Ganda - Luganda - oluGanda

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Categories: Languages, Uganda

1.  Classification / Classification

Ganda (oluGanda, Luganda) belongs to the Nyoro-Ganda family of Bantu (Guthrie E15) (Webbook)

Ethnologue gives the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Nyoro-Ganda (J.10)

Soga (Lusoga, Olusoga), Kenyi (Lukenyi), and Gwere (Lugwere, Olugwere) are among other languages that are closely related (same classification).

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

It is spoken north of the northwestern shore of Lake Victoria in Buganda Province, Uganda. (Webbook)

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to information compiled from Ethnologue:

  • Luganda
    • 3,015,980 (1991 census)
    • 1,000,000 second-language speakers (1999 WA)
  • Others:
    • Gwere: 275,608 (1991 census)
    • Kenyi: 390,115
    • Ruli: 68,010 (1991 census)
    • Soga: 1,370,845 (1991 census)

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

According to information compiled from Ethnologue:

  • Luganda (Lexical similarity 71% to 86% with Soga, 68% with Gwere)
    • Kooki (Olukooki) (The Kooki dialect may be extinct)
    • Sese (Olusese)
    • Luvuma
    • Ludiopa
    • (Luvuma, Ludiope may be dialects)
  • Gwere (Lexical similarity 68% with Ganda, 64% with Soga)
  • Kenyi (Lexical similarity 81% with Soga, 71% to 86% with Ganda, 64% with Gwere, 58% with Saamia)
  • Soga (Lexical similarity 81% with Kenyi, 71% to 86% with Ganda, 64% with Gwere, 58% with Saamia ... Politically distinct from Ganda)
    • Tenga (Lutenga) (Lexical similarity 82% with Ganda)
    • Lamogi (Lulamogi) (79% to 82% lexical similarity with Tenga, ... 88% with Soga, 82% with Gwere)
    • Gabula (Lugabula)
  • (Lusiki is apparently extinct)

Ruruli seems to be between Ganda and Runyakitara

  • Ruli (Lexical similarity 79% between Eastern and Western Ruli, 71% with Nyoro (closest)
    • Eastern Ruli / Nakasongola (influenced by Ganda / lexical similarity 70% with Ganda)
    • Western Ruli / Kuyanoongo (influenced by Nyoro)

IDRC and CASAS (n.d.) did some research on interintelligibility of Luganda and Lusoga.

5.  Usage / Utilisation

Ganda is a regional language in Uganda, the official vernacular language of education in many school districts, and a lingua franca. Broadcasts are heard in Uganda. The Roman Catholic Church of Uganda publishes Musizi in Luganda. (Webbook)

Language of wider communication. The most widely spoken second language in Uganda next to English. ... Used in primary schools. (Ethnologue)

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

A standardized Latin-based orthography for Ganda was devised in 1947. The present status of this orthography is unknown. (Webbook, with modification) [this needs updating!]

A brief discussion entitled "Elements of Luganda Orthography" has some information at . Note also the link to "Empandiika y'Oluganda Entongole" (Standard Orthography of Luganda, 1947)

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

Two versions are indicated in Wikipedia. The first includes an extended character "ŋ" and the second substitutes that with "'ng" since the former was not on typewriters or ASCII fonts:

  1. a b c d e f g i j k l m n ny ŋ o p r s t u v w y z
  2. a b c d e f g i j k l m n 'ng ny o p r s t u v w y z

As reported by Hartell (1993) and presented in Systèmes alphabétiques at :

  • a b ch d e f g i j k l m n ny ŋ o p s t u v w y z

Sample text on the "Language Museum" site:

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

Most standard fonts will do. However if the ŋ (letter "eng") is used, a Unicode font would be necessary (fortunately this character is available in many fonts).

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

a) General and educational web content

b) Development-related web content (apparently materials that can be printed)

c) Diverse other web content

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

ICT Translations Uganda released a Mozilla Web browser in Luganda, called "Kayungirizi." This has not yet been updated. (For the old webpage, see

There is a FOSS localization project called Safari-OS which includes Luganda. See

There is an orgainization that is apparently working on localizing Linux and GNU called "Kompyuta ne Yuganda." See

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

Luganda / Ganda

  • ISO 639-1: lg
  • ISO 639-2: lug
  • ISO 639-3: lug


  • ISO 639-3: gwr


  • ISO 639-3: lke


  • ISO 639-3: ruc


  • ISO 639-3: xog

7.6  Other / Autre

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

James Lunghabo Wire

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile

  • Luganda Scientific Terminologies Research (site does not seem to have been updated recently)

9.  Comments / Remarques

Given the importance of this language in Uganda, it is a logical priority for localisation, and is already the object of software translation efforts and some content development.

Are localisations for Ganda useful for other closely related languages? Has the issue of interintelligibility been pursued since the CASAS/IDRC research?

Given the work being done on Lusoga, should that be separated out to another page? Then how to treat the other languages in this group? Wikipedia redirects Kenyi/Kenye to Lusoga; Ruli/Ruuli and Gwere are apparently very close to each other.

10.  References / Références

Chanard, Christian (2006), Systèmes alphabétiques des langues africaines, LLACAN, CNRS,

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, (page on "Ganda (oluGanda)," )

Hartell, Rhonda L., ed. (1993), The Alphabets of Africa. Dakar: UNESCO and SIL. (The French edition, published the same year, is entitled Alphabets de Langues Africaines).

International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS) (n.d.), "Report of the Evaluation of the Democratization of ICT Content for Africa Pilot Project"

Omniglot, "Ganda (LùGáànda),"

______, "Soga (Lusoga),"

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Ganda,"

______, "Gwere,"

______, "Kenye,"

______, "Ruuli,"

______, "Soga,"

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables,"

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language,"

Wikipedia, "Gwere language,"

______, "Luganda,"

______, "Luganda,"

______, "Ruuli language,"

______, "Soga language,"

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Categories: Languages, Uganda