A fishing village near Lake KyogaA Luruuli/Lunyara-English dictionary


Full project title

A comprehensive bilingual talking Luruuli/Lunyara-English dictionary with a descriptive basic grammar for language revitalisation and enhancement of mothertongue based education

Information on the language can be found on Glottolog, Ethnologue and Wikipedia.



Knowledge for Tomorrow - Postdoctoral Fellowships
in the Humanities in Sub Saharan Africa and North Africa
 (Volkswagen Foundation)


Aim of the project

The overarching aim of the project is to contribute towards the revitalisation of the endangered and mainly oral Luruuli/Lunyara language. This will be achieved through the production of a bilingual corpus-based Luruuli/Lunyara-English dictionary of 10,000 entries which will be made available as a printed version, an online talking dictionary and a dictionary app for mobile devices. In addition, the project will undertake capacity building efforts among Luruuli/Lunyara community members and Makerere University scholars.

The production of the dictionary will be preceded by a compilation of both spoken and written corpora of Luruuli/Lunyara to provide frequency information and authentic examples of lexemes necessary for compiling a Luruuli/Lunyara dictionary. Since there is no previous description of Luruuli/Lunyara, the dictionary will include a grammar sketch, which will provide an overview of the grammatical aspects of Luruuli/Lunyara necessary for compiling a dictionary.


Envisaged follow-up projects and future benefits

After the proposed project is completed, a number of follow-up projects and usages of the project results are possible:

  • The collected corpus will serve as a basis for the compilation of a more detailed stand-alone grammatical description of Luruuli/Lunyara.
  • The corpus and the acquired expertise will allow interested community members, in collaboration with the Makerere team to prepare primers in Luruuli/Lunyara for elementary school.
  • The collected dictionary database and the developed style manual can be used to prepare simplified and reduced versions of the dictionary for school (e.g. a pictorial dictionary).
  • The framework applied to produce the online talking dictionary can serve as a template to produce further dictionaries of under-documented Ugandan languages
  • The partnership between the University of Makerere and the University of Kiel strengthened during the project will be formalized as an agreement of cooperation between the respective departments of the two universities and encourage further collaborative research projects.
  • The talking dictionary as well as the collected corpus will serve as a long-lasting database for research papers as well as MA and PhD theses.