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Wolof belongs to the Northern Branch of the West Atlantic Group of Niger Congo. (Webbook)
Ethnologue lists the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fula-Wolof, Wolof
According to information compiled from Ethnologue:
According to Wikipedia, an additional 40% of Senegal's population and a significant number in Gambia speak Wolof as a second/additional language.
Wolof has some dialectal variation, although no detailed survey has come to our attention. The major reported differences between the dialects of Senegal and The Gambia are in the areas of phonology and lexicon (Ka, personal communication, 1984). (Webbook)
According to Ethnologue:
Wolof is a major language of Senegal, the first language of more than one-third of the population. In addition, it serves as the most widely used non-European lingua franca. [There is/was apparently some effort to have Wolof used in education/literacy.] Wolof is used in radio and television broadcasts and by civil servants (Nussbaum 1970). In The Gambia, Wolof follows behind Malinke and Fulfulde in importance. Plans have been made to use Wolof as the medium of education at the primary level. (Webbook)
Wolof is a national language in Senegal.
Literacy rate in Senegal (according to Ethnologue):
A standard Wolof orthography has been in use since 1975. (Webbook) This is Latin-based. Decrees of the government of Senegal in 1971, 1972, 1975 and 1985 apparently set the alhabet and orthography of Wolof in Senegal.
Wolof is also written in Arabic characters or Ajami, and is known as Wolofal. This system existed before colonization and continues to be used today to some degree.
There is also an alphabet developed specifically for Wolof but this is apparently almost unused. [verify; some more details needed]
Page from Hartell (1993) with the Wolof orthography of Senegal, on the Rosetta Project site: http://www.rosettaproject.org/archive/wol/ortho-1 . This information is also presented in the Systèmes alphabétiques database at http://sumale.vjf.cnrs.fr/phono/AfficheTableauOrtho2N.php?choixLangue=wolof
Xumma (1999) has the following categorization of the alphabet with explanation in Wolof:
I - Abajadda bi
1 - Araf yi : wolofam na,
a) ñaar-fukki araf yu góor : b, c, d, f, g, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, ŋ, p, q, r, s, t, w, x, y.
b) ci 20 yooyu, 17 lanu ci man a seexal : bb, cc, dd, gg, jj, kk, ll, mm, nn, ññ, ŋŋ, pp, tt, ww, yy, x ak r
c) juróom-ñeenti araf yu nu likké : mb, mp, nc, nd, ng, nj, nk, nq, nt.
d) juróom-ñeenti araf yu jigéen yu gatt : a, à, e, é, ë, i, o, ó, u.
e) ci 9 araf yu jigéen yii, 7 a ci man a gudd : aa, ee, ée, ii, oo, óo, uu.
1 - Letters pronounced as in English: b, d, f, j, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, w, y
2 - Letters pronounced differently:
3 - Long vowels:
Long vowels are doubled. For exemple, 'a' is pronounced like the 'u' in cup, but 'aa' is pronounced like the 'a' in cast.
This rule applies to all vowels: 'e' , 'é', 'ë', 'i', 'o', 'ó' and u.
4 - Double consonants:
When consonants are doubled they are pronounced clearly doubled as it is done in Italian. For exemple 'Guddi' is pronounced 'gud'+'di'.
A sample text (Latin script) is shown on the "Language Museum" site: http://www.language-museum.com/w/wolof.php
Unicode fonts that include Latin Extended-A will have the necessary characters for the Latin transcription of Wolof. These are fairly common.
The CNRS/LLACAN "AFRO" Tavultesoft Keyman keyboard (for AZERTY) is intended to support this language: http://www.tavultesoft.com/keyman/downloads/keyboards/details.php?KeyboardID=377&FromKeyman=0
Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/wol.htm
L'Union Nationale des Commerçants et Industriels du Sénégal (UNACOIS) has content in Wolof, both in Wolofal and Latin transcriptions:
There is a project to translate Debian (Linux) Installer in Wolof: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/edgy/+source/debian-installer/+pots/debian-installer
Also GNOME in Wolof.
Microsoft and the Senegalese govt. concluded an agreement for localising its software in Wolof. [need updated information]
The African Language Materials Archive has some "Wolof Language Ebooks" at http://www.aiys.org/aodl/public/access/alma_ebooks/index.php
Online dictionaries and wordlists:
Other sites about Wolof language:
"Langues Sénégalaises et les NTIC" http://www.quicktopic.com/25/H/6KmBx6F8jES (forum / message board)
"Wolof Accent Codes" (TLT, Penn State Univ.) http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/international/bylanguage/wolof.html
An article by M. Diki-Kidiri, C. Mbodj, and A.B. Edema on computer terminology in Sängö, Wolof, and Lingala is available (en français) at http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta/1997/v42/n1/003313ar.pdf
Hartell, Rhonda L. ed. 1993. The Alphabets of Africa/Alphabets de Langues Africaines. Dakar: UNESCO & SIL.
Omniglot, "Wolof (Wollof)," http://www.omniglot.com/writing/wolof.htm
[Senegal, Government of], Décret n° 71-566 du 21 mai 1971 relatif à la transcription des langues nationales, modifié par décret n° 72-702 du 16 juin 1972.
[Senegal, Government of], Décrets n° 75-1026 du 10 octobre 1975 et n° 85-1232 du 20 novembre 1985 relatifs à l'orthographe et à la séparation des mots en wolof.
SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Wolof," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=wol
______, "Wolof, Gambian," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=wof
SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp
U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php
Wikipedia, "Wolof language," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolof_language
Xumma, Mansóor. 1999. Mbindinu Wolof. Dakar: PAPA (Plan d'action en matière d'éducation non-formelle du Sénégal).