2. Mbokk yi – Family: How To Easily Talk About Family in Wolof

Welcome to the second Wolof Class: Mbokk yi – Family. Yesterday, I taught you how to survive your first conversation in Wolof. Today, we are going to continue and talk about the people we most care about: suñu mbokk yi (our family members). Yesterday we celebrated the independence of Senegal, but today we continue the Wolof class. Since I have been traveling to Senegal, I have learned a lot about family. Mostly, what it means in Senegal, culturally. Before we get into the subject: don’t forget to join the SeneGambia Vibes Club on ClubHouse where we do a Wolof class each Saturday! Until Saturday, I will be posting a Wolof class on YouTube. The video will contain a dialogue about the subject of that class and then we will dissect it. I will also share additional information on my Instagram and a downloadable syllabus in each blog for the class! – Let’s get into the second class: Mbokk yi – Family.

Family in Senegal

In Senegal, family is really important. We can say that it is because of religion, as about everyone believes in some sort of religious God or spiritual entity. Other than that, in Senegal, importance is put on how others perceive you. I remember wanting to cut off my hair short, into a tapered cut. However, my family told me not to, because people would think I was a prostitute. Which honestly makes me want to do it even MORE because I know well I am not a prostitute. Also, what if I was, who cares? Yeah, Senegalese people in general do. Some expressions you may hear of are masla or sutura. Masla is more about solving conflicts kindly while sutura is about discretion. However these two enstill a culture of silence when it comes to abuse and oppression. Like when people always expect you to be the bigger person. Therefore, it is really important to know your boundaries, especially when it comes to family!

Mbokk yi – Family

The word mbokk for family sounds a lot like the word bokk for to participate or be a part of. I would like to think they are related, just as we are related to our family members. It is really normal in Senegal to ask after people’s family members. So as we already established in the previous class that Ana waa kër ga? is a way to ask about household members. However, this question can also be asked as following: Naka waa kër ga? The thing is that Ana means where and Naka means How are/is. However the answer to both is always, in Wolof here. Instead of saying Ñu ngiy fi they are here, you can say Ñu ngiy si jàmm meaning they are at peace. What I love is when people say Nuyul ma sa yaaye meaning greet your mom for me. Of course you can replace yaaye by every other person, name or group. The correct answer would be Di na ko dégg for singular or Di nañu ko dégg. Definitely check the syllabus for other family members in Wolof!

If you want to learn more about Mbokk yi – Family, definitely watch today’s video class below. If you have any questions, definitely reach out to me on Instagram and I will answer your questions :).

Don’t forget to download the syllabus for Mbokk yi – Family for even more insights! I specifically created it for this class. The idea was to only share a one-page stencil or worksheet. However, I was so consumed by creating this syllabus and this is the result! If you find it hard to listen to Wolof, definitely read the dialogue between me and Nafissa while watching my video. Enjoy and Ba suba, In Sha Allah.

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2 Replies to “2. Mbokk yi – Family: How To Easily Talk About Family in Wolof”

  1. Hi,
    In fact, it should be “bokk yi” instead of “mbokk yi”. Some words starting with “mb” drop the “m” when pluralized.
    Thanks,

    1. Again! Thanks for the corrections

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