In Sénégal you’ll improve your French, but you’ll also learn some simple phrases and words in Wolof, one of six national languages and understood by 90 percent of the Sénégalese. Wolof, an African language, is very distinct from English and French It is written phonetically, with only a semi-official method for spelling. It uses either Roman or Arabic alphabet.

Common Phrases

Salaa maalikum — Traditional greeting for hello. The Wolof use some Arabic phrases, such as this one, which means “Are you at peace?” The response is always Maalikum salaam “Yes, I am at peace.”

Nga Deff — Traditional Wolof greeting for “How’s it going?” C’est pas grave—French phrase for, “It’s alright.” For example you would use this phrase if someone bumped into you on the sidewalk and apologized, “excuse me.”