Basic Numbers

elevenfukk ak benn
twelvefukk ak juróom-ñeent
twenty-oneñaar fukk ak benn
one hundredtéeméer
one hundred onetéeméer ak benn
two hundredñaari téeméer
one thousandjunni
one thousand five hundred ninety-ninejunni ak juróomi téeméer ak juróom-ñeent-fukk ak juróom-ñeent

Examples of using numbers:

Benn waxtu moo jot.It’s one o’clock.
Ñaari waxtu moo jot.It’s two o’clock.
Benn waxtu teggalna fukki miniit ak juróom. Quarter past one.
Benn waxtu ak xaaj.Half past one.
Juróom ñetti waxtu des na fukki miniit ak juróom.Quarter to eight.
Tey la fukkeeli fan ak juróom ci weeru desaambar.It’s December 15th.
Mangi fii ba fukki fan.I’m here for 10 days.
Mangi fii ba ñetti ay bés.I’m here for three weeks.
Mangi fii ba ñaari weer.I’m here for two months.
Benn, benn yoon tike ba Tambakunda.One, one-way ticket to Tambacounda.
Fan la volu Air France juróom ñaar di eggsi?Where does flight Air France 07 arrive?
Begg naa luwe kat-kat (quatrequatre).I’d like to hire a 4WD (4×4).
Ñaata lay jar suma ko bëggee luwe ñetti fan?How much is it for three days?
Dinaa fii nekk ñaari fan.I’d like to stay for two nights.
Wooteek ñetti miniit, ñaata lay jar?How much does a three-minute call cost?
Waxtu bu nekk, ñaari téeméer (dërëm) la.1000 CFA francs per hour.
Téeméer (dërëm) la mën.I’ll give you 500 CFA francs.

Wolof numbers are basically counted in groups of five. The numbers one through five (and ten) are the main numbers in the Wolof numeric system, all other numbers up to one-hundred are based on these numbers.

Wolof numbers are combined together to form new numbers. For example the number twelve in Wolof is fukk ak ñaar (10 & 2), which when added together equals twelve. With the exception of six through nine and all numbers divisible by ten, except for ten, up to one-hundred, such as twenty, thirty, forty, etc. all Wolof number combinations include the Wolof word ak which means ‘and’ or ‘with’.

When a larger number precedes a smaller number the numbers are added. For example the number sixteen in Wolof is fukk ak juróom benn (10 & 6 or 10 & 5 &1) which when added together equals sixteen. All numbers up to nineteen are in this order.

When a smaller number precedes a larger number then the numbers are multiplied. For example the number forty in Wolof is ñeent fukk (4 & 10) which when multiplied equals forty. All numbers above twenty are in this order.

Wolof number combinations above twenty (except for 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 & 90) call for both addition and multiplication. For example the number thirty-two in Wolof is ñett fukk ak ñaar (3 & 10 & 2), if written as a mathematical equation it would be 3 x 10 + 2 = 32.

Calculating Wolof numbers:

Number OrderProcess (replace >< & ak with the appropriate operation)
## > #add (## + #)
< ##multiply (# x ##)
< ## ak #multiplyadd (# x ## + #)
## > # < ## ak ## > #addmultiplyaddadd (## + # x ## + ## + #)

Key to above table:

SymbolExplanationWhat to Do
##larger number in relation to following numberadd to following #
#smaller number in relation to following numbermultiply by following ##
>indicates a larger number precedes a smaller numberreplace with +
<indicates a smaller number precedes a larger numberreplace with x
akWolof word used for additionreplace with +

Converting English numbers to Wolof:

(This only works for numbers 21 & higher and not for numbers evenly divided by 10.)

1. Take the number you want to convert to Wolof & divide by 10. (For example: sixty eight68 ÷ 10 = 6.8)

2. Take the whole number before the decimal, convert to Wolof & put ‘fukk ak’ after it. (Continuing example: 6 = juróom bennjuróom benn fukk ak)

3. Multiply the number that you dropped the decimal from by 10 & subtract from original number you wish to convert. (Continuing example: 6 x 10 = 6068 – 60 = 8)

4. Convert this remaining number to Wolof and place after the ‘fukk ak’ for the complete Wolof number. (Continuing example: 8 = juróom ñettjuróom benn fukk ak juróom ñett)

Following the above steps and example we were able to convert sixty-eight (English) into juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñett (Wolof).

To convert a Wolof number to English follow these steps:

As in the example above we will start with juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñett and work backwards to end up with 68. (Obviously we already know the answer, but this exercise is for when you don’t know what the English translation of a Wolof number is and you want to figure it out.)

juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñett (# > # < # ak # > # i.e. juróom is a greater number than benn which is less than fukk and juróom again is greater than ñett — or — 5 > 1 < 10 & 5 > 3)

Take the separate digits that we broke juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñett into (511053) and add and multiply them together according to the order described in the first table above — which would be 5 + 1 x 10 + 5 + 3 — so 5 + 1 = 6 x 10 = 60 + 5 = 65 + 3 = 68.

And there you have it, juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñett is 68.

0tus toos / dara (zero)
1benn ben (one)
2ñaar nyaar (two)
3ñett nyet (three)
4ñeent nyeynt (four)
5juróom joorohm (five)
6juróom benn (six)
7juróom ñaar (seven)
8juróom ñett (eight)
9juróom ñeent (nine)
10fukk fuk (ten)
11fukk ak benn fuk ak ben (eleven)
12fukk ak ñaar (twelve)
13fukk ak ñett (thirteen)
14fukk ak ñeent (fourteen)
15fukk ak juróom (fifteen)
16fukk ak juróom benn (sixteen)
17fukk ak juróom ñaar (seventeen)
18fukk ak juróom ñett (eighteen)
19fukk ak juróom ñeent (nineteen)
20ñaar fukk (twenty)
21ñaar fukk ak benn (twenty one)
22ñaar fukk ak ñaar (twenty two)
23ñaar fukk ak ñett (twenty three)
24ñaar fukk ak ñeent (twenty four)
25ñaar fukk ak juróom (twenty five)
26ñaar fukk ak juróom benn (twenty six)
27ñaar fukk ak juróom ñaar (twenty seven)
28ñaar fukk ak juróom ñett (twenty eight)
29ñaar fukk ak juróom ñeent (twenty nine)
30ñett fukk fanweer fanweyr (thirty)
40ñeent fukk (forty)
50juróom fukk (fifty)
60juróom benn fukk (sixty)
61juróom benn fukk ak benn (sixty one)
62juróom benn fukk ak ñaar (sixty two)
63juróom benn fukk ak ñett (sixty three)
64juróom benn fukk ak ñeent (sixty four)
65juróom benn fukk ak juróom (sixty five)
66juróom benn fukk ak juróom benn (sixty six)
67juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñaar (sixty seven)
68juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñett (sixty eight)
69juróom benn fukk ak juróom ñeent (sixty nine)
70juróom ñaar fukk (seventy)
80juróom ñett fukk (eighty)
90juróom ñeent fukk (ninety)
100teemeer teymeyr (one hundred)
1000junni junnee (one thousand)
1,000,000fukki teemeeri junni fukkee teymeyrreejunnee (one million)

You may have noticed a few of the numbers had alternate names that don’t follow the regular convention of the other Wolof numbers. These are sort of like slang, in which, they are actual words which have their own meaning but can also be applied to numbers. For example dara means ‘nothing’ which is used in place of tus for ‘zero’, fanweer is a compound word made up of fan (day) & weer (moon / month) which is used in place of ñettfukk for ’30’. 

juróom benn (6)5 + 1
fukk ak ñaar (12)10 + 2
fukk ak juróom ñett (18)15 + 3 or 10 + 5 + 3
ñaar fukk (20)2 x 10
ñaar fukk ak ñeent (24)20 + 4 or 2 x 10 + 4
ñaar fukk ak juróom benn(26)20 + 6 or 2 x 10 + 5 + 1
juróom benn fukk (60)(5 +1) x 10
juróom benn fukk ak juróom(65)(5 +1) x 10 + 5
juróom benn fukk ak juróomñett (68)(5 + 1) x 10 + 5 + 3 or 6 x 10 + 8, etc.

Ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) are formed by adding the ending –éél (pronounced ayl) to the cardinal number. The one exception to this system is “first”, which is bu njëk (or the adapted French word ‘premier’: përëmye).

1stbu njëk përëmye

Money in Senegal

In Senegal they use the franc CFA. But the traditional unit of currency is the dërëm which is counted by fives. Usually when dealing with money most people will deal strictly with the French terms for simplicity. If Wolof is used the dërëm is implied if not specifically said. So for example junni is 5000, not 1000, even though dërëm has been left off. The generic Wolof term for money is xaalis.

Converting dërëm to CFA – When talking money, the number ñaari teemeeri (200) is the same as ñaari teemeeri dërëm (1000 CFA). To get the CFA equivalent of dërëm, take the number of dërëm and multiply it by 5, for example, teemeeri dërëm – 100 dërëm or 100 x 5, is 500 CFA.

500 CFAteemeeri
1000 CFAñaari teemeeri
1500 CFAñetti teemeeri
3000 CFAjuróom benni teemeeri
5000 CFAjunni

Sometimes CFA is written as FCFA or just F.

A comma is often used to indicate decimals. For example – 1,is the same as 1.5. Also, a period is often used to indicate thousands. For example – 10.000 is the same as 10,000.

For more on Wolof numbers click here.

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