A language of Uganda

Alternate Names
Kenyi, Lukenhe, Lukenye, Lukenyi

62,000 (2002 census), increasing.


Buyende, Kaliro, Pallisa, Serere, and Mayuge districts: Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga basin; some in Kamuli, Kaberamaido, Kayunga, Bugiri, and Busia districts.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Lukenye-Ludebede, Lukenye-Lukooli. Kenye, Lamogi [xog], Siginyi [xog], and Gwere [gwr] are mutually intelligible. Lexical similarity: 81% with Soga [xog], 71%–86% with Ganda [lug], 64% with Gwere [gwr], 58% with Saamia [lsm].

Language Use

Prefer to use surrounding languages outside the home; seldom identify themselves as BaKenye. They shy away from their true identity for fear of being marginalized and discriminated against (Abdallah 2004). Mostly home. All ages. Mixed attitudes. Also use a Soga [xog] variety. Also use Ganda [lug], Gwere [gwr], Saamia [lsm], Teso [teo].

Language Development
Radio programs.

Unwritten [Qaax].

Other Comments

Politically distinct from Ganda [lug]. Some Kenye people claim to be a displaced people of Ganda origin.