|a||absorb||banta, tapa, santa|
|aa||far||laaj, naaj, caabi|
|e||get||dem, lem, gerte|
|i||in, pit||nit, simiis, timis|
|ii||meet||siis, lii, kii|
|x||(see note) *||xale, xaalis|
* There is no English equivalent for this sound, it is a slightly gutteral sound that is beween x and k. It may also be pronounced merely as h, especially among non-natives.
Adopted from: http://resourcepage.gambia.dk/ftp/wollof.pdf
For prenasalized consonants slightly pronounce the initial letter while putting greater emphasis on the second letter. For example: mBUH for the consonant mb (hint: form your lips like you are about to make the sound for m and then sound out b). The proper way is to do this through the nose but even if you have trouble nasalizing simply pronouncing it like the example above should suffice.
Finally, there’s one other nasalized consonant that is often found in some Wolof words. It’s called the velar nasal and it looks like ŋ. This letter is pronounced like the ng in the English word sing.
|For more please read: Let’s start with pronunciation…|
- Pronounce j as in ‘jazz’ but with the tongue closer to the top front teeth.
- Pronounce c as in ‘church‘ with the tongue closer to the top front teeth.
- Pronounce ñ as in ‘onion‘ with the tip of the tongue just behind the front teeth.
- Pronounce ŋ as in ‘single‘.
- Pronounce q like a ‘k‘ pulled back into the throat.
- Pronounce x like the Scottish ‘loch‘ with the tongue pulled back into the throat. It can also be pronounced like an ‘h‘ for those who have difficulty producing this sound.
- Pronounce a as in ‘butter‘.
- Pronounce à as in the British pronunciation of ‘life‘.
- Pronounce e as in ‘bedroom‘.
- Pronounce é as in ‘big‘.
- Pronounce ë as in ‘bird‘.
- Pronounce i as in ‘beetle‘.
- Pronounce o as in ‘hot‘.
- Pronounce ó as in the French pronunciation of ‘beau‘.
- Pronounce u as in ‘book‘ with the lips more rounded.
|This website uses several sources and a few of them use alternative orthographies and therefore have slightly different pronunciation rules. Following are some alternate pronunciation guides.|
Kantorek – Gambian Wolof/British English Pronunciation Guide
a as in agency aik
ar as in arrive arba
b as in begin binda
c as in corner contarn
ch as in chicken chigne
d as in day daica
dea as in dead dealu
e as in exercise ebb
f as in far fern
fea as in feather featt
g as in go ganarre
gue as in guess gueres
h as in head heasen
i as in it ittay
j as in jail jaigne
k as in kept kehpahre
l as in lay layta
m as in marry mahre
mb m as in moo mbouba
n n as in name narcha
nd as in and ndam
o as in over olu
p as in papaya parca
r as in ramp rahash
s as in sand safara
t as in terrain tarchu
u as in uncle kudu
w as in want wahh
y as in yarn yarcarre
Lonely Planet – Africa Phrasebook
(This guide is for the phonetic pronunciation keys alongside the Wolof in some posts. For example: maangi maan•gee)
Gamble – Gambian Wolof – English Dictionary
c church (ti in French script)
j joy (dy in French script)
x as in Spanish. Scottish loch.
Prenasalized: mb, nj, nc, ng, nk, nx
With the exception of f, s, and r, all consonants have long and short counterparts. Long consonants are indicated by double consonants.
e.g. dalla; matta. When pronounced slowly one hears: dal-la; mat-ta.
To an outsider a terminal b, and a terminal p are often very similar. The sound that is heard depends on the word following. Terminal c and j are also close.