In preparation for our trip back to Senegal in February, we’ve been brushing up on our Wolof language skills. Talk about rusty!

Baby Astu in 2004

The other day I listened to some mp3s recorded by Peace Corps teams in the Gambia, where they also speak Wolof. It was a great first step back into the language – and the culture! I was cracking up on the subway as I listened. Those of you who have lived in Africa will totally be able to identify with these two snippets.

Talking about the weather, a sample conversation:

Man: Yesterday it was too hot.

Woman: There was no wind at all.

Man: I’ve never seen such heat.

Woman: I got up and took a shower last night.

Man: I couldn’t sleep at all.

Woman: We spent the night outside.

Man: Do you think it is safe to spend the night outside in the dark?

Woman: It’s okay. We spent the night on a platform, not on the ground.

Awesome. And, as anyone who has spent time in Africa knows, this conversation could very easily have been real. Now let’s take a look at a few common phrases. In fact, why don’t you read them out loud?

Come here.
I am going.
Leave me alone.
What happened?
What are you doing?
What did you say?
What do you want?
What it this?
You are sitting.
I’ll beat you with a stick.
Give me water.
Come eat.
You crazy person.
Thank you.

PS – A very big thank you to the Peace Corps for making these audio files and PDFs available.