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Luo Survival Phrases - Learning Ugandan Languages

Just before the Luo Survival Phrases, Originally the Luo people are part of a bigger group - the Nilotics group of tribes, who around about the 16th century migrated and settled in different parts including; Southern Sudan, North-eastern Congo (DRC), and the North and Eastern Uganda with some moving on to Kenya and Tanzania ... so says the Historians!

... But keeping with the group that settled in northern Uganda, these formed the Alur and Acholi of present day Uganda. Sounds like someone wants to know more already ... here is the bit about the history.

More than 4 million people speak luo in Uganda.

Luo Survival Phrases - GREETINGS;

Note: Greetings are very important in Luo. They are often used to start-up conversations. See below for some short conversations;

... But before we set off, you will notice that I have kept the translations as close as possible to the literal meaning to give you an insight of the actual sensitivity and feeling attached to the phrase.

Morning greetings; (Formal)

A: I butu aber? - How did you spend the night Sir/Madam?

B: Ber, ibutu aber? - Well sir/madam, how did you spend the night?

A: Ber. - Well

Afternoon and Evening greetings; (Formal)

A: I riuu aber? - How have you spent the day sir/madam?

B: Ber, yin iriuu maber? - Well, how have you spent the day?

A: Ber - Well

Greetings Cont'd; (Informal)

Beth: Itye' aber/itye ningo Robert? - How are you Robert?

Robert: Atye aber, yin itye ningo Beth? - I am fine, how are you Beth?

Beth: Atye ma ber/ atye aber - I am fine.


Note; As a common practice with majority of Ugandan languages, it's always good to start with a greeting especially if you are meeting someone for the first time.

Robert: Nyinga Robert, yin inga/ yin ibedo nga? - I am Robert, who are you?

Beth: aan Beth/ aan abedo Beth. - I am Beth.

Robert: A ya e Uganda, yin iyai kwene? - I come from Uganda, where do you come from?

Beth: a'yai Canada - I am from Canada.

Robert: Ibedo kwene i Canada? - Where do you live in Canada?

Beth: Abedo i Alberta i Canada. - I live in Alberta in Canada.

Robert: Aan abedo Apwony, yin itimo/ityo ngo? - I am a teacher, what do you do?

Beth: Abedo Dakatal/Dokta - I am a doctor.

Luo Survival Phrases - SAYING GOODBYE;

Wot aber - Goodbye.

But aber/but maber - Spend the night well (used as 'have a goodnight')

Bed aber - Stay well

Bed aber - Spend the day well (used as 'have a good day')

Obi nen/wabinen - We will see each other (used as 'see you later')

Luo Survival Phrases - More handy phrases;

Apwoyo matek - Thank you very much, (also see; weebale ssebo/nnyabo - thank you sir/madam)

Apwoyo neni - I am happy/glad to see you. (Often used as the welcome phrase)

Apwoyo tedo dek - thanks for cooking or You cooked well.

Pe amito kawa - I don't want coffee.

Yin kono? - How about you?

Nwoo - repeat

Mo mot - slowly / quite slowly.

Wot mot - go slowly.

Nwo mo mot - repeat slowly.

Ape kede cente. - I have no money.

Ee / pe - Yes / No

Pa ngeyo - I don't know

Pe aniang - I have not understood.

Te lokere ningo? - what do you mean?

Luo Survival Phrases - OTHER PHRASES;

Tima kica - Forgive me

Pe ipar - don't mind

Luo Survival Phrases - ASKING FOR DIRECTION;

Barclays Bank ti kwene? - Where is Barclays Bank?

En ti Kampala Road/tye i Kampala Road. - It's on Kampala road

Barclays bank cak ki Nandos - Barclays bank is near/next to Nandos.

Toilet tye kwene/ka konye tye? - Where is the toilet?

John ti kwene? - Where is John?

Pe angeo - I don't know

Kuri - Please wait

Luo Survival Phrases - IN THE RESTAURANT;

I tye kede dek kene/ango? - what food do you have?

A mito abolo kwon kede ringo - I want matooke (plantain) and beef.

Itye kede kong (kong could mean any kind of alcohol)? - Do you have beer?

A'mito kong - I want beer

A'mito pii. - I want water

Mia soda. - Give me soda

Ciling/cente adii? - How much money?

Mia well a'me aculu/ amyero aculi. - Give me my bill.

Apwoyo, onen. - Thank you and goodbye.

That's it! - go out confidently with an open mind and explore - You could quite easily continue learning Luo to build on these phrases - if you wish too. It's that simple!

Apwoyo matek! (thank you very much!)

Attribute - with thanks and compliment;

This translated script/page was made available by;

Bernard Ogwang
A Native Speaker.

If my work and information is helpful and you like what you read on the site, please consider making a donation to support its development.

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