Note: Greetings are very important in Runyankore-Rukiga. 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: Oraire ota sebo/nyabo? - How did you spend the night Sir/Madam?
B: Ndaire gye, oraire ota nyabo/sebo? - I spent the night well, how did you sleep sir/madam?
A: Ndaire gye. - I spent the night well.
Key words: Sebo - Sir , Nyabo - Madam
Afternoon and Evenning greetings; (Formal)
A: Osiibire ota sebo/nyabo? - How have you spent the day sir/madam?
B: Nsiibire gye, wasiiba ota sebo/nnyabo? - - I have spent the day well, how have you spent the day sir/madam?
A: Nsiibire gye - I have spent the day well.
Greetings Cont'd; (Informal)
Beth: Ori ota Robert? - How are you Robert?
Robert: Ni gye, ori ota Beth? - I am well, how are you Beth?
Beth: Ni gye / kurungi - I am well.
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: Ninye Robert, niwe oha? - I am Robert, who are you?
Beth: Ninye Beth. - I am Beth.
Robert: Ninduga Uganda, nooruga nkahi? - I come from Uganda, where do you come from?
Beth: Ninduga Canada - I come from Canada.
Robert: Nootura nkahi omuri Canada? - Where do you live in Canada?
Beth:Nintuura omuri Alberta - I live in Alberta.
Robert: Ndi omushomesa, Iwe, nookora ki? - I am a teacher, what do you do?
Beth: Ndi omushaho. - I am a doctor.
Ogume gye - Goodbye.
Orare kurungi / Orare gye - Sleep well (used as 'have a goodnight')
Ogume kurungi - Stay well
Osiibe kurungi - Spend the day well (used as 'have a good day')
Tureebane obundi - We will see each other again (used as 'see you later')
Webare munonga - Thank you very much, (also see; Yebare ssebo/nyabo - thank you sir/madam)
Nashemererwa okukureeba - I am happy/glad to see you. (Often used as the welcome phrase)
Webare kuteeka or Wateeka gye/kurungi - thanks for cooking or You cooked well.
Tinkwenda Kaawa - I don't want coffee.
Kandi Iwe? - How about you?
Garukamu - repeat
Mpora / mpora mpora- slowly / quite slowly.
Gyenda mpora - go slowly.
Garukamu mpora - repeat slowly.
Tinyine sente. - I have no money.
Ego / Ngaaha - Yes / No
Tinkumanya - I don't know
Tinakyeenga - I have not understood.
Nomanyisa ki? - what do you mean?
Runyankore-Rukiga does not have a particular word for 'sorry'; It is a tonal language like majority of Ugandan languages - however, depending on the situation, there are different ways to apologize and show sympathy or even empathy.
Ka wareeba. - I am sorry for what has happened to you.
Ka ni kibi. - How terrible/ What a horrible thing. (often used during bereavement to express your condolence)
Onsasire - Forgive me
Otafayo - don't mind
Barclays Banka eri nkahi? - Where is Barclays Bank?
Eri aha Kampala Road. - It's on Kampala road
Barclays banka eri haihi na Nandos - Barclays bank is next to Nandos.
Toileti eri nkahi? - Where is the toilet?
John ari nkahi? - Where is John?
Tinkumanya - I don't know
Rindaho - Please wait
Bumosho / Buryo - Left / Right
Oine byokurya ki? - what food do you have?
Mpereza 'menu' ssebo/nnyabo - Give me the menu sir/madam
Ninyenda ebitookye ne nyama - I want matooke (plantain) and beef.
Oine biya? - Do you have beer?
Ninyenda biya - I want beer
Ninyenda amaizi. - I want water
Mpa sooda - Give me soda
Mpa egirasi y'amaizi. - Give me a glass of water
Sente zingahi? - How much money?
Mpereza biiru yangye. - Give me my bill.
That's it! - go out confidently with an open mind and explore - You could quite easily continue learning Runyankore-Rukiga to build on these phrases - if you wish too. It's that simple!
Webare munonga! (thank you very much!)
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