TECHNICAL REPORT ON LUGANDA ORTHOGRAPHY HARMONISATION
Luganda, also known as Ganda or Oluganda [lug] is a Bantu language of Central Uganda, belonging to the Niger- Congo Bantu language family. It is spoken by about 6,564,750 L1 and L2 users within Uganda (Ethnologue).The language is also spoken in the Kagera region of Tanzania, Busia, Malaba and Bungoma in Kenya and Rwanda as a language of business. Luganda is tonal with three tones; the high, the low and the falling.
2.0 GENERAL HARMONISED SPELLING RULES OF LUGANDA
(i) Luganda has five qualitative vowels (a,e,i,o,u). Each vowel quality consists of a long and a short vowel.
(ii) Luganda has 22 consonants (w, y, c, h, η, b, p, v, f, m, d, t, l, r, n, z, s, j, g, k, ny, nÿ
(iii)There should be no Luganda word which starts with consonant “r”.
(iv)Two unlike vowels should not be written following each other in one word. Where this occurs, one of the dissimilar vowels is removed and replaced with a semi vowel; w or y.
ku + ola = kuola becomes kuwola (to lend)
Mi + eso= mieso becomes myeso (board games)
(v)Two unlike consonants should not be written following each other except when a consonant is followed by a semi vowel.
okwoza, mukwate, okukyawa
(vi)The liquids [l] and [r] are allophones of a single phoneme /l~r/, although the distinction is reflected in the orthography.
In a word, where letter “a”, “o” or “u” precedes this letter then ‘l’ should be written.
Example: okuleeta (to bring), kasooli (maize), omulimu (work)
Where e or i precedes, ‘r’ should be written as follows;
Example: leero (today), muliro (fire). eriiso (eye)
(vii) Luganda does not have the “ch” combination. Letter c is used instead of ‘cha’
Examples: okucakala , caayi
(viii) The following words are written disjunctively; locatives, narratives, genitives, relative objective pronouns, copula, demonstrative pronouns and interrogatives.
(ix) Borrowed or loan words are written as pronounced by the native language users and follow Luganda orthography rules.
Examples shirt - ssaati, coat - kkooti, taxi - takisi
(x) Negative forms followed by verbs are written conjunctively.
Examples: tetumulaba, sisoma, saabiraba
But negative forms followed by a noun or pronoun are written disjunctively.
Example: si musajja, si mulungi, si muyivu
(xi) Names of places that have been indigenised are written as pronounced by native Luganda speakers.
Examples: Bugereeki – Greece
Bubirigi – Belgium
(xii) Duplicated forms and word compounds should be written as single words.
Examples: Okuzingazinga, Okukoonakoona, Okusabaasaba
(xiii) Personal names should be written as they are spelt in the original languages. However, indigenised personal names are also accepted.
Examples: John or Yokaana or Yowana
Catherine or Kasalina or Katalina
Maria or Maliya
Jesus or Yezu or Yesu
(xiv) Where you have a consonant/semi vowel combination a single vowel should be written even if an elongated sound is heard in speech,
Examples: kwana, mwaka, myaka byagi.
But the rule does not apply where there are double consonants before the semi vowel. In this case, double vowels should be used to portray elongated sounds.
Example: ddwaaliro, ggwaatiro, ddwaaniro.
(xv) Where there is a nasal/ consonant compound, the preceding vowels should not be doubled even if elongated sound is heard in speech.
Examples: kambe, samba, tunda, yimba, empanga
(xvi) Compound nouns are written conjunctively with no apostrophe
Examples Owa + oluganda= Owooluganda
Owa+ ekitiibwa= Oweekitiibwa
(xvii) Tonal markings should be used only when necessary such as in dictionaries, reading materials targeting Luganda L2 learners and users, etc.
In Luganda we have short and long vowels.
Short vowels should be used when there is no elongated sound.
- Leka (leave)
- Tema (cut)
- sika ( pull).
Double vowels should be used when there is an elongated sound. aa, ee, ii, oo, uu.
- kaaba( cry)
- teeba ( guess)
- siika’ (roast)
- toola (pick)
- tuula( sit)
The vowels are also divided into close vowels - i and u. They are called “close” because when they are pronounced the tongue is positioned close to the roof of the mouth. The close vowels are also divided into front (i) and back (u) depending on where the highest point of the tongue is positioned when pronouncing them. There are also close mid ‘e’ and ‘o’ as well as open ‘a’ where the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth.
However, where length is predictable and is not semantically contrastive it is represented by a short vowel. These exceptions include:
3.1.1 Glide compounds
Elongated vowel length following a consonant plus a semi vowel should be written with a single vowel e.g.
3.1.2 Nasal compounds
A nasal/ non-nasal consonant compound should be preceded by a single vowel even when there is an elongated sound in speech.
Examples, Amanda (charcoal), Okugenda (to go), Empingu (handcuffs)
As noted above Luganda has 22 consonants. The consonants are divided into labial (p,b), alveolar (t,d), palatal (c) and velar (k,g). This classification depends on the position of the tongue when sounding is in the mouth when pronouncing them.
Consonants are also divided into plosives (p,b,t,d,c,k,g,); fricatives (f,v,s,z); nasal (m, η, ny nÿ) and approximants. This classification depends on place of articulation of the consonants.
5. WORD DIVISION
5.1 Copulas and Locatives
The copulas and Locatives in Luganda e.g. ku, e, mu are written disjunctively. e.g. ku ntebe (on the chair), mu nnyumba (in the house), e Kampala ( in Kampala).
5.2 Negative Particles (si, te)
These should be written conjunctively with the verb that that follows e.g si + genda= sigenda (I am not going), te+ tugenda= tetugenda (we are not going)
But in case the negative comes before a noun or pronoun, the two are written disjunctively e.g. si kikulu, si musawo, si mulwadde
Honorifics should be separated from the nouns e.g Mwami Mukasa, Mukyala Naluwooza
l Possessives (ya, wa, kya etc)should be separated from the nouns which follow them e.g ekitabo kya Mukasa (Mukasa’s book), omwana wa Mubiru (Mubiru’s child)
l Where contraction of possessive is done, then the contracted possessive should be written conjuctively with the noun. E.g. Kojja + wange = Kojjange (my uncle).
Jjajja + wuwe = Jjajjaawe (his/her grand parent
Maama + wange= Maamange= Mmange (my mother).
Jjajja + wuwo = Jjajjaawo
5.5 Associatives and Pronouns
Associatives and pronouns are written disjunctively from the nouns e.g. omwana omuddugavu (the black child), omusajja omuwanvu (the tall man).
Demonstratives(oyo, eyo etc) should be written disjunctively e.g. omwana ono (this child), embwa eyo (that dog).
6.7 Idiophones and Onomatopoeia
These should be written disjunctively and end with an exclamation e.g. be ddu!, be sswi!, be ttwa!, be ttuli!
These should be written disjunctively. Vowels of exclamation do not exceed two e.g.ii!, yii! If there is continuous elongated sound, three dots are used after the exclamation vowels e.g. ii!, woo!, yii…! haa…!
7.0 DUPLICATED COMPOUND VERBS
These should be written conjunctively e.g. okutoolatoola, okubbabba, okusalaasala, okuyombayomba
8.1 Names of places, people, languages and geographical features
These should be written as they are currently spelt e.g. Nairobi, Kigali, Tanzania, Rwenzori
8.2 Borrowed Words
These should be written as sounded by the native language users, for example; coat - kkooti, box -bbookisi, tie - ttaayi, and shirt - ssaati.
8.3 Use of Apostrophe
The apostrophe should be used when:
- a conjunction comes next to a common noun which begins with a vowel e.g. ne+ embuzi becomes n’embuzi (and goats), ne+omwana becomes n’omwana.
This rule is not applicable in case to proper nouns. e.g.ne Afrika , ne Amerika, ne Annet;
- Indicatives come after possessives e.g. aba + e Munyonyo becomes ab’e Munyonyo
owa + e Kampala we write ow’e Kampala. The apostrophe replaces the last vowel of the first word.
9.0 Sample text
EDDA ennyo, ku kyalo Kyalusowe kwaliko omusajja Ssonko ng’alina ne mukyalawe Zibanja. Baalina muwala waabwe Bukirwa naye nga si mulungi mulwadde era nga bamufukako amazzi n’oganywa. Abasajja bangi abajjanga okumwogereza naye mu bo abaasinga okusimba akaggo yali Sseggwanga, Ssewajjuba, mwanamulenzi Waffulungu n’omulala Wakkookootezi.
Ssonko ne mukyalawe baasoberwa ku bano bonna gwe baba bawa muwala waabwe eyalungiwa okuzaama. Kyokka baali bakyali mu kusala entotto, laba ate Ssonko bw’agwirwa ekimbe mu kiro. Yaaye yaaye yadda ku mimwa era bwali bukya n’akutuka!
Hoo! Kyalusowe yasannyalala era nga ekibi bwe kikira ehhoma okulawa, ebigambo by’okufa kwa Ssonko byabuubuuka nga oluyiira olw’ekyanda ne bituuka ne ku basajja bonna abaali beeyagaliza muwala wa Ssonko.
Bano olwabiwulira buli omu n’asalawo okukungubaga n’amaanyi ge gonna amatize abasigaddewo nti anyoleddwa nnyo era y’asaana okutwala nnalulungi Bukirwa.
Sseggwanga ye yasooka okutuuka mu maka g’omugenzi Ssonko ng’alina ne banne abaamuwerekerako. Olwali okutuuka kwe kuvaamu omulanga nti:
Ssonko afudde oo…!
Ssonko afudde oo…!
Abaaliwo bonna baasooka ne basiriikirira nga beewuunya omulanga oguvudde mu musajja ayogereza mwannyinaabwe. Baamuwa akatebe n’atuula.
10.0 FOLLOW UP ACTIVITIES AFTER HARMONISATION
- The Commission with support from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) will finalise the harmonisation of the Luganda Orthography.
- MGLSD and ACALAN to support the constitution of an assembly of academicians to review the harmonised Luganda Orthography.
- Document harmonised Luganda Orthography as audited by the assembly of academicians.
- Disseminate the harmonised Luganda Orthography to key stakeholders.
- Advocate for a Policy on Language- National Language Structure, Academy of Languages
10.0 STRATEGIES TO GET CHANGES KNOWN BY STAKEHOLDERS
- Engage Government- MGLSD to ensure the management of orthographies are integrated into Policy and Law;
- Engage the Media to disseminate the harmonised Luganda Orthography
- Training of key stakeholders on the harmonised Luganda Orthography (Commission members, teachers, Lecturers , Press)
COMMISSION MEMBERS AND OTHER PEOPLE WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT
1. Ms Margaret Nankinga – Uganda
2. Mr. Andrew Kaggwa – Uganda
3. Ms Florence Nabachwa – Uganda
4. Mr. Fred Kisirikko – Uganda
5. Mr. Mutale Ttendo – Uganda
6. Ms Joyce Tomusange– Uganda
7. Ms. Pamela Batenga – Uganda
8. Mr.Bakaye Lubega – EAC
9. Ms Peggy Namakula – Uganda
10. Dr. Adam Kimala – Uganda
11. Ruth Muguta – Uganda (Focal Point/MGLSD)
Janet Harkness, Brita Dorer and Peter Ph Mohler, 2016: Shared Language Harmonisation
Larry M. Hyman & Francis X. Katamba, 2010: Syntax and Prosodic Domains in Luganda
Livingstone Walusimbi, 2015: Empandiika y’Oluganda Entongole
Medadi Ssentanda, Kate Huddleston &Frenette Southwood, 2016 : The Politics of Mother Tongue Education: The Case of Uganda
Michael Cahill and Elk Karan, 2008- 001: Factors in Designing Effective Orthographies for unwritten languages
Namyalo et al, 2007: A unified Standardised Orthography of Eastern Interlacustrine Bantu Languages
Thomas A Sebeok: Current Trends in Linguistics
( A REPORT FROM WORKSHOP ON HARMONISATION OF THE WRITING SYSTEMS OF KISWAHILI, KINYARWANDA/KIRUNDI, LUGANDA, MALAGASY AND SOMALI CROSS-BORDER LANGUAGES HELD FROM 15TH-17TH NOVEMBER 2018 AT THE SPEKE RESORT HOTEL, MUNYONYO KAMPALA).