We All Speak the Same Language!

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We All Speak the Same Language!

The Republic of Uganda’s name stems from the Buganda Kingdom which accounts for a large part of the south of the country, including the capital of Kampala.

If you’re planning a business trip to Uganda, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the country’s official languages are Swahili and English.

However, the population of Uganda uses a range of different languages, including Luganda, which is spoken by more than 5 million people.  It’s the most common second language, following English and ahead of Swahili.

Learning a few phrases in Luganda will be fun and is likely to impress your business contacts who will be flattered that you’ve chosen to make the effort to speak a few sentences in the local lingo.

Here are some simple, but useful phrases that you may want to try out:

Good morning Wasuze otya nno? (literally, How was your night?)
Good afternoon/evening Osiibye otya nno? (literally, How was your day?)
How are you? Oli Otya?
I’m fine Gyendi
Have a nice day Siiba bulungi
Goodbye Weeraba (to one person), Mweraba (to more than one person)
Please Mwattu
Thank you (very much) Weebale (Weebale Nnyo)
Excuse me (to get somebody’s attention) Owange
Pardon me/what did you say? Wangi/Ogamby Ki?
I’m sorry Nsonyiwa
No thank you Nedda
What time is it? Sawa mmeka?
How much is it? Mmekka Ssente?
Do you speak English? Omanyi olungereza?
Yes, I do Weewawo
No, I don’t Nedda
Do you understand? Otegeera?
I don’t understand Sitegeera
Please speak slowly Ekigambo ekyo kimpandiikire


Unfortunately, Google Translate doesn’t include Luganda, which means that you can’t use the Voice function to find out how to pronounce these phrases.  However, we’re sure that asking the people you’re talking to will prove fruitful, people all around the world love to help visitors to speak a little of their language.

While these phrases won’t mean that you can communicate effectively with people you come across in Uganda, the fact that you’ve shown that you’re willing to make an effort is likely to be met with delight.

Don’t worry too much about communications as English is an official language and likely to be spoken by everybody you come across in a business environment.