A language of Senegal

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

200,000 (2012), increasing.


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


SVO; nontonal.

Language Use

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

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 40% French [fra], 10% Arabic [arb]. Desire for Saafi-Saafi literature. 85 literacy classes of various types. Literature. Radio.


Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab]. Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

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.

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