In honor of not having Wolof classes these days, I thought I’d write about learning Wolof. When you’re studying something, the last thing you want to do is think about it if you don’t have to. So the fresh air to my brain inspired me to share a bit about what we’ve learned.

Filed under ‘good to know’:

– Forget the ‘v’ sound. You won’t use it in Wolof. Imported French phrases, like “ça va” become “ça wa”.

– You cannot speak Wolof without your hands. Well, you can say the words… but you won’t be communicating in Wolof unless you use your hands. A lot.

– Forget the ‘sh’ sound. Ignore the ‘h’ and just pronounce anything you think sould be said with a ‘sh’ as a ‘s’.

– Learn these three phrases and you can bluff near fluency because they can be used in response to 99% of greetings and questions:

  • Jamm rekk. (Peace only.)
  • Alhamdoulilahi. (Thanks be to God.)
  • Yalla baaxna. (God is good.)

– For added impact, learn how to say a couple phrases on these topics:

  • how ridiculous the power cuts are (But, Yalla baaxna, there will be a solution.)
  • how windy/dusty/sandy/humid/hot the air is today.
  • what a waste of money the big statue is.