# Numbers

Basic Numbers

Examples of using numbers:

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:

Key to above table:

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.

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’.

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).

## 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.

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.