A Luluhya-English Vocabulary
Author: L. L. Appleby, Maseno, Kenya
Publication date: 1943
Number of pages: 123
Format / Quality: pdf-zipped
This vocabulary, although it contains very few words not in use in the Hanga group of
dialects, is called a Luhya vocabulary because as far as possible Luhya orthography has been
used; it is hoped that a later edition will include many words from other dialects, so that the
title will be justified.
The arrangement is alphabetical rather than under roots; but where they have been
recognized, other words from the same root have been indicated in brackets after the meaning
of the word has been given; e.g. after isiriya, a song of triumph, a reference is given to
obwisirya, a mystery; there is no very obvious connection between the meanings of the two
words in Luhya, but it is highly probable that they are from the same root.
In some cases, in order to explain a word clearly to English users, it has been
necessary to use words that may sound queer or old-fashioned in ordinary conversation. In
other cases some of the words have special significance, and cannot be used in a general way.
Frequently advice is given to African readers as to which of the words suggested is best for
general use; e.g., amahundukunyu = swellings; pimples; excrescences; lumps. But swelling
can only be used when the thing is actually swollen -- pimple of a particular kind of sore
lump on the skin -- excrescence is a long word that sounds queer in general use -- while lump
is fairly safe for general use; the first three merely help to explain what kinds of lumps can be
called amahundukunyu. So a suggestion is given, “Use lumps”, so that an African who is not
quite sure will avoid those words which might not sound correct in a given case.
In most instances where other words with the same meaning have been recorded, they
are given thus: eshityeto (also eshichibi). Where there are other words associated in meaning,
they are referred to thus: eshyachi (see eschitera, eshirende, eshituku). With regard to
orthography, it should be noted that this has been published while many points have not been
finally settled. In particular with the indication of long vowels, and the use of i and y, and of u
and w, will be standardized, and probably many alternations made in the spelling used here,
which in some cases is inconsistent.
In conclusion, I should be grateful if all users of this vocabulary will help me in
preparing the next edition. Might I suggest that you write in your copy any alternations or
additions that occur to you, and then either bring it to me occasionally for me to take notes, or
else copy them on a sheet of paper and send them to me. The following are things I would be
glad if you would look out for specially:
1. Words that have not been included.
2. Words wrongly spelt (e.g. where two similar words have been spelt both with a
short vowel when actually one is long).
3. Meanings that are wrong or only partly right.
4. Connections between words that have not been indicated.
5. Inconsistencies in the orthography.