Wolof love poem
Sa der si settu bi
Moy sama powem bu gënë rafet
Wanté gawon tul naxte daffay meles
Li moy sama daamela bug bu mudjë ...
→ French poem ←
Wolof (Ouolof, Volof, Walaf, Waro-Waro, Yallof, Jolof, Baol, Cayor, Djolof, Dyolof, Jander, Lebou, Lebu, Ndyanger) is a language of Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania. This Wolof love poem is a pretty African translation of my quatrain "The mirror". The Wolof is a Senegambian language which has 10 million speakers. It is originally the language of the Wolofs that represent one Senegalese out of two.
Wolof is a member, of the northern branch, of the Atlantic family, of Niger-Congo languages. It is a language spoken in Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania. In Senegal, Wolof is a lingua franca. 80% of the population speak it as a first or second language.
The other five national languages in Senegal by number of speakers are: Fulani and Serere, which are spoken by one out of five Senegalese, and Malinke, Dioula and Soninke, spoken by one out of twenty Senegalese.
In 1971, Sapir integrated Wolof, Serer and Fula, in the Twi subset of North Atlantic languages. Even if these 3 languages are cousins, Serer and Fula, are closer to each other than they are to Wolof. Without further research on the Senegambian languages, the exact relationships between these three languages cannot be clarified.
Wolof is a very lively language, its strength is linked to the area where it is spoken, an area of contact, of important commercial exchanges, which in addition developed it economically, and attracted other neighboring ethnic groups. If Wolof has few dialect variants (let us quote Lebou), because of its use as a vehicular language, especially in urban areas, the traditional Wolof of rural areas differs quite a bit from that of cities.
The Wolofs or Ouolofs would originate from the south of Egypt. A long travel through Mauritania would have brought them as far as Senegal where they mixed with the local populations.
The Wolofs were organized in the 16th century into a group of kingdoms which disappeared under the pressure of successive conquests and French colonization. Their system of filiation, generally bilateral, tends now to patrilinearity, because of the constant predominance of Islam.
Wolof society has traditionally been hierarchically stratified in two main social groups, "n˜ een˜ o" and "ge´er". The Wolof society included a division into classes (princely families, nobles, peasants, slaves), as well as a system of castes and orders, distinctions now extinct.