The local language and culture is Lugbara – although English is widely spoken and understood.

Lugbara is classified as a “Nilitic” language (derived from the River Nile) and is also used in nearby parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For overseas visitors wanting to memorise a few phrases the following come from Wikipedia ( :

Lugbara English
Mi ifu ngoni? How did you wake up?/ Good morning!
Ngoni? How are you?
[Ma] Muke! [I’m] Fine!
Ma azoru! I’m sick!
Mi aa ngoni? Good afternoon!
Ayiko ni ma fu! Happiness is killing me!/ I’m happy!
Abiri ni ma fu(fu)! Hunger is killing me!/ I’m hungry!
Sawa si? What time is it?
Sawa alu o’bitisi. 7:00 a.M. [To tell time, you mention the number on the opposite side of the clock. Sawa iri is 8 O’clock, Sawa na is 9 O’clock, etc.]
Sawa modri drini alu ondresi 5:00 p.m.
Mi efi! Come in!
Ife mani ‘yi! Give me water!
Kirikiri! Please!
Ada! True!
Inzo! Lies!
Iko ma aza! Help me!
Ine! See!
Mi a’bua ozi si? How much do you sell bananas?
Ajeni si? How much [is the price]?
Ale Obangulu! I want mashed whiteants!
Ma mu Gili Gili-a ngoni? How do I get to Gili Gili?
Arojo ngoa? Where is the drugshop?
Mi ru adi-i? What is your name?
Ma ru Joel-i! I’m called Joel!
Awa’di fo! Thanks!
Ale mi ra! I love you!
Ma enga Ombaci-a. I’m from Ombaci.
Ma mu kanisa-a. I’m going to church.
Mi ma agi! You are my friend!
Ma mu Ariwara-a ngoni? How do I get to Ariwara?
Mosikiti ngwa? Where is the mosque?
Mi ma ji Ragem-a ra? Can you take me to Ragem?
Iji ma Ediofe-a! Take me to Ediofe!
Ba mucele ozi ngwa? Where is rice sold?
Aje/ andru/ drusi/ drozi Yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow
Ila muke! Sleep well!
Ale ra! I want! [The word ‘ra’ after a verb denotes positivity.]
Ale ku! I don’t want! [The word ‘ku’ after a verb denotes negativity.]


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