THE LANGUAGES OF CIU
Interviews and photos by Joseph I. Okechukwu
Geoffrey Mujjuzi, Uganda, Department of Electrical Engineering
We have hundreds of languages in Uganda, but in the central part of the country and the capital city the most commonly used language is Luganda. In the eastern part of the country most people speak Lunyamkole. Then in the northern part of country they speak mainly Lurango. My language is Luganda and our way of greeting people is to say ‘olyotya’, which means ‘how are you?’
In Russia we have only one official language, which is Russian. In the eastern, western and northern parts people speak Russian but in different accents. To say hello you say ‘privet’. For ‘how are you?’ you ask ‘Kak dela?’
There are over 500 languages in Nigeria, but the major three are Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. In my part of the country, the South Eastern part, people mainly speak Igbo. In the northern part of Nigeria most of the people speak Hausa, and in the South Western region the main language is Yoruba. So that people can understand each other, many Nigerians speak a version of English called Pidgin. English is used for official purposes and in a lot of the media, but there are lots of newspapers which use local languages. To greet someone in Igbo you say ‘Nna kedu ka idi, kedu maka ndi begi?’ which means ‘how are you, and how is your family?’
Botswana has two official languages: English and Setswana. Some people in my country can speak an additional language called Kalanga, which is the main language spoken by the Bakalaka ethnic group. To say hello in Setswana you say ‘dumela mma’.
There are seventy-two languages spoken in Zambia, the main ones are Bemba, Nyanja, Lozim Tonga. Nyanja is the most widely spoken of these and people also use it in Malawi. To greet someone in Nyanja you say, ‘muli bwanji’.
There are 250 languages in Cameroon and for the locals no one is superior to other – they are all equal. Some of the local languages include Yemba, Ewodo, Douala, Foufoulbe and Bafut. However, all official duties in the country are done in the French language. For example the President gives speeches in the French language. To greet someone in French you say ‘Bonjour comment allez-vous?’ which means ‘hello, how are you?’
The main language in my country is Turkish but there are more ethnic groups which use languages like Kurdish, Arabic and Laz. Turkish is used in the media and for official purposes, but the other languages are used in daily life in parts of Turkey according to the specific groups of people who live there. To greet someone in Turkish you say ‘Merhaba, nasılın?’ This means ‘hello, how are you?’
We have only one language in Lebanon which is Arabic. To greet someone in Arabic you say ‘As-salām ‘alaykum kayfa ḥālak?’ which means, ‘hello, how are you?’