Dictionary: Tenses

My Magazine 2022/01
1 min
How to express tense? In Wolof, as well as in Mandinka, sometimes there will be no strict rule on how to form the sentences in the correct tense. Mostly, auxiliary verbs are used, which signify the time in which action happens.

Wolof

 

Simple Present Tense

English Wolof
He/She is beautiful

I am beautiful

You(s) are beautiful

You (p) are beautiful

We are beautiful

Moom dafa rafet

Man dama rafet

Yaw da nga rafet

Yen da ngeen rafet

Nun dan rafet

 

Present Continuous Tense

Helping verb (ngée) + main verb in the infinitive.

English Wolof
I am dancing

You (s) are eating

He/She is dancing

We are coming

You (p) are eating

They are coming

Man ngée fecha

Yaa ngée leeka

Mu ngée fecha

Nyu ngée nyow

Yee na ngée leeka

Nu ngée nyow

 

Past tense

Auxiliary verb + 'doon' + main verb in infinitive.

English Wolof
I was dancing

You (s) were dancing

He/She was dancing

They were dancing

You (P) were dancing

We were dancing

Dama doon fecca

Dang doon fecca

Dafa doon fecca

Danj doon fecca

Da ngeen doon fecca

Danj doon fecca

 

Past tense

The following endings are put after the main verb in the infinitive (regular verbs).

English Wolof
I have danced

You (s) have danced

He/She has danced

They have danced

You (p) have danced

We have danced

Fecca naa

Fecca nga

Fecca na

Fecca nan

Fecca ngeen

Fecca

 

Future Simple Tense

Auxilary verb in future + main verb in infinitive.

English Wolof
I will dance

You (s) will dance

He/She will dance

They will dance

You (p) will dance

We will dance

Dinaa fecca

Di nga fecca

Dina fecca

Dinany fecca

Di ngeen fecca

Di nany fecca

 

Mandinka

 

Simple Present Tense

»ley« is a helping verb that signifies present tense.

English Mandinka
She/He is beautiful

I am beautiful

You(s) are beautiful

You (p) are beautiful

We are beautiful

A té nyi nya ta ley

Inte nyi nya ta ley

E’nyi nya ta ley

A tol nyi nya ta ley

Ntol nyi nya ta ley

 

Continous Present tense

Helping verb (beh) + main verb in infinitive + la (s)/neh (pl).

English Mandinka
I am dancing

You (s) are eating

He is dancing

We are coming

You (p) are  eating

They are coming

Inte beh dongo la

E’te beh doumorool  la

Etol beh dongo la

Ntol beh nakan neh

A’l tol beh doumorool la

Et tol beh nakan neh

 

Past tense

Auxiliary verb (beh) + 'nung' + main verb in infinitive (-o + la).

English Mandinka
I was dancing

You (s) were dancing

He/She was dancing

They were dancing

You (P) were dancing

We were dancing

Inte beh nung dongo la

E’b beh dongo la nung

Etol beh nung dongo la

Et tol beh dongo la  nung

A tol beh dongo la  nung

ntol beh nung  dongo la

 

Simple Past tense

Verb in the infinitive + »neh«

English Mandinka
I danced

You (s) danced

He/She danced

They danced

You (p) danced

We danced

N’gan dong neh

yé dong neh

Eyé  dong neh

Et tol yé dong neh

Al yeh dong néh

Ntol ngan dong neh

 

Future tense

Auxilary verb in future + main verb in infintive.

English Mandinka
I will dance

You (s) will dance

He will dance

They will dance

You (p) will dance

We will dance

Mbeng dong na ley

E’beh dong na ley

A’beh dong na ley

Et tol beh dongo na ley

A’l beh dong na ley

Ont tol beh dong na la ley

 

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