Wolof Geetings

Basic greetings in Wolof.  Knowing a little bit can help you a lot!

Nuyòo – Greetings

Pronounce the words like you would in English.  The only exception -x is pronounced sort of like an h but like you are also clearing your throat.

Any Time:

Q:  Asalla maalekum – Arabic, I greet you all. (literally - Peace be with you.)

R:  Malekum salaam – The response - I greet you as well. (literally – peace also be with you.)

Q:  Nanga def? -How are you?

     Naka nga def? - How are you?

     Nangeen def? - How are you (pl.)? 

R:  Mangi fi. - I am fine.

     Ñungi fi. - We are fine.

     Mangi santialla. – I thank god!

     Mangi fi rekk. - I am fine. (literally – I am here only.)

     Jàmm rekk alxamdulilaay. - Peace only, thanks be to God.

Q:  Sa yaram jàmm? – Are you in good health? (literally - Is your body at peace?)

     Jàmm nga-am? – Are you well? (literally - Do you have peace?)

R:  Jàmm rekk.– Peace only.

     One of many other responses.

Q:  Naka waa kër ga/gë? – How is your family?

Ana waa kër ga/gë?- Where is your family?

Naka waa Amerik? – How is your family in America.(You can insert any city, state, country in place of Amerik.)

Naka/ana sa jabar? – How is your wife?

Naka/ana sa jëkkër? – How is your husband?

Naka/ana xale yi/doom yi? – How are the kids?

R:  Ñunga fa / Ñungë fë. – They are fine.

NOTE: Use -a when you are away from the home and -ë when you are at their home.  -a means that you further away in proximity and -ë means that you are close in proximity.

Q:  Yangi noos: - Are you having fun?

R:  Waaw, mangi noos bu baax. - Yes I am having a lot of fun.

     Waaw, noos bu yam. – Only a little.

     Déédéét, noos-uma. – No, I am not having fun.

     Déédéét, am-uma xaalis. – No I don’t have any money.

Q:  Naka liggéey bi? – How is your work going?

     Naka afeer yi? – How are your affairs going?

R:  Mungi dox. – It/they are going. (literally – they are walking.)

     Mangi gor gor lu. – I am working hard.

     Mangi ci kawam. – I am working on it.

     Mungi dox ndank. – It’s going slow.

Q:  Fooy dem? – Where are you going?

     Fan nga dem? – Where are you going?

R:  Mangi ñibbi. – I am going home.

     Mangi xëy. – I am going to work (in the morning).

     Mangi gont. – I am going to work (in the afternoon/night.)

Q:  Naka yite yi? – How is it going?

     Naka mbir yi? – How is it going?

     Naka soxla yi? – How is it going?

R:  Alxumdulilaay. – Good (literally – thanks be to god.)

     Mbir yi/afeer yi dox-ul. – It isn’t going well (literally - It is not walking).

Q:  Naka coona ye? – How are life’s difficulties?

     Naka coona aduna? – How are the difficulties of the world?

R:  Xa naa di sonna rekk.– It’s not going well (literally – I am tired).

     Alxumdulilaay. – Good

Q:  Naka tangoor bi? – How is the heat?

     Naka sedd bi? – How is the cold?

R:  Waaw, tanga na / sedda na. - Yes it’s hot/cold.

Mingi sedd rekk.– It is cool.

     Tanga na trop/lool! Sedda na trop/lool! – It is very hot/cold.

     Déédéét, tangul/seddul. – No, it’s not hot/cold.

     Baax na. – It’s nice.

     Tey, dafa feex. – It’s nice today.

Q:  Lu bees? – What’s up?

R:  Dara bees-ul. – Nothing is new.

Morning Greetings (bude suba):

Q:  Jàmm nga fanaane? – Did you spend the night in peace?

     Nanga fanaane? – How did you sleep?

     Noo fananne? – How did you sleep?

     Nangeen fananne? – How did you (pl.) sleep?

R:  Jàmm rekk. – Peace only.

     Mangi santialla. – I thank god!


Q:  Naka suba ci? – How is the morning?

R:  Jàmm rekk. – Peace only.

     Suba sa ngi. – The morning was O.K.


Q:  Nelaw nga bu baax? – Did you sleep well?

Nelaw ngeen bu baax? – Did you (pl.) sleep well?

R:  Waaw, nelaw naa bu baax. – Yes I slept well.

     Déédéét, nelaw-uma bu baax. -No, I didn’t sleep well.

     Waaw, nelaw nanu bu baax. – Yes we slept well.

     Déédéét, nelaw-una bu baax.No we didn’t sleep well.


Q:  Lutax?- Why?

R:  Ndaxte néeg bi dafa bari yoo. – Because there are a lot of mosquitoes in my room.

     Ndaxte genaar yi dañu doon sap guddi gi lep. – Because the chickens crowed all night.

     Ndaxte xar yi dañu doon joy guddi gi lep. – Because the sheep cried all night.

     Ndaxte dafa tangoon! – Because it was too hot.


Afternoon Greetings (bude ngoon):


Q:  Nanga yendoo? – How is your afternoon?

     Nangeen yendoo? – How did your (pl.) afternoon?

Jàmm nga yendoo? – Did you spend the day in peace?

R:  Jàmm rekk. – Peace only.


Q:  Naka ngoon gi? – How is your afternoon?

R:  Jàmm rekk. – Peace only.

     Mungi dox.– It’s going. (literally – It’s walking)


Night Greetings (bude guddi):


     Q: Naka guddi gi? – How is your night? 

R:  Jàmm rekk. – Peace only.

     Mungi dox.– It’s going. (literally – It’s walking)


Other responses to general questions:


R:  Bari k’allah – Good (thanks be to god).

     Dafa nice. – It’s nice.

     Dafa cool. – It’s cool.

     Nungi sant yalla sunu borom.– Thanks be to god our creater.

Notice the importance of the use of the word jàmm.Jàmm rekk can be used for most responses during greetings.It is also used often in leave taking, as in the expression jàmm ak jàmm.

Leave taking (dem OR ñibbi):


Jàmm ak jàmm – see you (literally peace and peace)

Fenaanal ak jàmm – Spend this night in peace.

Yendul ak jàmm – Spend the day in peace.

Ñu yendoo ak jàmm. – Spend the day in peace.

Ba bennen yoon. – See you later.

Ba ci kanam. – See you later.

Ba suba. – See you tomorrow.

Léégi léégi. – See you soon.

     Mangi dem. – I am going (leaving)


Q:  Noo tudd? – What is your first name?

R:  Rokhaya laa tudd.– Rokhaya is my name.


Q:  Naka nga sant? – What’s your last name?

Nanga sant? – What’s your last name?

Noo sant? – What’s your last name?

Sant wa ? – What’s your last name?

R:  Diop laa sant. – Diop is my last name.


NOTE:  Using the family name is the formal way of greeting people you don’t know, as well as older people. This is especially true in rural areas.  When you meet someone for the first time.  Ask them what their last name is.  Most names have little sayings that are associated with a story that go with their last name.  You can use during greetings.  Here are a couple of examples.


  • Diop – Diop-a-djouba 
  • Njaay – jata 
  • Diouf – ñiokhabaye 
  • Fall – ndigua

Other Questions:


           Q:  Mobokki fan? – Where are you from?

           R:  Mobokki (Americk or other place).


           Q:  Foo joge? – Where are you from?

           R:  (Americk or other place) la joge.


     Q: Looy liggéey? – What is your work?

     R: (Name of workplace) lay liggéey.


     Q: Dégg nga Wolof? – Do you speak Wolof?

     R: Dégg na tutti.  - I speak a little.

         Dégg na dara. - I speak none.

         Dégg na bu bax.  - I speak well.


afeer – affairs

ana - where

am – to have

baax – to be good

bari – to be many

bennen – another

bude – greetings

ci guddi – in the night

ci ngoon – in the afternoon

ci suba – in the morning

coono – stress, responsibility

def – to do

dem – to go

déédéét – no

doom – sons and daughters

fan - where

fanaan – to spend the night

fééx – to be cool/nice

fi - here

ganaar - chicken

gont – to go to work in the afternoon

gor gor – to try hard

jabar – wife

jàmm – peace

jëkkër – husband

joy – to cry

léégi léégi – immediately

ligéey - work

lool – too/very

lutax - why

mbir - situation

ndank - slow

ndaxte – because

nelaw – to sleep

néeg – room

ñebbi – to go home

rekk – only

sap – to crow

sedd – cold

suba – morning

tang – hot

waa kër - family

waaw - yes

xale - child

xar - sheep

xarit – friend

xëy – to go to work in the morning

yaram – body

yendoo – afternoon

yoo – mosquito

French/Français                                                                               Updated: September 17th, 2009