Note: Greetings are very important in Luganda. They are often used to start-up conversations. See below for some short conversations;
... But before we set off, you will notice that I have kept the translations as close as possible to the literal meaning to give you an insight of the actual sensitivity and feeling attached to the phrase.
Morning greetings; (Formal)
A: Wasuze otyanno ssebo/nnyabo? - How did you spend the night Sir/Madam?
B: Bulungi ssebo/nnyabo, wasuze otyanno? - Well sir/madam, how did you spend the night?
A: Bulungi. - Well
Key words: Ssebo - Sir , Nnyabo - Madam
Afternoon and Evenning greetings; (Formal)
A: Osiibye otyanno ssebo/nnyabo? - How have you spent the day sir/madam?
B: Bulungi, osiibye otyanno ssebo/nnyabo? - Well, how have you spent the day?
A: Bulungi - Well
Greetings Cont'd; (Informal)
Beth: Oli otya Robert? - How are you Robert?
Robert: Gyendi, oli otya Beth? - I am fine, how are you Beth?
Beth: Gyendi - I am fine.
Note; As a common practice with majority of Ugandan languages, it's always good to start with a greeting especially if you are meeting someone for the first time.
Robert: Nze Robert, ggwe ani? - I am Robert, who are you?
Beth: Nze Beth. - I am Beth.
Robert: Nva Uganda, ova wa? - I come from Uganda, where do you come from?
Beth: Nva Canada - I am from Canada.
Robert: Obeera wa mu Canada? - Where do you live in Canada?
Beth: Mbeera Alberta mu Canada. - I live in Alberta in Canada.
Robert: Ndi Musomesa, ggwe okola ki? - I am a teacher, what do you do?
Beth: Ndi Musawo. - I am a doctor.
Weeraba - Goodbye.
Sula bulungi - Spend the night well (used as 'have a goodnight')
Beera bulungi - Stay well
Siiba bulungi - Spend the day well (used as 'have a good day')
Tunaalabagana - We will see each other (used as 'see you later')
Weebale nyo - Thank you very much, (also see; weebale ssebo/nnyabo - thank you sir/madam)
Nsanyuse okukulaba - I am happy/glad to see you. (Often used as the welcome phrase)
Weebale kufumba or Ofumbye nyo - thanks for cooking or You cooked well.
Saagala Kaawa - I don't want coffee.
Ate ggwe? - How about you?
Ddamu - repeat
Mpola / mpola mpola - slowly / quite slowly.
Genda mpola - go slowly.
Ddamu mpola - repeat slowly.
Sirina sente. - I have no money.
Yee / Nedda - Yes / No
Simanyi - I don't know
Sitegedde - I have not understood.
Otegeeza ki? - what do you mean?
Luganda does not have a particular word for 'sorry'; but depending on the situation, there are different ways to apologize and show sympathy or even empathy.
Nga olabye. - I am sorry for what has happened to you.
Nga kitalo. - What a tragedy / What a horrible thing. (only used during bereavement to express your condolence)
Nsonyiwa - Forgive me
Tofaayo - don't mind
Barclays Banka eri wa? - Where is Barclays Bank?
Eri ku Kampala Road. - It's on Kampala road
Barclays banka eri kumpi ne Nandos - Barclays bank is near/next to Nandos.
Tooyi eri wa? - Where is the toilet?
John ali wa? - Where is John?
Simanyi - I don't know
lindako - Please wait
Kono / Ddyo - Left / Right
Olinayo mmere ki? - what food do you have?
Mpa 'menu' ssebo/nnyabo - Give me the menu sir/madam
Njagala matooke ne nnyama - I want matooke (plantain) and beef.
Olina biya? - Do you have beer?
Njagala biya - I want beer
Njagala mazzi. - I want water
Mpa sooda - Give me soda
Mpa egilaasi ya mazzi. - Give me a glass of water
Sente meka? - How much money?
Mpa biilu yange. - Give me my bill.
Weebale era weerabe. - Thank you and goodbye.
That's it! - go out confidently with an open mind and explore - You could quite easily continue learning Luganda to build on these phrases - if you wish too. It's that simple!
Weebale nyo! (thank you very much!)
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