moom – in this sence means ‘he/she‘ (emphatic form) but can also mean ‘toown‘. it/itam – also (as a suffix ‘-it‘ indicates ‘again‘; it can also be a suffix for the result of an action – added to a verb root. Ex. damma ‘tobreak‘. dammit ‘pieces‘). dina – (di + na); di indicates a future action “hewill“; di + noun makes a positive statement (heis, etc.); di as a prefix to -oon (doon) = past completed, -aan (daan) = past habitual ñow – tocome/arrive; can also mean ‘tobesharp‘ (sometimes written as ñaw)
Definitions from David P. Gamble’s Gambian Wolof-English Dictionary 1990. I don’t think this book has ever been professionally published. My copy is a typed (typwriter NOT computer) photocopy with hand-written diacritical marks in a three-ringed binder. You may be able to find a copy at your local university.
Hello. Bonjour/Salut.pol/inf bon-zhoor/sa-lew Goodbye. Au revoir.o-rer-vwar (literally “To see again.”) Please. S’il vous plaît. seel voo play (literally “If you please.”) Thankyou. Merci.mair-see You’rewelcome. Je vous en prie.zher voo zom pree Yes. Oui.wee No. Non.non Excuseme. Excusez-moi.ek-skew-zay-mwa Sorry. Pardon.par-don Iunderstand. Je comprends. zher kom-pron Idon’tunderstand. Je ne comprends pas.zher ner kom-pron pa Onemoment, please. Un moment, s’il vous plaît.um mo-mon seel voo play Help! Au secours!o-skoor
Na nga def. – Hello. (singular) Na ngeen def. – Hello everybody. (plural) Jaam nga fanane. – Good morning. Jamm nga yendoo. – Good afternoon. Fanaanal jaam. - Goodnight. Ba beneen. – Goodbye. Su la nexee. – Please. Jai-rruh-jef. - Thank you. Agsil. – You’re welcome. (singular) Agsileen ak jaam. - You’re all welcome. (plural) Baal ma. - Sorry./Pardon. Wau. – Yes. Deh-det. – No. Jaam nga am? – Have you peace? (How are you?) Jaam rek. – Peace only. (I’m fine.) Yow nag? – And you? Naka-nga sant? – What’s your first name? Maa ngi tudd … . – My name is … . Fan nga dahk? – Where do you live? Fan nga joghe? – Where are you from? (singular) Fan ngeen joghe? - Where are you all from? (plural) Maa ngi joghe les USA. – I’m from the USA. Deg nga Angale? – Do you speak English? Deg nga Faranse? – Do you speak French? Angale rekk laa degg. – I speak only English. Degg naa tuuti Faranse. – I speak a little French. Mahn deggumah Wolof. – I don’t speak Wolof. Mahn deggumah Faranse. - I don’t speak French. Degguma. – I don’t understand. Dama bahggoon … . – I’d like … . Fahn la … ? - Where is … ? Soreh na? – Is it far? Cha kanam. – Straight ahead. Chammoon. - Left. Ndeyjoor. – right. Dugghal waay! – Get in! Lii naata? – How much is this? Seer na torob. – It’s too much. May ma jaam! – Leave me alone!
Assalamu alaykum. – Peace be upon you. Wa alaikumus salam. – And peace be upon you. (reply to above) Allahu akbar. – Allah is greater. (takbir) Al hamdu lilah wa shukru lillah. – Praise belongs to Allah and all thanks to Allah. Bismillah ar rahman ar rahim. – In Allah’s name, most gracious, most merciful. Insh’Allah. – If Allah wills. (referring to a future action) Mash’Allah. – What Allah wishes. (indicates good omen)
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…