The Info List - Serer Language

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Serer, often broken into differing regional dialects such as Serer-Sine and Serer saloum, is a language of the Senegambian branch of Niger–Congo spoken by 1.2 million people in Senegal
and 30,000 in the Gambia.[3] It is the principal language of the Serer people.


1 Classification 2 Phonology

2.1 Consonants

3 Serer greetings 4 See also 5 Notes 6 Bibliography

Classification[edit] Serer is one of the Senegambian languages, which are characterized by consonant mutation. The traditional classification of Atlantic is that of Sapir (1971), which found that Serer was closest to Fulani.[4] However, a widely cited misreading of the data by Wilson (1989) inadvertently exchanged Serer for Wolof. Dialects of Serer are Serer Sine (the prestige dialect), Segum, Fadyut-Palmerin, Dyegueme (Gyegem), and Niominka. They are mutually intelligible with the exception of the Sereer spoken in some of the areas surrounding the city of Thiès. Not all Serer people
Serer people
speak Serer. About 200,000 speak Cangin languages. Because the speakers are ethnically Serer, these are commonly thought to be Serer dialects. However, they are not closely related: Serer is significantly closer to Fulani (Also pronounced Pulbe, Pulaar, or Fulbe) than it is to Cangin.[citation needed] Phonology[edit] Consonants[edit]


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal


m m

n n

ñ ɲ

ŋ ŋ

Stop p p   b b mb ᵐb t t   d d nd ⁿd c c   j ɟ nj ᶮɟ k k   g g ng ᵑɡ q q     nq ᶰɢ ['] ʔ  

Implosive ƥ ɓ̥ ɓ ɓ ƭ ɗ̥ ɗ ɗ ƈ ʄ̊ ['j] ʄ

Fricative f f

s s

x x

h h

Approximant (Lateral)

y j

w w

l l


r ɾ

The voiceless implosives are highly unusual sounds. ƴ is pronounced /ˀj/. Serer greetings[edit] The following greetings and responses are spoken in most regions of Senegal
that have Serer speakers.

Nam fi'o? (pronounced nam feeyoh) = How are you doing? Mexe meen. (pronounced may hay men) = I am here. Ta mbind na? (pronounced, tah mbind nah) = How is the family (or more literally house)? Awa maa. (pronounced Awa maa) = They are good (or more literally They are there).

Spacial awareness is very important in Sereer. For example, this exchange only works if the household in question is not near. Certain grammatical changes would need to occur if this was said in a home the greeter has just entered.

Ta mbind ne? (pronounced tah mbind neh) = How is the family/house (which is here)? Awa meen (pronounced Awa men) = they are good (or more literally They are here).

In Senegalese culture, greetings are very important. Sometimes, people will spend several minutes greeting each other. See also[edit]

Serer portal Senegal
portal Gambia portal Mauritania portal

Cangin languages


^ Serer at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Serer". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International, Ethnologue.com. Figures for (2006) The Gambia
The Gambia
only. ^ Sapir, David, 1971. "West Atlantic: an inventory of the languages, their noun-class systems and consonant alternation". In Sebeok, ed, Current trends in linguistics, 7: linguistics in sub-Saharan Africa. Mouton, 45–112 ^ Mc Laughlin (2005:203)


Fall, Papa Oumar (2013). "The ethnolinguistic classification of Seereer in question". in Africa: Challenges of Multilingualism, ds Altmayer, Claus / Wolff, H. Ekkehard, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford: 47–60.  McLaughlin, Fiona (1994). " Consonant mutation in Seereer-Siin". Studies in African Languages. 23: 279–313.  McLaughlin, Fiona (2000). " Consonant mutation and reduplication in Seereer-Siin". Phonology. 17: 333–363. doi:10.1017/S0952675701003955.  Mc Laughlin, Fiona (2005), "Voiceless implosives in Seereer-Siin", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 35 (2): 201–214, doi:10.1017/S0025100305002215  Crétois, L. (1972). Dictionnaire sereer-français (différents dialects) (in French). Dakar: Centre de Linguistique Appliquée de Dakar.  Fal, A. (1980). Les nominaux en sereer-siin: Parler de Jaxaaw (in French). Dakar: Nouvelles Editions Africaines.  Senghor, L. S. (1994). "L'harmonie vocalique en sérère (dialecte du Dyéguème)". Journal de la Société des Linguistes (in French). 14: 17–23. 

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Serer topics


Serer peoples

Laalaa Ndut Niominka Noon Palor Saafi Seex


Key topics

Ciiɗ Classical Ndut teachings Creation myth Criticism Festivals Jaaniiw Junjung Lamane Sadax Saltigue Symbolism Women

Supreme deities

Kokh Kox Koox Kopé Tiatie Cac Roog

Other deities

Kumba Njaay Takhar Tiurakh

Saints and ancestral spirits

Ginaaru Julang Joof Laga Ndong Lunguñ Joof Mindiss Moussa Sarr Njemeh (of Languème) Njoxona Ngojil Joof Ngolum Joof Pangool


Sacred sites

Fatick Sine River Sine-Saloum Somb Point of Sangomar Tattaguine Tukar Yaboyabo

 History Philosophy Science Law Geography Politics


Cekeen Tumulus Khasso Kingdom of Baol Kingdom of Biffeche kingdom of Saloum Kingdom of Sine Serer ancient history Serer history (medieval era to present) States headed by ancient Serer Lamanes The Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune The Battle of Logandème Timeline of Serer history Western Sahara


Science Law


medicinal plants

CEMETRA Loup (healer)

Saltigues and Loup practitioners

MALANGO Philosophy of beauty Jom principle Cosmology Customary law

Geography Politics

Farba Kaba Jaraff Serer countries

 Demographics Culture


By region

Gambia Mauritania Senegal


Cangin Lehar Ndut Noon Palor Safen Serer


Birth Chere Death Inheritance Marriage Mbalax Njuup Sabar Tama Tassu Njom


Kings and lamanes

Jegan Joof Maad a Sinig
Maad a Sinig
Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof Maad a Sinig
Maad a Sinig
Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof Maad a Sinig
Maad a Sinig
Kumba Ndoffene Fa Ndeb Joof Maad a Sinig
Maad a Sinig
Mahecor Joof Maad a Sinig
Maad a Sinig
Maysa Wali Jaxateh Manneh Maad a Sinig
Maad a Sinig
Ama Joof Gnilane Faye Joof Maad Ndaah Njemeh Joof Maad Semou Njekeh Joof

Queens and queen mothers

Fatim Beye Lingeer
Ndoye Demba Serer maternal clans

Dynasties and royal houses

Faye family Guelowar Joof family Joos Maternal Dynasty The Royal House of Boureh Gnilane Joof The Royal House of Jogo Siga Joof The Royal House of Semou Njekeh Joof

Families and royal titles

Buumi Faye family Joof family Lamane Lingeer Loul Maad Saloum Maad a Sinig Njie family Sarr family Sene family Teigne Thilas

Serer people
Serer people

Serer religion category

Serer people
Serer people

Serer religion portal

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Languages of the Gambia

Official language


Indigenous languages

Balanta Cangin Dyula Fula Karon Kassonke Mandinka Mandjak Pulaar Serer Soninke Wolof

Sign languages

Gambian Sign Language

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Languages of Senegal

Official language


National languages

Balanta-Ganja Hassaniyya Jola-Fonyi Mandinka Mandjak Mankanya Noon Pulaar Serer Soninke Wolof

Indigenous languages

Bambara Bandial Bapeng Bassari Bayot Bedik Dyula Fula Gusilay Jola-Felupe Karon Kasa Kassonke Kobiana Laalaa Maninka Ndut Palor Safen Wamey Yalunka Zenaga

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Atlantic languages

Bak languages


Bayot Fonyi Banjaal Gusilay. Ejamat Kasa Kuwaataay Karon Mlomp


Balanta Bayot Bijago Mandjak Mankanya Papel



Basari Bedik Bapeng Biafada Fula Konyagi Lehar Ndut Noon Pajade Palor Safen Serer


Baga Pokur Banyum Kasanga Kobiana Mbulungish Nalu Wolof

Mel languages

Baga Bom Bullom So Krim Kissi Landoma Sherbro Sua Temne


Limba Gola

Authority control

LCCN: sh85120213 SUDOC: 027553248 BNF: