clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Should You Meet Gorgui: A Phonetic Guide To Basic 1970s Wollof

This Ball Goes Here Only.
This Ball Goes Here Only.

So I've been holding back this little nugget because I hadn't really known how it fit in, but with the lack of interesting Final Four week story lines, we need something to talk about this week. My parents were in the Peace Corps in the 1970s in the Gambia, which, if you google it, you will discover is a small nation basically surrounded by Senegal. You may have heard that Gorgui Dieng is from Senegal and speaks a number of languages. Have you not heard that? You should read more.

Anyway, courtesy of my Dad, should you meet Gorgui, here are some things you can say. Disclaimer: these are phonetic and are from the 1970s so they may be completely wrong, inappropriate or otherwise not understood by Gorgui. If at any point the conversation breaks down, just say that Russ said you should hug now, hug him, and run like hell in the other direction.

Chron Reader: Gorgui, Sala Mah-lay Coom (literally: Is Allah with you? But I believe it is a general greeting. I do not know Gorgui's religion and am not assuming anything)

Gorgui: Mah-lay coom salam ("Yes, Allah is with me") - Note: Gorgui may not respond in this way. If he does not, see the Russ Hug Exit Strategy above, or just wing it with some phrases below.

Gorgui May Possibly Say: Day-ga-na wollof? ("Do you speak Wollof?")

Chron Reader: You have three options here:

1) Wow ("Yes") - this is a technically true response but misleading, and likely will result in having to counter his follow up statement or question with the Russ Hug Exit Strategy.

2) No, day-ga-na wollof ("No, I do not speak wollof") - also technically true but misleading and somewhat confusing as you are currently speaking Wollof.

3) Day ga-na wollof tu-ti ("two tee") wreck ("I speak Wollof very little") - probably your best bet since it is true and a helpful response to his question.

Now, you, the Chron Reader, will take over the conversation thusly:

Chron Reader: Na-conga-deaf ("Where are you") (This is not a literal question as you will likely know where he is, unless you are calling him on his cell phone in which case, no, do not call him on his cell phone)

Gorgui: Mag Knee Fee Wreck ("I am here only") (Also not a literal response, but also quite literal if you think about it.)

Chron Reader: Jama Gham (Dad was unsure exactly what this meant, only that it was supposed to come next. It is something like "What's up?")

Gorgui: Jama Wreck (Also unsure what this means, only that it comes after jama gham, and means something like, "Peace is all I have" which is very cool but also highly unlikely what it really means.)

Chron Reader: Ona Wah Har-Ett ("Where is your wife?") (We are running out of things to say) Hopefully this is Gorgui's response:


Gorgui's Most Likely Verbal Response: Omolo har-et ("I have no wife") (If he says something else, you are on your own.)

Chron Reader: Knee-ya-ta-la (one word) ("How much does this cost" / "what is the price") (We have officially run out of things to say.) You should point to his shirt or his phone or something of value. Do not then pay him for it because that would be weird and also possibly an NCAA violation. Growing up, this was the one Wollof phrase my dad used with me and my brother in normal conversation, usually at stores. It was a helpful way to ask without the person at the store knowing, until, of course, we said the price/answer in english. At that point, the jig was up.

Gorgui: I have no idea what he will say in response, so, again, you are on your own.

When you are ready to go, you say:

Chron Reader: Jerry Jeff ("Thank you") and Mon gee dem ("I am leaving.")

Better yet, if you ever meet Gorgui, just say "Jerry Jeff" over and over again and hope that it really means "Thank You."

And then give him a hug and run like hell.