browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Luganda 101- Simple Lugandan Phrases for Travelers to Uganda

Posted by on January 16, 2019

Luganda 101 – Simple Phrases for Visitors to Uganda

Luganda 101- Simple Lugandan Phrase-Book for Travelers to Uganda – that you can use in the Central Area of Uganda

Luganda 101- Simple Lugandan Phrases for Travelers to Uganda -Ugandans will appreciate when you address them in Luganda – you will make instant friends here

is Luganda 101- Simple Lugandan Phrases for Travelers to Uganda

Those Important Ugandan Greetings in Luganda:

In the morning you just do not say Good morning but how was your night?  When someone comes back from a days work one will ask, how was your day? and the same in the evening.

  • Good Morning:  Wasuze otya nno?
  • Good afternoon or Good Evening: Osiibye otya nno?

Some other greetings depending on day or night as you  leave or come are:

  • Hi:  Ki kati the ki is pronounced Chi
  • How are you?:  Oli Otya
  • The answer is -I am ok: Gyendi the G here is pronounced like a j
  • Have nice day:  Siiba bulungi  the g like a j
  • Good night when going to bed or leaving for the night:  Sula bulungi
  • Saying goodbye to one person: Weeraba
  • Saying goodbye to more than one person:  Mweraba
  • Welcome to one or several people:  Tukusanyukidde
  • See you later:  Tunaalabagana

Those polite phrases and other nice things to say:

  • Please:  Mwattu
  • Thank you:  Weebale
  • Thank you very much:  Weebale Nnyo
  • Please come in:  Mwattu yingira
  • Excuse me in order to get someone’s attention:  Owange
  • Please sit down:  Mwattu tuula wansi
  • Pardon me, what did you say?:  Wangi or Ogamby Ki?
  • apologize by saying I am sorry:  Nsonyiwa
  • OK:  Kale
  • No thanks:  Nedda
  • I do not know:  Simanye
  • What time is it?:  Sawa mmeka?
  • How much is it?:  Mmekka Ssente?
  • I do not have any money: Sirina Sente
  • I love you: Nkwagala
  • I am:  Nze (your name)

Addressing People:

  • Madam: Nyabo
  • Sir:  Ssebo

Sharing your feelings:

I am:

  • angry:  ndi munyiivu
  • cold:  mpulira empewo
  • am full:  ndi mukkufu
  • happy:  ndi musanyufu
  • hot:  mpulira ebbugumu
  • hungry:  Enjala ennuma
  • sad:  ndi munakuwavu
  • scared: ntidde
  • sick:  ndi wulwadde
  • thirsty:  ennyonta ennuma
  • tired:  nkooye
  • worried: ndi mweraliikirivu


  • Do you speak English?:  Omanyi olungereza
  • Yes, I do:  Weewawo
  • No, I do not:  Nedda
  • Does anyone here speak English?:  Wano waliwo amanyi olungereza?
  • Do you understand?  Otegeera?
  • I understand:  Ntegeera
  • I don’t understand:  Sitegeera
  • Please speak slowly: Ekigambo ekyo kimpandiikire
  • I like:  Njagala
  • I do not like: Saagala

Luganda 101- Simple Lugandan Phrases for Travelers to Uganda – Learning a few phrases in Luganda will endear you to the Ugandans that you meet – may it be that waitress in a restaurant or the clerk at the hotel where you are staying – it will simply enhance your time in Uganda….enjoy the Pearl of Africa…

UgLish – Ugandan English 101:

Uglish – is the Ugandan form of English spoken at every level of society, from the President on down. You see it on Twitter or Facebook and you can be left out in a conversation with Ugandans, an email or even on facebook.

Each day new phrases are added and become common through usage.  It is good to know some of the words and phrases before you arrive in Uganda, otherwise when someone excuses themselves to make a short call, you just might think that it is a phone call that they are making while in reality they are going to the bathroom for none other but a short call.

English has taken on various forms, there is the pucker British English, American English, Canadian English and Australian English with is various forms and expressions and there is Uglish and when you wonder spewing Buffaloes means while everyone else laughs around you, it would have been good to know ahead of time that it means speaking bad English.

Take a look at the various phrases we have gathered on our Uglish – Ugandan English Page, you just might smile, laugh and learn Uglish 101.

How to communicate in Uganda with Ugandans:

The things you say, how they are interpreted, the different meanings -simply how to communicate effectively in Uganda beyond empty chatter.

Empty chatter is equally important since here it is not considered empty but part of the greeting and welcoming process that is so important to Ugandans.

Even Kanye West and Kim Kardashian had to adjust a bit while they were in Uganda recently.

Greeting, the way you dress for the get together all are very important factors to being heard in Uganda by Ugandans.

Most importantly, never make promises that you cannot or do not intend to keep.

Cultural Mistakes to Avoid in Uganda:

African – Ugandan Culture is quite different from most anywhere in the world – it is based on relationships. Confrontational Conversation is simply not accepted here.

Ugandans will aim to please you and agree to doing whatever is necessary by saying yes, please but you better check up since it may not get done.

Ugandans tend to communicate more directly in certain situations and indirectly in others. For example, people may ask whether or not you are married and/or have children, but may not directly voice their displeasure about something in a public setting. Bring some pictures oof them, have them on your electronic device.
Gaining someone’s attention such as a waiter is not done by calling them but by turning your hand down and making a scratching gesture toward them – you will soon learn.