A little lesson in Wolof






French is the official language of Senegal but Wolof is another language that is widely spoken. Based on my time here, I would say that more people speak Wolof than French. French is used more in a formal context like at banks, insurance companies, road signs, and etc. However, Wolof is the language that is used more on an everyday basis. I hear Wolof in my house, in the streets, at the beach, when buying fruits, etc. You get the idea. I actually hear more Wolof than I do French and because of that, I’ve learned some Wolof (if only the bare necessities). Nevertheless, I decided it would be cool to write down all of the Wolof words and phrases that I use almost every day.

Salaamaalekum – Hello/Hi

Nanga def?– How are you?

Nam– In response to my name being called



Baal ma– Excuse me/Please

Amuma xaalis-I don’t have money.

Jerejef-Thank you.

Ana (something)?- Where is (object or person)?

Naata?-How much?

Deguma Wolof- I don’t understand Wolof.

Maangi wax tutti Wolof– I speak a little Wolof

Naka suba si?– How is the morning?

Ba ci kanam– See you later

Ba beneen yoon– See you next time

Leegi leegi-See you soon

Lan lay tekki– What does (certain word) mean?

Leegi leegi-See you soon

These are just a few words and phrases that I use pretty much every day. Since I came to practice my French I mainly speak to people in French and talk to my family in French. However, there is no avoiding Wolof so I’ve learned and picked up on some of the language. If you’re ever in Senegal or know someone who speaks Wolof, you can practice with these words or phrases!

Until next time,