The Luo Language of Kenya: Basic Vocabulary and Conversation

Updated on August 15, 2019
Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel loves researching Kenyan culture and history. He is also an artist and likes to share what he knows with others.

A boat for domestic tourists on Lake Victoria
A boat for domestic tourists on Lake Victoria | Source

Luo is classified as a Nilotic language. My first language is Kikuyu, which is a Bantu language, and it is as different from Luo as English is from Russian. However, there are some subtle similarities. I do not claim to be an expert in this beautiful language, but I have sufficient working knowledge that I can share with you. As we explore this language together, we will increase our vocabulary and understand the grammar in finer detail. By the end of this lesson, you too will be able to express yourself in Luo, also known as Dholuo.

Who Speaks Luo?

The Luo of Kenya and Tanzania are a Nilotic-speaking people whose main occupations are fishing, farming, and animal husbandry. They are settled around Lake Victoria where, along the shores and many islands, fish are plentiful. Having come down the Nile, the Luo of Kenya have Luo or Lwo-speaking cousins in Sudan, from where they most recently migrated. Other Luo dialects are spoken in Uganda, such as Alur and Acholi.

First, let us learn the basics.

A. The Luo Language Structure

Luo has a CVC or VC structure—consonant/vowel/consonant or vowel/consonant. This means that Luo words can end in a consonant, like gin, they are. This is unlike Bantu languages, where words must end in a vowel. Luo language is, therefore, more similar to English articulation, while Bantu languages are more like Italian.

B. Luo Pronunciation

Luo vowels are similar to English – a, e, i, o, and u.

However, some words can end in the syllables ng and ny. In IPA, the palatal nasal consonant [ɲ], which sounds like ny. For example:

  • Chieng, piny, many

Words can also end in the velar nasal [ŋ], written as ng’. For example:

  • Anyang’ — (a boy’s name)

Another interesting word ending is w. For example:

  • Chiew(to get up)

These endings are impossible in Bantu languages, which would add a vowel at the end of each word—such as in the Kikuyu words nyanya and Ng’ang’a.

In Luo, unlike Bantu, it is also possible to start a word with a 'y' such as in the words below. For example:

  • Ywech, yweyo

Mother tongue interference is noticeable when Luo speakers speak in English, especially with words ending with ‘sh’, such as fish. For a Luo speaker, this sound is pronounced ‘s.’ A common example would be the phrase "fresh fried fish"—it is pronounced as "fres' fried fis," in a typical Luo accent.

The Verb "to Be" in Luo

English
Luo
English
Luo
First Person Singular
 
First Person Plural
 
An
I am
Wan
We are
Ne an
I was
Ne wan
We were
Abiro bet
I will be
Wabiro bet
We will be
Second Person Singular
 
Second Person Plural
 
In
You are
Un
You (all) are
Ne in
You were
Ne un
You (all) were
Ibiro bet
You will be
Ubiro bet
You (all) will be
Third Person Singular
 
Third person Plural
 
En
He/She is
Gin
They are
Ne en
He/She was
Ne gin
They were
Obiro bet
He/She will be
Gibiro bet
They will be

Memorize Luo Vocabulary Words

Below, you will find many sets of vocabulary on several helpful topics. It's important to memorize them so that you can hold a conversation and understand your peers!

Numbers

Luo
English
Luo
English
Achiel
one
Apar gachiel
eleven
Ariyo
two
Apar gariyo, Apar gadek, etc.
twelve, thirteen, etc.
Adek
three
Piero ariyo
twenty
Ang'wen
four
Piero ariyo gachiel, piero ariyo gariyo, etc.
twenty one, twenty two, etc.
Abich
five
Piero adek
thirty
Auchiel
six
Piero angwen
forty
Abiriyo
seven
Piero abich
fifty
Aboro
eight
Piero auchiel
sixty
Ochiko
nine
Piero ochiko
ninety
Apar
ten
Mia achiel
one hundred

Family

Luo
English
Luo
English
Wuon
father
Wuonwa
my father
Min
mother
Minwa
my mother
Wuod
son
Nyae
daughter
Kwaro
grandfather
Dayo
grandmother
Ner
uncle
Way
auntie
Jobatha
my neighbor
 
 

Days of the Week

Luo
English
Mok tich
Monday
Tich ariyo
Tuesday
Tich adek
Wednesday
Tich angwen
Thursday
Tich a buch
Friday
Chieng nyasaye
Sunday
Ndwe
month
Iga
year

Around the Home

Luo
English
Luo
English
Ot
house/hut
Dero
granary
Todo
roof
Dier ot
floor
Okombe
cup
Glas
glass
San
plate
Agulu
pot
Agwata
half calabash
Tol
rope
Kom
chair/seat
Mesa
table
Kabat
cupboard
Komb sofa
sofa/couch
Uriri
bed
Ywech
broom
Pat kira
slippers
Wuoch
shoes

Professions

Luo
English
Daktar
doctor
Fund mbao
carpenter
Japur
farmer
Jakwath
herdsman
Japuonj
teacher
Jaworo
glutton

Body Parts

Luo
English
Wi
head
Yie wich
hair
Lak
tooth
Leke
teeth
Lep
tongue
Ng'ut
neck
Gok
shoulder
Bat
arm
Okumbo
elbow
Kor
chest
Ich
stomach
Chong
knee
Tielo
leg

The Senses

Luo
English
N'gi
look
Ne
see
Chik iti
listen
Mul
touch
Mormor
warm
Liet
hot
Ng'ich
cold
Yom
soft
Tek
hard

Animals

Luo
English
Luo
English
Mbura
cat
Ondiek
hyena
Nyambura
kitten
Kwach
leopard
Guok
dog
Sibuor
lion
Oyieyo
rat
Sibuor madhako
lioness
Apuoyo
rabbit
Omuga
rhinoceros
Nyuok
he-goat
Jowi
buffalo
Diel
she-goat
Tiga
giraffe
Thuol
snake
Liech
elephant
Ngong ruok
chameleon
Winyo
bird
Ongogo
locust
Dede
grasshopper
Kich
bee
Suna
mosquita
Pino
wasp
Olwenda
cockroach
Otien'g
spider
Kamnie
snail

The Sun and Sky

Luo
English
Luo
English
Chieng
sun
Sulwe
star
Boche polo
cloud
Koth
rain
Otieno
night
Odio chieng
day
Ong'ngweng'o
fog
Yamo
wind
Mudho
darkness
Ler
light
Malo
up
Piny
down (or Earth)
Malo
high
Mwalo
low

Common Verbs

Luo
English
Luo
English
Buonjo
smile
Nyiero
laugh
Yuak
weep
Chikruok
jump
Wuotho
walk
Ringo
run
Wer
sing
Liyo
whistle
Fuolo
cough
Gir
sneeze
Kaw
take
Kel
bring
Puonji
teach
Puonjri
learn
Miel
dance
 
 

Adjectives

Luo
English
Luo
English
Ber
good
Rach
bad
Tegno
strong
Yomyom
weak
Chwe
fat
Odhero
thin
Piyo
fast
Mos
slow
Ofuwo
foolish
Riek
clever

Conjunctions

Luo
English
Luo
English
Koso
or
Bende
also
Kod (gi)
and/with
Omiyo
therefore
Mondo
so that
Nikech
because
Kae to
and then
Koro (ango)
so (what)
A Luo Homestead at the Kisumu Museum
A Luo Homestead at the Kisumu Museum | Source

Conversation Lesson 1: Me and My Family

  • Nyinga Odongo – My name is Odongo.
  • Wuonwa iluongoni Opiyo – My father’s name is Opiyo.
  • Odak Kisumu – He lives in Kisumu.
  • En japur – He is a farmer.
  • Minwa iluongoni Anyango – My mother’s name Angayo.
  • Odak Kisumu bende gi Wuonwa – She also lives in Kisumu with my father.
  • An gi nyithinda ariyo – I have three children.
  • Yowuoi ariyo – They are two boys.
  • Ka adhi neno wuonwa gi Minwa, adhi gi nyithinda – When I go to see my father and mother, I go with my children.
  • Kwara iluongoni Otoyo – My grandfather is called Otoyo.
  • N’ose tho – He is dead.
  • Ka pok n’otho, ne en japur bende – Before he died, he was also a farmer.
  • Dana iluongoni Nyar-alego – My grandmother is called Nyar-alego.
  • N’ose tho bende – She is also dead.
  • Sani, aonge gi Kwara Kata dana – Now I don’t have a grandfather nor a grandmother.
  • Nikech, wuon wuonwa gi min minwa n’ose tho te – Because my father’s father and mother’s mother are all dead.
  • Adak Huruma – I live in Huruma.
  • An gi Jobatha mangeny – I have many neighbours.

Lesson 1 Vocabulary and Grammar Explanation

  • Nyathi – child
  • Nyithindo – children
  • Nyithinda – my children
  • An gi pesa – I have money
  • Aonge gi pesa – I don’t have money
  • An go – I have it.
  • Aonge go – I don’t have it.

As you can see, the indicator gi is used when the object is stated, and go is used when the object is not stated.

A’ is added to the beginning or ending of words to refer to the first person.

  • An – me
  • Nyinga – My name is...
  • Athi – I am going...

I’ is added the same way at the beginning or end to refer to the second person.

  • In – you
  • Nyingi – Your name is...
  • Ithi – You are going...

O’ is used as at the beginning or end to mean third person. However in some cases it changes place with ‘E’.

  • En – Him/her
  • Nyinge – His/her name is...
  • Othi – He/she is going...

When I was learning, I was tempted to say Wuonwa oluongoni Opiyo – My father is called opiyo,by placing an ‘o’ prefix in luongo – call. Placing ‘I’ instead, as has been done above, means that it is the second person and not the third person who calls my father Opiyo.

  • Wuonwa iluongoni Opiyo – My father you call Opiyo.

Much as it may sound ungrammatical, I was taught to say it that way. Notice that ‘O’ is properly put in the word Odak (He lives...)

Conversation Lesson 2: My House

  • Ka ibiro oda – If you come to my house...
  • Aabiro mii kom ibedie – A chair to sit on.
  • Ntie kom, stul, kabat gi mesa e oda - There is a chair, stool, cupboard and table in my house.
  • Saa chiemo aketo chiemo e mesa - When it is time to eat, I put food on the table.
  • Abede kom ka achiemo I sit on the chair when I am eating.
  • Seche moko, ok adwar bet e kom – Sometimes, I do not want to sit on the chair.
  • Adwaro stul nikech adwaro madho kongo – I want a stool because I want to drink beer.
  • Ka imadho kongo, to stul ber – When drinking beer, a stool is best.
  • Iparoga ni in en bar – You will think you are in a bar.
  • An gi kabede ariyo – I have two cupboards.
  • Achiel ntie e jikon – One is in the kitchen.
  • Kabat no en mar keto san okombe gi moko mangeny this cupboard is for the plates, cups, and many other things
  • Kabat moro ni e ot ma nindo – The other cupboard is in the bedroom.
  • Kanyo ntie uriri bende – There is also a bed there.
  • Ka awinjo ka adwaro nindo to adhi e uriri When I feel like sleeping, I go to bed.
  • Ka oka adhi tich arwako pat kira When I am not going to work, I put on sandals.
  • Ka adhi tich, arwako wuoch maber ma rotenge – When I am going to work, I wear good black shoes.
  • Ka pok adhi tich ayweyo ot gi ywech Before I go to work, I sweep the house with a broom.

Lesson 2 Vocabulary

  • Ot – house, Oda – my house
  • Dala – home
  • Mia – give me, Mie – give him/her, Amii – I give you
  • Ntie – there is, Antie – I am here (I am in), Entie – he/she is here (is in)
  • Saa – time (singular), Seche – time (plural), sani - now
  • Seche moko – sometimes, Seche duto – all the time
  • Ka – here, Kanyo – there, Kucha – over there
  • Aparo – I think, aparoga – I was thinking, ka aparo – when I think
  • Tich (wira) – work

Conversation Lesson 3: The Past Tense

  • Chon gi lala ne ntie mbura – A long time a go there was a cat.
  • Mbura ni ne ongegi iwe - The cat did not have a tail.
  • Onge mor nikech oongegi iwe – He/she was not happy because he/she did not have a tail.
  • Ne oparo ni obiro bet gi mor chieng moro – He/she thought he/she would be happy one day.
  • Ka mbura oongegi iwgi bende - If all the other cats also didn't have tails.
  • Mbura chamoga oyieyo - Cats eat mice.
  • Oyieyo chamoga chiemb ngato – Mice eat people’s food.
  • Ka ngato oneno oyieyo, onege – When a person sees a rat, they kill it.
  • Apuoyo nigi it mabor – A rabbit has long ears.
  • Oringo matek ahinya – It runs very fast.
  • Ka ichamo apuoyo, ringe mit - If you eat a rabbit, its meat is sweet.
  • To ring nyuok mit moingo mar apuoyo – But a he-goat’s meat is sweeter than a rabbit's.
  • Ka in gi diel achiel, in ngato matin – If you have one goat, you are a small person.
  • Ka in gi diek ariyo, in ngato maduong Nikech mano miyo imadho gi jokwath – If you have two goats, you are a big man because you can share drinks with the shepherds.
  • Ondiek nyiero ka ngato – A hyena laughs like a human.

  • Ka inyiera nyiera seche duto waluongoni ondiek – If you laugh all the time, we shall call you a hyena.
  • Kwach en mbura maduong – The leopard is a big cat.

  • Ohero chamo nyuok gi guok – It likes eating he-goat and dog.
  • Sibuor en ruoth mar le – The lion is the king of animals.
  • Ka sibuor ni gi sibuor-madhako mangeny ok odhi menyo – When a Lion has many lionesses, he does not go hunting
  • Orito dala – He waits at home.
  • Sibuor-madhako dhi menyo ne jo-ot duto – The lioness hunts for the whole family.
  • Ng’ut mar tiga bor ahinya – A giraffe’s neck is very long.
  • Onge le maduong ka liech – No animal is bigger than the elephant.

Lesson 3 Vocabulary

  • Chon gi lala – once upon a time (a long time ago)
  • ni ne ongegi – he/she did not have
  • Iw – tail, iwe – its tail
  • Mor – happiness (happy), amor – I am happy
  • Aparo – I think, Iparo – you think, oparo – he/she thinks, ne oparo – he/she thought
  • Abiro – I am coming, abiro bet – I will be, obiro bet – he/she will be
  • Mbura achiel – one cat, mbura te – all the cats
  • Diel – goat, Nyuok – he-goat, Diek - goats
  • Nduong – big, tin – small
  • Mit – sweet
  • Jamni – domesticated animals
  • Nyier – laugh
  • seche duto – all the time, Chieng machielo, the other day/another day,
  • Chieng moro – one day
  • Sibuor – lion, Sibuor-madhako - lioness
  • Liech elephant
  • Kwach – leopard
  • Ondiek hyena
  • Guok – dog
  • Ruoth – king, leader
  • Many – search/hunt

Conversation Lesson 4: Pests

  • Kich tedo gimoro ma mit – The bee makes something sweet.
  • Suna rach ahinya niketch okelo malaria – A mosquito is bad because it brings malaria.
  • Ok ang’eo ka pino rach koso ber – I do not know if a wasp is good or bad.
  • Olwenda ok nindi otieno – Cockroaches do not sleep at night.
  • Ohero mudho – They like the darkness.
  • Odichieng ok inyal neno olwenda, kata achiel – In the daytime, you cannot see cockroaches, not even one.
  • Ineno mano ma osetho kende – You will only see the dead ones.
  • Jo wuoi chamoga winy – The boys eat birds.
  • Gi chamoga aluru – They eat the Aluru (a bird found in bushes with limited flight).
  • Onge ng’ato machamo otien’g – No one eats spiders.
  • Winyo nyalo chamo otien’g – A bird can eat a spider.
  • Omieri en thuol – A python is a snake.
  • Kamnie wuotho mos ahinya – The snail moves very slowly.
  • Kamnie wutho mos moingo ng’ongruok – The snail moves slower than a chameleon.

Conversation Lesson 5: The Weather

  • Ka ng’ato okwalo gimoro, onyalo chikore mabor ahinya – If a person steals something, he can jump very far.
  • Ka iloso gi Nyasaye, i go chongi piny – When you talk with God, you kneel down.
  • Wuod minwa ringo seche duto – My brother runs all the time.
  • Ka chieng osetuch, ok inind, Ichiew – When the sun rises, you don’t sleep—you wake up.
  • Okine dwe ndalo duto. Inene ndalo moko kende – You do not see the moon every night. You only see it on some nights.
  • Bocho polo ma rateng’ kelo koth – Dark clouds bring rain.
  • Ka idhi oko otieno, inyalo neno sulwe mang’eny ahinya – If you go out at night, you can see many stars.
  • Apenji, yamo ber koso rach? – I ask you, is the wind good or bad?
  • Saa moro, yamo nyal dhi go lawi ka ni kete oko – Sometimes the wind can blow your clothes away if you leave them outside.
  • Saa moro, onge koth – Sometimes there is no rain.
  • Ka ntie Ong’weng’o ok ineno maber – When there is fog, you will not see properly.

Lesson 5 Vocabulary

  • Kwalo – steal
  • Chikore – to jump
  • Mabor – far, long
  • Wuod minywa – my brother
  • Nyaminwa – my sister
  • Ochieng – sun, day
  • Ndalo duto – all nights
  • Ndalo moko kende – some nights
  • Rateng – dark, black
  • Lawi - clothes

Questions & Answers

  • how do Luos' greet each other?

    nade - how is it

    Ber - good

    Ithi nade - how are you doing

    Athi maber - am well (good)

© 2012 Emmanuel Kariuki

Comments

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  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    2 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Thanks a lot. It is quite enlightening. There must be a good reason for omiting K in Otanda and Okombe in borrowed words. We can investigate from other native Luo speakers for an answer. I appreciate your comments very much.

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    2 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Thanks a great deal. It definitely helps.

  • profile image

    Christine Zachary 

    2 months ago

    In addition to that there are some letters that do not independently exist in the luo alphabets,thats why they cannot pronounce or articulate them well. Like h only exists as ch, thats why sh for a luo is just s, and words with h as independent they just forego the "h" like "uhuru" will be "ouru or "huduma" is said as "oduma".

    And Z as in my name they say Sakary instead.I have thought about it and realized i haven't come across words with z,i think it doesn't exist in the alphabets;I stand to be corrected anyway.

    With the letter k i cannot really tell why more often than not they omit it from words which aren't originally luo,like the k in kitanda(otanda) Kisumu(osumo) though i know for sure there's a k as in "kiki"(do not)

    And then some words would differ slightly depending on which part of the community you hail from,for cooking stick some say "oluthkuon" some say "oliho"

    I have not really interacted with those from central but I am told if i tell them some words,they either won't understand or it'll mean something else,though those are just a few things

    I hope this makes some sense.

  • profile image

    Christine Zachary 

    2 months ago

    Tiegruok isn't just education,it's more of higher education.When a person starts education its" ochako puonjruokne"or "ochako sombe" but when they get to higher levels like university(mbalariany)you say "tiegruok or medruok"

    I hope this helps

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    15 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Hi Dennis-VW. Thanks for encouragement. I hadn't thought of an app but that's a good idea. I will take it up at some

    point.

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    15 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Hi Luisss749. Sorry for this late reply. You are most welcome.

  • profile image

    Dennis-VW 

    15 months ago

    I enjoyed your article. I am an American with a Luo wife, in the process of learning Swahili & Luo. Have you thought about making an android app for learning Luo? There is one & a couple translater/dictionaries, but they aren't very good.

  • profile image

    luisss749 

    2 years ago

    Hello Emmanuel thanks a lot...

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    2 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Hello, Luis Salazar. Though I am not a native Luo speaker, I can confirm that the word means life, good health. It is used in the greeting "Ingima ? are you healthy/ full of life. and the response is "Angima - I am fine/healthy. In one of my hubs, I have shown how it is related to the Ankh of ancient Egypt which also symbolized Life and good health.

    Pronounciation Ng - like the Ng in English. Granted English words cannot start with that sound. Ma - like Ma in Mama in English and most languages to mean mother.

    I hope that helps.

  • profile image

    luisss749 

    2 years ago

    Hello Emmanuel i'm working in a project (a contest in the website Freelancer.com) and i like to use the world "life" for the name of my project but in Luo language, after a light research i found this websites:

    http://economics.ozier.com/language/dholuo.html

    https://www.names.org/n/ngima/about

    i like to know your opinion on this translation, is correct the use of this world (ngima) for the world "life"?, is ok the pronunciation?, i also foud that this world (ngima) is used as a name, thoes this world have other meanings?

    I hope you can help me, thanks in advance

    Luis Salazar

    Torreon Coah. Mexico.

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    2 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    rollinson , I have just been given another term for Education in Dholuo: Tiegruok

    Hope other Luo speakers can confirm it because it is not common. Many native Luos do not know it.

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    2 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    rollinson - Sorry for responding late.

    Puonj, Somo - Education

    Puonj also means to teach. The latter is in more current use, perhaps due to the foreignness of formal education to Luo Culture.

    dunkie13 - Thanks so much for your contribution. I will soon be correcting the main text. I am happy for your encouragement and interactivity, which was the main objective of this hub.

  • profile image

    dunkie13 

    2 years ago

    Awesome work Emmanuel! For someone who is not a natural born speaker of Dholuo you have done great.

    There are however a few corrections that that I've noted.

    These are the ones that I've spotted:

    1. First person singular

    An – I am or me

    Ne an – I was or "was me"

    Abiro bet – I will be also "I will sit"

    2. First person Plural

    Wan - "us"

    Wabiro bet – we will be also "we will sit"

    3. Second person singular

    In – "you"

    Ibiro bet – You will be also "you will sit"

    4. Second person Plural

    Ubiro bet – You will be (plural) also "you will sit"

    5. Third person singular

    En – He/she or "him/her"

    Obiro bet – He/she will be also "he/she will sit"

    6. Third person plural

    Gin – "them"

    Ne gin – "they were"

    gibiro bet – He/she will be

    7. The senses

    Listen – "winj"

    8. Parts of the body

    "Wich" – head,

    "yier" wich - hair

    10. Animals

    "Twiga" – Giraffe

    11. Insects and other small living things

    "Ong'ogo" – locust

    "Otieng'" - spider

    12. Some Verbs

    "Puonj" - Teach, Puonjri – Learn = 'literaly "teach yourself" '

    "Many'" – search

    13. The universe

    "Boche" – Cloud (context negates need for adding "polo")

    14. Some Adjectives

    tegno – "strength",

    tek = "strong"

    "dhero" – Thin

    "fuwo" – foolish

    17. Days of the week

    "Tich ang'wen" – Thursday (work day four)

    Tich a bich – Friday (work day five)

    "Sabato" - Saturday

    "Jumapil" – Sunday

    "dwe" – Month (moon),

    "Higa" – year

    18. The family

    Wuon – Father, Wuonwa – my father (technically "our" father)

    Min – Mother, Minwa – my mother (technically "our" mother)

    19. Some Professions

    "Laktar" – doctor, "Fundi bao" – Carpenter

    20. Furniture

    Ywech – broom, yweyo – to sweep also "to rest".

    21. Counting

    "Piero ang'wen" (40)

    Lesson 1

    Wuonwa "iluongo ni" Opiyo – my father is called Opiyo (My father’s name is … "wuon wa nyinge...")

    Minwa "iluongo ni" Anyango – My mother is called Anyango (My mother’s name is … "min wa nyinge...")

    "en bende odak Kisumu gi Wuonwa" – She also lives in Kisumu with my father

    An gi "nyithindo" ariyo – I have "two" children

    "Yawuoi ariyo" – "two boys"

    Ka adhi "neno" wuonwa gi Minwa, adhi gi nyithinda – when I go to see my father and mother, I go with my children

    Kwara "iluongo ni" Otoyo – my grandfather is called Otoyo

    N’ose tho – he died "(very long ago)"

    Dana "iluongo ni" Nyar-alego – My grandmother is called Nyar-alego (lady from Alego)

    "en bende n’ose tho" – she is also dead

    Sani, "aonge gi" Kwara Kata dana – now I don’t have a grandfather nor a grandmother

    Nikech, "kwara" gi "dana" n’ose tho "te" – (Dholuo wouldn't say "father's father... it is always "grandfather")

    An gi "jirende" "mangeny'" – I have many neighbours (Jabatha or jobatha are not used in the context of neighbors... these are inner-circle friends)

    Vocabulary and explanations

    "Adhi" – I am going.

    "Idhi" – you are going.

    "Odhi" – he/she is going.

    Wuonwa "iluongo ni" Opiyo – My father "is called" Opiyo.

    Lesson 2

    "Abiro" mii kom ibedie – "I will give you" a chair to sit on

    Ntie kom, stul, kabat gi mesa e oda - there is a chair, stool, cupboard and table in my house

    Saa chiemo - "meal time"

    Aketo chiemo e mesa – I put food on the table (Be careful with intonation of "aketo"... both have an aspect of time and can mean "I have put" or "I'm putting")

    Adwaro stul nikech adwaro madho "kong'o" – I want a stoo because I want to drink beer "metho is the more common word in place of "madho kong'o"

    Ka imadho "kong'o", to stul ber – when drinking beer, a stool is best (good)

    "Iparo ga" ni in en bar – you will be thinking you are in a bar - should actually be "ibo paro ni in e ba" (the "r" is not pronounced)

    Kabat no en mar keto "s(a)ende" – this cupboard is for (placing) plates

    okombe gi "gik" moko mangeny – cups and many (other) thing

    Kabat moro ni e "kor nindo" – the other cupboard is in the bedroom

    Kanyo ntie uriri bende – there is also a bed there ("modern" Luo uses "otanda")

    Vocabulary

    Tich – work

    Lesson 3a – a short story in past tense

    Mbura ni ne "onge gi" iwe - The cat did not have a tail

    Onge mor nikech "oonge gi" iwe – he/she was not happy because he/she did not have a tail

    Ne oparo ni "chieng' moro nobed gi mor" – he/she thought he/she would be happy one day

    Ka mbura "te" "oonge gi" iwgi bende - if all the cats did not have (their) tails also

    Vocabulary

    Mbura achiel – one cat, mbura "te" – all the cats

    Lesson 3b – Cat and mouse

    Mbura "chamo ga" oyieyo - cats eat mice/rats

    Oyieyo "chamo ga" chiemb ngato – mice/rats eat people’s food

    Ka "ng'ato" oneno oyieyo, onege – when a person sees a rat, they kill it

    Lesson 3c – the "hare"/rabbit and goats and cows

    Apuoyo "ni gi" it mabor – rabbit has long ears

    To ring nyuok mit "mohingo" mar apuoyo – but a he-goat’s meat is sweeter than a rabbits

    Niketch mano miyo "imetho" gi jokwath – because that will make you share drinks with pastoralists

    Vocabulary

    "duong'" – big, tin – small

    Lesson 3d – the Hyena

    Ondiek nyiero ka "ng'ato" – a hyena laughs like a human

    "Waluongo ni" Ondiek – we shall call you a hyena

    Vocabulary

    seche duto – all the time, "Chieng' machielo", the other day/another day, "Chieng' moro" – one day

    Lesson 3e – the leopard, lion, elephant and other animals

    Sibuor en "ruodh le" – Lion is king of the animals

    Ka sibuor ni gi "mon" "mangeny'" – when Lion has many lionesses ... strictly speaking we can't use the phrase here as "sibuor madhako"... context qualifies the gender so we use "mon" which means "wives/women"... singular is "dhako"

    Ng’ut "twiga" bor ahinya – a giraffe’s neck is very long

    Lesson 4

    Kich tedo gimoro ma mit – the bee "is making" something sweet

    Olwenda ok "nind ga saa" otieno – coackroaches do not sleep at night

    Ohero mudho – "she/he" likes darkness unless you mean to say "gi hero" (they like)

    Ineno "mana" ma osetho kende – you will only see the dead ones

    Jo wuoi chamoga "winy'" – boys eat birds

    Gi "chamo ga" aluru – they eat the Aluru (quail)

    Onge "ng’at" machamo "otieng'" – no one eats a spider

    Winyo nyalo chamo "otieng'" – a bird can eat a spider

    Kamnie wutho mos "mohingo" ng’ongruok – the snail moves slower than a chameleon

    Lesson 5

    "owadwa" ringo seche duto – my brother runs all the time

    Ka "chieng'" osetuch, ok inind, Ichiew – when the sun rises, you don’t sleep, you wake up.

    Okine dwe ndalo duto. Inene ndalo moko kende – You do not see the moon all nights. You only seet it some nights.

    "Boche ma rotenge" kelo koth – Dark clouds bring rain - (Clouds are known as boche with no need to qualify them as the sky (polo) ones... this is because "bor" as fat from meat does not have plural so if a piece of meat is fatty we simply say "ring'o no ni gi bor mang'eny" as opposed to "ring'o no ni gi 'boche mang'eny'... ")

    Ka ntie Ong’weng’o ok "di ne" maber – when there is fog, you will not see properly

    Vocabulary

    "omin" – my mother’s son (my brother) but we use it when calling out someone dear and not necessarily a brother ... brother is almost strictly "owadwa"

    Nyaminwa – My mother’s daughter (my sister)

    "Ochieng'" – sun, day

    Ndalo duto – "all the days"

    Otieno duto - all nights

    Ndalo moko kende – "some days"

    Lawi - "your item of clothing" ....

    lewni - clothes

    law or lau - item of clothing

  • profile image

    rollinson 

    2 years ago

    hi all assist me translate the word "education" in Dholuo.

  • Mildred Matara profile image

    Mildred Matara 

    5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Thanks Emmanuel, will check it out.

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Thanks for visiting this page Mildred Matara. Unfortunately I do not offer classes. There doesn't seem to be a college that teaches indigenous language in Nairobi. However I have seen an advert on OLX of someone who gives private lessons at Ksh. 800/= for a 30 minutes tutoria - sounds stiff but you could bargain.

  • Mildred Matara profile image

    Mildred Matara 

    5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Hi,

    I am happy I came across this. I have been trying to learn Luo.

    Thanks so much for this, but was wondering if you offer practical classes or lessons or know someone who does. I would really appreciate coz am really interested in learning the language.

    Regards,

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    When you are through with Croatia, try this one - just kidding, and thanks for your comment. Very encouraging.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Interesting language but I am not keen on learning any languages right now still focusing on the Croatia language however you have explained to the point.

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Thanks Bosko. I will build on it slowly and eventually it will be a page to reckon with. Thanks for your continued support.

  • profile image

    fjbosko 

    6 years ago from Brazil

    Superb Emmanuel!

    I hope you can improve this Luo language part as you do with the Kikuyu one. You are doing an excellent job

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Thanks Barrack Ogutu and Chris Zach. Your comment will go along way in correcting during the revision. I am also getting more enlightened and leaving 'mudho' so to speak.

  • profile image

    Chris Zach 

    6 years ago

    Ohero mudho – they like darkness O" is singular so Gi becomes plural

    Ohero mudho-Gihero mudho hence they like darkness

  • profile image

    Barrack Ogutu 

    6 years ago

    This is a good initiative.

    I stand to be corrected because am not an expert in the language, but I have suggestions for corrections from my experience as a first language speaker:

    Insects: otien'g - Scorpion

    Mbui/mbuwi - Spider

    Animals: Omuga - buffalo

    Sibuor- madhako - a lioness

    Sibuoche-mamon - many lionesses

    Ng'ielno/ng'ielo - Python ( Omieri was a specific python which was extraordinarily huge)

    Leader - Jatelo

    Ruoth - King/Chief

    Ring - Run

    Ringo - Running

    Ring'o -Meat

    Laktar - Doctor

    Ajuoga - traditional doctor/medicineman

    Hunt - Dwar

    Search - Many; Searching - Manyo

    Yip/yiw - tail; yiwe - its tail; yiwgi -their tails

    San -plate

    Sende - plates

    Counting: Piero ariyo, piero adek.... Not ''pier'' ariyo! ( pier means something else unprintable!)

    Yweyo - sweep/ to rest

    Ywecho - to sweep

    Ywech -broom

working

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