Wolof

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Wolof

(wōl`əf), black African ethnic group numbering over 3 million, along the Atlantic coast of W Africa; most live in Senegal, but there is a significant minority in Gambia. Traditional Wolof society was distinguished for its rigid social classes. There were nobles and farmers among the free born; below them were lower classes of artisans and minstrels; slaves were the lowest class. Chiefs were elected by the nobles. By the 14th cent. the Wolof had established a separate state. They were converted to Islam in the 18th cent.

Wolof

 

a people living mainly in the central maritime area of the Republic of Senegal from the left bank of the Senegal River to the city of Dakar. Some Wolofs live in the neighboring countries of Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, and Guinea. The total population is approximately 1.6 million (1967). They speak the Wolof language. Most of the Wolofs profess Islam, and a smaller number are Christians (Catholics). The material and spiritual culture of the Wolofs is similar to that of the Serer and other nearby peoples in Senegal. The chief occupation is tropical farming (peanuts, millet, and rice), and there is fishing along the coastal areas.


Wolof

 

one of the languages of the population in the Republic of Senegal and some regions of Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, and Guinea. There are approximately 1.6 million speakers of Wolof (1967). Wolof, which belongs to the Atlantic group of languages (Western Bantoid), is split up into the dialect areas of St.Louis, Kay or, Walo, Saloum, and Lebu. Long and short vowels are semantically distinguished, and there are many diphthongs. Vowels have high and low tones. Wolof has a complex system of noun classes. The initial consonants of other words in a sentence are in agreement with the initial vowel of the noun (class marker). Most roots are monosyllabic, and there is a rich system of affixes. There are more than 300 verbal suffixes for the expression of time, nature of action, and so forth. The first primer in the Wolof language was created in 1960.