Mouth Anatomy



Some of these expressions are not common in Wolof and may not always be readily understood by some Wolof speakers. Many of these (I believe?) were developed by medical professionals as a way to better communicate more precisely with non-Francophone Wolof speakers.

(mouse over for the french)

gémmiñ gi – mouth
làmmiñ wi – tongue
laa gi – tongue tied
làmmiñ wu ndaw wi – uvula (thing that hangs in back of throat)
denqaleñ bi – palate
tuñ mi – lips
tuñu kaw wi – top lip
tuñu suuf wi – bottom lip
ciiñ mi – gums
bëñ bi – tooth
bëñu reewu bi – incisor teeth
bëñu sell wi – canine teeth
bëñu déegéej bi – molar teeth
bëñu màgg dey – wisdom teeth
sofe – to have mouth ulcers
wuum/uum – toothache
cafko gi – sense of taste


  1. thank you. i believe bi and gi are both ways to say ‘the’ and are to an extent interchangeable but i will double check on that and correct it if necasary. also, the diouf dictionary, is that the french one titled ‘j’apprends le wolof’ by jean leopold diouf?


  2. okay, I looked it up and this is what I got. The source that I used uses both gémmiñ gi and gémmiñ bi for “the mouth”. I could not find any reference to anatomy in my copy of J’apprends le Wolof (which I don’t think is your dictionary because it is more of a lesson book…I am interested in this dictionary, do you know where it may be available?) just uses géémen without the ‘the’ article (as well as every other source I’ve checked) I will have to check with my Wolof speaking friends whether gi, bi or perhaps another form would be more appropriate.


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