A language of Uganda

Alternate Names
Bagwe, Bassamia

355,000 in Uganda (2002 census), increasing. 280,000 Basaamia and 75,300 Bagwe (2002 census). Population total all countries: 480,000.


Busia and Bugiri districts; near Kenya border, Lake Victoria is southern boundary.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


Gwe (Lugwe), Saamia (Samia), Songa. Lexical similarity: 88% with Oluwanga [lwg], 80% with Olunyole [nyd], 62% with Masaba [myx] (Uganda), 59%–61% with Ganda [lug] (Uganda), 52% with Luidakho-Luisukha-Lutirichi [ida], 51% with Gwere [gwr] (Uganda). A member of macrolanguage Oluluyia [luy].

Language Use

Vigorous. Home, market, religion, work. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Swahili [swh]. Used as L2 by Kenye [lke].

Language Development
Mother-tongue literacy not often taught in schools due to lack of materials in Lusaamia-Lugwe. Functional Adult Literacy was in progress but has come to a halt. Taught in primary schools. Poetry. Radio programs. Films. Dictionary. NT: 2011.

Latin script [Latn], used since 1904.

Other Comments

Part of Luyia macrolanguage. Christian, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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