A language of Uganda

Alternate Names
Nkole, Nyankole, Olunyankole, Runyankole, Ulunyankole, Ulunyankore

3,420,000 (2014 census), increasing. Census based on tribal affiliation. Includes 152,000 Hororo and 49,000 Runyaruguru (2014 census).


Bushenyi district: Ishaka municipality; Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabale, Kamwenge, Kasese, Kiruhura, Mbarara, Ntungamo, and Rubirizi districts.

Language Maps
Language Status

4 (Educational). De facto language of provincial identity in Bushenyi, Mbarara, Ntungamo districts.


Hororo, Hima, Runyaruguru. Hima dialect may be a separate language similar to Tuku [ttj] and Hema [nix] in Democratic Republic of Congo. Lexical similarity: 78%–96% between Nyankore, Nyoro [nyo], and their dialects; 84%–94% with Chiga [cgg], 75%–86% with Tooro (Nyoro) [nyo], 81% with Zinza [zin], 78% with Nyambo [now], 74% with Haya [hay], 68% with Kerewe [ked].

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Chiga [cgg], English [eng]. Used as L2 by Chiga [cgg].

Language Development

Taught in primary schools. Taught in secondary schools, as a subject. Literature. Newspapers. Periodicals. Radio. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible: 1964–1989.


Latin script [Latn], used since 1964.

Other Comments

Standardized form of the western languages (Nyankore-Chiga and Nyoro-Tooro) is called Runyakitara taught at the University and used in internet browsing, but is a hybrid language. Ethnic groups: Bahima, Bairu. Christian.

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