# Rukiga: An African Language During my trip to south of Uganda I interacted with people who mainly spoke a local language called Rukiga (pronounced rutʃɪga). They said there is no dictionary for their language as of yet (although it is apparently being worked on), so I just kept asking them to teach me words and phrases and their grammar bit by bit. So here I’m sharing what I learned from my friends here in Uganda with you. Thanks to Tabitha and Tutamuzongoza and Jovan Tumwijukye specially who taught me and my friend a lot of these words and they spent time correcting the writing and pronunciation. # Pronunciation Refer to the [Wikipedia page](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiga_language) of the language which includes an orthography of the language as a guide for pronunciation. Pronunciations may vary depending on the region. As an example, in one area we were told Musana means sun, but in another region we were told it’s pronounced as Mushana. # A tiny dictionary of words | Rukiga | English | |---------------------------------------------------|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | Webare | Thank you (single person) | | Webare kusiuma | Response to webare | | Mwebare | Thank you (multiple people) | | Engaji | Gorilla 🦍 | | Kengaji | Junior gorilla (used after Akana) | | Akana | Baby | | Agandi / Ni gaahe | How are you (used as greeting) | | Nooruga he / hi? | Where are you coming from? | | Ninduga Rusoorooza | I am coming from Rusoorooza | | Nooza he / hi? | Where are you going? | | Ninza Muhahinga | I am going to Muhahinga | | Nokoora ki aha? | What are you doing here? | | Nimpandiika ebi ncondoize ahari Nyabingi | I am writing what I have researched about Nyabingi | | Ka tugyendane omu tawuni | Let us go together to the town | | Ke mbanze njware gye | Let me first dess up properly | | Reka tubanze twarya | Let us first eat | | Ekyo kihikire | That's right | | Waariire? | Have you eaten? | | Tinkariire | I haven't eaten | | Waahaaga? | Have you had enough food | | Ingaaha, nyongyera | No, give me more | | Ezi noobaasa kumpingaaniramu shiringi za Yuganda? | Can you change this into Uganda shillings please? | | Pawunda / doora emwe neechingaana zingahe? | What is the exchange rate for a pound / dollar? | | Nigye | Good (response to Agandi) | | I am very well, thank you | Ni marungi / N'amahooro | | Kare kare / Ogumeho | Goodbye | | Naiwe ogumeho | Goodbye to you too (response to Goodbye) | | Kache | Small | | Munonga | A lot | | Kihango | Big | | Byinji | Many of something | | Ruhanga wangye | My Lord | | Eshaha | Time | | Osiibe gye | Good day | | Yee/ee/yeego/naiwe osiibe gye | The same to you (Good day response) | | Olaleje / Oraare gye | Good night (single person) | | Yee/ee/yeego/naiwe oraare gye | The same to you (Good night response) | | Mulaleje | Good night (many people) | | Osiibire gye / Osiibire ota | Good afternoon | | Olileje / oraire gye / oraire ota | Good morning (single person) | | Eego / yeego / ee / mm Ndaire gye | Good morning to you (response to good morning) | | Mulileje | Good morning (multiple person) | | Kunaaba | Take shower | | Twena | All of us | | Embwa | Dog | | Ahamuheru | End | | Hamwe | And | | Enyonyi | Bird, airplane | | Ekinyonyi | Bird | | Omunywani | Friend | | Omwojo omunywani | Boyfriend | | Omuhara | Girl | | Omwojo | Boy | | Omusheija | Man | | Omukazi | Woman | | Ego | Yes | | Wapi | No | | Omujinya | Jealous person | | Omukundwa | Sweetheart | | Embuzi | Goat | | Echiroto | Dream | | Nyine enjara | I’m hungry | | Ndu hire | I’m tired | | Nikibi | Ugly, a bad deed | | Echiroto nkirungi | Good dream | | Wanji | Response to someone calling you. Can be used when you don’t understand what they said, but also in general | | Mpa ameizi | Give me water | | Embuzi | Goat | | Akana Kembuzi | Baby goat | | Entama | Sheep | | Musana, Mushana (different pronunciation) | Sun | | Omwanya gobsinge | Peaceful Place | | Echirwa | Island | | Chine | Have | | Nyingyi | A lot | | Ruhanga eizina rye rehimbisibwe | Hossana | | Akasero | Basket with handles | | Akatebo | Basket | | Akibo | Small basket | | Musingirio | A kind of bean that grow while twining (while connected to something, grows around it | | Enyawawa | The crying bird | | Sawa | I’m ok (be careful: this word means “something bitter” in Swahili) | | Nimarungy | I’m ok (response to Agandi) | | Mwakora | You have done great (multiple people) | | Wakora | You have done great (single person) | | Etanuru | Bricks arranged in a dome shape with fire under and inside them, to dry the bricks | | Tutamuzongoza | A person’s name, means someone who is not to be disturbed (or disturb others) | | Akana Kente | Calf | | Omwana | Human baby | | Omuzeire | Parent | | Mama | Mother | | Taata | Father | | Buhunga | A food made with maize flour mixed with hot water and sugar (called porridge in some areas) | | Entuhe | Crusted Crane | | Ruhanga | God | | Amina | Amen | | Matooke | Mashed green banana | | Chinnurile | Delicious | | Bun | Bread bun | | Omugisha | Blessing | | Abatabani | Sons | | Yaabagirati | Said | | Ekibi | Sins | | Byona | Everything | | Ezitarikuzira | Those which you can’t refuse | | Nyamaishwa | Animals | | Aha | This | | Buri | That | | Muhango | Great | | Enshaija | Male (animal) | | Enkazi | Female (animal) | | Enshaija n’enkazi | Male and female (animals) | | Omusheija omukazi | Male and female (humans) | | Otwareho | You will take (a part of something, not all) | | Ebinyugunyugu | Butterfly | | Ekirabo | Gift | | Esati | Shirt | | Eshero | Hippo | | Emporogoma | Lion | | Eizina ryangye Mahdi | My name is Mahdi | |Ndaruga Iran| I’m from Iran| |Nashemererwa kubanimwe| I’m happy to be here| |Webare munonga| Thank you very much| |Aha nyamaishwa eztarikuzira| Those animals you can’t refuse (ritually clean)| |Yesu asimwe| Praise God| |Asimwe munonga, amen| Response to Yesu asimwe| |Ruhanga ni muhango| God is great| |Ruhanga ny mulingi| God is good| |Ekibi kya Noa| Sins of noah| |Mwije murye| Come and eat| |Ndakukunda munonga| I love you a lot| |Neshaha zokurya| Time to eat| |Neshaha zokuzakubyama| Time to sleep| |Orakundachi| What do you prefer?| |Embwa hamwe na pusi| Dog or cat| |Nishahazingahe| What time is it?| |Eizina ryawe niriha| What is your name?| |Eizina rye niriha| What is his/her name?| |Kunaaba twena| All of us take a shower| |Kafumbo| Village with people with good ideas| |Oyinihre omujinya omunwani wange omwojo| You are jealous of my boyfriend| |Echirwa chine emitti nyingyi| Island with a lot of trees| |Murikuza bunyonyi erizooba| We are going to bunyonyi today| |Ekibo kyebichiga chiga| Basket of chiga beans| |Aha obuhunga bunnurile| This buhunga is delicious| |Mwebare ahabwakujira omitima murungi| thank you for your kindness| # Numbers |Rukiga|English| |--------|---------| |Omwe|One person| |Emwe|One| |Ibiri|Two| |Ishatu|Three| |Ina|Four| |Itahano|Five| |Mukaga|Six| |Mushanju|Seven| |Mundane|Eight| |Mwenda|Nine| |Ekumi|Ten| |Ekumi ne emwe|Eleven| |Ekumi ne ibiri|Twelve| |Ekumi ne ishatu|Thirteen| |Makumi abiri|Twenty| |Makumi abiri ne emwe|Twenty one| |Makumi ashatu|Thirty| |Makumi ana|Forty| |Makumi atahano|Fifty| |Makumi mukaga|Sixty | |Makumi mushanju |Seventy| |Makumi munana|Eighty| |Makumi mwenda|Ninety| |Igana|Hundred| |Igana makumi ana|One hundred forty| |Igana emwe|One hundred one| |Igana makumi abiri ne munana|One hundred twenty eight | |Bibiri|Two hundred| |Bishatu|Three hundred| |Bina|Four hundred| |Bitahano|Five hundred| |Rukaga|Six hundred| |Magana mukaga|Six hundred (another way of writing it)| |Rukumi|One thousand| |Eukumi igana makumi ana|One thousand one hundred forty | |Omutwaro|Ten thousand| |Emitwaro ebiri|Twenty thousand| # How to say beautiful The adjective changes based on what we are talking about, and based on letters of previous words or context, in a way they try to rhyme words when possible. ### Humans Oboneire (beautiful for singular human telling them directly) Muboneire (beautiful for plural human, when telling themselves directly) Aboneire (beautiful for singular human, when telling a third person) Baboneire (beautiful for plural human, when telling a third person) ### Animals Eboneire (beautiful for singular animal) Ziboneire (beautiful for plural animals) Kaboneire (beautiful when used after Akana) ### Other things There are many different variations of the adjective, here are two pairs used in different situations: Pair 1 (kind of things that have life): Goboneire (beautiful for singular non-human) Eboneire (beautiful for multiple non-human) Pair 2 (kind of things that have no life): Leboneire (beautiful for singular non-human) Gabonaire (beautiful for plural non-human) ### Examples Eizina riboneire: beautiful name Eizina rya we liboneire: your name is beautiful Omushozi (singular mountain) goboneire Emishozi (multiple mountain) eboneire Omuti (tree) goboneire Emiti (multiple trees) eboneire Eibare (stone) leboneire Amabare (stones) gaboneire Ente (cow) eboneire Ente (cows) zeboneire Engaji eboneire Engaji zeboneire Akana kenjagi kaboneire munonga munonga: baby gorilla is very very beautiful # Additional resources The local people told me there is no dictionary of Rukiga yet, but it is being worked on and will be piblished soon. however, one potentially useful resource for learning Rukiga is using a bible in Rukiga and comparing it to an English bible. A bible in Rukiga is [available online](https://www.bible.com/bible/1434/GEN.1.RR64).