Category Archives: Senegambian Languages

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 Religion: Islamic Terms

 

Asalaam alaikum.
May peace be with you. (greeting)

Malaikum salaam.
And with you be peace. (reply to above)

Allahu akbar.
God is greater. (than me, you, anything)

Alhumdulilah.
Praise God. (said to thank God)

Bismilah.
In God’s name. (said before meals)

Inch’Allah.
If God wills it. (refers to a future action)

Mash’Allah.
What God wishes. (indicates a good omen)

Wolof Video w/English Subs – XALA

Xala

It is the dawn of Senegal’s independence from France, and as Dakar citizens celebrate in the streets we soon become aware that only faces have changed in the handover of power. White money still controls the government.

Janga Laaka English to Wolof & French Dictionary

 

I have just uploaded the Janga Laaka Wolof/English Dictionary. It’s available for a minimal charge. Why am I charging for this? Well, because I have invested a lot of time and energy into this project and like everyone else I have to make a living! Don’t fret though, all the contents of this book will be available on this blog for FREE. The charge for the download is for the convience of owning your own personal copy that you can take with you anywhere regardless of internet availability. You can also print it out and have your own personal hardcopy to take with you even when you don’t have a computer or a smartphone handy.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a ROUGH DRAFT version !!! So, therefore there may be a few errors. Why am I offerring a rough version instead of a finished product? Because, due to lack of time and funding I don’t see me completing this project anytime soon, and since I’ve gotten many, many requests for this product I’ve decided to go ahead and share what I have so far. If after reading this you’ve decided to go ahead and download anyway then I thank you very much for your purchase!

Follow this link to download:

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/janga-laaka-wolof-dictionary/17265716

 

Vendredi Française (French Friday); Vocabulary

 

The purpose of French Friday is to expand your language capabilities while in West Africa (specifically Senegal). Many Wolof speakers can also understand French and sometimes using French to get your point across is easier than using Wolof since it’s a language closer to our own.

 

  • attelage – coupling, hitch, team, harness, yoke
  • calandre – radiator grill, calendar, mangle
  • citadin/citadine – city dweller, town, city, urban
  • collectionner – to collect
  • crasse – grime, filth, crass
  • défaillance – blackout, weakness, fault, failure
  • enchère – bid
  • entendre – to hear, to understand, to mean
  • faune – wildlife, fauna, set, crowd
  • file – line

 

Source: Collins French Concise Dictionary 5th Edition. (www.collinslanguage.com)

 

Languages of Senegal: Hassaniyya

 

Hassaniyya (Klem El Bithan) is the variety of Arabic originally spoken by the Beni Hassan Bedouin tribes, who extend their authority over most of Mauritania and the Western Sahara between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. It has almost completely replaced the Berber languages spoken in this region. Though clearly a western dialect, Hassaniya is relatively distant from other North African variants of Arabic. Its geographical location exposed it to influence from Zenaga and Wolof. There are several dialects of Hassaniya. The primary differences among them are phonetic. Today Hassaniya is spoken by inhabitants of Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal and the Western Sahara. – Wikipedia

 

Greetings:

Some of these terms may be familiar to some of us as many of these are also used by Wolof speakers but perhaps pronounced a bit differently.

 

Isselaamu aleykum – Peace be upon you
We aleykum isselaam – And on you, too
Ish haal issbaah – Good morning
Ish haal limgiil – Good afternoon
Ish haal limbaat – Good evening
Eyaak ilkhayr? – Are you in peace?
Ilkhayr ilhamdulillaah – Peace only
Ish haalak? – How are you?
Lebaas meshaallaah – I am fine
Ish haal usrtak? – How is the family?
Lebaas liihum – They are fine
Ish haal ishshaqle? – How is the work?
Lebaas meshaallaah – It is fine
Ish haalak ma ilvetre? – How are you with tiredness?
Lebaas meshaallaah – I am fine
Ish haal Soukeyna? – How is Soukeyna?
Soukeyna lebaas liihe – Soukeyna is fine
Ish haal ishaashrtak? – How are your children?
Lebaas liihum – They are fine
Merhbe! – Welcome!
Shukran! – Thank you!

 

From the Peace Corps. Go to: Hassaniya_Language_Lessons.pdf for more (PDF).

 

Vendredi Française (French Friday); Essential Phrases

Hello.   Bonjour/Salut. pol/inf   bon-zhoor/sa-lew
Goodbye.   Au revoir.   o-rer-vwar (literally “To see again.”)
Please.   S’il vous plaît. seel voo play (literally “If you please.”)
Thank you.   Merci.   mair-see
You’re welcome.   Je vous en prie.   zher voo zom pree
Yes.   Oui.   wee
No.   Non.   non
Excuse me.   Excusez-moi.   ek-skew-zay-mwa
Sorry.   Pardon.   par-don
I understand.   Je comprends.   zher kom-pron
I don’t understand.   Je ne comprends pas.   zher ner kom-pron pa
One moment, please.   Un moment, s’il vous plaît.   um mo-mon seel voo play
Help!   Au secours!   o-skoor

From Lonely Planet’s French Phrasebook (which I highly recommend) available at Lonelyplanet.com

Quick Reference

Girl holding globe

GREETINGS:

GREETING

RESPONSE

WHEN USED

salaam alaikum

suh-lahm uh-lay-koom

malaikum salaam

muh-lay-koom suh-lahm

greeting a group of people or entering one’s house

nanga def

nahn-guh def

maangi fi

mahn-gee fee

greeting an individual

ça va

suh vah

ça va

suh vah

greeting an individual in passing

ba beneen

bah ben-nen

ba beneen

bah ben-nen

upon leaving an individual

PLEASENTRIES:

ENGLISH

WOLOF

FRENCH

please su la neexee soo luh neh-hee s’il vous plaît see voo play
thank you jërejëf jair-ree-jeff merci mair-see
you’re welcome amul sóló ah-mool so-loe je vous en prie zhe voo zom pree

YES/NO/MAYBE:

ENGLISH

WOLOF

FRENCH

yes waaw wow oui wee
no déedéet deh-deht non nohn
maybe xejna hej-nuh peut-être per-tet

SORRY/EXCUSE ME:

ENGLISH

WOLOF

FRENCH

sorry baal ma bahl mah désolé day-so-lay
excuse me baal ma bahl mah excusez-moi ek-skue-zay mwa

COMMUNICATING:

ENGLISH

WOLOF

FRENCH

Do you understand? Dégg nga? dayg nguh Comprenez-vous? kom-pre-nay voo
I understand. Dégg naa. dayg nah Je comprends. zhe kom-pron
I don’t understand. Dégguma. day-goo-mah Je ne comprends pas. zhe nuh kom-pron pah

All About Senegalese Money

In Senegal they use the franc CFA. 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 for example junni is 5000, not 1000, even though dërëm has been left off. The generic Wolof term for money is xaalis.


BASIC EXCHANGE RATES – This is just for a general idea, exchange rates fluctuate constantly, with the exception of the euro which has a fixed rate of 655.957 CFA to 1 euro.

Use www.xe.com for up to date currency exchange rates.

What is the exchange rate? Quel est le taux de change?

CONVERTING DËRËM TO CFA – When talking money, the number ñaari teemeeri (200) is the same as ñaari teemeeri dërëm (1000 CFA). To get the CFA equivalent of dërëm, take the number of dërëm and multiply it by 5, for example, teemeeri dërëm – 100 dërëm or 100 x 5, is 500 CFA.

Sometimes CFA is written as FCFA or just F.

A comma is often used to indicate decimals. For example – 1,5 is the same as 1.5.
Also, a period is often used to indicate thousands. For example – 10.000 is the same as 10,000.

Common French terms for money:
l’argent means money, bills/notes are called les billets or les factures and change/coinage is called pièces de monnaie.

What is the price? Quel est le prix?
How much does it cost? Combien est-ce là?

Text excerpt from the upcoming Janga Wolof produced Senegalese Phrasebook & Information Guide. Publish date TBA.

New Wolof Dictionary

Dictionary Definition Of Learn

This looks like a great promising dictionary…the only thing is that it’s mostly all in French but on the other hand this can be very helpful in learning the French along with your Wolof as you Google Translate the French into English!

Oh, and the address for the website? It is http://wolofici.wordpress.com

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

english n. wolof / french – A

english n. wolof / french

A

abandon v. baayi, wocca / abandonner
abdomen n. naxa / abdomen
ability n. mën, mun / capacité
ablaze v. taaka / feu
abnormal v. doyadi / anormal
above adv. kow, tiim / au-dessus
abroad adv. betimraw / à l’étranger
abscess n. taab / abcès
abundant adj. bari, las, naax, yomba / abondantes
accept v. nongu, nangu, taa / accepter
accommodate v. xajal, yaatal / tenir compte de
accompany v. aanda, gungeé / accompagner
accomplish v. def, jaloore, jeéku / accomplir
accuse v. jiiñ, laa, tam, tiiñal, tuumaal / accusent
accustom v. miin, tamm / habituer
ache v. metti, mettit / ache
achievement n. ngoóra / réalisation
acknowledge v. falé / reconnaître
acre n. waar / acre
across adv. jacarlow, jublu / parmi

Grocery List

groceries

I used French for the Wolof when I was not able to find a Wolof word. Please leave a comment if you know the appropriate Wolof word for the ones I missed…jërejëf!

ENGLISH WOLOF FRENCH
bread mbuuru pain
cheese fromage fromage
red onion soble xonxa oignon rouge
cooking spray la cuisine de pulvérisation la cuisine de pulvérisation
tomato tamaate tomate
bananas le secteur de la banane le secteur de la banane
orange juice jus d’orange jus d’orange
potatoes pompitéer pommes de terre
ketchup sauce tomate sauce tomate
sausage yaapa saucisse
green onion soble werta oignon vert
bell peppers poobar poivron
eggs nen oeufs

French Vocabulary – A

Vocabulaire Français – A

abbreviations abréviations
adjective adjectif
adverb adverbe
agriculture agriculture
anatomy anatomie
and et
architecture architecture
astrology astrologie
astronomy astronomie
attributive devant le nom
auxiliary auxiliare
aviation aviation

French – Getting Around

A quelle heure part … ? – What time does the … leave?

le bateau – the boat

le bus – the bus

le bac – ferry

l’avion – the plane

le train – the train

le tramway – the tram

Le … bus passe a quelle heure? – What time’s the … bus?

premier – first

dernier – last

prochain – next

Combien d’arrers jusqu’a … ? – How many stops to … ?

Est-ce que cette place est occupee? – Is this seat taken?

C’est ma place. – That’s my seat.

Pouvez-vous me dire quand nous arrivons a … ? – Can you tell me when we get to … ?

Je veux descendre … – I want to get off …

a …  – at …

ici – here

French – Enviromental

l’environnement – the environment

biodegradable – biodegradable

conservation – conservation

deforestation – deforestation

jetable – disposable

secheresse – drought

ecosysteme – ecosystem

especes en voie de disparition – endangered species

chasse – hunting

hydro-electricite – hydroelectricity

irrigation – irrigation

energie nucleaire – nuclear energy

essais nucleaires – nuclear testing

couche d’ozone – the ozone layer

pesticides – pesticides

pollution – pollution

recyclable – recyclable

programme de recyclage – recycling program

dechets toxiques – toxic waste

approvisionnement en eau – water supply

Ay Baatu Waxtaan

More time & directions…

Phrases To Practice / Phrases à la pratique

Ban waxtu moo jot?What time is it?

Minwi jotna.It is midnight.

Fukki waxtu ak ñaar jotna.It is noon.

Naka laa fay demee?How do I get there?

Ci wetu jumaa ji.Next to the mosque.

Toppal yoon wi.Follow this road.

Xam nga fan la?Do you know where it is?

Kan ngay ñew?When are we arriving?

Wolof Lim Ak Xaalis

Wolof Numbers & Money

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)

ñaari teemeeri dërëm = 1000 CFA
(2 x 100 x 5 = 1000)

ñetti teemeeri dërëm = 1500 CFA
(3 x 100 x 5 = 1500)

juróom benni teemeeri dërëm = 3000 CFA
(5 + 1 x 100 x 5 = 3000)

juróom ñetti teemeeri 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.

Diola

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.

Hello/Welcome.kah-sou-mai-kep
Greetings. (reply) – kah-sou-mai-kep
Goodbye.ou-kah-to-rrah

Borrowed from Lonely Planet’s The Gambia & Senegal; 3rd Edition.

Religious Terms 2

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, bakaarsin, evil
baawaanreligious ceremony to pray for rain
Baay Faal a type of Mourit (Mouride) follower, characterized by long hair (dreadlocks), etc.
barakablessing
baraka Alla, barak’Allah fikwith God’s blessing, may the blessings of Allah be upon you (used to thank someone)
barkeblessing
barkeelto benefit from a blessing
bataaaxal, bataxelletter, circular letter (generally prophesying the future)
bayerea charm for happiness; to be popular
biddaabelief, superstition
billaay, billaxiby God
bisimilaay, bisimilayi, bisimilaahiin the name of God
bismillah ar rahman ar rahimin Allah’s name most gracious most merciful
bootalman in charge of newly circumcised boys
boroom daarahead of a religious school
bu soobee Yallaif it pleases God

See Religious Terms 1.

Sample Dialog

Adopted from 101 Languages of the World. Please mouse over each word for a direct translation.


Mme Jóob: Naka suba ngi? Dégg nga Angale?
Good morning. Do you speak English?

M. Mbaye: Jéggël ma, déggu ma Angale.
I’m sorry, I do not speak English.

Mme Jóob: Lu ko yaq, tuuti Wolof rekk la dégg.
Unfortunately, I speak only a little Wolof.

M. Mbaye: Baax na. Xam naa li nga wax. Sa lammiñ setna lool.
That’s alright. I understand you. You speak very well.

Mme Jóob: Jëre-jëf.
Thank you.

M. Mbaye: Yendul ak jamm!
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.

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.

Religious Terms

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.

ajaratutitle given to a woman who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca
aji Makkato go to Mecca
aj githe pilgrimage
Ajititle given to a woman who has made the pilgrimage
ajjana, aljana, arjanaheaven, paradise
allaaji, alxaajititle of a man who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca
allaaxirathe next world
alla-akubaar, allahu-akbarGod is great
alxamdulillaapraise be to God
alxuraanthe Koran
amiinamen
astafurlaamay God forgive, God help us. (an exclamation of astonishment)
atte Yalla lait is the judgement of God, it is fate

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.

Travel Vocabulary II

See Travel Vocabulary I

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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.

Basic French Numbers

BASIC FRENCH NUMBERS
Nombres francais de base

un


un

1

deux


der

2

trois


trwa

3

quatre


ka-trer

4

cinq


sungk

5

six


sees

6

sept


set

7

huit


weet

8

neuf


nerf

9

dix


dees

10

I have noticed when listening to Wolof speaking people they tend to use French numbers (or sometimes even English) rather than Wolof numbers.

Arabic/Islamic Phrases

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)

You got the time?

What time is it? Ban waxtoo jot?
Et maintenant en français; Quelle heure est-il?

Do you have a watch? Am nga montar?
Et en français;
Avez-vous une montre?

   Yes, I have a watch. Waaw am naa montar.
Et maintenant en français; Oui, j’ai une montre.

   No, I don’t have a watch. Amuma montar.
Et en français; Non, je n’ai pas de montre.

Some Mandinka

The Mandinka language, sometimes referred to as Mandingo, is a Mandé language spoken by millions of Mandinka people in Mali, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea-Bissau; it is the main language of The Gambia. It belongs to the Manding branch of Mandé, and is thus fairly similar to Bambara and Maninka or Malinké. It is a tonal language with two tones: low and high.

baadaa – beach

daa – price

kambaanoo – boy

londoo – education

mansaaloo – proverb

hidiki – hiccup

saatee – village

taabuloo – table

Try this fun Mandinka Word Search.

Mouth Anatomy

GEMMIN BITHE MOUTH

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