Etymology of the name Senegal
The etymology of the name Senegal has been discussed for several decades, as testifies some a recent work to late professor Saliou Kandji, Senegal is not Sunugal, or Of the etymology of the toponym Senegal .
The myth of the dugoutAmong various interpretations considered, oldest, that proposed by the Abbot David Boilat in Esquisses sénégalaises (1850) supports that the word would proceed of the deformation of the expression wolof “ suñu gaal ”, i.e. “our dugout”. Attaching, it is also the version most often relayed by the media, even the policies. “Our dugout”, constitutes an excellent slogan naturally, since it means “all in the same boat” and reinforces the national solidarity.
In fact the name Sunugal was in particular given to a short-measuring Paulin Soumanou Vieyra, with an album of Didier Awadi devoted to clandestine immigration, with a Web site and several companies and restaurants. Sunugaal is also the title of the review of connection and reflection of the armed forces sénégalaises.
Other explanationsThis very popular etymology is however disputed since the Années 1960, in particular by Raymond Mauny and Theodore Monod in the French edition (IFAN, 1960) of Chroniques of Guinea of Gums Eanès Dezurrara, then by Paul Marty in Islam in Senegal (1971), and other etymologies were advanced:
- “Canaga” or “Zanaga”;
- “Singhane” (term “hassanya” by which the Moors indicate the province of the Cayor);
- “Sanhadja” or “Senaga”, “Sanaga”, “Azanaga” (see Zenaga, a Berber tribe of the the Sahara);
- and finally “Siind” (for “Aayeen”, badly written and badly read).
In spite of the contributions of several specialists, it seems that the debate remains open.
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