We now know the secret to learning Wolof. And we’re letting the muss out of the mbuus. Or we’ll spill the ñeebe , if you prefer.
We just finished our first back-to-Wolof class with our tutor – and I think we’re really going to enjoy working with him. This is a good thing, seeing as our first Wolof language learning experience together back in 2003 was not so hot. There were many classes that ended in a stand-off between Cheikh and our teacher, both of whom had different ideas of what we should be learning and how. I think she retired shortly after we ‘graduated’ from our 100 hours of classes.
Anyway… Since it was our first time meeting with our new tutor, we spent most of the hour talking in Wolof (as best we could – don’t get any fancy ideas) so he could evaluate our levels and needs.
He commented that Cheikh has a French accent, which is not ideal when speaking Wolof, but what American doesn’t enjoy hearing that they’ve finally got French down?
He was also very, very impressed with Cheikh using the Senegalese clicking sound to show that he was in agreement with something that was said (it’s like nodding your head – it means you agree without having to say the words).
At the end of the hour, he summed up the session and then shared with us the secret to mastering Wolof:
Speak only Wolof. Put your English and your French in your pocket, and pull them out only if you really need them.
Pretty good advice, I thought. But surely he didn’t mean for me to blog in Wolof too…