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.