A language of Uganda

Alternate Names
Bakenyi, Kenyi, Lukenhe, Lukenye, Lukenyi

L1 users: 99,900 (2014 census), increasing. Census based on tribal affiliation.


Buyende, Kaliro, Pallisa, Kibuku, Serere, and Mayuge districts: Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga basin; some in Kamuli, Kaberamaido, Kayunga, Bugiri, Namayingo, 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 Ganda [lug], Gwere [gwr], Saamia [lsm], Soga [xog], Teso [teo].

Language Development

Unwritten [Qaax].

Other Comments

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

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