So believe it or not I am actually taking language lessons. I was out having a drink at a local bar with a German volunteer who is interning here at St. Francis. We met a man named Aaron who grew up at a local orphanage called St. Moses. He offered to provide Luganda language lessons by a friend named Harry. We started one week ago and have had two one-hour lessons to date. Luganda is an interesting language. After English it is the most spoken language in Uganda with the next closest probably being Swahili. However, there are about 25-30 other languages spoken in Uganda as well. Luganda possesses the same consonants and vowels as English with the exception of that the letters “X” and “Q” do not exist. They also have different pronunciations of some letters. For instance, the letter “C” is pronounced as a “Che” sound. They also have a letter which does not exist in English and the symbol is hard to recreate but it has the sound of “Nga”. Faustine’s son Bill also provided me with a basic school book for language called “The First Book In English and Luganda” or “Akatabo Akasooka Mu Luzungu n’Oluganda” (notice that the English language is Luzungu while English people, or whites, are Muzungu).
I have to say that learning to speak Luganda is not too difficult. However, trying to make a connection with another language as context has been difficult for me. When reading Luganda, it can be a little confusing since they often spell words with extra letters and switch pronunciations of other letters. Example: the number “6” is pronounced “mukaaga” with the double “a” letters indicating to stretch out the pronunciation. Another example: The word “jacket” is spelled ekikooti but it is pronounced “echeekoti”.
I am not sure if I will ever be close to being fluent by the time I leave but I hope to have a good basic grasp at least (or I can hope that it will be so)!