Basic Rukiga Vocabulary for Space and Direction

This page provides the basic details of vocabulary for space and direction in Rukiga relevant for a beginner language learner. These are the words that will be used in Rukiga to description various positions in space and direction. First, we will move through the basic words used, then key phrase to know, and finally three other points to remember. This is actually more complex than might be anticipated because as with so many things in Rukiga, the noun class influences key parts of the words/phrases said.

First, the following are the basic words in Rukiga for various directions/positions in space:

Ahansi – Down

Ahiguru – Up/Upwards

Hare – Far/Far out/Deep

Haihi – Near/Shallow

Omumaisho – Ahead, at the front, in front

Enyima – Behind

Omuri – Within/Inside

Aheeru – Outside


Next are the various basic adverb prepositional phrases used to talk about space and direction when specifically using nouns. It is important to remember that the “ya” in the phrase will vary based on noun class:

Ahansi ya [Noun(s)] – Under/Below [Noun(s)]

Omunda ya [Noun(s)] – Inside [Noun(s)]

Ahagati ya [Noun(s)] – Between/in the Middle of [Noun(s)]

Omu maisho ga [Noun(s)] – In front of [Noun], literally “in the eye ga” [Noun]

Enyima ya [Noun(s)] – Behind [Noun]

Haihi na [Noun(s)] – Near to/near [Noun]

Aheeru ya [Noun(s)] – Outside [Noun(s)]

Aha rubaju rwa [Noun(s)]

  • – Besides, literally on the “on the side of” [Noun(s)]

Aha mukono gwa bumosho [Noun(s)]

  • – Left, literally “on the hand that is left” [Noun(s)]

Aha Mukono gwa buryo [Noun(s)]

  • – Right, literally “on the hand that is right [or the hand that is for eating]” [Noun(s)]


A few more key items to know:

  1. The verb Kurebana is used to indicate two or more nouns being in the opposite position position to one another. For example, “Enju erikureebana na eya Asiimwe” meaning “The house is opposite the one [the house] of Asiimwe”.
  2. The adverbial suffix “-ri” is used for locating something. For example, “Ekitabo kyange kiri omuka” meaning “My book is at home”.
  3. Also, check out the page on Rukiga demonstratives, these are key words for space and direction when using nouns.



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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.