Pronunciation

Click Wolof examples for audio pronunciation. An audio player will open in a new browser tab. (Pro tip: on a Mac tap trackpad with three fingers to preview link without leaving page).

VOWELS

VOWELENGLISH EQUIVALENTWOLOF EXAMPLES
a absorb naansant last name
aafar sorelaaj question
eget jotdem to go
eewhere anaseet examine
ésay waxbés day
éesane reglewéer lean against
ëbird picckër house
ipit leeñfit courage
iimeet dajesiis not wanting to share
omoment saafomp wipe clean
óno déedéetjóg get up
oodoor buntloos neck
óophone telefonfóon to smell
ucook toggubbi to open
uumoon weerjuuyoo to miss each other

CONSONANTS

CONSONANTENGLISH EQUIVALENTWOLOF EXAMPLES
bboy bóoyban clay
cchat weranteceeb rice
ddog xajdara nothing
ffire safarafas tie
ggood baaxagsi arrive
jjob liggéeyjox give
kkeep denckaani hot pepper
lland suuflakk burn
mmark màndarganaam answer to name
nnice rafetàdduna life here below
ñgenius xelgaañ hurt
ppaint pentuurpuso sewing needle
rrat janaxraxas cleanse
ssoup suppkawas sock
ttake fab tubaab westerner
wwait négkéwél red-fronted gazelle
x(see note) *xaalis money
yyes waawyaa to be wide

* There is no English equivalent for this sound, it is a slightly guttural sound that is between x and k. It may also be pronounced merely as h, especially among non-natives.

PRENASALIZED CONSONANTS

CONSONANTWOLOF EXAMPLES
mbmbaa otherwise
mpdàmp massage
ndndey expression of pity
ngngan to be the guest of a host
njnjaay sale

VELAR NASAL

ŋmasoŋ builder

Attribution for audio files: Mamadou Sy [CC BY 2.0 fr], via Wikimedia Commons

Basic layout for pronunciation guide adopted from the Peace Corps Wolof English dictionary.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.