Aug. 4, 2017


How Luganda words change meanings depending on usage of one or double vowels

In Luganda, spelling is very crucial especially because words can change meanings depending on whether you have written them with single or double vowels.

Consider the examples below:

 1- Okusaka: To do a casual job and be given food in payment.      

    Okusaaka: To stretch by thumping or pounding the bark of Mutuba tree when making bark cloth.

2- Okusona: To knit together pieces of a mat using needle and sisal.

    Okusoona: To beat someone to something which he/she wanted.

3- Ayola: He / She is bringing up (a child)

  Ayoola: He/ She is getting things from the ground.

4- Okusenya: To brush teeth.    

Okuseenya:  Usually refers to hair when it begins to lose its natural colour but before it turns fully gray.

5- Okusiga: To plant      Okusiiga:  To paint.

6- Okusiba: To tie.      Okusiiba:  To fast.

7- Okusula: To spend the night at a place.      Okusuula: To throw away.

8- Okukola: To work      Okukoola: To weed out.

9- Okusoba: Things going wrong.      Okusooba:   To be slow.

10- Okupika: To pump air.    Okupiika: To give more than needed.

11- Okuseera- To hike prices.    Okusera: Night dancer (Ugandan meaning as in Collins dictionary).

12- Okuleega: To stretch something.        Okulega: To taste something especially a drink.

13- Okukoona:  To knock       Okukona: Not fully cooked.

14- Okuboza: To keep something for some time when you could have used it.      Okubooza: To fill a container up to the brim.

15- Okusesa: To make one laugh.           Okuseesa: To push forward.

16- Okuwera: To ban.      Okuweera:  To rest/ get relief.

17- Okuwola: To go cold or to give a loan (same spelling, different intonation).       Okuwoola:  To trim.

18- Okuwuba: To go wrong.      Okuwuuba: To wave.

19- Okuwoma: To take a lead in doing something.   

     Okuwooma: Something tasty.

20- Okusika: To pull.      Okusiika: To fry.

21- Okusala: To cut.      Okusaala: To pray the Muslim way.

22- Okusaba: To ask or pray (same intonation).    Okusaaba: To smear your body with something.

23- Okulama: To survive death/ Not to die.       Okulaama: To make a will.

24- Okumala: To finish.      Okumaala: To smear something on a hard surface.

35- Okusuba: To miss someone or something you wanted.        

      Okusuuba: To swing an object.

36- Okutuma: To order someone.        Okutuuma: To give someone or something a name or put together (pool) things (same spelling different intonation).

37- Okutama: To get fed up.     Okutaama: To become wildly angry.

38- Okutega: To trap.     Okuteega: To waylay/ ambush.

39- Okuvuma: To abuse.  Okuvuuma: To make animal like sounds or motor vehicle engine sound (same intonation).

40- Okuwoza: To cool something.      Okuwooza: To tax business commodities by taking a portion of them.

41- Okubuza: To make someone or something vanish from sight.       

      Okubuuza: To greet or question someone (Same intonation).

42- Okukula: To grow up.       Okukuula: To uproot.

43- Wema: Lick small seeds like simsim from the palm of your hand or plate and eat them.   

      Weema: Tent.

44- Bana: They are four.          Baana: Children.

45- Bina: 400.     Biina: Up and downward movement of eyebrows in a derogatory way.

46- Kama: To milk.    Kaama: A type of yam that usually grows in forests.

47- Okukaka: To force.    Okukaaka: To dislocate.

48- Okukiina: To speak ironically / mock someone.      Okukina: To prevail over or dominate someone.

49- Akaaba: He/ She is crying.       Akaba: Chin bone.

@ Nankinga Margaret




Latest comments

29.11 | 05:08

Nzjaako akatinko in English

30.10 | 17:22

Thanks for the updates.

19.10 | 20:16

Bamuyita batya

19.10 | 20:14

Kyayi mu luganda

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