trade, crowned by the installation of railway Dakar – St. Louis.

In brief remarks on the language wolof / Brèves remarques sur la langue wolof

The wolof, as many African languages, is a language classes nominal. These classes (eight in number two in the singular and plural) play a role comparable to that grammatical gender in the Indo-European languages. Each class is marked by a [index class] is by a consonant. This consonant serves as a base for training all determinants and substitutes name (defined and indefinite articles concerning, interrogative, indefinite). These determinants or substitutes therefore differ for each class, the initial consonant, désinence remaining the same.

The city of Dakar is a melting pot or just blend all ethnic groups in Senegal and even neighbouring countries: wolof it undergoes a simplification because it is talking more and more by non-native speakers for whom it is a second or a third language. Thus, in its manifold vehicular and urban, a distinction of class indices is not always respected. The class – b (most productive) tends to absorb the other. In particular, it is in this class that fit all the words and borrowing new words needed presenter asked whether a learner is likely to hear in the streets. We opted ultimately for some sort of compromise, which reflects fairly well through the use wolophones native urbanized. The class indices are complied except for the numeral benn (one), serving also indefinite article, which tends to be used alone, regardless of class.

The identification in space and in particular the opposition near / distant plays a very important role in language. Where a great variability of adverbs of place. The notion of near / distant also in nominal determination (and, as defined in article owns several forms).

The system can record divert even more francophones. The integrate personal pronouns mode and the appearance of the verb. So the pronoun that varies and not the basis of the word, which remains unchanged. In addition, there is no [time] Strictly speaking, the tracking time out from a context and situation of enunciation. The different conjugations (by varying the pronoun) are introduced gradually in the units. For an overview of the system, we see a grammatical annex at the end of volume.

J’apprends le Wolof #2

A Words

Gambian Wolof…

aifaare – pagan
aik – climb
aikerty – lift/elevate
ailake – tomorrow
aina – mold
ainay – wish
alcarly – village leader
alfun – million
alheames – thursday
almet – match
almorre – cupboard
altineh – monday
am – have
amna – there is/is there
anndah – incense burner
antal – able
arba – lend
arbalanteh – share
arca – confront
arch – hang

Travel Vocabulary IV

See Travel Vocabulary III

——————————————————-

Here are a few things that you may come across if traveling to Senegal or the Gambia.

bazin – dyed fabrics that are beaten to a shine with wooden clubs

campement – could be loosely translated as ‘hostel’, ‘inn’ or ‘lodge’, or even ‘motel’; it is not a camping ground (Senegal)

djembe – short, goat hide-covered drum

fromager – kapok tree; also known as silk-cotton tree (Senegal)

gasoil – diesel fuel

Inch’ Allah – God willing, ie hopefully (Arabic, but used by Muslims in Africa)

marabout – Muslim holy man

paillote – shelter with thatched roof and walls; usually on the beach or around an open-air bar-restaurant (Senegal)

sai-sai – Wolof term for a womanizer; also used for youngsters smooth-talking women, usually with sexual but sometimes criminal intentions

telecentre – privately owned telephone bureau (Gambia)

Thanks to Lonely Planet’s The Gambia & Senegal; 3rd Edition.

Travel Vocabulary III

See Travel Vocabulary II

——————————————————-

Here are a few things that you may come across if traveling to Senegal or the Gambia.

auberge – hostel or small hotel

balafon – wooden xylophone typically played by griots

calèche – horse-drawn cart used to carry goods and people, particularly in the rural regions of Senegal

dibiterie – grilled-meat stall

fête – festival (Senegal)

gargotte – basic eating house or stall (Senegal)

IMF – International Monetary Fund

kora – 21-string harp-lute

maison de passage – very basic place to sleep, often near bus stations; with a bed or mat on the floor and little else, and nearly always doubling as a brothel; also called chambres de passage

Ndiaga Ndiaye – white Mercedes bus, used as public transport; also called alham (Senegal)

pagne – length of cloth worn around the waist as a skirt (Senegal)

quartier – area

sabar – tall, thin, hourglass drum

taxi-brousse – bush taxi (Senegal)

village artisanal – craft market (Senegal)

zouk – style of music, originally from Guadeloupe, that mixes African and Latin-American rhythms

Thanks to Lonely Planet’s The Gambia & Senegal; 3rd Edition.

Culture Notes – Greetings

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.

Borrowed from; The Gambia & Senegal, Lonely Planet, 3rd Edition, 2006

Travel Vocabulary II

See Travel Vocabulary I

——————————————————-

Here are a few things that you may come across if traveling to Senegal or the Gambia.

alham – white Mercedes bus, also called N’Diaga N’Diaye in Dakar

beignet – simple deep-fried donut (Senegal)

calesh – horse-drawn taxi usually seating about three people behind the driver

demi-pension – half board (dinner, bed and breakfast) (Senegal)

essence – petrol (gas) for car (Senegal)

fanals – large lanterns; also the processions during which the lanterns are carried through the streets

gare routière – bus and bush-taxi station, (also called autogare and gare voiture) (Senegal)

hôtel de ville – town hall (Senegal)

in sha’ Allah – God willing, ie, hopefully (Arabic, but used by Muslims in Africa)

lumo – weekly market, usually in border areas

mairie – town hall; mayor’s office (Senegal)

paletuviers – mangroves (Senegal)

quatre-quatre – four-wheel-drive car (4WD or 4×4)

riz yollof – vegetables and/or meat cooked in a sauce of oil and tomatoes

Senegambia – the region of Senegal and Gambia

tampon hygiénique – tampon (also tampon periodique and serviette hygiénique) (Senegal)

yassa poulet – grilled chicken marinated in an onion-and-lemon sauce (Senegal)

Thanks to Lonely Planet’s The Gambia & Senegal; 2nd Edition.

Random Vocab

These were taken from the Gambian Wolof – English Dictionary By David P. Gamble.

banxawater lily
caxanecklace
daaybush fire, forest fire
kaalaturban
pata sore throat
pukkusstorage place, a retreat
raafto be destroyed, cease to exist
seeyto dissolve
tannato choose
warambagown