Wolof phrasebook

Wolof is the main language of Senegal, and is also spoken in Gambia and Mauritania.

Pronunciation guide

Wolof is primarily an oral not written language, so written spellings may vary considerably.



is always pronounced "Ch" Words borrowed from French should use "S" instead of C but might not always be written that way.
Should be rolled.
After a double consonant,
: repeat the vowel preceding vowel sound slightly. For example, Tudd (to call oneself) sounds almost like "tuddu" and jamm (peace) sounds like "Jamma" with a very soft a / e muet (if you speak French, for reference) at the end.
Ng -
Difficult for a non-speaker to replicate. Focus on the "g" sound and if possible add the n to the end of the preceding word. For example, Fan nga joge? (Where to you come from) sounds more like Fann ga joge?

Common diphthongs


Phrase list


Salamalekum (This is Arabic) / Response: Malekum Salaam.
Hello. (informal) 
. ( Sa va)French
How are you? 
Na'nga def? ( ?)
Fine, thank you. 
Mangi fi rekk. ( jama rek or I'm in peace)
Thanks be to God. (From Arabic.) May be used after 'jama rek' to express thanks.
What is your name? 
Nanga tudd?
My name is... 
Mangi tudd...
Nice to meet you. 
. ( )
(S'il vous plait )
Thank you. 
Jere jef. ( )
You're welcome. 
ñoku boku. ( )
. (waaw )
. (de det )
Excuse me. (getting attention) 
. (pardon )
Excuse me. (begging pardon) 
. (baal ma )
I'm sorry. 
. (maasa )
Be benen yoon. ( Means see you next time, or a la prochaine in French )
See you very soon 
Leegi leegi.
See you later 
Ba ci kanam.
I'm going (informal) 
. (maangi dem)
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
[ ]. ( [Man degguma ___ ])
Do you speak English? 
? ( Degg nga anglais?)
I speak some english 
? (Degg naa tutti tutti anglais)
! ( dembalema)
Look out! 
! ( me hole)
How is the morning? 
Naka suba si?
How is the evening? 
Naka si ngom si?
Good night. 
Fanaanal ak jamm. Plural: Fanaaleen ak jamm. (NB: Slight "a" sound follows the double consonant.)
Good night (to sleep) 
. (bon nuit )French
I don't understand. 
. (je ne comprend pas )French (Degguma)
Where is... ? 
? ( Ana ...?)
Where are you from? 
( Fooy degga? ) or Fan nga joge?

Small talk

How is your work? 
Naka liggeye bi? ( )
How is your family? 
Naka wa kerr gi? ( ) or Ana wa ker ga?
My house (family) is fine (here). 
Nyung fi rekk.
How did you sleep? 
Nanga fananay?
White person 
Toubab ( )


===Time=== foor duckion


Monday - Altine Tuesday - Taalata Wednesday - Alarba Thursday - Alxames Friday - Ajjuma Saturday - Gaaw Sunday - Dibeer


How much is it? 
Ñaata la? ( )
What does it cost? 
Nyata? ( )


( Ndekki )
( An )
( Reer )


(Ci) Marse bi 
(at) the market
Ñaata la? 
How much is it?
____ francs 
____ CFA (NB: Numbers used for prices will usually be in French and in thousands with inflation.)
to bargain
Maangi waxale 
I bargain
Cher na (torop) 
It's (very) expensive (Used to try to haggle the price down)


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, August 23, 2013. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.