A language of Senegal

Alternate Names
Saafi, Safen, Safi, Safi-Safi, Sereer Saafen, Serere-Saafen, Serer-Safen

200,000 (2012), increasing.


Thies region: between Nguekikh, Popenguine, and Thies; Dakar region: airport area; 60 villages: 43 are over 80% Saafi, 8 are under 50%.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing). Recognized language (2005, Decree No. 989 of 21 October).


Boukhou, Diobass, Hasab, Sebikotane, Sindia. Dialects named after villages and a zone (Diobass). Lexical similarity: 74% with Noon [snf], Lehar [cae], and Palor [fap]; 68% with Ndut [ndv]; 22% with Serer-Sine [srr].


SVO; nontonal.

Language Use

Vigorous. Most domains. Children initially monolingual. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], French [fra], Palor [fap], Pulaar [fuc], Serer-Sine [srr], Spanish [spa], Standard Arabic [arb], Wolof [wol]. Used as L2 by Ndut [ndv], Palor [fap].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 40% French, 10% Arabic. Desire for Saafi-Saafi literature. 85 literacy classes of various types. Radio programs.

Arabic script [Arab]. Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Ethnonym: Saafi; Saafen is the area name, Families in Dakar may lose L1; the next generation will no longer consider itself Saafi. Often identified by themselves and the majority population as Serer, which is a widely used name for a cultural or linguistic group which includes the Serer-Sine language and the 5 Cangin languages. Muslim, Christian, traditional religion.