Uganda is an extraordinarily diverse country of approximately 40 million people, and Acholi is but one of the many languages, regions and identities found there. As such, it’s important for anyone seeking to travel, study or conduct research in and around Acholi to familiarize themselves with the vocabulary surrounding the topography, geography and cultural setting of the region.
Travel & Transport
- Kumalo: north
- Kupiny: south
- Kunyango: east
- Kupotoceng: west
Gudu (pl. gudi): road
Taksi: Blue and white minibuses, often decorated with decals professing allegiance to God, Allah, Manchester United or Arsenal, which are a staple of public transport in Uganda. These vehicles are more popularly known as matatus in Kenya and daladalas in Tanzania.
Bar dege: airport/airfield
Dwoyo: to drive
Cito: to go
Woto: to travel
- Woto ki tyen: to travel on foot
- Woto ki mutoka: to travel by car
Bino: to come
Aa: to come from
Oo: to arrive
-cok: near, close
-bor: far, long
Got (pl. godi): mountain
Kulu: stream, brook, small river
Nam: large body of water
Lum: the bush, forest
Tung boma: neighborhood
Tung lobo: region
Wang lobo: border
Slang Terms Regarding Space and Place in Northern Uganda:
Wod ngom (pl. wegi ngom): son of the soil; used to refer to those believed to be the indigenous inhabitants of a particular area.
Latedero (pl. lutedero): ordinary inhabitants of a place; the locals.
Lokka/lokkalokka: the other side; often used to refer to the regions of Uganda south of the bridge over the Nile River at Karuma Falls.
- Leb Lokka: the language of the other side; refers to any of the Bantu languages spoken in southern Uganda (Luganda, Lusoga, Runyoro, Rukiga, etc.).
Namma: a somewhat derogatory term used to refer to Bantu-speakers from southern Uganda.
Munu (pl. muni): foreigner, usually referring to white people.
Alok (pl. Elok): a derogatory term used in the eastern Acholi region and in the Leb Thur dialect to refer to pastoralists from the Karamoja region to the east.