Rutoro

Here are some of the very few Rutoro (Rutooro) words, which I picked up during my stay in Uganda. Not much, but helps you to get an idea.

I am not sure about the correct spelling - how could I ? You should be aware, though, that the correct Rutoro spelling differs fundamentally from English ( Americans should take out their chewing-gums as a first step towards a proper pronounciation ). It is a bit similar to the German way. Whatsoever, there is no guarantee. Also, I am not a linguist. So, if you have corrections to make, feel free to send a mail. If you are a Mutoro and you have similar site, Id be happy to link you right here.

Now this is, what you find on this page:

First some basics ...

As with most Bantu languages, the Batoro use prefixes with most of the words:

  • Mutoro is one individual (male or female) of the Toro-tribe.
  • Batoro is the plural form.
  • Kitoro stands for the culture of the Batoro e.g. songs, clothing etc. (read tchitoro).
  • Rutoro is the language (note that other Bantu languages in Uganda use Lu- as prefix for the language e.g. Luganda - L and R are generaly happily mixed up in Uganda-English)
  • Butoro would be the land of the Batoro, but is not being used in favor of Toro (Kingdom). I never understood why, but I assume, it is because the royal clan of the Batoro is originally from a non-Bantu tribe of the North.

The Empakos

Special for the Batoro is the use of Empakos, which are often called pet-names, but are really much more important that ordinary pet-names. Traditionally an Empako is given to a child shortly after birth according to which characteristics the child seems to have. There are 12 Empakos, each having a different meaning. Some examples:

  • Araali - is the lightning.
  • Abwooli - is the cat
  • Apuuli - is the puppie
  • Akiiki - is the grand father /mother oo many nations
  • others are Atwooki, Atenyi, Abooki, Amooti, Ocaali (only used for the Omukama, the king)

The tradition of the Empakos is quite unusual among the Bantu tribes. It is sayed to have come from ancient military ranks of the the culture of the royal clan. Today it is given to each Mutoro. Some use the same empako for their whole family - even integrated it into the family name, but mostly it is given on an individual basis. Strangers can be assigned an Empako, when they come to Toro. Mine is Apuuli, as I used it in www.apuuli.de.

The empako is essential for the greetings.

The Greetings

As in other cultures, where politeness is one of the most important goods, the Kitoro greetings are quite sophisticated. Here is a short example (women, please kneel down when greeting an older man :-)

Greeting/Answer

Rutoro

English

G

Empako yawe?

What is your Empako?

A

Araali. Kandi eyawe?

Araali, and yours?

G

Apuuli. - Oloho ota, Araali?

Apuuli. - How are you, Araali?

A

Ndoho kuringi, Apuuli!

Fine, Apuuli!

G

Oreire ota, Araali?
(Osibire ota, Araali?)

How did you sleep, Araali?
(How was your day, Araali?)

A

Ndeire kurungi, Apuuli!
(Nsibire kurungi, Apuuli!)

I slept well, Apuuli!
(My day was fine, Apuuli!)

G

Amakurru, Araali?

What are the news, Araali?

A

Harungi, Apuuli!

They are good, Apuuli!

G

Abomuka baloho bata, Araali?

How are the people at home, Araali?

A

Barungi, Apuuli!

They are all well, Apuuli!

G

Osibe kurungi, Araali!
(Orare kurungi, Araali!)
(Ogogrobe, Araali!)

Have a nice day, Araali!
(Sleep well, Araali!)
(Good Bye, Araali!)

Some Common Terms

English

Rutoro

excuse me

kimbo

go!

genda

let us go!

tugende

not so much

ti kuli muno

thank you (very much)

webale (muno)

I dont understand!

ti nye tegereize!

yes

eh! (engo)

no

nangwa!

draw

sseneki

enough

essabu

tomorrow

nyencha

I

nyowe

you

iwe

he/she

oli / ogu

we

itwe

you

inywe

picture

ekisani

Words for Food

English

Rutoro

butter

amagita

eggs

amahuli

fish

esamaki (enchu)

lokust

ensenene

banana pancake

kabalagala

mango

omuyembe

passionfruit

akatunda (pl: obutunda)

sweet banana

obwenju (small type)
ebyenju (big type)

beans

ebihimba

curry

ebinzali

ground nut

ebinyobwa

kasava

muhogo

mais

ebicooli

rice

omucere (raw)
omupunga (cooked)

sugar cane

ekikaka

sweet potatoes

ebitakuli

sweet wood

omurondwa

tomato

enyanya

tomatoes

runyanya

Acknowledgements

I am proud and thankful to have received constructive feedback to this humble page from the following persons:

  • Abwooli from Michigan has added these phrases:
  • English

    Rutoro

    I already told you.

    Unku gambire

    Come here!

    Eeja hanu!

    I will beat you!

    Unjaku kuchapa!

  • Maama Akiiki, currently residing in Kenya, has corrected a lot of my mis-spellings and added some terms.

 

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