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Elements of Luganda Orthography

In 1947, an All-Baganda Conference was convened which recommended a  standard Orthography of Luganda. The recommended standard was accepted by the Buganda Government as well as the Protectorate Government and it has governed the written form of Luganda since then. In order to develop such standards special attention must have been paid to the phonetic features in Luganda taking into account the sound units; their tones, syllabic intonations (the stress on various syllables), the recognizable sound pitches and any linguistic features that had to be addressed before launching Luganda into an acceptable written form. In this discussion we shall try to examine a few of the fundamental features of the word sounds in Luganda and how they are interpreted and reflected in a written word form.


Luganda, also known as Ganda, is a Bantu language and is spoken mainly in the Buganda region of Uganda by a population of over three million people. With 100,000 second language speakers, it is the most widely spoken second language in Uganda next to English. The language is used in some primary schools in Buganda as pupils begin to learn English, the official language of Uganda Luganda, the native language of the people of Buganda, developed over the centuries as a spoken language. Its written form is only as recent as the arrival of the Arab and European influence among the Buganda. It is not easy, and of course it is not within the scope of this discussion, to trace its origins, but it is proper to assume that in a dynamic society with such well structured cultural, social, and political institutions like those of the Buganda, the language must have experienced a reciprocal influence during most of the changes the society went through over the course of its history. It was not however, until after the second half of the nineteenth century, that Luganda was first written down and appeared in print in its own right. The following discussion is neither meant to be a grammar nor a dictionary of the language. The focus is solely on how the language is written (i.e. transcribing sound into alphabetic characters). The first writing clearly was a pilot venture, an improvisation by the early missionaries, who tried to put the language in a written form so that their work among the Buganda would be made easier. The creation of written Luganda words mainly depended on the interpretation and impression that the ears of these foreign listeners, had of the Luganda word sounds. It was not surprising that Speke spelt Kyabaggu (Chabagu). Looking at the earlier prints by various writers such as Speke, Stanley and others would confirm the suspicion that each wrote according to the interpretation his ears perceived. It was therefore necessary to undertake a serious study of the sounds in the Luganda language in order to be able to formulate a proper phonetic system that would help in transferring the sound of words into proper alphabetical symbols that would be meaningful in written form.
   The first writers however, were faced with a problem since many of them were not linguists and the Luganda language was starkly different, without any linguistic similarity with their mother tongues. It became an academic adventure for them, trying to correlate the linguistic features of their native languages with the sounds they were simply detecting in the Luganda words. These efforts were necessary because the task of imparting the Christian norms and social standards of their home base to the Buganda demanded a system of communication in a medium that was natural and easily understandable in Buganda. A system of writing in vernacular was therefore developed and for the first time the Luganda word sounds were represented in alphabetical symbols. It's as simple as that.

 

The Vowels

The Luganda Language is basically transcribed into five vowel sounds which are represented in the five alphabetical symbols

a, (as in attempt)
e, (as in employ)
i, (as in import)
o, (as in only)
u, (as in blue)

These are the only sound symbols that create meaning in any written Luganda word. Without them, the consonants do not convey any meaningful communication. The vowels however, on their own can represent communicative sound symbols. For example;

'aa.' (Symbol of showing or demonstrating)
'ee?' or 'uu?' (form of answering)
'ii!' or 'oo!' (exclamation remarks).

The vowels are called "enjatuza" (letters that make sound in a word) or "empeerezi" (letters that serve the consonants with sounds to create words). Luganda vowel sounds can be either short or long. In general, the short sound is represented by a single vowel while the long sound is represented by double vowels. Note that the double vowel denotes a long sound, as opposed to a repetitive sound. Let us cite a few examples;

'a' in bana vs baana (four vs children). The 'a' is short in bana but long in baana.
'e' in sera (dance the dance of the wizards) vs seera (overcharge). The 'e' is short in sera but long in seera.
'i' in sira (mingle, 'herbal') vs siira (walk slowly). The 'i' is short in sira but long in siira.
'o' in kola (work or do) vs koola (weed, 'verb'). The 'o' is short in kola but long in koola.
'u' in tuma (send) vs tuuma (name, 'verb'). The 'u' is short in tuma but long in tuuma.

It is important to note that changing the length of the vowel sound in general also changes the meaning of the word as the above examples clearly illustrate. Since Luganda follows a 'cv' (consonant/vowel) pattern in its word order, vowels are critical ingredients in every written word.

Exception: A long vowel is not written double when it occurs at the beginning or end of a word. For example, we write abo (those - the a is long). However, an exception to the exception is yee (yes). Note that words consisting of vowels only are not affected by this.

 

The Consonants

In order to make meaningful communication of sound in a word, the vowel symbols must combine with the consonants to make the word sounds. The Luganda language has the following alphabetical symbols falling in the consonant category. We shall try to examine their nature and level of articulation, and the position the speech muscles assume during the articulation of various sounds.

w, y, c, h,
b, p, f, v, m,
d, t, l, r, n, ny (the 'ny' combination is a special case considered to be a single consonant)
z, s, j, g, k, ng (the 'ng' combination can sometimes represent a single consonant)

The 'ng' sound when it is a single consonant is sometimes represented by a special character that does not appear in the Latin alphabet. Sometimes this difficulty is handled by writing the consonant as ng' (with the apostrophe) to distinguish it from the different sound resulting from the combination of the two consonants n and g but this practice is not universal. Thus the ng combination in printed form can sound two different ways. For example ngalabi (a type of drum) and ngaali (the crested crane) form different sounds. Thus, ngaali may sometimes be written ng'aali to denote the corresponding special ng sound. The actual appearance of this character when used is shown in the following image.
 The character looks the same when written in upper case or lower case.

Verbalizing the Consonants

We can simplify the classification of the Luganda consonant sounds in mainly four categories; the stop sounds, fricative sounds, nasal sounds and the lateral or trill and flap sounds.

i. Stop Sounds (the sound is short and abrupt)

'bb' occurs bilabial (voiced)
'p' is also bilabial (whispered)
'm' bilabial (We shall meet this again in the nasal section)
'd' occurs at alveolar (voiced)
't' is also alveolar (whispered)
'g' occurs at velar (voiced)
'k' is also velar (whispered)

ii. Fricative sounds (some air emitted out of the mouth at utterance)

'h' is glottal (voiced)
'b' is bilabial as we have seen above
'v' occurs at labio-dental (voiced)
'f' is also labio-dental (whispered)
'z' is alveolar (voiced)
's' is also alveolar (whispered)
'c', 'ky' (kyapa), and 'ki' (kibira) is palatal (whispered)
'j' and 'gy' are also palatal (voiced)

iii. Nasal sound (the nose is involved in creating the sound)

'm' bilabial (voiced)
'n' alveolar (voiced)
'ny' palatal (voiced)
'mb' and 'mp' bilabial
'n + any consonant' will produce a nasal sound of its related symbol.
'ng'' as in ng'aali. (word processor inability)

iv. Lateral/Trill/Flap Sound (the tongue seems to lateral)

'l' and 'r' both occur at the alveolar

The Semi-Vowels

It must be noted though that 'w' and 'y' appear in several Luganda words as semi-vowels - that is they help create the sound; mwa (shave) and lya (eat). When they stand on their own like in okuyiga (to learn) or okuweta (to bend), they are regular consonants. It should also be noted that in Luganda, two dissimilar vowels never follow one another in a word. If necessary, the consonants 'y' or 'w' are inserted between the vowels to maintain the sound while not violating the rule. For example, write 'wakayima' instead of 'wakaima', 'okuyimba' instead of 'okuimba' or 'yawula' instead of 'yaula'.

Combination of Dissimilar Consonants

When 'm' or 'n' (empuunyi) prefixes another consonant forming a verb, the verb is personalized (in first person 'I'). The following are examples:

'mpa' (give me)
'mbala' (I am counting)
'ndaba' (I am seeing)
'ntemye' (I have cut)

However, there are several nouns, adjective, adverbs and prepositions; i.e. names of people, places etc. that begin with the 'm' and 'n' as a nasal prefix:

Mpigi
Mbatudde
Ntabadde
Ngo
ntumbwe

The sound represented by 'ch' in English is written 'c' in Luganda. The letter combination 'ch' never occurs in Luganda. Some example words follow:

caayi (tea)
cacanca (celebrate),
cwacwalika (throw yourself into a rage).
cuuma (smell bad)

The 'c' sound is very close to the 'ky' sound but the two should not be confused. Some examples of when 'ky' is used are given below:

kyange (it is mine),
kyapa (print).
kyenvu (yellow)
kyokya (it is hot, or it burns)
kyuma (metal)

The 'ki' sound can also be very similar to the 'c' and 'ky' sounds. Here are some examples of its usage:

Kibuuka (name of a person)
Kiggwe (name of a person)
Kibuli (name of a place)
kibira (forest)
kirye, (eat it)

However, the 'ki' in the second syllable aki(ki)rira or a(ki!)kirira (he/she represents) does not carry the same sound as the first 'ki' syllable.

The phonemes 'c', 'ky', and 'ki' are very similar. It is not easy to describe the sound in a written form so as to avoid the confusion. When in doubt, consult a dictionary.

The 'h' is a very rarely used in Luganda, the only use that easily comes to mind is the laughing sound 'ha ha ha'. Note that the letter combination 'ch' which occurs frequently in other Bantu languages is never used in Luganda.

Combination of Dissimilar Consonants

When 'm' or 'n' (empuunyi) prefixes another consonant forming a verb, the verb is personalized (in first person 'I'). The following are examples:

'mpa' (give me)
'mbala' (I am counting)
'ndaba' (I am seeing)
'ntemye' (I have cut)

However, there are several nouns, adjective, adverbs and prepositions; i.e. names of people, places etc. that begin with the 'm' and 'n' as a nasal prefix:

Mpigi
Mbatudde
Ntabadde
Ngo
ntumbwe

The sound represented by 'ch' in English is written 'c' in Luganda. The letter combination 'ch' never occurs in Luganda. Some example words follow:

caayi (tea)
cacanca (celebrate),
cwacwalika (throw yourself into a rage).
cuuma (smell bad)

The 'c' sound is very close to the 'ky' sound but the two should not be confused. Some examples of when 'ky' is used are given below:

kyange (it is mine),
kyapa (print).
kyenvu (yellow)
kyokya (it is hot, or it burns)
kyuma (metal)

Some Special Cases

Now that we have seen the functions of the vowels and consonants in Luganda we need to go a little further in examining the sounds and their proper orthography or how they are reflected in the written form.

We have already discussed the long vowels in the word sounds and have looked at some relevant examples. It should be noted that long sounds in words can also be caused in different ways other than use of the long vowels. For example, if a nasal consonant is followed immediately by a non-nasal consonant, the combination forms a naturally long syllable in Luganda. There is no need for a double vowel before such a syllable. Consider the word owange (by the way). The long 'a' is caused by the last nasal 'ng'. This takes away the need for a double 'aa' before the 'ng' syllable. Take a closer look at these words as well:

ebbanga (space) ebba-nga
akambe (knife) aka-mbe,
ennanga (musical organ) enna-nga
kimpi (it is short) ki-mpi
kitanda (bed) kita-nda
tunda (sell) tu-nda

Note that the rule applies only when you have a nasal 'ng' syllable as a suffix. It is different where the nasal syllable is a prefix;

ntaalu (very unruly) nta-alu
nteeba (I am scoring) nte-eba
mbuuza (I am asking) mbu-uza
mpuuna (I am humming) mpu-una

Similarly the semi-vowel 'y' or 'w' in a word also naturally creates a long sound when it immediately follows another consonant. There is no need to double the vowel after such a combination. The difference here is that the long sound in the word is caused by the preceding syllable as in:

Mwami (Mister) Mwa-mi (do not use 'aa')
kikyamu (it is wrong) kikya-mu.
bwomu (for one, alone) bwo-mu
lwana (fight) lwa-na
twete (let us free ourselves) twe-te
Ddwaliro (hospital) Ddwa-liro
Ddwaniro (battle ground) Ddwa-niro
tyagira (walk with difficulty) tya-gira
kyalo (village) kya-lo
myala (streams) mya-la

An exception to this rule is that if the consonant preceding the semi-vowel is 'gg', then both single and double vowels are possible. Thus we have:

eggwolezo (court house)
eggwoolezo (customs house)

Note that since the combination 'ny' as in fact considered to be a single consonant, it is not affected by the above rules. Thus in ekinyumu both the 'i' and 'u' are short sounds. We can also have:

akunonye (he/she has come for you)
akunoonya (he/she is looking for you)
nyiga (press)
nyiiga (become annoyed)

Written words are usually assumed to be the direct reflection in alphabetical symbols of the sounds uttered, and conventional rules are set to give language a standard by which people can communicate. However, it is not uncommon that a mere arrangement of letters in a single unit, will not necessarily give the exact word sound required. Some language have instituted symbols like accents, in order to create a distinction that may exist between words with similar spelling but with different intonation and meaning. This has not been done in Luganda and consequently some confusion may arise for such words. To bring the point closer to home, let us look at the following examples:

mpanga (rooster) falling on the last syllable
Mpanga (place or personal name) rising on the last syllable
Lwanga (personal name) rising on the last syllable
Lwanga ( place name) falling on the last syllable
muweesi (black smith) falls on 'wee' and rises on 'si' syllables
muweesi (carrier) rising on both 'wee' and 'si' syllables

When spoken, these words sound distinct from each other and their meanings would be self evident. In written form however, the distinction is not evident and instead it has to be deduced from the context in which the words are used.

The use of the letters 'r' and 'l' in Luganda follows a special rule. Phonetically, the two are indistinguishable in Luganda words. In fact, the 'r' sound as in raspberry does not exist in Luganda. But a rule in spelling Luganda words calls for the use of the letter 'r' immediately following the vowels 'e' and 'i', whereas the letter 'l' is to be used in all other instances calling for the corresponding sound. The following are examples of the usage accepted in the standard orthography.

kolera (work for) ko (le) (ra)
wulira (listen) wu (li) (ra)
lulira (long umbilical cord) (lu) (li) (ra)
laalira (get stuck) (laa) (li) (ra)
bulirira (get lost for a while)

Note especially that in the last example, the syllable 'li' as compared with the syllable 'ri' in the same word 'bulirira' does not produce any phonetic difference. But the rules of orthography call for the indicated spelling.

The 'ki' sound can also be very similar to the 'c' and 'ky' sounds. Here are some examples of its usage:

Kibuuka (name of a person)
Kiggwe (name of a person)
Kibuli (name of a place)
kibira (forest)
kirye, (eat it)

However, the 'ki' in the second syllable aki(ki)rira or a(ki!)kirira (he/she represents) does not carry the same sound as the first 'ki' syllable.

The phonemes 'c', 'ky', and 'ki' are very similar. It is not easy to describe the sound in a written form so as to avoid the confusion. When in doubt, consult a dictionary.

The 'h' is a very rarely used in Luganda, the only use that easily comes to mind is the laughing sound 'ha ha ha'. Note that the letter combination 'ch' which occurs frequently in other Bantu languages is never used in Luganda.

Word Separation

In general, all small words preceding nouns, adjectives or verbs are written separately. We have the following commonly occurring forms:

ne [conjunctive]
ne, nga [narratives]
e, ku, mu, wa [locatives]
ba, bya, ga, gwa, ka, kya, lwa, lya, wa [genitives]
ba, bwa, bwe, bye, gwe, gye, nti, oti [relative object]
ggwe, nze, ye, yo [emphatic pronouns]
kyo, yo, ye [personal possessives]
kye, ye [copulatives]

The following are example usage of these forms.

Kintu ne Nnambi [conjunctive form]
natuukayo ne ndaba [narrative form]
ntudde ku ntebe [locative form]
omwana wa Musoke [genitive form]
omukazi gwe nsanze [relative form]
ggwe onomugambako [emphatic pronoun]
embwa yo [personal possessive form]
omulenzi ye mulalu [copulative form]

Notice that all these little words end in vowels. When these words precede a word starting with a vowel, their ending vowel is elided in speech. The elided vowel is dropped from the spelling and instead denoted by an apostrophe. This creates a long sound that is not represented by a double vowel. The exception to this is if the word is an emphatic pronoun (see example above). Examples of usage are given below:

omwenge n'ennyama [conjunctive form]
n'otema omuti [narrative form]
ew'omuyizzi [locative form]

Finally , some little words are used as suffixes. In such usage, these words are always attached to the word affected. The suffixes are: ko, mu, nga, wo, yo.

Examples of usage are:

kumpiko (the place is a bit near)
nfumbeko (it is a little cooked)
nvuddewo (I have left this place)
natuukayo (I arrived there)

Luganda Small talk

Greetings & Civilities


Good morning ...................Wasuze otya nno? (literally 'how was your night?')
Good afternoon..................Osiibye otya nno? (literally, 'how was your day?')
Good evening.................... Osiibye otya nno?
[The one asked responds with "Bulungi" (i.e. 'fine') and repeats the inquiry]

Hi? (informal)..............................................Ki kati?
How are you?...............................................Oli otya?
I am OK.......................................................Gyendi
Have a nice day............................................Siiba bulungi
Good night....................................................Sula bulungi (on retiring)
Farewell (to one person)...............................Weeraba
Farewell (to several people).......................... Mweraba
Welcome (to one person)..............................Tukusanyukidde
Welcome (to several people).........................Tubasanyukidde
See you later.................................................Tunaalabagana
Please............................................................Mwattu
Please shut the door.......................................Mwattu ggalawo oluggi
Please clean my room.....................................Mwattu longoosa ekisenge kyange
Please come in................................................Mwattu yingira
Please sit down...............................................Mwattu tuula wansi
Thank you......................................................Weebale
You are welcome........................................... Kale
Excuse me (to get attention)............................Owange
Pardon? (What did you say?)..........................Wangi? / Ogambye ki?
I'm sorry (apology)..........................................Nsonyiwa

Meeting People

What is your name....................Erinnya lyo ggwe ani?
My name is...............................Erinnya lyange nze....

Forms of Address

It is considered polite to show respect to older people regardless of their station in life. Respectful forms of address should be used when addressing superiors.

Sir.............................................Ssebo
Madam......................................Nnyabo
Mr.............................................Mwami
Mrs............................................Mukyala

Age

How old are you?.................................Olina emyaka emeka?
I am...............................................Nina......

    20 years old.................................Emyaka abiri (20)
    35 years old.................................Emyaka asatu mu etaano (35)

Body Language

Shaking hands in Buganda/Uganda is a common practice for both men and women. It is appropriate to shake hands when being introduced to somebody, when visiting somebody in their house, or when you haven't seen somebody for a while. Hugging is also common for both men and women. It is appropriate to hug if you haven't seen a friend for a while. Kissing in public is frowned upon.

Nationalities

Where are you from?.................Ova ludda wa?
I am from...........................................Nva....

    Belgium......................................Bubirigi
    Canada.......................................Kanada
    Egypt..........................................Misiri
    England.......................................Bungereza
    Europe........................................Bulaaya
    Finland........................................Finilandi
    France.........................................Bufalansa
    Germany......................................Budaaki
    Greece.........................................Buyonaani
    India............................................Buyindi
    Italy.............................................Yitale
    Japan...........................................Japaani
    Kenya..........................................Kenya
    Sudan...........................................Sudaani
    Sweden........................................Swideni
    Tanzania.......................................Tanzaniya
    USA............................................Amerika

I am a/an..............................................Ndi


    American......................................Mumerika
    Arab.............................................Muwalabu
    Belgian..........................................Mubirigi
    British...........................................Mungereza
    Canadian......................................Mukanada
    Egyptian.......................................Mumisiri
    Finnish..........................................Mufiini
    French..........................................Mufalansa
    German........................................Mudaaki
    Greek...........................................Muyonaani
    Indian............................................Muyindi
    Italian............................................Muyitale
    Japanese.......................................Mujapaani
    Kenyan.........................................Munnakenya
    Sudanese.......................................Musudani
    Swedish........................................Muswidi
    Tanzanian......................................Mutanzaniya
    Foreigner......................................Mugwiira, Munnamawanga

Occupations

What is your occupation?................Okola mulimu ki?
I am a/an.........................................Ndi....

    Accountant..................................Mubazi wa bitabo
    Actor/Actress..............................Munnakatemba
    Architect......................................Muzimbi
    Businessperson............................Musuubuzi
    Carpenter....................................Mubazzi
    Clerk...........................................Kalaani
    Doctor.........................................Musawo
    Driver..........................................Dereeva
    Engineer......................................Yinginiya
    Farmer.........................................Mulimi
    Journalist......................................Munnamawulire
    Lawyer.........................................Looya/Puliida/Munnamateeka
    Mechanic......................................Makanika
    Musician.......................................Muyimbi
    Nurse...........................................Naasi / Mujjanjabi
    Civil Servant.................................Mukozi wa gavumenti
    Scientist........................................Munnasaayansi
    Secretary......................................Sekulitale/Muwandiisi
    Student.........................................Muyizi
    Teacher........................................Musomesa
    Volunteer .................................... Nnakyewa
    Waiter..........................................Musumaami
    Self Employed..............................Neekolera gyange
    Unemployed.................................Sirina mulimu

Feelings

I am...........................................

  •  

      Mother.............................................Maama wange
      Father..............................................Taata wange
      Wife.................................................Mukyala wange
      Husband...........................................Mwami wange
      Child.................................................Mwana wange
      Nephew/Niece..................................Mwana wange
      Grandchild.........................................Muzzukulu wange
      Son....................................................Mutabani wange
      Daughter............................................Muwala wange
      Older brother/sister............................Mukulu wange
      Younger brother/sister........................Muto wange
      Sibling (same sex)...............................Muganda wange
      Sibling (opposite sex)..........................Mwannyinaze
      Aunt (paternal)....................................Ssenga wange
      Aunt (maternal)...................................Maama wange omuto
      Uncle (paternal)..................................Taata wange omuto
      Uncle (maternal)..................................Kojja wange
      Cousin (paternal).................................Muganda wange / Mwannyinaze
      Cousin (maternal)................................Kizibwe wange (also maama omuto/kojja)
      Grandparent........................................Jjajja wange
      Great uncle/aunt..................................Jjajja wange
      Father-in-law......................................Ssezaala wange
      Mother-in-law.....................................Nnyazaala wange
      Friend.................................................Mukwano gwange

    •  
      •  

          Accountant..................................Mubazi wa bitabo
          Actor/Actress..............................Munnakatemba
          Architect......................................Muzimbi
          Businessperson............................Musuubuzi
          Carpenter....................................Mubazzi
          Clerk...........................................Kalaani
          Doctor.........................................Musawo
          Driver..........................................Dereeva
          Engineer......................................Yinginiya
          Farmer.........................................Mulimi
          Journalist......................................Munnamawulire
          Lawyer.........................................Looya/Puliida/Munnamateeka
          Mechanic......................................Makanika
          Musician.......................................Muyimbi
          Nurse...........................................Naasi / Mujjanjabi
          Civil Servant.................................Mukozi wa gavumenti
          Scientist........................................Munnasaayansi
          Secretary......................................Sekulitale/Muwandiisi
          Student.........................................Muyizi
          Teacher........................................Musomesa
          Volunteer .................................... Nnakyewa
          Waiter..........................................Musumaami
          Self Employed..............................Neekolera gyange
          Unemployed.................................Sirina mulimu

      • Catholic............................................Mukatuliki
        Christian...........................................Mukulisitu
        Anglican/Protestant...........................Mukulisitaayo
        Born Again Christian ........................Mulokole
        Hindu................................................Muyindu
        Jewish...............................................Muyudaaya
        Muslim..............................................Musiraamu
        Orthodox..........................................Musodookisi
        Seventh-Day Adventist......................Museveniside
        Sikh..................................................Musingasinga
        Traditionalist......................................Musamize

        Occupations

        What is your occupation?................Okola mulimu ki?
        I am a/an.........................................Ndi....

    • One son................................................Omutabani omu
      One daughter........................................Omuwala omu
      Three sons............................................Abatabani basatu
      Two daughters......................................Abawala babiri

      Religion

      What is your religion?.............................Oli wa ddiini ki?
      I am ......................................................Ndi

  • Angry..................................................Ndi munyiivu
    Cold....................................................Mpulira empewo
    Determined...........................................Ndi mumalirivu
    Full.......................................................Ndi mukkufu
    Happy..................................................Ndi musanyufu
    Hot...................................................... Mpulira ebbugumu
    Hungry.................................................Enjala ennuma
    Sad......................................................Ndi munakuwavu
    Scared.................................................Ntidde
    Sick.....................................................Ndi mulwadde
    Thirsty..................................................Ennyonta ennuma
    Tired....................................................Nkooye
    Worried...............................................Ndi mweraliikirivu

    Family

    This is my.........................................Ono ye...


    Do you have any brothers or sisters......Olina bagandabo oba bannyoko?
    Are you married?................................Oli mufumbo?
    I am not married..................................Siri mufumbo
    I am married........................................Ndi mufumbo
    Do you have any children?...................Olina abaana?
    I don't have any children.......................Sirina baana
    I don't have any children yet..................Sinnafuna baana
    I have...................................................Nina..

Language Problems
Do you speak English?............................Omanyi olungereza?
Yes, I do................................................Weewawo
No, I do not............................................Nedda
I can only speak a little Luganda...............Oluganda mmanyi lutonotono
Does any one here speak english?............Wano waliwo amanyi olungereza?
Do you understand?.................................Otegeera?
I understand.............................................Ntegeera
I don't understand....................................Sitegeera
How do you say "...." in Luganda?.. ........Mu Luganda ogamba otya nti "...."?
What does this mean?..............................Kino kitegeeza ki?
Please speak slowly!................................Mwattu yogera mpolampola
Write that word down for me...................Ekigambo ekyo kimpandiikire
Please repeat it........................................Mwattu kiddemu
Please translate for me.............................Mwattu nzivuunulira
Interests

What are your hobbies?...................... Biki by'oyagala okukola?
I like....................................................Njagala.....
I do not like.........................................Saagala....

    Discos.................................................Disiko
    Film.....................................................Firimu
    Going shopping....................................Kugenda mu maduuka
    Music..................................................Nnyimba
    Playing games/sports............................Kuzannya mizannyo
    Reading books.....................................Kusoma bitabo
    Swimming............................................Kuwuga
    Jogging/Running....................................Kudduka
    Biking...................................................Kuvuga ggaali
    Photography ....................................... Kukuba bifaananyi
    To play soccer......................................Kuzannya kapiira
    To play tennis....................................... Kuzannya tena
    Travelling/ going out...............................Kutambulako
    Watching TV.........................................Kulaba Tivvi

Some Useful Phrases
Look!....................................................Laba!
Listen!...................................................Wulira!
I am ready.............................................Nneetegese
Slow down!...........................................Genda mpola!
Hurry up!..............................................Yanguwa!
Come here.............................................Jangu wano
Go away!..............................................Genda eri!
Watch out!............................................Wegendereze!
Help me ................................................Nnyamba
It is possible...........................................Kisoboka
It is not possible.....................................Tekisoboka
I forgot...................................................Neerabidde
It is important..........................................Kikulu
It is not important....................................Si kikulu
What is the time?.....................................Saawa mmeka?
Where are you going?..............................Ogenda wa?
What is this called?..................................Kino kiyitibwa kitya?
What is that?...........................................Ekyo kiki?
Can I take a photo (of you)?....................Nsobola okukuba ekifananyi?
Can I take a photo (of that)?....................Ekyo nsobola okukikuba ekifananyi?
Do you live here?.....................................Obeera wano?
It doesn't matter.......................................Ssi kigambo / Tofaayo
 
   
 

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