Wolof is a language of Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of Sub-Saharan Africa, Wolof is not a tonal language. Wolof originated as the language of the Lebou people. It is the most widely spoken language in Senegal, spoken natively by the Wolof people (40% of the population) but also by most other Senegalese as a second language. Wolof dialects vary geographically and between rural and urban areas. "Dakar-Wolof", for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, and Arabic. "Wolof" is the standard spelling, and may refer to the Wolof people or to Wolof culture. Older French publications may use the spelling Ouolof, and some English publications Wollof, predominantly referring to (anglophone) Gambian Wolof. Prior to the 20th century, the forms Volof and Olof were used.
Contributions by Leipoldt, Kwamikagami, and Lucidity.