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Wolof language

StatesSenegal Gambia
RegionWest Africa
Speakers5.5 million;
12.3 million as a second language
EthnicityWolof people, Lebou people
Fam2Atlantic Congo
Fam3Northern Atlantic
Fam4Wolof Nyun
AgencyCLAD (Centre de linguistique appliquée de Dakar)
Lc1wol|ld1=Wolof|ll1=Wolof language
Lc2wof|ld2=Gambian Wolof

     Home | Language | Wolof language

Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of Sub-Saharan 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 (approximately 40 percent of the population) but also by most other Senegalese.

Note however that, this figure is misleading because other tribes who have been Wolofized and speak the Wolof language are added to this figure when in actual fact they are not Wolofs at all.

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.

Wolof has had some influence on Western European languages. Banana is possibly a Wolof word in English , and the English word yam is believed to be derived from Wolof/Fula nyami, "to eat food."

It should be stated that, the word "nyam" and its derivatives "nyami" attributed to the Wolof people or Fula here actually comes from the language of the Serer people, from the standard Serer-Sine word "gari ñam" (pronounced "gari nyam") meaning "to eat", from the Serer Kingdom of Sine. The Wolof people who have immigrated to another Serer Kingdom called the Kingdom of Saloum picked it up from the Serer people of Saloum (the indigenous people). In Serer Saloum, the word is "ñaam" (nyam) which means "to eat". Whilst in Serer-Sine (proper Serer) it is "gari ñam" (gari nyam) meaning "to eat", in Saloum it is merely shortened to "ñaam". The word derives from the proper Serer word "ñam" (nyam) which means "food". It is from that the Senegambian word "ñaambi" (cassava) originated from. These words are used by all Senegambians not just by the Serer people (the progenitors of these words), but also by the Wolof people, the Fula people, the Mandinka people etc. The Serer people also being ancestors of the Wolof people as they are the ancestors of the Toucouleur people and Lebou people, their language has also been borrowed and diluted by these groups. "Cheikh Anta Diop had defended the hypothesis that the Wollofs were not originally a group apart but the result of a process of metissage so to speak of different ethnic groups: Serere, Lebou, Toucoulor, Mandinka and Sarahuli who, in their evolution i.e. the Wollofs, transformed themselves into an autonomous "tribe" with a strong capacity to assimilate, absorb or integrate with all other ethnic groups. The Serer people also have an ancient tradition of farming not just millet and other crops but cassava ("ñaambi") as well.

Hip or hep (e.g., African-American's now clichéd "hip cat") is believed by many etymologists to derive from the Wolof hepicat, "one who has his eyes open" or "one who is aware".

Wolof language Video
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Gotta have it - Times LIVE Tweet this news
Times LIVE--Bantu means "gateway" in -Wolof- (the native -language- of Senegal) and it is here to celebrate the vibrant beach culture from Dakar to Zanzibar, from Cape Town ... - Date : Wed, 03 Nov 2010 22:59:23 GMT+00:00
Profile: Sister Fa, female African rapper - Tweet this news's rap style is not what you would normally expect: she sings mostly in French or -Wolof- her native -language-. -Wolof- is the lingua franca of Dakar and most ... - Date : Sun, 24 Oct 2010 21:34:33 GMT+00:00
Cheikh Lô - Jamm - Tweet this news title actually means 'peace' in the Senegalese -language- of -Wolof-, and the music here is appropriately restrained and subtle. Everything is played with a ... - Date : Thu, 05 Aug 2010 23:55:19 GMT+00:00
美军需外语人才汉语排第二 乐招募母语非英语人士 - 中新网 Tweet this news
中新网--之后依次是乌兹别克语、普什同语、东非的斯瓦希里语(Swahili)、塞内加尔与甘比亚的乌洛夫语(-Wolof-)以及韩语。在今年的人道救灾行动中,海地的克瑞奥语(Creole)与法语又 ... - Date : Wed, 11 Aug 2010 02:59:31 GMT+00:00
美軍需外語人才漢語排第二 樂招募母語非英語人士 - 中國經濟網 Tweet this news
中國經濟網--之後依次是烏茲別克語、普什同語、東非的斯瓦希裏語(Swahili)、塞內加爾與甘比亞的烏洛夫語(-Wolof-)以及韓語。在今年的人道救災行動中,海地的克瑞奧語(Creole)與法語又 ... - Date : Wed, 11 Aug 2010 03:12:02 GMT+00:00
Le retour sur les épopées peut conduire à la renaissance, selon un chercheur - AP Sénégalaise Tweet this news
AP Sénégalaise---...- langue -wolof- Serigne Moussa Kâ (publié aux Editions Papyrus Afrique) ainsi que d'un dictionnaire -wolof- publié en 2006 par la National African -Language- ... - Date : Thu, 22 Jul 2010 14:10:56 GMT+00:00
The Moment of My Inspiration: Molly Melching, Executive Director of Tostan - Take Part (blog) Tweet this news
Take Part (blog)--Tostan means "breakthrough" in -Wolof-, Senegal's most common -language-a fitting description of the work the organization does. Community empowerment is key ... - Date : Tue, 29 Jun 2010 19:58:18 GMT+00:00
Obopay adds new business model to its range Wednesday 30 June 2010 | 04:44 PM ... - Telecompaper (subscription) Tweet this news
Telecompaper (subscription)--The new service is called Yoban'tel by Obopay, which roughly translates as 'send by mobile' in the Senegalese -language Wolof-. The service is offered both ... - Date : Wed, 30 Jun 2010 14:51:36 GMT+00:00
Senegal opened my eyes to my world - Times Herald-Record Tweet this news
Times Herald-Record--Not one of them spoke English and I did not speak French or -Wolof-, but it didn't change one thing. Sports are an international -language-, and within minutes ... - Date : Sun, 30 May 2010 06:09:47 GMT+00:00
Lunch with... Molly Melching - Social Enterprise Live Tweet this news
Social Enterprise Live--Explaining how and why the Tostan ('breakthrough' in -Wolof-, the most widely spoken -language- in Senegal) programme works isn't easy - especially as Melching ... - Date : Fri, 21 May 2010 12:42:41 GMT+00:00

(As)salaamaalekum !
Response: Maalekum salaam ! This greeting is not Wolof-it is Arabic (used by Arabic speakers), but is commonly used. |Hello!
Response: Hello! |(Arabic) peace be with you
Response: and with you be peace>
Na nga def ? / Naka nga def ? / Noo def?
Response: Maa ngi fi rekk
How do you do? / How are you doing?
Response: I am fine
How - you (already) - do
Response: I here - be - here - only
Naka mu ?
Response: Maa ngi fi
What's up?
Response: I'm fine
How is it?
Response: I'm here
Numu demee? / Naka mu demee?/
Response: Nice / Mu ngi dox
How's it going?
Response: Fine / Nice / It's going
How is it going?
Response: Nice (from English) / It's walking (going)
Lu bees ?
Response: Dara (beesul)
What's new?
Response: Nothing (is new)
What is it that is new?
Response: Nothing/something (is not new)
Ba beneen (yoon). See you soon (next time) Until - other - (time)
Jërëjëf Thanks / Thank you It was worth it
Waaw Yes Yes
Déedéet No No
Fan la ... am ? Where is a ...? Where - that which is - ... - existing/having
Fan la fajkat am ? Where is a physician/doctor? Where - the one who is - heal-maker - existing/having
Fan la ... nekk ? Where is the ...? Where - it which is - ... - found?
Ana ...? Where is ...? Where is ...?
Ana loppitaan bi? Where is the hospital? Where is - hospital - the?
Noo tudd(a)* ? / Naka nga tudd(a) ?
Response: ... laa tudd(a) / Maa ngi tudd(a) ...
What is your name?
Response: My name is ....
What you (already) - being called?
Response: ... I (objective) - called / I am called ...

Numerals : Cardinal numbers
1 benn
2 ñaar / yaar
3 ñett / ñatt / yett / yatt
4 ñeent / ñenent
5 juróom
6 juróom-benn
7 juróom-ñaar
8 juróom-ñett
9 juróom-ñeent
10 fukk
11 fukk ak benn
12 fukk ak ñaar
13 fukk ak ñett
14 fukk ak ñeent
15 fukk ak juróom
16 fukk ak juróom-benn
17 fukk ak juróom-ñaar
18 fukk ak juróom-ñett
19 fukk ak juróom-ñeent
20 ñaar-fukk
26 ñaar-fukk ak juróom-benn
30 ñett-fukk / fanweer
40 ñeent-fukk
50 juróom-fukk
60 juróom-benn-fukk
66 juróom-benn-fukk ak juróom-benn
70 juróom-ñaar-fukk
80 juróom-ñett-fukk
90 juróom-ñeent-fukk
100 téeméer
101 téeméer ak benn
106 téeméer ak juróom-benn
110 téeméer ak fukk
200 ñaari téeméer
300 ñetti téeméer
400 ñeenti téeméer
500 juróomi téeméer
600 juróom-benni téeméer
700 juróom-ñaari téeméer
800 juróom-ñetti téeméer
900 juróom-ñeenti téeméer
1000 junni / junne
1100 junni ak téeméer
1600 junni ak juróom-benni téeméer
1945 junni ak juróom-ñeenti téeméer ak ñeent-fukk ak juróom
1969 junni ak juróom-ñeenti téeméer ak juróom-benn-fukk ak juróom-ñeent
2000 ñaari junni
3000 ñetti junni
4000 ñeenti junni
5000 juróomi junni
6000 juróom-benni junni
7000 juróom-ñaari junni
8000 juróom-ñetti junni
9000 juróom-ñeenti junni
10000 fukki junni
100000 téeméeri junni
1000000 tamndareet / million

: Ordinal numbers
2nd ñaaréélu
3rd ñettéélu
4th ñeentéélu
5th juróoméélu
6th juróom-bennéélu
7th juróom-ñaaréélu
8th juróom-ñettéélu
9th juróom-ñeentéélu
10th fukkéélu

: Ordinal numbers

: Ordinal numbers

Temporal pronouns : Conjugation of the temporal pronouns
Situative (Presentative) Terminative Objective Processive (Explicative and/or Descriptive) Subjective Neutral
Perfect Imperfect Perfect Future Perfect Imperfect Perfect Imperfect Perfect Imperfect Perfect Imperfect
1st Person singular "I" maa ngi maa ngiy naa dinaa laa laay dama damay maa maay ma may
2nd Person singular "you" yaa ngi yaa ngiy nga dinga nga ngay danga dangay yaa yaay nga ngay
3rd Person singular "he/she/it" mu ngi mu ngiy na dina la lay dafa dafay moo mooy mu muy
1st Person plural "we" nu ngi nu ngiy nanu dinanu lanu lanuy danu danuy noo nooy nu nuy
2nd Person plural "you" yéena ngi yéena ngiy ngeen dingeen ngeen ngeen di dangeen dangeen di yéena yéenay ngeen ngeen di
3rd Person plural "they" ñu ngi ñu ngiy nañu dinañu lañu lañuy dañu dañuy ñoo ñooy ñu ñuy

Languages of the African Union

WorkingArabic * English * French * Portuguese * Spanish * Swahili
TransnationalHausa * Somali * Yoruba * Igbo * Oromo * Kinyarwanda/Kirundi * Swati * Tswana * Sotho * Wolof * Kongo/Kituba * Kanuri * Fula * Chichewa * Lingala * Malagasy * Afrikaans * Shona * Tigrinya * Mòoré * Zulu
NationalAmharic * Sango

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