Published December 6, 2018
This video was recorded by Teddy Nee in the Zhongli District, Taiwan and features Wolof speaker Aminah Abba Manneh. Wolof was spoken by 3,930,000 people in Senegal as of 2006, has speakers in the Gambia and Mauritania, and exists as a second language for many Senegalese. As a Senegambian language, Wolof belongs to the Atlantic-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Wolof is distinct from most other languages of the Niger-Congo family in that it is not a tonal language. The Wolof people have endured influences and incursions by foreign powers since their political existence as the Wolof Empire in medieval times, such as the 18th century Islamic jihads of West Africa, subsequent colonial expansionism of the French, and the eventual adoption of Islam resulting in the majority of modern Wolof people identifying as Sufi Muslims. This varied history is born out in some dialects of Wolof, such as Dakar-Wolof, which combines features of Wolof, French, and Arabic. Some English words are believed to derive from Wolof: the word "banana" comes to English first via Spanish or Portuguese who in turn adopted it from Wolof. The English "yum" or reduplication "yum yum" descends from Wolof verb nyam, "to taste".