Arabic-based scripts in Senegalese Muslim communities: The case of Wolofal


ACLS Fellowship Program


Modern and Classical Languages

Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


Senegal is often referred to as a French-speaking country, but over 50 % of the population are illiterate in French. Moreover, Arabic-based scripts such as Wolofal are used in written communications. Senegalese Muslims use these scripts to write letters and run their informal businesses. However, to this day, these important writing systems as well as the extensive body of literature written in them are unknown (or at least not studied) in academic circles in Senegal or abroad. This project focuses on these scripts by initiating a systematic study of Wolofal in order to open avenues for future research on the extensive body of historical, religious, and cultural literature still buried in such Arabic based scripts.