Languages of Senegal: Pulaar


Pulaar is a dialect of Fula, a major African language both in its geographical distribution and number of speakers. Fula is spoken in Western, Eastern and Central Africa by over 25 million speakers. In addition to Africa, major concentrations of Fula speakers can be found in Europe and America. At the African Language Conference held in 1979 in Michigan, Fula was not only ranked high following the priority criteria utilized (i.e. -number of speakers; -political, cultural and social importance; -importance for US national interests) but it was also included in Group A Languages (Highest Priority). – Dr. Mamadou Niang

The Pulaar dialect is not uniform and some sources cite three different subvarieties; Fuutankoore, Jeerinkoore & Southern Pulaar.

  • fanaa – midday
  • liggude – hang up; hang. Liggu wutte maa. Hang your gown.
  • naafki – armpit. Naafki ma ina sicci. Your underarm smells badly. naafde pl.
  • sayeede – be rabid. rawaandu sayaandu a rabid dog
  • talde – cut a big piece of raw meat (v.)/big piece of raw meat (n.)
Definitions from Hippocrene Standard Pulaar-English Dictionary by Dr. Mamadou Niang. Available at A very nicely laid out dictionary however as far as I can tell the specific subvariety of Pulaar is not specified.


  1. Hi!!

    Just a quick note to let you know of a new language learning tool.

    It’s a… game! Yes, Wekanun is a game that allows you to practise and improve 24 different languages.

    The best part is that includes Fula among the languages you can play with!!

    It also runs competitions every now and then. I’ve found it helps me a lot with vocabulary (English, Spanish, French and Fula) and it has a competitive side to it that is different to any other language game I know of.

    Here is the link:

    and they are also in Facebook:

    I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. Please, let me know what you think of the Fula translations provided.

    Many thanks.




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