Dallèen ag jàmm! [Welcome with peace]

The Wolof language is the lingua franca of Senegal, and widely spoken in the Gambia, and to a lesser extent in the Greater Senegambian region, including Guinea Conakry and Bissau. Wolof is also spoken by smaller communities in Mauritania and Senegalese diasporas residing in cities like Paris, Lyon, Berlin, Atlanta, Columbus and Harlem. Many Ivy League and R-1 universities in the US and Europe provide courses in Wolof at various levels, from beginner to advanced.


Why study Wolof?

Our small-size classes offer an inclusive student-centered approach that focuses on 21st-century language skills. You can learn Wolof, which is one of the few languages designated as a critical need foreign language by the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense. In so doing, you can increase your chances of working with diplomatic missions, international organizations, and NGOs in Senegal and neighboring countries where Wolof is spoken. You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in modern Senegambian culture and join a vibrant global community of Wolof speakers. Learning Wolof opens doors to countless and priceless socioeconomic, cultural, and religious experiences. While fulfilling LAS language requirements, Wolof classes can prepare you for solo or collaborative research in West Africa. For those interested in studying abroad, you can explore famous arts (Dak Art Biennale), music (Jazz in the former capital of Senegal, Saint-Louis), film, and cultural festivals while in Senegambia or West Africa. Senegal, the land of Teranga (Hospitality), is a welcoming country located on the westernmost point of Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It's known for its marvelous beaches, ‘pink’ lake, monuments and museums, rich colonial history and exquisite cuisine.

Scholarship and Fellowship Possibilities

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) at UIUC, Boren, or Fulbright fellow to pursue volunteer/internship opportunities or conduct research in Senegal and West Africa.

For more information, please contact:


Dr. Vieux Toure
4080 LCLB

Dr. Maimouna Barro Associate Director, Center for African Studies
201 International Studies Building

Less Commonly Taught Languages

Linguistics Department               

Center for African Studies