Note: Greetings are very important in Runyoro-Rutooro but perhaps more important too are the 'pet-names'. It is a good idea to find out which pet-name one uses before you go on to greet them - nothing to worry about though if you missed that bit. Greetings 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.
Here is the list of the pet-names; Abwooli, Adyeeri, Araali, Akiiki, Atwooki, Apuuli, Abaala, Acaali, Ateenyi, Abooki, Amooti and Ocaali.
Morning greetings; (Formal)
A: Empaako yawe? - What is your pet-name?
B: Amooti, kandi eyawe? - Amooti, and what is your pet-name?
A: Akiiki - Akiiki
A: Oraire ota Amooti? - How did you spend the night Amooti?
B: Kurungi Akiiki, iwe oraire ota? - Well, and how did you spend the night?
A: Kurungi. - Well.
Key words: Take note of the use of the pet-names.
Afternoon and Evening greetings; (Formal)
A: Osiibire ota Amooti? - How have you spent the day Amooti?
B: Kurungi Akiiki, iwe osiibire ota? - - I have spent the day well, how have you spent the day Akiiki?
A: Kurungi - Well.
Greetings Cont'd; (Informal)
Beth: Oli ota Robert? - How are you Robert?
Robert: Ndoho/ or Ndiyo, oli ota Beth? - I am well, how are you Beth?
Beth: Ndiyo kurungi/ or ndoho 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: Ninyowe Robert, iwe niiwe oha? - I am Robert, who are you?
Beth: Ninyowe Beth - I am Beth.
Robert: Nduga Uganda, iwe oruga nkaha? - I come from Uganda, where do you come from?
Beth: Nduga Canada - I come from Canada.
Robert: Oikara nkaha mu Canada? - Where do you live in Canada?
Beth:Nyikara Alberta mu Canada. - I live in Alberta.
Robert: Ndi Musomesa, iwe okora ki? - I am a teacher, what do you do?
Beth: Ndi Musahu. - I am a doctor.
Ogoroobe - Goodbye.
Oraale kurungi - Spend the night well (used as 'have a goodnight')
Oikale kuruungi - Stay well
Osiibe kurungi - Spend the day well (used as 'have a good day')
Turaroragana - We will see each other again (used as 'see you later')
Weebale muno - Thank you very much, (also see; weebale Amooti - thank you Amooti)
Nsemeriirwe kukurora - I am happy/glad to see you. (Often used as the welcome phrase)
Webale kucumba kucumba Amooti - thanks for cooking or You cooked well Amooti.
Tinkwenda Kaawa - I don't want coffee.
Kandi iwe? - How about you?
Garukamu - repeat
Mpora / mpora mpora- slowly / quite slowly.
Genda mpora - go slowly.
Garukamu mpora - repeat slowly.
Tinyine sente. - I have no money.
Ego / Nangwa - Yes / No
Timanyire - I don't know
Tinyetegeriize - I have not understood.
Nomanyisa ki? - what do you mean?
Runyoro-Rutooro does not have a particular word for 'sorry'; but depending on the situation, there are different ways to apologize and show sympathy or even empathy.
K'oboine caali. - I am sorry for what has happened to you. Note; the 'caali' expresses the empathy
Ka kibi muno. - How terrible/ What a horrible thing. (often used during bereavement to express your condolence)
Nganyira - Forgive me
Otafwayo - don't mind
Barclays Banka eri nkaha? - Where is Barclays Bank?
Eri ha Kampala Road. - It's on Kampala road
Barclays banka eri haihi ne Nandos - Barclays bank is next to Nandos.
Ekyolooni kiri nkahi? - Where is the toilet?
John ali nkaha? - Where is John?
Timanyire - I don't know
Lindaho - Please wait
Bulyo / Bumoso - Left / Right
Oinayo by'okulya ki? - what food do you have?
Mpa 'menu' - Give me the menu please
Ninyenda ebitooke n'enyama - I want matooke (plantain) and beef.
Oina/ or oine biya? - Do you have beer?
Ninyenda biya - I want beer
Ninyenda maizi. - I want water
Mpa sooda - Give me soda
Mpa egilaasi y'amaizi - Give me a glass of water
Siringi zingaha - How much money?
Mpa biilu yange - Give me my bill.
That's it! - go out confidently with an open mind and explore - You could quite easily continue learning Runyoro-Rutooro to build on these phrases - if you wish too. It's that simple!
Weebale kaindi ogoroobe. (thank you very and goodbye!)
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