Learning Luganda: Joining words and using the Apostrophe sign

In last week’s lesson, we looked at the right places to write double letters in Luganda. We also saw that with the apostrophe sign, sometimes we write one letter (vowel to be specific) where we would have written two. But we have more things to learn about the proper use of the sign as follows.

Rightful Placement
The sign is always placed between a Consonant and a vowel in that respective order. Often times, some people misplace it between consonants or vowels which is wrong.

Represents two independent words
Because the sign is a separation of two different words, it means that whenever it’s used, the word before it and the after it can stand independently and make meaning. For example, ow’e Mityana (a person from Mityana) shows that we have two words; Owa and Mityana.

It’s always one in a word
We have words which can be broken into three more words using the apostrophe. For instance, Omukulu W’ebyeddiini (Religious leader). From the example above, a person may be tempted to write it as Omukulu W’eby’eddiini which is wrong. Therefore, always remember to use the sign just once in a word.

Now let us look at some of the words that help us in joining words in Luganda.

Ne (and)
This is probably the most used joining word in Luganda. It’s very difficult to write a 100 words essay without using it at least once. Below are some examples with the word.

Gamba John ajje ne ssente zange (Tell John to come with my money).
Nguliraayo embazzi n’enkumbi mu town (Buy for me an axe and a hoe from the town).

Ya / Wa / Ga / Ka / Za (for/of)
These joint words something in common. They have an element of ownership in most cases where they are used. They indicate that something belongs to someone. Let’s take a look at the examples below.

Ani yalidde amagi g’enkoko yange? (Who ate my hen’s eggs?)
Eyo ennimiro ya ssomero (That garden belongs to a school)
Oyo ye muganda wa Mukasa (That’s Mukasa’s brother)
Totuula ku katebe taata (Don’t sit on dad’s chair)
Embuzi za Naalongo zaalidde amalagala gange (Naalongo’s goats ate my sweet potato leaves)

We have a number of other joint words that can be derived from the above. For example, ye, yo, we, wo, ge, go, ke, ko, ku, ze, zo.

Mu (in)
Teweerabira okujja mu lukiiko lw’essomero enkya (Don’t forget to come in the school meeting tomorrow).

In the last lesson, we will look at the common mistakes done in writing or speaking Luganda.