Aug. 10, 2017


How usage of single or double consonants changes meaning of Luganda words

IT is alleged that at one time, a person was killed because of a misinterpretation of the written word.  A person in authority was informed of an arrest of someone and he sent a note in Luganda with the word “Mute” to the people who had arrested the person.  Not knowing proper spellings and pronunciation of Luganda words, the person who was given the note read out loudly: “Mutte” and they proceeded and killed the arrested person.  But the Luganda word in the note “Mute” meant ‘release the person’ whereas what he read out; “mutte” meant “kill the person”.

That is how crucial Luganda spellings are, to both the writer and the reader. You can easily misunderstand or be misunderstood. Writing single or double consonants can change meaning of words.

Consider the examples below:

1- Okuta: To release

     Okutta: To kill

2- Okuba: To be

     Okubba: To steal

3- Okusa: To grind

    Okussa: To breath

4- Kata: Nearly

   Katta: It kills.

5- Kaga: A cane

    Kagga: A stream

6- Kaza: Make dry

     Kazza: It brings back

7- Kabi: Danger

     Kabbi: He/ She (‘Ka’ is a diminutive prefix in this case) is a thief.

8- Kagi: Small egg

    Kaggi: Small door

9- Kaba:  chin bone

     Kabba:  It stole

10- Kuza: To make grow

     Kuzza: To bring back

11- Kuma: To blow over (fire)

      Kumma: To withhold (refuse to give) something from someone.

12- Siga: To plant

       Sigga: A centipede

         Ssiga: A firestone

13-   Sasa: To scatter

      Ssasa: A workshop (for mechanical work)

14- Saba: Pray.

       Sabba: I did not steal.

15- Muka: of high concentration.

       Mukka: Smoke

16- Muto: He/ She is young.

      Mutto: A cushion

17- Mubi: He/ She is bad.

       Mubbi: He/ She is a thief.

18- Kibo: A bed bug

       Kibbo: A basket

19- Kisa: Kindness

       Kissa: It leads to death.

20- Toma: Don’t appreciate

      Tomma: Don’t withhold

21- Endagu: Witchcraft.

       Endaggu: A type of yam

22- Bula : Disappear

       Bbula: Scarcity

23- Manya: Know

       Mannya: Names

24- Yeba: Get weak

       Yebba: He stole his own / He moved stealthily.

25- Gula: Buy

        Ggula: Open

26- Kula: Grow up

       Kkula: A beauty

27- Lugo: Fence

      Luggo: a long stick

28- Tuza: To cause to choke.

       Tuzza: To sound (the drum)

29- Tuga: Strangle

       Tugga: To stop (vehicle) abruptly/ tie tightly

30- Tama: Fed-up

       Tamma- He /She does not withhold.

31- Bala: Count.

      Bbala: A stain

32- Fuba: Try hard

      Ffuba: Very big chest

33- Yaza: Search

     Yazza: He/ She brought back.

34- Baka: Catch something thrown at you.

      Bakka: They went down.

35- Okusa: To grind.

      Okussa: To breath.

36- Ka: Home

       Kka: Come down

37- Okugula: To buy.

      Okuggula: To open.

38- Bikka: Cover

     Bbika: Push under

     Bika: Announce a death

39- Toba: Get wet.

       Tobba: Don’t steal.

40- Sajja: I did not come.

       Ssajja: A very huge man

41- Kuba: Beat

       Kubba: To steal

42- Siba: Tie

      Sibba: I don’t steal.

@ 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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