Rare Languages We Provide Part 1

  • 04/03/2019
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  • Admin

Here at Vandu, we pride ourselves on being able to provide interpreting for the rarer languages needed by our customers. In this blog series, we’ll have a look at these wonderful languages and the unique people that speak them.



Wolof is an officially recognised language in Senegal and is also popular in The Gambia and Mauritania; it is from the Niger-Congo family of languages, and unlike the most of that language family, Wolof is not tonal. It is the official language of the Wolof people, and most Senegalese people have it as a second language.

Wolof is thought to be spoken by around 10 million people both as a native and a second language. There are three dialects: Senegalese Wolof and Gambian Wolof are slightly different but mutually understandable, the key difference is that Senegalese Wolof uses French for loanwords, whereas the Gambian dialect uses English. The language originated from the Lebu people, whom have thought to be in the area of Senegal since 1430, however the Lebu dialect of Wolof is no longer understandable to its modern-day counterparts.

The Wolof people are spread over most of West Africa, and modern-day Wolof are predominantly Sufi Muslim, but this was not always the case, as the Wolof had their own undocumented religion before they encountered French colonial forces, which seemed to trigger a mass conversion. The evidence of colonialism can still be seen by the fact that French is the official national language, though apparently Wolof is often spoken when various ethnic groups come together, making it something of a West African lingua franca.


Do you require interpreting for Wolof? It’s one of the many rare languages we provide for here at Vandu. Call 01273 473986 or email for more information!

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