This dictionary is alphabetized according to the English alphabet and not in order of pronunciation (for example, some Wolof dictionaries place ‘x’ between ‘g’ and ‘i’ because it’s similar to the ‘h’ sound…in this dictionary ‘x’ goes where ‘x’ would normally go – between ‘w’ and ‘y’). Also, diacritics (accented letters) are alphabetized along with their non-diacritic counterparts, so in other words, é is collated in order as if it was just ‘e’…it does not have its own section. Following this system of alphabetization, prenasalized consonants, doubled consonants & doubled vowels (long vowels) are alphabetized in order of the first letter in the combination and do not get their own sections (mb = ‘m’, tt = ‘t’, oo = ‘o’, etc.) The velar nasal, ŋ, is treated as a normal ‘n’.
- If you can’t find your word under b then try looking for it under p and vice versa. The same with c and j.
- Words with prenasalized consonants (mb, mp, nd, ng, nj, etc.) may sometimes have non-nasalized forms so if you can’t find your word in order by the first letter then try looking for it by the second letter. The opposite may be true as well…words that start with letters that can be nasalized (such as b, d, g, j, p, etc.) may be found under m or n.
- The letters h and x are basically the same when it comes to Wolof. Some orthographies prefer using h and others x, so if you can’t find your word with one spelling then try the other. Also some sources use kh to represent this sound.
- Many words can be spelled many different ways so try alternate spellings if you are having trouble finding your word.
- Some orthographies are based off of French pronunciations. In these orthographies t has a ch (usually written as just ‘c’) sound and d has a j sound, so as with the above tips try looking in the corresponding sections if you are having difficulty finding your word.
- Use Ctrl + F on your computer keyboard to quickly find words. (Cmd + F on Macs)
- Search the phrase dictionary for examples of usage.
- If you are certain your word is not in the dictionary try asking for it in the comments area, I’ll either try to add it or a fellow commenter may reply with the definition. Alternately you can do a search from the search field in the left-side menu bar to see if the word is discussed in a previous blog post. Also try Firicat.com.