Sunday, 19 January 2020

Senegal Place Names Explained

Having blogged samples of my books on English place names and also examined the etymologies of the nations of the world and their respective capitals I thought it time I cast my net a little wider. As English place names share some links to other tongues it would be interesting to see if any of the elements contributing to our place names could be found elsewhere. Continuing an alphabetical tour of the world and a look at the largest Senegalese cities.

Dakar is the capital and largest city of Senegal. The name hass been corrupted by the Europeans from the Wolof Ndakaarou which has been suggested to come from deuk raw meaning 'whoever settles here will be in peace' - nice sentiment despite the poor grammar.

Touba is from the Arabic Tuba meaning 'felicity' or 'bliss'. It is not only a reference to life in the hereafter but also the name of the tree of paradise.

Rufisque probably comes from the Portuguese Rio Fresco 'freshwater river'.

Ziguinchor is another misquoted Portuguese name, here Cheguei e choram meaning 'I came and they cry', a reference to the sight of the Europeans making the people think they were about to be taken as slaves.

Saint-Louis is named after 13th-century king of France, Louis IX who had been canonised, and also mentions the then French king of Louis XIV. The local name of Ndar comes from the Wolof tongue and means 'pasture'.

Richard Toll was named for the park of the Chateau de Baron Roger, this designed and laid out by the botanist Jean Michel Claude Richard, the French colony's chief gardener.

Linguere is the French version of the Wolof lingeer, meaning 'queen, princess' depending on the context.

Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.

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