Generally speaking, in the resort areas, English isn't widely spoken but hotel staff, particularly at reception, and tour reps will usually speak some English. Of the local tribal languages, Wolof Malinké, Mandinka, and Fula are the most widely spoken. We’ve included a few phrases of Mandinka and Wolof below:
|English ||Mandika ||Wolof |
|Thank you ||Abaraka ||Jerejef |
|Hello ||Asalamu Alikum ||A Salamu Alikum |
|How are you? ||Heraba / I be di? ||Na Nga Def? |
|Good Morning ||Hera Laata ||Jamangen Fanaan |
|Good Evening ||I Wuraara ||Jamangen Enddu |
|Goodbye ||Fo Waati Koteng ||Ci Jamma |
|Today ||Bee ||Tey |
|Tonight ||Bii Suutoo ||Ci Gudi Gii |
|How Much ||Jelu? ||Nyaatala? |
|What is your name? ||I Ton Ndii? ||Na Ka Nga Tudda? |
Music is a massive presence in the whole of West Africa and particularly Senegal where it enjoys prominent local status but has also broken out and become popular across the world. Artists such as Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour are both hugely respected figures in their native country and recognised performers on the global stage. See our dedicated music page for more information.
Music in Senegal »
There is a thriving arts scene in Senegal and a huge amount of literature, but mostly it is produced in French or in local languages and rarely translated though it could be said that is slowly starting to change. If you are looking to read some Senegalese literature there are a few exceptions however, with Sembène Ousmane probably the most famous example. His book God’s Bits of Wood is a rightly acclaimed work that details the rise of political consciousness through the story of striking train workers on the Dakar-Bamako line. Ousmane is also a well-respected filmmaker and he adapted one of his own novels, Xala into a film. A more recent novel that is also worth hunting out is Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter.