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Grammar

Grammar

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Wolof Grammar Manual
 
Wolof Grammar Notes: Stative versus Active Verbs.................................................1Wolof Grammar Notes: General Comments on the Wolof Verb........................................1Wolof Grammar Notes: Imperative..............................................................2Wolof Grammar Notes: Present Continuous/Presentative (Mu ngi)......................................4Wolof Grammar Notes: Completion Marker (Na)...................................................6Wolof Grammar Notes: Complement & Object Predicator (La).........................................7Wolof Grammar Notes: Explicative (Dafa)........................................................9Wolof Grammar Notes: Future Tense (Dina)......................................................11Wolof Grammar Notes: Subject Emphasis Pronouns (Moo)..........................................12Wolof Grammar Notes: Minimum Verb Construction Pronouns (Mu)..................................14Wolof Grammar Notes: Obligation / Optative (Na nga)..............................................17Wolof Grammar Notes: Negation........................................................19Wolof Grammar Notes: Past Time Marker........................................................23Wolof Grammar Notes: Di....................................................................26Wolof Grammar Notes: Object Pronouns........................................................28Wolof Grammar Notes: Independent Subject Pronouns.............................................31Wolof Grammar Notes: Auxiliary verbs and double verb construction..................................32Wolof Grammar Notes: Possession.............................................................34Wolof Grammar Notes: Comparison............................................................36Wolof Grammar Notes: Questions..............................................................38Wolof Grammar Notes: Articles...............................................................40Wolof Grammar Notes: Relative Pronouns.......................................................44Wolof Grammar Notes: Temporal & Hypothetical Clauses...........................................46Wolof Grammar Notes: Expression of Time & Duration.............................................50Wolof Grammar Notes: Conjunctions...........................................................53Wolof Grammar Notes: Exclamatives...........................................................55Wolof Grammar Notes: Adverbs...............................................................57
 
1
Wolof Grammar Notes: Stative versus Active Verbs
Wolof does not have adjectives and few adverbs of manner. Instead verbs and verb phrases are used to modify nounsand verbs. Thus there are two kinds of verbs in Wolof.Active verbs are those which indicate an action or process.e.g.lekkto eatStative verbs are usually verbs which indicate being in a particular state or static condition.e.g.baaxto be goodA small number of verbs can take either sense depending on the context. In the case where a verb carries both an activeand a passive sense, the “di” indicates the active incomplete sense.e.g toogto sit down (active), to be seated (stative)Mu ngi toog.He is sitting down.Mu ngiy toog.He is in the process of sitting down.Maa ngi toog.I am seated.Maa ngiy toog.I am in the process of sitting down.The difference in meaning can sometimes be subtle. For instance: “xalaat” means to think about, ponder, an active process of an active verb. Whereas “foogmeans to think, or believe, a state of being of a stative verb.One of the most concrete differences between these two kinds of Wolof verbs has to do with the use of the presentative-angi. Active verbs can be modified by -angi, while stative verbs ordinarily cannot. This provides the quickest way totell where a Wolof verb is active or stative: Simply ask a native speaker whether one can say “Mu ngi x” where “x” isthe verb in question.
References:
Peace Corps Course: pp 39, 49J'Apprends le Wolof:pp 213, 2150PhD Thesis of Eric Church:pp 26 Notes on Wolof Grammar (Stewart)pp 4-6Grammaire Wolof (Dial)pp 33 Revised 6 August, 1999
Wolof Grammar Notes: General Comments on the Wolof Verb
1.Often it is only the context (verbal pronouns or articles) which permits one to distinguish between a verb and anoun.e.g. the word
liggéey
could be a verb or a noun.Damay liggéey.I am working.Liggéey bi metti na.The work is hard.2.The Wolof verbal system is more concerned with aspect than time. Even if one can distinguish the past, presentor future, the verbal structures work around completed or uncompleted actions. It reveals whether an action ismomentaneous or habitual; at its start or at its end; single or multiple; recent or far away; accomplished or unaccomplished.3.There are three voices in Wolof: active; semi-active; passive.a.The passive and semi-active are formed by adding the suffix -u.e.g.Aali tëj na bunt ba.Ali closed the door.Bunt bi tëju na.The door is closed.Aali gaañu na.Ali is injured. b.The passive can also be formed by using the 3
rd
person plural form with an active form. In this case itindicates the equivalent of the English structure “one ...”.e.g.Ñoo ngi may gisOne has seen me. OR I have been seen.c.The passive can also be indicated by the structure -ees/-eef.See Samb p 109-113 for more details.
 
2
Wolof Grammar Notes: Imperative
Formation:
Singular: Verb + -al (if verb ends in consonant e.g. wax
al 
) [+/- object pronouns]Verb + -l (if verb ends in i, u or a long vowel e.g. noppi
)Verb + -vowel + -l (if verb ends in any other vowel e.g. boole
el 
)Verb + -wal (if verb is monosyllabic ending in a vowel e.g. ji
wa
)PluralVerb + -leen (e.g. wax
leen
, noppi
leen
, boole
leen
) [+/- object pronouns]
Notes:
4.When the imperative singular is followed by an object pronoun, the mark -al/-l is dropped. The plural form doesnot change when followed by a pronoun.e.g.Nuyul!Greet!c.f.Nuyu ma! and Nuyuleen ma!Greet me!5.The suffix -al also can have the meaning “to do for someone else”.e.g.Nuyul ma ko!Greet him for me!c.fNuyu ma!Greet me!6.When two commands are given one after another, only the first one takes the imperative suffix.e.g.Demal toog!Go and sit down!Toogal te noppi!Sit down and be quiet!7.In a series of commands numbering greater than two verbs, the third verb will often be in the form of the minimumverb construction.e.g.Ñëwal, toog te nga wax ak man!Come, sit and talk with me!8.
Exceptions
to rule:Kaay!Come here!Am!Here, have this!Indi!Bring!9.The imperative also exists in a continuous form with “di” giving the sense of a commandment which one is to docontinuously or habitually. In this case an object pronoun precedes the main verb, and the “l” of deel is dropped.deel/deeleen/dee [+/- object pronoun] + verbAffirmative NegativeDeel jàngBul di jàngDeeleen jàngBuleen di jànge.g.Deeleen ñaan ci xeeti ñaan yépp ci kàttanu Xel mu Sell mi (Eph 6:18)Dee ko jox buyHave the habit of giving him monkey bread.The optative form (na nga dem) is also a form of imperative, as is the negative interrogative (doo dem?). All theseimperative forms only have one negative form: bul.

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