Wolof is a member of the Senegambian branch of the Niger-Congo language family with about 7 million speakers in Senegal, France, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Mauritania. Wolof is one of the six national languages of Senegal (Senegaal / سِنِڭَالْ), along with Serer, Mandinka, Pulaar, Diola and Soninke.
Wolof was first written with a version of the Arabic script known as Wolofal, which is still used by many older men in Senegal. The Wolof orthography using the Latin alphabet was standardised in 1974 and is the official script for Wolof in Senegal.
Wolof is also sometimes written with the Garay alphabet which was devised by Assane Faye, a Senegalese artist, in 1961. This alphabet is written from right to left and is modelled loosely on the Arabic script.
Doubled consonants are pronunced with long versions of the sounds above.
The order of the letters and their transcription is based on the Wolof alphabet chart in Afrikan Alphabets by Saki Mafundikwa. Each consonant has two forms, though how these are used is not explained.
Doomi aadama yépp danuy juddu, yam ci tawfeex ci sag ak sañ-sañ. Nekk na it ku xam dëgg te ànd na ak xelam, te war naa jëflante ak nawleen, te teg ko ci wàllu mbokk.
Michael Peter Füstumum provided the Wolofal sample text and corrections to the Wolofal chart
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about the Wolof language and alphabets
The Wolof people of Senegal - includes information about Wolof culture and language: http://www.bcconline.org/wolof/
Page last modified: 05.03.22
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