Wolof/Mandinka dictionary

October issue

GREETINGS

 

Greeting in Gambia is a bit different that what you are used to. Since Gambia is 95% Muslim, the most common greeting salutation is “As-Salaam-Alaikum”, which is in fact in Arabic language. The proper response is “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam”. A lot of people ask if it is offensive to respond in Arabic for a non-Muslim. On the contrary. Learning and responding in Arabic, you will show respect to the Gambians.

What about greetings in Wolof and Mandinka?

 

Even in English, you will often hear people saying: “Hello, how are you?”. In Gambia, people on the streets always greet each other, not simply by saying “Hello”, but also with some small talk questions, such as “How are you?”, “How is your mother?”, “How is your family?”, “How are your children?” The usual response on that is “I am here/She is there/They are there”.

In Wolof you usualy greet with “Naka nga deff?”, which means “How are you”. In Mandinka you greet with “Ibe Nyaadi?” which basically means the same. The response, you can find below.

ENGLISH

WOLOF

MANDINKA

How are you?

Naka nga deff

Ibe Nyaadi? / Kori tana te?

How is it?

Nakam

Kairabe

I am fine

Mang fi rek

Tenante

Good morning

Naka subasi

Esama

Good afternoon

Naka bechek bi

Etinyang

Good evening

Naka ngon si

Ewulara

Good night

Fanan Jamma

Suto Yediya

Goodbye

Ba beneen / Mangi dem

Foo Watido

See you later

Dinala Gis-Waat Duyaga

N be nyoo jee la

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