1. Nuyoo – Greetings: How To Survive Your First Wolof Conversation

Nuyoo - Greetings

Welcome to the first Wolof Class: Nuyoo – Greetings! For this years celebration of Senegal’s independence, I wanted to do a Wolof class. Since 2010, I have been learning Wolof bit by bit by going to Senegal almost each year. Not only that, but I consciously decided that I wanted to experience living there. Eventually I did my internship and research for my thesis in Dakar too. After graduation, I decided to buy a one-way ticket and ended up living in Senegal for over a year. When I came back, I finally gave into watching Senegalese shows such as Maîtresse d’un homme marié. Today, I work as an interpretor and use the Wolof language here in the Netherlands. Also, I recently joined the SeneGambia Vibes Club on ClubHouse where we do a Wolof class each Saturday! For a week, 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 first class: Nuyoo – Greetings.

Arabic & Wolof

Senegal is about 90% Muslim and therefore, you will be able to find traces of Islam not only in the culture, but also in the language. For example, in Senegal almost all people greet each other in Arabic. Everywhere you go, people will say Salaam-Aleikum, which translates to peace be upon you. In response, people say Aleikum-Salaam or something similar to Maaleikum-Salaam or Wa-Aleikum-Salaam. This part of the greeting is actually really simple, and not necessarily a deep dive into the Wolof language. However, I still think it is important to know since we use other expressions and words that derive from the Arabic language.

Nuyoo – Greetings

Now let’s get into nuyoo. As you may have guessed, the Wolof word for greeting or greetings is Nuyoo. When you want to know how someone is doing you ask Na nga def? This literally translates into the English equivalent of How are you? It is normal in Senegalese culture to ask about family, health and activities. For example Ana waa kër ga? means How are the members of your household. Naka sa yaram? translates to How is your body, but pertains to health. Something I learned early on when I was in Senegal, was the way we approach strangers. Every male stranger in Senegal you call Serigne or the shorter version S’igne bi. A woman you can call Soxna si. Both are a polite way to address people you do not know personally.

If you want to learn more about Nuyoo – Greetings, 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 Nuyoo – Greetings 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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