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Language and Communication

Although you will easily get by with no understanding of Luganda, a few key phrases will enable you to get a grasp of what's going on around you, and your efforts will be greatly appreciated by your new Ugandan friends, especially when shopping and greeting people.


Key Words and Phrases in Luganda


English Luganda
How are you? Oli otya
Fine! Bulungi
Thank you Webale
No Thanks Sagala
How Much Sente Meka
Goodbye Welaba
Public taxi cab Matatu (usually a whiteToyota minibus with blue check marks around it )
Public motor bike Bodaboda ( A small motorbike used as a taxi over short distances - you sit on the back!)
Where is the bar? Ebaala eliwa?
Is it near? Kiri kumpi?
How much does it cost? Kigula ssente mmeka?
That's too much money Ezo ssente ziyitiridde
Won't you take less? Tosalako?
How can I get to ... Ngenda ntya okutuuka e ...
White person Mzungo (white people are frequently refered to this way - no offence is intended by it)
No Hedda
Wait! Linda!
Where are you going? Ogende-wa?

There is a useful online Luganda phrase book at, and several books you can buy if you want to learn the language.

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