Acholi Phrase book
Small Talk

 

Outline

Greetings

Meeting People  

Occupations

Religion

Family

Feelings

Language Problems Useful Phrases

 

Greetings & Civilities


Good morning .................I buto maber? (literally 'how was your night?')
Good afternoon..................Iri? (literally, 'how was your day?')

[The one asked responds with "abuto maber/ari maber" (i.e. 'fine') and repeats the inquiry]


How are you?...............................................I tye nining?
I am OK.......................................................Atye maber
Have a nice day............................................Bed maber
Good night....................................................But maber
Farewell (to one person)...............................Wot maber
Farewell (to several people).......................... Wuwot maber
Welcome (to one person)..............................Apwoyo bino
Welcome (to several people).........................Apwoyo binowu
See you later.................................................Wa nen lacen

Shut the door.................................................Lor dogola  
Come in.........................................................Dony iye
Sit down........................................................Bed ping
Thank you......................................................Apwoyo
Excuse me (to get attention)............................Tima kica
Pardon? (What did you say?).............................Ngo? / I waci ngo?
I'm sorry (apology).........................................Tima kica

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Meeting People

What is your name.....................Nyingi anga?
My name is...............................Nyinga....

Forms of Address

It is considered polite to show respect to older people regardless of their station in life. Respectful forms of address should be used when addressing superiors.

Sir.............................................Ladit
Madam......................................Mego

Age

How old are you?.................................Mwaka ni adi?
I am...............................................Mwakana......

20 years old.................................Mwakana pyeraryo (20)
35 years old................................Mwakana pyeradek wiye abic (35)

Body Language

Shaking hands in Acholi/Uganda is a common practice for both men and women. It is appropriate to shake hands when being introduced to somebody, when visiting somebody in their house, or when you have not seen somebody for a while. Hugging is also common for both men and women. It is appropriate to hug if you have not seen a friend for a while. Kissing in public is frowned upon.

 

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Occupations

What is your occupation?...............Itiyo tic ango?
I am a/an.........................................An

Accountant..................................Lagwok lim
Businessperson............................Lacat wil
Carpenter....................................Lafundi
Clerk...........................................Lakaran
Doctor.........................................Ladaktar
Driver..........................................Ladereeva
Farmer.........................................Lapur
Journalist.....................................Laco lok awinya
Lawyer.........................................lapuliida
Mechanic......................................Lamakanika
Musician.......................................Lawer
Nurse...........................................Naasi
Civil Servant.................................Latic pa gamente  
Student.........................................Latin kwan
Teacher........................................Lapwony
 

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Religion

What is your religion?.............................Dini ni dini ngo?
I am ......................................................Dini na

Catholic............................................Catholi
Anglican/Protestant...........................protanti
Born Again Christian ........................Mulokole
Hindu................................................Muyindi
Muslim..............................................cilam
Traditionalist......................................Ajwaki

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Family

This is my.........................................Enni...

Mother.............................................Maama na
Father..............................................Baba na
Wife.................................................Dako na
Husband...........................................Cwara
Child.................................................Latin na
Nephew/Niece.....................................Okeya/Lakeya
Grandchild/ern.........................................Likwaya/Lukwaya
Son....................................................Woda
Daughter...........................................Nyara
Sibling (male)....................................Omera
Sibling (Female).................................Lamera

Aunt (paternal).................................. Waya
Aunt (maternal)..................................Waya
Uncle (paternal)..................................Omin wora
Uncle (maternal)..................................Nera
Cousin (paternal).................................Omera/Lamera
Cousin (maternal)................................Nera/Waya
Grandparent........................................Ada
Father-in-law......................................Oora
Mother-in-law..................................... Mara
Friend................................................Larem


Do you have any brothers or sisters......Itye ki omero ony lamero mo?
Are you married?................................Inyom dong?
I am not married..................................Pud peya anyomo
I am married........................................Anyom dong
Do you have any children?...................Itye ki lutiono?
I don't have any children......................Apee ki latino
I don't have any children yet.................Pud peya atye ki lutino
I have..................................................Atye kede..

One son................................................Latin laco acel
One daughter........................................Latin dako acel
Three sons............................................Lutino co adek
Two daughters.......................................Lutino anyera adek

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Feelings

I am...........................................

Angry..................................................Cwinya cwer
Cold....................................................Koma ngic
Full......................................................Oroma
Happy..................................................Cwinya yom
Hot......................................................Koma let
Hungry.................................................Kec neka
Sad......................................................Cwinya pe yom
Scared.................................................Alwor
Sick.....................................................Koma lit
Thirsty.................................................Orwo neka
Tired....................................................Aol
Worried...............................................Aparo

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Language Problems

Do you speak English?............................I loko leb muno?
Yes, I do................................................Eyo,aloko
No, I do not...........................................Pe angeyo
I can only speak a little Lwo...............Aloko leb lwo maditi
Does any one here speak english?............Tye ngati mo maloko leb muno kany?
Do you understand?.................................Iniang?
I understand............................................Aniang
I don't understand....................................Pe aniang
How do you say "...." in Lwo?.. ........I waco ni ngo ileb "...."?
What does this mean?..............................Tere ni ngo?
Please speak slowly!................................Lok mot mot!
Please repeat it........................................Nwo
Please translate for me.............................Gonya tere

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Some Useful Phrases

Look!....................................................Nen!
Listen!...................................................Winy!  
Slow down!...........................................Mot mot!
Hurry up!..............................................Oyot oyot!
Come here............................................Bin kany
Go away!..............................................Cet cen!
Help me ...............................................Konya
It is possible..........................................Time
It is not possible.....................................Pe time
I forgot..................................................Wiya owil
It is important.........................................Pire tek
It is not important....................................Pire pe tek

What is the time?.....................................Cawa adi?
Where are you going?..............................Iceto kwene?
What is this called?.................................Kilwongo ene ningo?
What is that?...........................................Cani ngo?
Can I take a photo (of you)?....................Aromo mako cali?
Do you live here?.....................................Ibedo kany?
It doesn't matter......................................Pe balo

 

In The Country

Directions

North.........................Ku malo
South.........................Ku ping
East...........................Ku nyango

West.......................   Ku poto ceng
Left............................Acam

Right..........................Acuc
Up.............................Malo
Down..........................Ping

 

    ANIMALS

 

Monkey...................................................Ayom

Cat.........................................................Bura

Leopard....................................................Kwach

Lion........................................................Atunya

Hen ........................................................Gweno

Rabbit.....................................................Apwoyo

Duck........................................................Atudu

Dog..........................................................Gwok

Elephant....................................................Lyec

Hippopothamus...........................................Raa

Cow.........................................................Dyang

Buffalo .....................................................Jubi

Sheep.......................................................Romo

Goat.........................................................Dyel

Turtle/tortoise ...........................................Opuk

 

 

 

A Basic Grammar of Lwo

 

Topical Outline

Alphabet

Parts of Speech

The Tenses

Counting

Fractions/Ordinals/Quantities

Time and the Calender

Speaking/Writing Luganda

A Luganda Phrasebook

 

The Acholi Alphabet

The Lwo alphabet is composed of twenty-one letters:

(a,b,c,d,e,g,j,l,m,n,ŋ,ny,o,p,r,t,u,w and y). It does appears that the English consonants:f,h,q,v,x and z  do not occur.

What is important to note is that,most of the consonants are pronounced the same way as they are in English,but with few peculiarities.

c is like the English ch in church

 

 Cam      food

Paco       village

Rec         fish

 

5 vowels: a, e, i, o, u, 2 semi-vowels: w, y,

Since the ŋ consonant does not appear on standard typewriters or computer keyboards, it is often replaced by the combination ng' - including the apostrophe! (Note that in some non-standard authographies, the apostrophe is not used, which can lead to confusion with the distinct and different sound arising from the letter combination ng). In addition, the letter combination ny is treated as a unique consonant.

 

 

 

 

 

Some Useful Phrases

Present

Today...................Tin
This morning.........Tin odiko
This afternoon.......Tin otyeno
Tonight.................Tin I dewo
This week.............Cabiti
This month...........Dwe ni
This year..............Mwaka ni
Now.....................Kobedi
Immediately.........cut cut
 

Past

Yesterday......................Lawo
Day before yesterday.......Lawo maca
Yesterday morning...........Lawo odiko
Yesterday afternoon.........Lawo I dye ceng
Last night.......................Lawo I dye wor
Last week.......................Cabit mukato
Last month..................... Dwe mukato
Last year.........................Mwaka mukato
Ago.................................Con

Future

Tomorrow........................Diki
Tomorrow morning............Diki odiko
Tomorrow evening.............Diki otyeno
Day after tomorrow...........Diki maca
Next week........................Cabit mabino
Next Month......................Dwe mabino
Next year.........................Mwaka mabino
Later................................Koni
After.................................Ingeye

As soon as possible............ Cut cut
A while ago.......................Na nen
Always..............................jiw jiw
Before...............................Mukwongo
Early.................................Con
Everyday............................Nino ducu
Forever..............................Matwal
Long ago............................Con ca
Month................................Dwe
Never.................................Kulu
Not any more..................Pe Matwal
Not yet...........................Puodi
Recently.........................Cok coki
Sometimes......................Cawa mukene
Soon...............................Cok

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Counting

Single Digits

Digit  Name Variation used with noun (depends on noun class)

0  zeero  none  

1  acel

2  aryo

3  Adek

4  Angwen

5  Abic

6  Abicel  

7  Abiro

8  Aboro

9  Abungwen

 

Back to Counting

Tens

10 Apar
20 Pyera aryo
30 Pyera adek
40 Pyera angwen
50 Pyera abic
60 Pyera abicel
70 Pyera abiro
80 Pyera aboro
90 Pyera abungwen

Tens and Digits

11 Apar wi acel (literally ten and one)
12 Apar wi aryo (literally ten and two)
21 Pyera aryo wi acel  
22 Pyera aryo wia aryo

The pattern used with the twenties is applied to all the thirties - nineties

Back to Counting

Hundreds

100 Mia acel
200 Mia aryo
300 Mia adek
400 Mia angwen
500 Mia abic
600 Mia abicel
700 Mia abiro
800 Mia aboro
900 Mia abungwen

Mixed Hundreds, Tens and Digits

102 Mia acel ki acel
112 Mia acel ki apar wi aryo
122 Mia acel ki pyera aryo wi aryo
152 Mia acel ki pyera abic wi aryo
182 Mia acel ki pyera aboro wi aryo
202 Mia aryo ki aryo
212 Mia aryo ki apar wi aryo
232 Mia aryo ki pyera adek wi aryo
602 Mia abicel ki aryo
642 Mia abicel ki pyera anwen wi aryo
672 Mia abicel ki pyera abiro wi aryo

Back to Counting

Thousands

1000 Alip acel
2000 Alip aryo
3000 Alip adek
4000 Alip angwen
5000 Alip abic
6000 Alip abicel
7000 Alip abiro
8000 Alip aboro
9000 Alip abungwen

Mixed Thousands

1002 Alip acel ki aryo
2034 Alip aryo ki pyera adek wi angwen
3765 Alip adek ki mia abiro ki pyera abicel wi abic
6233 Alip abicel ki mia aryo ki pyera adek wi adek
8892 Alip aboro ki mia aboro ki pyera abungwen wi aryo
9999 Alip abungwen ki mia abungwen ki pyera abungwen wi abungwen

Back to Counting

Tens and Hundreds of Thousands (Alip)

These and larger numbers are mixed using the mu pattern seen above.

10,000 Alip apar

20,000 Alip pyera aryo

30,000 Alip pyera adek
60,000 Alip pyera abic
90,000 Alip Pyera abungwen

100,000 Alip mia acel
200,000 Alip Mia aryo
300,000 Alip mia adek
600,000 Alip mia abicel
700,000 Alip mia abiro
900,000 Alip mia abungwen

Back to Counting

 

Ordinal Numbers

1st.....................Me acel
2nd....................Me aryo
3rd.................... Me adek
4th.....................Me angwen
5th.....................Me abic
6th.....................Me abicel
7th.....................Me abiro
8th.....................Me aboro
9th.....................Me abungwen
10th...................Me apar

The first car...............Mutoka me acel
The fourth Building.....Ot me angwen

Quantities

A little (amount)......Matidi
To count.................Kwano
Enough....................Oromo
Few........................Noko
Many......................Dwong

Minus.....................Kwany
More......................Med (i/e/o)
One more...............Med acel
Plus........................Rib
Quantity..................Dwong pa jami
Too expensive........wele tek
Very expensive.......Wele tek tutwal

Time and the Calender

Time units

Second..........  

minute .........dakika

hour .............Cawa (wang ceng)

day  ..............Nino

week .............Cabit

month ............Dwe

Year.............  mwaka

Back to Time and Calender

Time of Day

Day time.................Dye ceng

Dawn .....................Kwar ping me odiko /Kur gweno

Early morning...........Odiko con

Morning ...................Odiko  

Late morning............nyango

Mid-day  ..................Cwiny dye ceng

Afternoon  ...............Otyeno

Dusk  .....................Wang Otyeno

Evening  ................. Oyeno

Night time  ..............Dye wor

Early night  ..............Wang Otyeno

Mid-night  ................Cwiny dye woro

Late night ................. Dye wor

Back to Time and Calender

Telling Time

The day is considered to start at dawn (not midnight). Time is thus counted with the first hour considered to be the hour of dawn. Thus time would be read as follows:

6:00 A.M.  12:00 me odiko

7:00 A.M.  1:00 me odiko

8:00 A.M.  2:00 me odiko

9:00 A.M.  3:00 me odiko

10:00 A.M.  4:00 me odiko

11:00 A.M.  5:00 me odiko

12:00 NOON  6:00 me dye ceng

1:00 P.M.  7:00 me dye ceng

2:00 P.M.  8:00 me dye ceng

3:00 P.M.  9:00  me dye ceng/Otyeno

4:00 P.M.  10:00 me otyeno

5:00 P.M.  11:00 me otyeno

6:00 P.M.  12:00 me otyeno

7:00 P.M.  1:00 me otyeno

8:00 P.M.  2:00 me otyeno

9:00 P.M.  3:00 me oyeno/

10:00 P.M.  4:00 me otyeno

11:00 P.M.  5:00 me otyeno

12:00 MIDNIGHT  6:00 Me dye wor

1:00 A.M.  7:00  me dye wor

2:00 A.M.  8:00 me dye wor

3:00 A.M.  9:00 me dye wor

4:00 A.M.  10:00 me dye wor

5:00 A.M.  11:00 me dye wor  

Some Useful Phrases

What time is it?................Cawa adii?
It is two o'clock...............Cawa aboro
It is a quarter to four.........Odong dakika 15 me romo cawa apar
It is a qaurter past one......Cawa abiro ki dakika 15

 

 

 

 

 

Anyadwe.
Miss Anyadwe(2008) at Ajulu.
Anyadwe project in Uganda.
Music classes at Anyadwe.
Luo languages and phrases at Anyadwe.
Short stories at Anyadwe.
Books at Anyadwe.

To be continued