A language of Uganda

Alternate Names
Ateso, Bakedi, Bakidi, Elgumi, Etossio, Ikumama, Iteso, Wamia

2,360,000 (2014 census), increasing. Census based on tribal affiliation. Total users in all countries: 2,699,000.


Amuria, Bukedea, Bulambuli, Butaleja, Buyende, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Kamuli, Kibuku, Kumi, Pallisa, Ngora, Serere, Sironko, Soroti, and Tororo districts; Lake Bisina area.

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Language Status

5 (Developing). De facto language of provincial identity in Tororo, 10 other districts.


Orom (Rom). Limited intelligibility with other varieties in the Teso-Turkana group. The dialect in Ngora is considered standard. Lexical similarity: 76% with Turkana [tuv], 75% with Ng’aKarimojong [kdj].


VSO; highly inflectional; grammatical tone; vowel harmony.

Language Use

Vigorous. Home, market, work. All ages. Positive attitudes. Used as L2 by Kenye [lke], Kumam [kdi].

Language Development
Literacy campaign in progress (2012). Taught in primary schools. Taught in secondary schools, as a subject. Newspapers. Radio. Videos. Dictionary. Texts. Bible: 1961.

Latin script [Latn], used since 1930.

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