Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Language Lessons

Uganda has a variety of local languages depending on the region. Here in southwestern Uganda the local language is Lunyankole (Runyankore). Luganda is mostly spoken around Kampala, and other languages are spoken in Northern Uganda. English is one of the official languages of Uganda, but is mostly spoken by the well educated and urban Ugandans.

Our first language lessons here have been in speaking English. Our accent is a challenge for Ugandans, and their accent is a challenge for us. We have had to change our vowels and syllabic emphasis to make ourselves better understood. Sometime we catch ourselves speaking Ugandan English even to each other!

Ugandan English is also more British than our Canadian English. So we have learned to say Rubbish instead of Garbage, Trousers, not pants, Torch, not flashlight, and many other new British words. I did not expect to encounter an English language barrier when travelling to Uganda!

We are also learning a few words in Lunyankole. It is coming slowly. It seems there are many regional differences in Lunyankole, so we get different answers from different people!

Language 101
Hello/how are you - Agandi
Fine - Nimarunji (I don't know how to say I'm not fine, so we stick with fine for now)
Good Morning: orire ote
Thank you: Webele (mononga - very much)

These few words have brought many smiles to our new Ugandan friends and giggles from all the children. Somedays I am not sure if they are smiling because we are speaking their language or because of our Canadian accents!


Allison said...

:) Mike and I still speak Kenyan English to eachother from time to time :) Have you progressed quite a bit now? I realise I am catching up on these blog posts much too late... I never realised I was so hilarious and comical until I started learning swahili... at which point I could get a giggle or a grin out of just about anyone :)

Jeff said...

We've learned a fair bit of the basic greetings and some of the more useful phrases like "how much is this." We are working on numbers right now and our friends are starting to push us to learn more words. So hopefully we'll pick up a bit more before we have to leave.