A language of Uganda

Alternate Names

2,960,000 (2014 census), increasing. Census based on tribal affiliation.


Bugiri, Buyende, Iganga, Jinja, Kamuli, Luuka, Mayuge, and Namayingo districts; between Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga. Kaliro district (Lulamogi dialect); Namutumba district (Lukono and Lusiginyi dialects).

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing). De facto language of provincial identity in Iganga, 4 other districts.


Tenga (Lutenga), Lamoogi (Lamogi, Lulamogi, Lulamoogi), Siki (Lusiginyi, Lusiki, Siginyi), Diope (Ludiope), Nholo (Lunholo), Kigulu (Lukigulu), Gweri (Lugweri), Luuka, Tembé (Lutembe), Gabula (Lugabula), Lukono (Kono). Lamogi (Lamoogi)and Siki (Siginyi) dialects are mutually intelligible of Gwere [gwr] and Kenye [lke]. Lexical similarity: Lutenga dialect; 82%–86% with Ganda [lug], 77%– 81% with Kenye [lke], 69%–78% with Lulamoogi [xog], 64% with Gwere [gwr], 58% with Saamia [luy]. Lulamoogi dialect; 89%–92% with Lusiginyi; 83%–88% with Kenye [lke], and 81%–82% with Gwere [gwr], Lusiginyi dialect; 83%–84% with Kenye [lke], and 79%–82% with Gwere.


For Tenga dialect: SVO; 5 vowels, 23 consonants; highly agglutinating; lexical and grammatical tone.

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], Ganda [lug]. Used as L2 by Kenye [lke].

Language Development

Taught in primary schools. Literature. Radio. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 2015. Agencies: Lusoga Language Development Academy; Basoga Cultural Research Centre.


Latin script [Latn], used since 1996.

Other Comments

Welmers (1973) and Ladefoged (1971) list Soga [xog], Gwere [gwr], and Kenyi (Kenye) [lke] separately. Kenye and Gwere may be dialects of Soga, Gwere being the most geographically distant. Only Tenga, the major and widely held standard dialect, has development in progress. Lamoogi and Siginyi dialects are largely undescribed and still unwritten. Speakers of Lamoogi and Siginyi consider themselves different ethnic groups, though loosely part of the wider Soga Kingdom. These varieties are all very similar and largely intelligible.

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