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Wolof language

Language of Senegal, the Gambia, and Mauritania / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wolof (/ˈwlɒf/;[3] Wolofal: ولوفل) is a language of Senegal, Mauritania, and the Gambia, and the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of the Niger-Congo family, Wolof is not a tonal language.

Quick facts: Wolof, Native to, Ethnicity, Native spea...
Wolof ولوفل
Native toSenegal, Mauritania, Gambia
Native speakers
5,454,000 (2001–2016)[1][2]
L2 speakers: ?
Latin (Wolof alphabet)
Arabic (Wolofal)
Official status
Regulated byCLAD (Centre de linguistique appliquée de Dakar)
Language codes
ISO 639-1wo
ISO 639-2wol
ISO 639-3Either:
wol  Wolof
wof  Gambian Wolof
Areas where Wolof is spoken
A Wolof speaker, recorded in Taiwan

Wolof is the most widely spoken language in Senegal, spoken natively by the Wolof people (40% of the population) but also by most other Senegalese as a second language.[4] Wolof dialects vary geographically and between rural and urban areas. The principal dialect of Dakar, for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, and Arabic.

Wolof is the standard spelling and may also refer to the Wolof ethnicity or culture. Variants include the Gambian Wolof, or the older French Ouolof, Jollof, or Jolof, which now typically refers either to the Jolof Empire or to jollof rice, a common West African rice dish. Now-archaic forms include Volof and Olof.

English is believed to have adopted some Wolof loanwords, such as banana, via Spanish or Portuguese,[5] and nyam, used also in Spanish: 'ñam' as an onomatopoeia for eating or chewing, in several Caribbean English Creoles meaning "to eat" (compare Seychellois Creole nyanmnyanm, also meaning "to eat").[6]