Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wolof Resources & Links

Digital Flashcards

Wolof Suffixes & Prefixes
Wolof Colors
Wolof Fauna (Animals & Insects)
Wolof Days of the Week
Wolofized Arabic
Wolof Affixes Bundle (flashcard set + notes)
Flashcard Bundle (all flashcard sets)
Wolofized French & English
Wolof Food & Drink
Flashcard Catalog

Digital Notes

Wolof Affixes Bundle (notes + flashcard set)
Wolof Affixes Notes (Suffixes & Prefixes)
Notes Catalog

Digital Downloads

Janga Laaka Wolof Dictionary
Basic Wolof Phrases with Pronunciation Guide
Downloads Catalog

 

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Wolof Lexicon & Phrase Dictionary

Lexicon: English to Wolof ♦ Wolof to English
Phrase Dictionary: Wolof to English ♦ English to Wolof

Lexicon

English to Wolof

action jéf
adze dené
all yëp
already jeeg
arrow fetta
bamboo waax
bean ñebbe
before bërka
biscuit mbiskit
butter bëër
button butong
buying njénda
canoe gaal
cassava ñambi
center digga
cord buum
corpse néew
cotton wittéén
country rééw
creature mbindéef
cultivation mbey
daytime bëccëg
driver dërayva
elephant ñay
epidemic mbas
Europe erop
eye bët
farmer béykay
farming mbay
fifth juroomel
flute mbilip
forehead je
four ñanent
French faranse
gaol jeel
gas gaas
Ghana gaana
goat bëy
grass ñax
hand loxo
hare njomboor
hat mbaxana
here fi
hole bënna
hospital lopitaan
house néég
husband jekër
iguana mbëta
intestines butiit
joy mbégté
judgment atte
kitchen waañ
liver res
locust njééréér
loss looraange
love mbëggeel, nobel
Monday londi
mother yaay
mouth gémmeñ
necklace caxa
one jeen
only rekk
owl looy
plan mbir
plank dénka
pot cin
price njëg
pus dëtta
quiet teey
religion diiné
root reen
Saturday gaawu
sauce ñeex
school ekol
second nyaarel
shame gacce
sheath mbar
singlet genso
sowing nji
street mbedda
strength kattan
Sunday dibéér
supper reer
tailor ñawkat
tea attaya
that
thigh luppa
thirty fanweer
thread woñ
tooth bëñ
underskirt njiitlay
use jéfoo
vegetable lejum
war geer
watchman wocmaan
whatever lu
wrestler bërekat, mber
wrestling bëre
writing mbinda
xylophone balafong
year at
yes waaw
zero dara


Wolof to English

aj to go on a pilgrimage
ajjana ji heaven, paradise
almanaak bi calendar
anda bi a perforated pot for burning incense
aye to be the turn of
baxa to be light; to dye light blue
bëy wi goat
binda to write
buy bi baobab fruit
calbet mi wagtail
cammeñ bi brother (sister speaking)
ciz bi cheese
daa ji ink, inkwell
dar to cover, protect
dëbba to pound
dexi to harvest (groundnuts, etc.)
diiné ji religion
dof to be mad
doktoor bi doctor
door to begin
doylu to be happy, satisfied
ëgga bi rain in the dry season
ëw form a circle around
falang bi a hairstyle with hanging braids
fas wi horse
fer to be weaned
firi to unroll, loosen, explain
foog to think
gajja to cut (bushes, etc.) near roots
gakka to be spoiled, stained
gañceñ gi vertebrae (of animal)
geer gi Guiera senegalensis
géwel bi griot, musician, etc.
gu which (relative)
halam guitar
ite ji sensation, feeling
jaambur bi freeborn
jarat to comb
jela to squint
jeneen another
julli to pray
juroomeeli fifth
këf ki thing
korité festival at the end of the month of Ramadan
kwafe to do hair
layyi to be misty
lèx bi cheek
liw to be cold
loxo bi hand
luye to hire
mbiskit mi biscuit
mbojj mi first pounding of grain
mbuus mi leather bag, skin bag
mool bi a type of fisherman
muri to uncover
nduumaar li turtle
nektay bi necktie
ñemeñ to have courage, not be afraid
nga to open the mouth
ngott to lack generosity
ni as
njaaloo gi adultery
njuna wi tunafish
noflaay gi rest
noppi to be finished
obali to yawn
oos gi fishhook
oyof to be light (in weight)
paj mi treatment
puus to push
quai platform
raaf to be destroyed, cease to exist
rafle to lack clothing
réy to be big
saasal to solder
samdi ji Saturday
saxami to chew
tanka bi foot
tayyi to be tired
tëgga to beat a drum, to hammer iron, etc.
tër to hold down
toxor to be numbed
urus gold
viande meat
waaaxu to walk quickly with long strides
wandeelu to wander about
wattatu to crawl
weñ gi iron
werta to be green
woñoo to be in dispute with one another
xaaf mi a ram
xana isn’t it that, or, perhaps
xas to scold
xef wi eyelash
yal to shake, to be loose
yale form of the word ‘those’
yelwaan to beg for alms
yonné to send
yotu to try to reach (with the hands, etc.)
zoo zoo


Phrase Dictionary

Tip: Use your computer’s find function to search keywords.

Wolof to English

Amoon na fi. Once upon a time.
Amul boppa. He has no sense.
Ana Faatu? Where is Faatu?
Ana mu? Where is he? / Where is it?
Ana waa kër ga? Where are the people of the compound? (How is your family?)
Atte Yalla la. It is the judgment of God. (It is fate.)
Aw ma guru. I have no kola.
Aw yoon am. He goes on his way.
Awa, ñu dem. Well then, let’s go.
Baay bi tiit lool. The father was very much afraid.
Ban liggeey ngay def? What work do you do?
Be bëgga dee. Until he nearly died. (emphatic)
Bu fa yagga. Don’t be long there.
Bu Gamble ñowati. When Gamble comes again.
Bul def loolu. Don’t do that.
Da ma bëgga ma fey la. I would like to pay you.
Dama bëgga jëkkër. I am looking for a husband.
Degga naa né. I have heard that.
Dem na liggeey. He has gone to work.
Demal ñaana rénda. Go and ask for dried fish.
Demul fenn. He did not go anywhere.
Di na buur. He is a king.
Di na dem. He will come.
Di naa fa ñow. I will come there.
Di naa ñow. I will come.
Di nga am doom de! You will have a child!
Doo naan ndox? Won’t you drink water?
Fab fetal gi, diir ko, jam ko. He took the gun, aimed it, and shot him.
Fan la dekka? Where does he live?
Fan nga dem? Where are you going?
Faral na a ko def. I have often done it.
Fi nga dëkka? Is it here you live?
Fii la nekka. It is here he stays.
Foo nekkon? Where have you been?
Geej gi di geej i Saalum. The sea is the sea of Saalum.
Geej gi fer na. The tide has gone out.
Jamma nga endu? Have you spent the day in peace?
Jamma nga fanaan? Have you spent the night in peace? (i.e. ‘good morning’)
Jox ko loxo. Shake hands with him.
Jox ma ci, ma mos. Give me a bit to taste.
Kaay lekka ci soow. Come eat a bit of sour milk.
Kañ nga ñow? When did you come?
Ki laa bugga. This is the man I want.
Ki olof la. He is a Wolof.
Ku la ko won? Who showed it to you?
Ku laa bañ, yal na dee. Whoever hates you, may he perish.
Li lan la? What is that?
Loo ame? What have you got with you?
Loo bëgga? What do you want?
Loo gis? What do you see?
Lu dem ci nyaar i fukk i at. For as much as twenty years.
Lu mu wax am na dalill. What he says has a reason.
Lu muy def? What is he doing?
Lu Yalla atte. What God decides.
Ma né. I say.
Ma won la. Let me show you.
Man olof laa. I am a Wolof.
Mangi ci kow am, ndanka ndanka. I am at it, bit by bit.
Mangi feexlu tuuti. I am getting a little fresh air.
Mangi ñow. I’m coming.
Matta ko ci tanka. It bit him on the foot.
May ma ci xaalis. Give me a bit of money.
May ma ci. Give me a bit.
May ma guru. Give me kola.
May ma ndox ma naan. Give me water to drink.
Mu dem? Can he go?
Mu ne ko. He told him.
Mu ne leen. He told them.
Mu né. He says.
Munga fa. He is over there.
Munge nelaw. He is sleeping.
Munge nyow. He is coming.
Mungi ni. Here he is.
Mungi! That’s it!
Na rees ak jamma. May it be digested in peace.
Ñaata at nga am? How old are you?
Naka liggeey bi? How is the work?
Neex na lool. It is very sweet.
Ñenenteel ba di waañ wa. The fourth is the kitchen.
Nit ñangi fey lakka gi. People are putting out the bush fire.
Ñow-atul. It will not come anymore.
Ñuy waajal ngénté la. They made preparations for the naming ceremony.
Penda aw ci yoon wi. Penda set off.
Soppal sa jabar te bul oolu. Love your wife but do not trust her (with your secrets).
Su neexe Yalla. If it pleases God.
Suma doom fer na. My child is weaned.
Suma jabar dafa biir. My wife is pregnant.
Suma yaay dafa réér. My mother is dead.
Waa dëkka bi yëpp. All the people of the town.
War fas wi di daw. He mounted the horse and galloped off.
Waxu leen ma ci dara. You told me nothing about it.
Won ma. Show me.
Won na ko ko. He showed him it.
Xam naa ko, mo di jëkkër i Koddu Jañ. I know him, he is the husband of Koddu Jañ.
Yagga nga fii? Have you been long here.
Yalla, Yalla, béy sa tool. Invoke God, but cultivate your farm. (God helps those who help themselves.)
Yeet ma ci ndox. Bring me some water.



English to Wolof

A table for three. Ñett lanu.
Bring us some bissap. Indil nu bisaap.
Bring your price down a bit. Waññil.
Come and take me with you, don’t go and leave me. Kay yobbaale ma, do dem baay ma.
Do you have a watch? Am nga montar?
Everyone was coming to the funeral. Ñep angi ñow ci dëj bi.
For me, the yassa. Man yaasa.
Give me the money. Indil xaalis bi.
Goodbye now. Ba beneen yoon.
He is fine. Mi ngi ci jàmm.
Her mother has gone to Saloum. Yaay am dem na Saalum.
Here’s the menu. Kart baa ngi.
Here’s your change! Am sa weccit!
How about 700cfa? Teemeer ak ñeent fukk angi?
How are you? Na nga def?
How is your child? Sa doom jàmm?
How is your family? Ana sa waa kër?
How is your wife? Mbaa sa jabar jàmm?
How many do you want? Ñaata?
How much / many? Naata la?
How much are you selling this for? Ñaata ngay jaaye bii?
How much is it from here to Sandaga? Fii ba Sandaga ñaata?
How much is it? Ñaata lay jar?
How much is that? Ñaata la?
How much is your fish? Sa jën wi ñaata lay jar?
How much will you pay? Loo fey?
How was your day? Jàmm nga yendoo?
How was your night? Jàmm nga fanaane?
I am from America. Maa ngi jóge Amerik.
I am hungry. Da maa xiif.
I am not afraid of you. Ragalu ma la.
I am thirsty. Da maa mar.
I can’t add any more. Du ma ci tekk dara.
I don’t like hot pepper. Bëgguma kaani.
I like hot pepper. Bëgg naa kaani.
I only have 800cfa. Teemeer ak juróom benn fukki dërëm laa am.
I want him to take me along. Dama bugga mu yobbuwaale.
I will pay 1000cfa. Fey naa la ñaari teemeeri dërëm.
I will pay 75cfa. Fey naa la fukk ak juróom.
I’ll add 100cfa but no more. Tekk naa ci ñaar-fukk du ma ci yokk dara.
I’ll cook rice and fish. Di naa togga ceeb u jen.
I’ll do it for 850cfa. Defal naa la ko teemeer ak juróom ñaar fukk.
I’ll have fish and rice. Di maa jël ceebu jën.
I’m fine. Maa ngi fi.
I’m full. Suur na.
Is there mafe? Ndax am na maafé?
Isn’t it true? Du dëgga?
It tastes spicy. Saf na kaani.
It was fine. Jàmm rekk.
It was good. Neexoon na.
It’s 10 o’clock. Fukki waxtu a jot.
It’s 10:30 a.m. Fukki waxtu ak genne-wall a jot.
It’s a quarter to 10 p.m. Fukki waxtu des na fukki minit juróom.
It’s cold. Sedd na.
It’s five p.m. Juróomi waxtu ci ngoon.
It’s hot.  Tang na.
It’s not cold. Seddul.
It’s not hot. Tangul.
It’s not spicy. Saful kaani.
It’s the truth. Dëgga la.
Lower your price! Waññil!
More sauce, please. Dollil tuuti ñeex.
My name is David. Maa ngi tudd Daawuda.
No one can deny it. Kenn mën a ko weddi.
No, I don’t have a watch. Amuma montar.
No, that’s not what it’s worth. Deedeet du njëg-am.
OK, get in. Yéegal.
Please bring us some cold water. Indil nu ndox mu sedd.
She is fine. Jàmm rekk.
She washed and washed until it was finished. Mu foot a foot be pare.
She went off to do the washing. Mu dem footi.
Some ice please. Tuuti galaas.
Stop here. Taxawal fii.
That watch, how much does it cost? Sa montar bi ñaata lay jar?
That’s expensive! Seer na lóol!
That’s no good. Loolu baaxul.
That’s too much. Seer na lool.
There’s ten minutes left. Des na fukki minit.
These shoes, how much are they? Sa dall yi ñaata lay jar?
They are fine. Ñu nga fa.
This is my mother. Kii sama yaay la.
This is where it belongs. Fii la dëkka.
We would like to pay. Danu bëgg fey.
We’re going. Nu ngi dem.
Welcome. Agsi leen.
What did you say? Nga ni?
What do you have that is ready? Lu fi am soti?
What is your name? Nanga tudd?
What time is it? Ban waxtoo jot?
What will you have to drink? Lu ngeen di naan?
What would be a better price? Lu seerul?
When you go, take me with you. Soo demee, yobbaale ma.
Whenever you like. Saa yu la neexee.
Where are you from? Foo jóge?
Where is the nearest restaurant? Fan moo am restoraan?
Where is the restroom? Fan mooy seen wanaag?
Won’t you stay and chat? Doo waxtaan?
Yes, I have a watch. Waaw am naa montar.
Yes, there is. Waaw-waaw am na.
You’ve spoken the truth. Wax nga dëgga.

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Wolof Numbers, Time & Dates

Days of the Week ♦ Months of the Year ♦ Hours of the Day ♦ Calendar Dates
Temporal Constructs ♦ Example Phrases ♦ Units of Time ♦ Numbers

Days of the Week

Monday altine
Tuesday talaata
Wednesday àllarba
Thursday alxames
Friday àjjuma
Saturday gaawu
Sunday dibéer

Download Wolof Days of the Week digital flashcard set.


Months of the Year

January saawiye
February feewirye
March mars
April awriil
May mee
June suwe
July suleet
August ut
September septàmbar
October oktoobar
November noowàmbar
December deesàmbar


Hours of the Day

one o’clock benn waxtu
two o’clock ñaari waxtu
three o’clock ñetti waxtu
four o’clock ñeent waxtu
five o’clock juróomi waxtu
six o’clock juróomi-benn waxtu
seven o’clock juróomi-ñaari waxtu
eight o’clock juróomi-ñetti waxtu
nine o’clock juróomi-ñeent waxtu
ten o’clock fukki waxtu
eleven o’clock fukki waxtu ak benn
twelve o’clock fukki waxtu ak ñaar


 Calendar Dates

first bu njëk
second ñaaréélu
third ñettéélu
fourth ñeentéélu
fifth juróoméélu
sixth juróom-bennéélu
seventh juróom-ñaaréélu
eighth juróom-ñettéélu
ninth juróom-ñeentéélu
tenth fukkéélu
eleventh fukk ak bennéélu
twelfth fukk ak ñaaréélu
thirteenth fukk ak ñettéélu
fourteenth fukk ak ñeentéélu
fifteenth fukk ak juróoméélu
sixteenth fukk ak juróom-bennéélu
seventeenth fukk ak juróom-ñaaréélu
eighteenth fukk ak juróom-ñettéélu
nineteenth fukk ak juróom-ñeentéélu
twentieth ñaar-fukkéélu
twenty-first ñaar-fukk ak bennéélu
twenty-second ñaar-fukk ak ñaaréélu
twenty-third ñaar-fukk ak ñettéélu
twenty-fourth ñaar-fukk ak ñeentéélu
twenty-fifth ñaar-fukk ak juróoméélu
twenty-sixth ñaar-fukk ak juróom-bennéélu
twenty-seventh ñaar-fukk ak juróom-ñaaréélu
twenty-eighth ñaar-fukk ak juróom-ñettéélu
twenty-ninth ñaar-fukk ak juróom-ñeentéélu
thirtieth ñett-fukkéélu
thirty-first ñett-fukk ak bennéélu


Temporal Constructs

yesterday démb
today tey
tomorrow suba
daytime bëcëg
nighttime guddi
morning ci suba
afternoon ci ngoon
evening ci guddi


Example Phrases

What time is it? Ban waxtoo jot?
It’s 10:30 A.M. Fukki waxtu ak genne-wall a jot ci suba.
Today is December 15th. Tey la fukkeeli fan ak juróom ci weeru desaambar.


Units of Time

minute miniit
hour waxtu
day bés
week bés bu ay
month weer
year at


Numbers

one benn
two ñaar
three ñett
four ñeent
five juróom
six juróom-benn
seven juróom-ñaar
eight juróom-ñett
nine juróom-ñeent
ten fukk
eleven fukk ak benn
twelve fukk ak juróom-ñeent
twenty ñaar-fukk
twenty-one ñaar fukk ak benn
thirty ñett-fukk
forty ñeent-fukk
fifty juróom-fukk
sixty juróom-benn-fukk
one hundred téeméer
one hundred one téeméer ak benn
two hundred ñaari téeméer
one thousand junni
one thousand five hundred ninety-nine junni ak juróomi téeméer ak juróom-ñeent-fukk ak juróom-ñeent

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Wolof Pronunciation Guide

Vowels ♦ Consonants ♦ Prenasalized Consonants

Vowels

Grapheme English Equivalent Wolof Examples
a absorb banta, tapa, santa
aa far laaj, naaj, caabi
e get dem, lem, gerte
ee where seet, leel
é say bés
éé sane wéér, réér
ë bird kër, dëgër
i in, pit nit, simiis, timis
ii meet siis, lii, kii
o moment xob, romba
ó awe nób, sóf
oo door loo, soo
óó phone góór, fóót
u cook nuyuubi
uu moon tuuru, yuuxu

Consonants

Grapheme English Equivalent Wolof Examples
b boy bunta, ban
c church caabi, ceeb
d dog def, dara
f fire fas, fetel
g good dogal, duga
j job jambar, jox
k cool kaala, kumpa
l land loolu, laal
m moon meew, dem
n not nit, nax
ñ onion ñeebe, gaañu
p park pare, soopa
r rat raxas, réér
s sign siissafara
t stamp tubaab, aate
w war waaw, rew
x loch (Scottish pron.) xale, xaalis
y your yaayyuuxu

Prenasalized Consonants

Grapheme

Wolof Examples

mb

mbéy, mbam

nd

ndey, ndigga

ng, ŋ

ngor

nj

njam, njàmpe

mp

lampa

Adopted from: http://resourcepage.gambia.dk/ftp/wollof.pdf

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Essential French & Wolof Phrases

Hello. Bonjour. Salaam aleekum.
Goodbye. Au revoir. Mangi dem.
Please. S’il vous plaît. Bu la neexee.
Thank you. Merci. Jërejëf.
You’re welcome. Je vous en prie. Amul sólo.
Yes. Oui. Waaw.
No. Non. Déedéet.
Sorry. Pardon. Baal ma.
Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais? Ndax dégg nga angale?
Do you understand? Comprenez-vous? Dégg nga?
I understand. Je comprends. Dégg naa.
I don’t understand. Je ne comprends pas. Dégguma.
Help! Au secours! Wóoy!

A Few Essential Words

airport aéroport ayropoor
bus bus kaar
currency exchange taux de change dëwiis
hotel logement dal
police police alkaati
shop magasin bitik
taxi taxi taksi
train train saxaar

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About Wolof & The Senegambia

Wolof ♦ Wolof Language ♦ Wolof People ♦ Senegal ♦ The Gambia

 

Wolof

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(All links open to Wikipedia)

 Wolof or Wollof may refer to:

  • The Wolof or Jolof Empire, a medieval West African successor of the Mali Empire from the 14th to 16th centuries in present-day Senegal
  • The Wolof or Jolof Kingdom, a rump survival of the earlier empire in the same area from the 16th to the 19th centuries
  • Wolof language, a language spoken in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania
  • Wolof people, an ethnic group found in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania

 

Wolof Language


Wolof (/ˈwlɒf/[3]) is a language of Senegalthe Gambia, and Mauritania, and the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of Sub-Saharan Africa, Wolof is not a tonal language.

Wolof originated as the language of the Lebou people.[4][5] 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”, [6]nyam in Barbadian English [7] meaning to eat (also compare Seychellois nyanmnyanm, also meaning to eat).[8]

1. Geographical distribution2. Classification
3. Orthography and pronunciation4. Grammar5. Literature
6. See also7. References8. Bibliography9. External links

 

Wolof People


The Wolof (IPA: /ˈwəʊlɒf/[3]) are an ethnic group found in Senegalthe Gambia, and Mauritania.

In Senegal, the Wolof form an ethnic plurality with about 43.3% of the population.[4]

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.[5]

In Mauritania, about 8% of the population are Wolof. They live largely in the southern coastal region of the country.

1. Orthography2. Historical state3. Culture
4. Notable Wolof people5. Bibliography6. References

 

Senegal


Senegal Listeni/ˌsɛnɨˈɡɔːl, ˈɡɑːl/[5][6] (Frenchle Sénégal), officially the Republic of Senegal (République du SénégalIPA: [ʁepyblik dy seneɡal]), is a country in West Africa. It is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World or Eurafrasia[7] and 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.

Major industries are fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials, ship construction and repair. Peanutssugarcanecottongreen beans, industrial tomatocherry tomatomelon, and mango are important cash crops.[8]

Most Senegalese are Sufi Muslims or nondenominational Muslims. French is the official language. Since April 2012 Senegal’s president has been Macky Sall.

1. Etymology2. History3. Politics4. Geography5. Economy6. Demographics
7. Culture8. See also9. References10. Further reading11. External links

 

The Gambia


The Gambia (Listeni/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.[3]

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.[4]

1. History2. Geography3. Politics4. Economy5. Society6. Culture
7. See also8. Footnotes, 9. Further reading10. External links

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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

Pulaar: Numbers

  1. one – go-o
  2. two – didi
  3. three – tati
  4. four – nayi
  5. five – joyi
  6. six – jeego
  7. seven – jeedidi
  8. eight – jeetati
  9. nine – jeenayi
  10. ten – sappo
  11. eleven – sappoygoo
  12. twelve – sappoydidi

source: Lonely Planet, The Gambia & Senegal

‘Lonely Planet Phrasebooks Africa’ Book Review

Africa Phrasebook
Africa Phrasebook

This book should be available at your local bookstore. Travel and outdoor stores also often carry Lonely Planet titles. If you prefer to do all your book shopping online then Amazon or the Lonely Planet website should be your best bets.

I’m a fan of Lonely Planet publications. In my opinion they are the best. Their products are visually appealing and packed with information in a very easy to find format. They use a very simple pronunciation key to aid in the pronunciation of every word in the book.

The only problems I have with this book is that the Wolof section is rather small (as are all the sections) but what they do have is very good. Much of the Wolof used is actually Wolofized French and not traditional Wolof…which is fine considering this is not a “lesson book” but a book designed for easy communication for travellers. The book also includes sections for French & Arabic among several other African languages.

 

Sample entry from book:

I need a doctor (who speaks English).   Dama soxla doktoor (bu dégg angale).   da•ma sokh•la dok•tohr (boo deg an•ga•le)

 

Contents:

  • Pronunciation
  • Introduction
  • Language Difficulties
  • Time, dates & numbers
  • Border Crossing
  • Tickets
  • Transport
  • Directions
  • Accommodation
  • Banking & Communications
  • Tours
  • Shopping
  • Making Conversation
  • Eating Out
  • Emergencies
  • Medical Needs
  • Dictionary

Online Collaborative Dictionary

Firicat.com is different from other Wolof dictionaries because it’s not built by ‘experts’; instead it’s created by everyday users of the Wolof language (yes, including you). Firicat is an attempt to create a living lexicon of this beautiful language. (from the website)

firicat.com screenshot
firicat.com

#WolofWednesday

Today is “Wolof Wednesday” on Twitter! The idea is for all of your tweets to be in Wolof to help promote the language and to help those of us who are still learning the language to get practice speaking (or typing) only Wolof. If you have an account come on over and join in…just don’t forget to use the hashtag ‘WolofWednesday’ (#WolofWednesday) on all of your Wolof tweets!

Languages of Senegal: Pulaar

Pulaar is a dialect of Fula, a major African language both in its geographical distribution and number of speakers. Fula is spoken in Western, Eastern and Central Africa by over 25 million speakers. In addition to Africa, major concentrations of Fula speakers can be found in Europe and America. At the African Language Conference held in 1979 in Michigan, Fula was not only ranked high following the priority criteria utilized (i.e. -number of speakers; -political, cultural and social importance; -importance for US national interests) but it was also included in Group A Languages (Highest Priority). – Dr. Mamadou Niang

The Pulaar dialect is not uniform and some sources cite three different subvarieties; Fuutankoore, Jeerinkoore & Southern Pulaar.

  • fanaa – midday
  • liggude – hang up; hang. Liggu wutte maa. Hang your gown.
  • naafki – armpit. Naafki ma ina sicci. Your underarm smells badly. naafde pl.
  • sayeede – be rabid. rawaandu sayaandu a rabid dog
  • talde – cut a big piece of raw meat (v.)/big piece of raw meat (n.)
Definitions from Hippocrene Standard Pulaar-English Dictionary by Dr. Mamadou Niang. Available at HippocreneBooks.com A very nicely laid out dictionary however as far as I can tell the specific subvariety of Pulaar is not specified.

‘Say It In Wolof!’ Phrasebook Review

Say It In Wolof!‘ by Ababacar Gueye. Translated by Sue Hall.

BSDA No. 8531150404 3rd Edition (English) – Also available in French. ©2005

As far as I know it is not available online or anywhere outside of Senegal. It might be possible to special order it from the contact info below:

Lakki Reew Mi Project 1
568 Av. Abebe Bikila Grd Dakar. SN.
Mobile phone: 571.59.92
Email: lakkireewmib@yahoo.fr

My review:

It’s a very short book but has a lot of useful phrases for everyday life in Dakar. The one minor flaw of this book is that there are a few typos. There is even an omission of a letter in the pronunciation section – there’s a description of how to pronounce the letter but where the letter should be is blank.

Sample phrase from book:

Three. How much is that? Ñett. Ñaata la?

Book contents:

  • Introduction
  • Pronouncing and writing certain sounds
  • Greetings and basic chit-chat
  • Numbers
  • Money
  • Negotiating prices
  • Taxis
  • Restaurant
  • Family
  • Times of day
  • Telling the time
  • Remarks
  • Thanks
Wolof Phrasebook
Say It In Wolof! by Ababacar Gueye

Follow JW On Twitter!

I just made a Twitter profile for Janga Wolof. The idea is to tweet (that’s the term right?) Wolof words & phrases…I would like to do that daily but I can’t promise that! Tweet updates about this Janga Wolof blog and who knows what else?

If you would like to follow Janga Wolof on Twitter then here ya go…

http://twitter.com/jangawolof

Fallou Dieng at Fete de Marquette

I finally got around to posting Katie Krueger’s Fallou Dieng video! Ndank ndank 🙂

Read her blog about the concert here:

http://katiekrueger.com/blog/2008/07/15/video-embedding-success/ 

While I was perusing her great blog I thought I would jack a few videos from her while I was at it 🙂

And be sure to buy one (or several!) of her wonderful postcards:

http://snippetsofgratitude.myshopify.com/

Oh, and she has a new book for sale…check it out:

www.givewithgratitude.com

 

Wolof Number Conversion

How to convert English numbers to Wolof:

(This only works for numbers 21 & higher and not for numbers evenly divided by 10.)

Take the number you want to convert to Wolof & divide by 10.

Take the whole number before the decimal, convert to Wolof & put ‘fukk ak’ after it.

Multiply the number that you dropped the decimal from by 10 & subtract from original number you wish to convert.

Convert this remaining number to Wolof and place after the ‘fukk ak’ for the complete Wolof number.

Do me a favor…

If you happen to be in Senegal and you happen to catch a young lady with a “beauty” product known as lightening or whitening cream please confiscate it, snatch it out of her hand if you have to, empty out the contents, rub it into the dirt rendering it unusable and toss out the empty container. This is a terrible product, for one because it does not work like intended but rather causes nasty patches of blemished skin on the face and body. I have seen women so addicted to this wicked product that even though their face has turned into a bright purple mess they continue to use it. These women need to realize that their darkness is not repulsive and that black is beautiful, even the darkest of chocolate midnight black.

Some Pulaar Words 3

aaluderekernel
aawasaagal roguishness
bolfish
cuurkireek
durdegraze
duurdewrestle
falanteerewindow
fawdeput
irdebury
jangdeeducation
jawdiacquest
jokkerejoint
laanaxebec
leriindebetween
lohreinaptitude
newrepalm
nuggarodiffident
ononyou
ruuddelinger
suurkudefume
teewmeat
tuumalallegation
ubbudeinhume
wujjudecheat
yuudecry

Some Pulaar words 2

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

Some Pulaar Words 2

Fula Jalon Girl

aadeperson
aan you
asdedig
baamuulegraveyard
dursitaaderecite
foondebush
fuuntiwile
gandophilosopher
haaldudeinterview
halfudeown
jaggoowoholder
jeetatiocta
joortaadeanticipate
kufne hat
lammindeacidify
neenemother
saltuderamify
seerdesecede
sohrepython
teerecurrent
tefde calm
wayludecommute
wiidesay

Some Pulaar Words 1

J’apprends le Wolof #2

This post is the second in my weekly series of translating the book “J’apprends le Wolof” by Jean-Léopold Diouf & Marina Yaguello (published by Karthala) from French into English. For the original post click ICI. Following are the pages leading up to the introduction.

I’m learning wolof

© Editions Karthala, 1991
ISBN : 2-86537-287-1

Jean-Leopold Diouf and Marina Yaguello

I’m Learning Wolof

Damay Jàng Wolof (I’m Learning Wolof)

Editions KARTHALA
22-24, boulevard Arago
75013 Paris

WORKS OF MARINA YAGUELLO

Les mots et les femmes, Payot, 1978. (Words and women, Payot, 1978.)
Alice au pays du langage, Le Seuil, 1981. (Alice in language, Le Seuil, 1981.)
Les Fous du langage, Le Seuil, 1981. (Les Fous language, Le Seuil, 1981.)
Catalogue des idées reçues sur la langue, Le Seuil, 1988. (Catalogue of ideas about language, Le Seuil, 1988.)
Le sexe des mots, Belfond, 1989. (The words sex, Belfond, 1989.)
Histoire des lettres, Le Seuil, 1990. (History letters, Le Seuil, 1990.)
T’ar ta gueule à la récré !, Le Seuil, 1991. (T’ar your mouth to the playground!, Le Seuil, 1991.)
Grammaire exploratoire de l’anglais, Hachette, 1991. (Grammar exploratory English, Hachette, 1991.)
En écoutant parler la langue, Le Seuil, 1991. (Listening to speak the language, Le Seuil, 1991.)

THANKS

We wish to thank all those who contributed to the achievement of this method of learning wolof. We are indebted in particular the Ministry of Cooperation french who kindly to finance the achievement.

Our thanks also go to Mr Jean-Charles Trorobas, an engineer with the language laboratory of the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at the University of Dakar, for its technical collaboration, Ms. Martha Coly Diédhiou of Computing Center at the University of Dakar who served before the first manuscript, and the director of CLAD for his willingness unreservedly.

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

Visit the New SenegalOnline!

Translated from the site:

The site senePortal.com facelift: new design, new structure
dynamic new content. We hope that this fine tool will enable members
and the public to communicate better, drawing on news of Senegal.
There is still some adjustments to make (potential bugs recalcitrant)
and above all a good part of the contents of the old site to “repatriate” on this new
platform. We have also opened a special discussion on the forum,
or you can send us your comments and suggestions.

We invite you now to become a member to make a full use
Site: managing your member page, your blog, participation in the forum …
Everyone can participate in the life of the site. On the forum of course, but also in writing
news, sending photos to the gallery, pointing out events, proposing
videos and links. If you were already on seneportal.com member, no need
you again, your account has been transferred.

Do not hesitate to give us your comments by mail
senegalonline@gmail.com or on the forum.

A Little About the Wolof Language

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.

Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolof_language

Hausa

Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 24 million people, and as a second language by about 15 million more.

rain – ruwan sama

razor – reza

registered mail – wasik’a ta rajista

rent – yi hayar

repair – gyara

reservation – kama d’aki

restaurant – gidan cin abinci

return – koma

road – hanya

room – d’aki

New Features

All of these can be found in the side bar…

  • Tag Cloud; this is comprised of all the tags that have been used on this blog, the more a tag has been used the bigger it is. Click on tags to take you to posts with that tag.
  • Meebo Chat; with this feature you can chat with me directly if I’m online. This is more for fun as I don’t imagine I will be on it very often! However if I am online do not hesitate to contact me.

Joyeux anniversaire Mme Soukeyna Mbaye!

Suggested Reference Materials

Lonely Planet Phrasebooks: Africa

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.)

Wolof Dictionary & Phrasebook

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.

JUNNI! JUNNI! JUNNI!

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…

PEACE…JAMM AK JAMM,

– J.

DATA UNAVAILABLE …

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.

Notes on Orthography

What’s orthography? It is basically a spelling system. Answers.com defines it as:

  1. The art or study of correct spelling according to established usage.
  2. The aspect of language study concerned with letters and their sequences in words.
  3. 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.

Pronunciation Tips

Note that these are just general tips and that these rules may not always apply as writers of Wolof sometimes use different spelling systems.

CONSONANTS:

j is pronounced as in jazz but with the tongue a bit nearer the top front teeth

c is pronounced as in church with the tongue a little nearer the top front teeth

ñ is pronounced as in the middle sound in canyon with the tongue tip just behind the front teeth

q is pronounced as a k pulled back into the throat

x is pronounced as in loch in Scottish English or bach in German, with the tongue pulled back in the throat

VOWELS:

a is pronounced as the u in butter not as in cat

à is pronounced as the ‘a’ sound in British English life

e is pronounced as in bed

é is pronounced like the French é, almost like the i in big

ë is pronounced as in Brithish English bird

i is pronounced as in beat

o is pronounced as in hot

ó is pronounced as in the French beau, it does not exist in English

u is pronounced a bit like book but with the lips more rounded

How are we doing?

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!

– J.

…and now for some Pulaar.

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…

No ngoolu daa. Hello.

Nalleen e jamm. Goodbye.

Njaafodaa. Please.

A jaaraamah. Thank you.

Enen ndendidum. You’re welcome.

Achanam hakke. Pardon.

Yaafo. Sorry.

Eey. Yes.

Alaa. No.

Ko Engale tan kaala mi. I speak only English.

Mi nani Faranse seeda. I speak a little French.

No mbiyeteedaa? What’s your name?

Ko … mbiyetee mi. My name is … .

Ko les USA njeyaa mi. I’m from USA.

Wolof Numbers & Counting

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.

ENG. SYM.

ENG. WORD

WOLOF WORD

0

zero

tus *

     

1

one

benn

2

two

ñaar

3

three

ñett

4

four

ñeent

5

five

juróom

     

6

six

juróom benn

7

seven

juróom ñaar

8

eight

juróom ñett

9

nine

juróom ñeent

10

ten

fukk

     

11

eleven

fukk ak benn

12

twelve

fukk ak ñaar

13

thirteen

fukk ak ñett

14

fourteen

fukk ak ñeent

15

fifteen

fukk ak juróom

     

16

sixteen

fukk ak juróom benn

17

seventeen

fukk ak juróom ñaar

18

eighteen

fukk ak juróom ñett

19

nineteen

fukk ak juróom ñeent

20

twenty

ñaar fukk

     

21

twenty one

ñaar fukk ak benn

22

twenty two

ñaar fukk ak ñaar

23

twenty three

ñaar fukk ak ñett

24

twenty four

ñaar fukk ak ñeent

25

twenty five

ñaar fukk ak juróom

     

26

twenty six

ñaar fukk ak juróom benn

27

twenty seven

ñaar fukk ak juróom ñaar

28

twenty eight

ñaar fukk ak juróom ñett

29

twenty nine

ñaar fukk ak juróom ñeent

30

thirty

ñett fukk **

     

40

forty

ñeent fukk

     

50

fifty

juróom fukk

     

60

sixty

juróom benn fukk

     

61

sixty one

juróom benn fukk ak benn

62

sixty two

juróom benn fukk ak ñaar

63

sixty three

juróom benn fukk ak ñett

64

sixty four

juróom benn fukk ak ñeent

65

sixty five

juróom benn fukk ak juróom

     

66

sixty six

juróom benn fukk ak juróom benn

67

sixty seven

juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñaar

68

sixty eight

juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñett

69

sixty nine

juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñeent

70

seventy

juróom ñaar fukk

     

80

eighty

juróom ñett fukk

     

90

ninety

juróom ñeent fukk

     

100

one hundred

teemeer

     

1000

one thousand

junni

     

1,000,000

one million

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.

Please, Thank You, You’re Welcome!

PleaseSu la neexee (soo luh ney-khey)
and now en français; S’il vous plaît (seel voo pley)

Thank youJërejëf (je-re-jef)
and en français; Merci (mair-see)

You’re welcomeAmul sóló (ah-mool so-loe)
en français; Je vous en prie (zher voo zom pree)

Grrrreetings!

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

RESPONSE

WHEN USED

salaam alaikum

malaikum salaam

greeting a group of people
or entering one’s house

nanga def

maangi fi

greeting an individual

ça va

ça va

greeting an individual in passing

ba beneen

ba beneen

upon leaving an individual

Let’s start with pronunciation…

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.)

VOWELS

VOWEL NEAREST ENGLISH
EQUIVALENT
WOLOF
EXAMPLES
a absorb banta, tapa, santa
aa far laaj, naaj, caabi
e get dem, lem, gerte
ee where seet, leel
é say bés
éé sane wéér, réér
ë bird kër, dëgër
i in, pit nit, simiis, timis
ii meet siis, lii, kii
o moment xob, romba
ó awe nób, sóf
oo door loo, soo
óó phone góór, fóót
u cook nuyu, ubi
uu moon tuuru, yuuxu

CONSONANTS

CONSONANT NEAREST
ENGLISH EQUIVALENT
WOLOF
EXAMPLES
b boy bunta, ban
c church caabi, ceeb
d dog def, dara
f fire fas, fetel
g good dogal, duga
j job jambar, jox
k cool kaala, kumpa
l land loolu, laal
m moon meew, dem
n not nit, nax
ñ onion ñeebe, gaañu
p park pare, soopa
r rat raxas, réér
s sign siis, safara
t stamp tubaab, aate
w war waaw, rew
x (see note) * xale, xaalis
y your yaay, yuuxu

* 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.

PRENASALIZED CONSONANTS

CONSONANT

WOLOF EXAMPLES

mb

mbéy, mbam

nd

ndey, ndigga

nj, ng

ngor

mp

lampa

From time to time you may come across a Wolof word that uses an unsual letter that looks like this:

ŋ

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 .

Just what the heck is Wolof anyway?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania, 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 many other African languages, 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 (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.”

Hello world!

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.