Filed Under (General) by Rob on 30-10-2009

…is often different from the French spoken in France.

I still remember the first time I came to francophone W Africa back in 1993; even though I was a graduate in French, it took me a good few weeks to ‘tune in’ and understand everything which was said. This is partly due to the accent/pronunciation of words, but also a different vocabulary.

So, for francophones everywhere, here are some of the main differences I’ve noticed:

W African French

My mate Dave used the term ‘hier nuit’ in France once, causing much hilarity! (Even if you were out until 1:00am, it’s still ‘hier soir’). In Africa, mind you, the ‘soir’ does start a lot earlier – whereas you might start saying ‘Bonsoir’ at around 6:00pm in France, folk here will use it any time from midday onwards. Once a child greeted me with ‘bonsoir’ at 10:30am (when I’d scarcely got out of bed!)

There you go! Any other differences you know, please leave a comment!

1 Comment posted on "West African French"
Hilary on November 1st, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

Here in W Africa “to add/fill up” can also be “augmenter” as in “Je t’augmente?”

Also, in France you would “acheter qch” here you would “payer qch”.

And of course there is “bon travail” which in France is a comment on the finished work, and here is a greeting to the person while they are working!