Luhya language

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Luhya
Luyia
Oluluhya
Native toKenya
EthnicityLuhya people
Native speakers
15 million, incl. West Nyala (2019 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3luy – inclusive code (includes all languages spoken by ethnic Luhya, not just the following)[2]
Individual codes:
lrm – Marama
lwg – Wanga (Hanga)
lks – Kisa
lto – Tsotso
lkb – Kabras
nle – (East) Nyala
Glottologcent2288  Central Luyia (incl. some Nyore)
kabr1240  Kabras
JE.32[3]

Luhya (/ˈljə/; also Luyia, Luhia or Luhiya) is a Bantu language of western Kenya.

Dialects[edit]

The various Luhya tribes speak several related languages and dialects, though some of them are no closer to each other than they are to neighboring non-Luhya languages. For example, the Bukusu people are ethnically Luhya, but the Bukusu dialect is a variety of Masaba. (See Luhya people for details.) However, there is a core of mutually intelligible dialects that comprise Luhya proper:[4]

  • Hanga (OluWanga)
  • Tsotso (OluTsotso)
  • Marama (OluMarama)
  • Kisa (OluShisa)
  • Kabras (LuKabarasi)
  • East Nyala (LuNyala)

Comparison[edit]

A comparison between two dialects of Luhya proper, and to two other Bantu languages spoken by the Luhya:

English Kisa Logoli Nyole Wanga
I (me) eshie nzi/ inze ise esie
words amakhuwa makuva amang'ana, amakhuwa amakhuwa
chair eshifumbi indeve/ endeve indebe eshisala
head omurwe mutwi omurwe om'rwe
money amapesa mang'ondo amang'ondo, am'mondo, etsilupia amapesa, irupia

Comparison to Bantu[edit]

English Luhya Kikuyu Kinyarwanda Lingala Luganda Shona Swahili Zulu
children abana, baana, otwana, orwana, vaana twana abana bana baana, abaana vana wana abantwana
dog imbwa ngui (pron. gui) imbwa mbwa mbwa, embwa mbwa, imbwa mbwa inja
fire omuliro mwaki umuriro moto omuliro moto moto umlilo

Phonology[edit]

The following is the phonology of the Luwanga dialect:[5]

Vowels[edit]

Front Central Back
Close i iː u uː
Mid e eː o oː
Open a aː

Consonants[edit]

Bilabial Labio-
dental
Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar
Stop plain p t k
prenasal ᵐb ⁿd ᶮɟ ᵑɡ
Affricate ts
Fricative plain β f s ʃ x
prenasal ⁿz
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Trill r
Approximant l j w

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Luhya at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Marama at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Wanga (Hanga) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Kisa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Tsotso at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Kabras at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    (East) Nyala at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ "639 Identifier Documentation: luy". SIL International.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ Maho (2019)
  5. ^ Abdulmajid, Akidah Mohammed (2000). Luwanga morphophonemics: a natural generative phonology. University of Nairobi.