Lokang Jackson February 23, 2017


Introduction: Most if not all languages in the world are tonal that just means one word spelled same with lots of meanings in their pronunciation, interpretations, and spellings e.g. mega means ownership in Luo but it means quantity in other languages including English.

What is Language? Identity and culture of a society. We speak what we know excluding what we don’t know. If you speak more than one language, you have more than one culture hence you becomes intercultural and linguistic. Language can also be understood as a single entity in the world making it a different not yet reach and learnt skills, but presumably words might give us clues.

Luo solutions to tonal: We could double some letters like Mo meaning some or MOO meaning oil, a meaning get up or AA meaning getting up instead, we decided to keep it same.

Dialects: Dialect is a term use in Luo frequently to identify a tribe, clan or lineage from each other. Dialect in other languages are known as slangs-the things that has meaning to one tribe and has another to another tribe. Tudu means connection in Acholi Gulu and Kitgum, but Tudo is what is use in Acholi in Magwi and Atyak. It take a person who have been to both sides of the countries, societies and cultures to understand the similarities and differences otherwise, it is understood a different thing. Acholi of Magwi and Atyak prefer to use O in their words while Gulu and Kitgum prefers to use U. It is a choice that is chosen by tribes in these places. It could also be because of the letter U used often in the name of their towns and many other things follow because of a situation, a cultural swift at one point in time.

Words and meanings: There are standards or base line-the starting point of language and everything else originate from that very beginning.

La, Ja: This two words are used to describe singular objects or nouns and they are used interchangeably e.g. La kuman or ja Nam.

Ma: Is a common word among all Luo? It could be translated to TO BE or THE. It is use this way Ma Ber, Ma Kwiri (better, good etc), Ma Nyen (new) etc. it is often miss used because it becomes combine like Maber etc

RA: Ra is used at the end of a word e.g. Aluora. Let me divide this words into more than one. When you say Aluo means am afraid; Luora means go around me and Aluora means something be gone round (either person or object). In the old days that is what use to be done even today some of Luo culture is still Luora e.g dance, eating used to be one but now removed.

Ya: Then here comes ya issue. In Luo in general, ya is a question mark e.g. i a ya did you get up? i gamo ya did you recieve it? I kwanyo ya did you take it? Some Luo Acholi and Lango in particular have made some bad changes to the Luo language or should I say they have over modernised the language? They have removed a major and that is the R. Now we have issues e.g lo which can only be the plural of things or nouns, but with an R to it you have Lor which means descending or melting or dissolving. If we have Lorya you have about two things combine i.e lor ya Is it descending? Of course we should all know by now that to have a name in Luo you have to make any word a noun by putting either an A or O to mean female or male. Let’s say we have Oloya what would you say? I think what we have isn't it descending? More names with ya Obwoya, Akwinya,

O, E, I (Ngo and Nge): This two words are very complex when used at end of a word or sentence(s). They themselves are words. Ngo an ask word correlating to what, while Nge describes an object hind. Whe you said words like Abinongo (I will get it later) or Abinonge (I will get it). Here Ngo at the end of a word stands for past tense e.g. thanked, loved, best while Nge stands for past participle e.g. I will (get, receive, etc.). I however, is a noun when used at end of sentence like Abinongi. At this stage you are using second person in a conversation.

O, E, I: When we use o, e, i at end of word, they mean past present, past and continues tenses. nongo means S/he find it which is past tense; nonge means can been found which is a past participle and nongi means find which is present tense. Lets try a new word "Kwan". Kwano means he/she is reading/counting; kwane means is readable which is participle and kwani/kwana means read/count for me which is past tense

I: The most formidable letter yet forgotten. I is the third most popular letter for naming in Luo (in general), but I comes with its twists. I in most cases is for PAK (sweet names like sweet whatever etc. in English). Ibwo, idie, ituk etc. When i is used in words like ibwo of course it means in the net. This come from Dwar (hunting) call ite cel (back yard). This hunting is mostly down after twod (following something till end but without their knowledge). It is done in circle. Net is erected around the place where animal is expected to and man guards it while women, youth goes inside with leaves trying to scare the animal.

η (ng, nag): In most tribes ng is a letter of an alphabet. It is very quiet when pronounced i.e. you do not say or pronounce it like n and g singularly. It’s pronounced ing in wrestling, engine etc. when words like Kongy are pronounced, they sounds like Kong-gy, but in the actual sense, it is Kong-nyi. This can also help us remove y at the end of every word. Instead of writing kongy we will just write koη

δ (nd): There was no way we could improve on nd spelling at the beginning of a word. We borrowed δ to solve it. It will only be at the beginning of a sentence like ngeku (δeku), angai (will remain angai); ndelu (δelu) because having it in the middle of words creates more complications.


Two and onward is considered many. In Luo, plural comes in many forms.

Lo, Jo, Ji: This two words are used to describe plural objects or nouns and they are used interchangeably e.g. Lo Gulu or jo Kisumu meaning people of. Luo also have a way to give names to things and people by using A or O in front of a word e.g. Cheng becomes Acheng, Mito becomes Amito. Think of any word you just used to two letters in front to mean either A for female or O for male, but not necessarily true because names like Ayella belongs to male yet uses A and Oyella uses O yet is for female.

Language Population: We cannot count how many people speaks a language because we will never know. Colours, tribes, countries and continents need to all be included when we want to know how many people speaks a language. Language population can also be taken on by words that are used frequently. That will mean many people actually speaks one language and that is how we have simplified Luo language.

Conclusion: You do not need a language to be a person, have a culture, belong to a society but, knowing more than one languages, makes you have more knowledge and know more about the person who knows less languages. There is no special language on this planet because all languages originates out of something, mean something, and can translate another language to mean something hence, they represent something in our lives. Languages can be learnt, translated, transformed, and expanded with time to reach more people, be spoken by many people and become an acceptable by many people.

Lokang Jackson August 27, 2016

Is an alternative to noun. Pronounce in other word a adjective of nouns in general. Grouping things as a single entity and calling them one name. One people are in a group, it is difficult to know all of them by their names in this case they are categorised in groups of gender e.g. she/he and number e.g. they, them, it, us, That, these, those, this, all.

Pronounce Luo singular(Aciel)
Luo Plural(Ma dwong)
she Anyaka Anyira
he Awobi Awobe
they Gin(Under development) gin duc
them Jo(Under development) Ji
it gini

Us wan
That ca ni cage ni
these ego ni ego gi
those cage ni
this eni ene ni
All Weng

NOTE: Under development

Lokang Jackson August 27, 2016

We can agree by now that letters do not make words, but segmenting letters make us have meaningful words. Linguistical disabilities and abilities creates differences in our way of communicating information in spite of meanings. When you speak languages, you are probably going to have an ease in learning a new one because all tricks are same, but syllables makes the situation a little different. Attachment and availability things e.g. food, trees, animals, unusual things we are used to doing allow us use it often and that is our nature. Other people prefers to use Th, au, ph, f, i at the end or beginning of a word and that totally their choice as long as that is what makes them happy and keep them at peace. Why border about it and so are they. Don't get confuse because syllable is so close to pronunciation.

Example 1 Au or Ou

Otto: 2 syllables; ot and to

Outhow: 3 syllables; Ou, tho, ow

example 2 th and i

Ariet: 2 syllables; A and riet

Arieth: 3 syllables; A, Rie and th

Arieti(ariet i): 4 syllables; A, rie, ti, i. The confusion here is that other tribes will say rieti while others will say Riet i(with an ie sound)

example 3 w and i

Opio: 2 syllables; opi, io(the two syllables are hardly noticed because it does not end on i but rather makes it a bridge)

Ophiew: 3 syllables; O, phi(similar to an f sound), ew(e u(eiu) sound)

example 5

Nyalupa: 3 syllables; nya, lu and pa

Nyilubai: 4 syllables; nyi, lu, ba and i

nyingeyotayotato: 7 syllables; nyi, nge, yo, a, yo, ta, to

Lokang Jackson August 27, 2016

We describe what we see, feel, think or hear in a way that matches it. Sometimes we do that for fun, other times because it makes us angry or excited whatever the case may be it at least represents something.

word description
1 Slowly walking
Ciluk ciluk, Chiluk, Chiluk, Shiluk, shiluk
2 Purely clean
pili pili
3 gloomy face ngwaki
4 slowly ndol ndol
5 hardly wing wing
6 laughable Mak Nyero
7 continues laughing Ying ying
8 passer by(kato) Tila, Tila
9 sloppier drinker Mbel Mbel

Lokang Jackson August 27, 2016

Every(Ma Gwi) tribe have a special letter beginning or end of word they used often compared to others e.g. O, A, I, Lo, N, M. TH, PH is and Y, I are letters that confuses at all time. Y and i are often either doubled or used separately in words. Putting special letters at beginning of words clearly alter the meaning making it trade mark of that tribe.

Kato Bura pio riek
O Okato Obura Opio Oriek
A Akato Abura Apio Ariek
I ikato ibura ipio iriek
Lo Lokato lobura lopia lorieko
N Nkato Nbura Npio Nriek
M Mkato Mbura Mpio Mriek
TH Katoth Burath Pioth thriek
PH pHio, pHiow, phiew
Y Yako yura yio yiek

Lokang Jackson August 26, 2016

Quite people normally have such strong wording meaning more consonants than vowels. Loud people depends on ascents i.e they want to sound but hide their meaning while its the opposite on the other side. Talking about the Africans big two tribes - the Bantu and Nilotic in general, The bantu used consonants often than the Nilotic and trust me, when they Nilotic speak, you can hear it as far as 5km away. Both Bantu and Nilotic are highlands and lowlands and are both not based on few tribes inside each of them. Having say that, other Bantu tribes pronounce and behave more like Nilotic and so are the Nilotic to Bantu. Below are some words:-

Word Bantu Nilotic
be Mbe Ber
oto otto otoo
dong Ndong dong
bote Mbote bote

Words used in the example above do not take in meanings

Lokang Jackson August 26, 2016

Words already exists and that is the easiest part for all of us at this point because all tribes speak and expresses themselves. Our interests are not in the word though, but rather how do they get formed. If rethink alphabet, then words are bunch of letters minced together whatever it actual real meaning is for now. So letters do really form word and so are words to sentence - which is beyond the scope of this article. Let try to pic two letters closely linked and are used interchangeably e.g. K and C and S and C. S and C are problems of their own because they are not actually interchangeably but they are real letters that other tribes missed in their alphabet. Borrowing ideas from language fundamental, K and C are either temperate or food oriented issues.

initial Word Word with K
Word with c
Word with S
1 ongo Kongo Congo Songo
2 Wa Kwa Cwa Swa
3 i ki ci si

If we gather let say fifty(50) tribes and asked all of them to explain what the above words means, there is a probability that a few of them will rime.

Lokang Jackson August 25, 2016

In short, alphabet are symbols however, symbols can be anything. It is what defined society i.e an identity of a society. We also have to remember that society is numbers of communities and in Africa that is tribes and ethnics. In the two there are many divisions that makes it difficult to find a single identity for all. When situations turn this way, we take the the commonly used and mostly important e.g. Cua, Task(lak Liech), and Lango and common in Luo. To make that a reality, we need to defined identity of society - what the above represent in terms of culture, religion, people and ideas or quest for unknown. Culturally, drum and OLOTO are common hence, the letter that represent e.g. entertainment, dance, music should come from combination or one of the two because culture is actually three or more of the above. If culture means religion, let say, religion is a believe or constant quest of that we know yet seems too far from us. We therefore, will now want to find out how many tribes know the word religion and what does it translate to them? Imagine it is called Lega, but can we see, lega? No!? but know what it represents wherefore, the symbol becomes that what is we know e.g. represent a man who ones fought or defended entire society from disaster, out break etc. What do he do that time, what did he say, what did he look like what did he like? That is based on what we already know. What if it means reflection of ourselves?

Alphabets are also written during time of transition - a change of life from one thing to another e.g Farmers decided to work on machenic, fisher man decided to become politician, lecturer decided to become a community developer. We now need to look deep into say hundred(s) or thousand(s) of years a head and behind and put in place a symbol that will stand between this time because we want to keep what we do now constant and should mean exactly what we mean now and then.

Lokang Jackson August 23, 2016

If there is one thing we all need to appreciate about God, then it is how created us same while on the same note created us different. We are talking about language. We differ from each other in terms of how we question our position on this planet against each other. The closer we originally together, we becomes same and so does the opposite. Our differences are also influence by temperature and Food - extreme cold and extreme hot and bitter, soar, and sweet food effects a lot. How doe this affect language then? Our tongue is the center for verbal speech. This creates favours ways we pronounce word specifically letters.


Home: Let's take it deeper. Letter H is opposed in other tribes for that reason, they alternatively chooses another whenever H is use at the beginning and rarely inside word. Other tribes choose K for H that makes Home becomes Kome. There are tribes that do not appreciate K therefore, they use R replacing first letter with Rome.

Meanings: Now, pronunciations are different from what the first tribe has pronounced. Entire meaning becomes totally different to all the three tribes.

home: is residential.

Kome: Refers to self, but not all tribes pronunciation sound same. Others might pronounce it Komi here we have another meaning.

Rome: Meaning enough for s/he, them etc. Same word also means a place of resident making it reversible. Here we have two different word closely having same meaning, but does place of resident means where I, you, she, he, they, them etc lives?

In the end, language has words, but what it carries with it makes a culture. Culture is an identity of group of people in a locality. With it comes living standard, society, Religion, technology, system etc. All people speak through sign, vision, hearing, touch etc.