Friday, January 20, 2012

Xaar al ba mu am rakk

Our Wolof classes have been super cool so far!  The other day, we learned a few different ways to say “no.”  The example that our professor gave us in class was how to decline if somebody asked you if they could have your cell phone or some other object that you might not really want to part with.  Instead of just saying no (déedeet) which might be seen as a pretty rude response, you could instead say “xaar al ba mu am rakk” which means “wait until it has a little brother.”  Then you have essentially said that you would consider giving them your cell phone once you have purchased a new one, and the one they asked for would be something that you no longer need.  I just thought it was a pretty neat way to phrase things.

Wolof is still pretty tricky for me but when you use it to greet people on the street and whatnot they always seem really appreciative that you are at least trying!  I have also been really relieved that I have been able to get along fine with my French since my conversations in Wolof can only last for a few sentences.  Caitlin Callahan—you were right!  It’s easy to get confident with a string of greetings until somebody asks you a new one or phrases something slightly differently than the sentence structure that you are used to. 

Despite the Wolof challenges, I am getting more and more comfortable with my French each day!  I can already understand the news stations far better than I could when I arrived (assuming it’s not in Wolof).  The accents here are also much nicer than European accents.  You also get quite a bit of practice in French when random boys approach you on the street and want to talk about the United States!

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