Luganda you might hear your first time to Uganda

Although I did make another post with basic Luganda, allow me to highlight some of the most basic words you will come across in your first few days of coming to Uganda. There is no need to know Luganda to communicate since everyone knows English well, but like any culture, it can be beneficial in so many ways to learn (or attempt to learn) some of the local language.

If you are a white person traveling anywhere in east Africa you will hear the word “muzungu” which is a word used to refer to foreigners. This is used in a respectful way so embrace it.

Ssebo – Sir

Nnyabo – Madam

Kale – Ok

Bulungi – Fine/Good

Ndi – I am

Oli otya – How are you?

With these few basic words you are already off to a good start. Someone may ask “Oli otya?”, to which you can reply “bulungi”. Saying something like “kale ssebo” or “Kale nnyabo” can be used quite frequently.

When traveling by boda boda it is useful to know “tugende” meaning lets go. “Jangu, tugende” means “come here lets go”.

If you are a man get used to hearding the word “muko” which means “brother in -law”. This is totally respectful and you may here other men calling you their “muko” (brohter in -law).

If someone laughs at you for trying out some Luganda don’t get too discouraged. I soon discovered that when you get laughed at it is often because it is not often that a foreigner attempts to speak their Language. It is not always a bad thing, so do not get discouraged. Of course English is spoken by all, but give yourself and challenge and step out of your comfort zone. Put some time into giving your brain a workout. By learning the language you also learn of the culture.