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Introduction to Luganda - Survival Phrases

This page is the hub for Luganda survival phrases. It introduces you to easy and simple expressions to help you get by as you explore further.

These are simple phrases used in various situations and conversations that are quite easy to practice and grasp. They can be your spring board; launching you into knowing more about the lives, culture and communication within the local communities.

Luganda is predominantly spoken in the central region of Uganda - It's the language of the Kingdom of Buganda (read more about the Kingdoms of Uganda here).

Notably, it's quite used in the Capital, Kampala. It is also spoken and understood by other bantu speaking people in the other regions of Uganda.

It is a tonal language - a lot will be read into the tone that one uses, to determine the politeness and meaning of expression. It's one of those languages - like majority of Ugandan languages that don't have a direct word for 'please'.

Take for example; 'Please give me coca cola' will be 'mpa coca cola' - directly translated as; 'give me coca cola'. the 'please' will be implicated in your tone. The higher the tone, the less polite - which could quite easily be picked up as rude! There you are, that is one word less for you to worry about...

...Quite often therefore, you will find Ugandans very soft spoken.

Let's get down to business;

Here is a bit of housekeeping as we roll the ball :-

The Luganda Alphabet does not have letters Q and X, but has 'ng' and 'ny'. 'ng' as in 'singing' and 'ny' as in 'lasagne'.

Here are two quick words for you to practice those sounds;

'ngenda' got it? that's for 'I am going' and 'nyaanya' for 'tomatoes' - why am I even thinking about tomatoes ... hmm!

The language also has 5 vowels; 'a,e,i,o,u' whose sounds are similar to French and German and the Syllable 'Ki' is pronounced as 'Chi' as in 'kikopo' for cup. It also has double consonants - for emphasis at the letter sound like 'nedda' for 'no' and double vowels for the long vowel sound like 'yee' for 'yes'.

OK! Are you ready to rumble?

Clicking this link will take you to the Luganda Survival phrases.

You will love it! Enjoy yourself!

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