dègg: to hear, to understand

I have explained the Senegalese proverb ndank ndank, mooy japp golo ci ñaay (slowly, slowly, one catches the monkey in the bush), but I haven’t told my family’s reaction to it.

When I mention the proverb one day in the kitchen, my sisters—Rama, Ndèye, and Nene—scream with delight, doubled over, dying with laughter. They cannot believe I know this proverb. Tubaab-bi, they cry, wiping tears from their eyes.

Later that night, one of Nene’s friends comes over. Dègg na Wolof? Does she understand Wolof? she asks of me.

Waaw, dègg na Wolof bu baax, Nene nods. Yes, she understands Wolof very well. In fact, she even said a proverb today that I didn’t know!


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