Category Archives: Arabic

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

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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)

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).

 

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

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.

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 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.

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)