Saamya-Gwe

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A language of Uganda

Alternate Names
Bagwe, Basamia, Lusaamya-Lugwe, Saamia
Autonym
Ólusaamya
Population

525,000 (2014 census), increasing. Census based on tribal affiliation. 421,000 Saamya, 100,000 Gwe and 4,000 Heehe (2014 census). Total users in all countries: 650,000.

Location

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

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).

Dialects

Saamya (Saamia, Samia), Gwe (Lugwe), Heehe (Luheehe, Luhehe). 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].

Typology

SVO.

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. Literature. Radio. Videos. Dictionary. Texts. NT: 2011.
Writing

Latin script [Latn], used since 1904.

Other Comments

Part of Luyia macrolanguage. Christian, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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