Wolof Information

Kyle Healy - Senegal


January 17, 2017

So, before all of these blogs are posted in chronological order, I would like to give readers some contextual information on Senegalese culture and the language of Wolof. Wolof, originally being a spoken language, has caused many misunderstandings in the short four months that I have been here. For example, the word for “to come” and the word for “ugly” are spelled and written the exact same, a small difference being an accent existing in different places. This proved especially problematic while I was playing soccer, as I would try to say that a defender is coming and to pay attention, but would instead call the defender ugly and occasionally start an argument. Looking back, the misunderstandings are really funny because they ended up being so inconsequential, and I thank the patience of those that have to put up with my often incorrect attempts at speaking Wolof every day. However, I have been improving a ton, and each small feat of speech is met with gratitude and excitement from my host family, those that I work with, and my friends in the community. In short, I feel very confident whenever I try to speak, and that reflects well on others as well as makes me feel more comfortable in my town, Khombole. This is just a small update on my progress in learning Wolof, and some situations I am encountering.

Kyle Healy