Acholi (also Akoli, Acoli, Acooli, Atscholi, Shuli, Gang, Lwoo, Lwo, Lok Acoli, Dok Acoli) is a Southern Luo
dialect spoken by the Acholi people
in the districts of Gulu
(a region known as Acholiland
) in northern Uganda
. It is also spoken in South Sudan in Magwi County Eastern Equatoria states.
''Song of Lawino
'', well known in African literature, was written in Acholi by Okot p'Bitek
, although its sequel, ''Song of Ocol'', was written in English.
, and Lango
have between 84 and 90 per cent of their vocabulary in common and are mutually intelligible
. However, they are often counted as separate languages because their speakers are ethnically distinct. Labwor (Thur), once considered a dialect of Acholi, may not be intelligible with it.
Acholi has vowel harmony
: all vowels in a word have to belong to a single class (e.g. ''the cold'' vs. ''to separate''). There are two sets of five vowels, distinguished by the feature /-ATR
/pʷ bʷ/ sounds may also sound as labial affricates f bv
Acholi is a tonal language
. Thus, some words may be distinguished by tone alone, e.g. ''bèl'' (low) 'wrinkled' vs. ''bél'' (high) 'corn' and ''kàl'' (low) 'place enclosed by a palisade' vs. ''kál'' (high) 'millet'. Tone furthermore plays a role in verb conjugation.
The above were the old work of the missionaries Alfred Malandra and Crazzolara published in 1955. However, a more up-to-date Acholi orthography by Janet Lakareber shows that a vowel in Acholi language has more than two pronunciations.
A monosyllabic word in Acholi has 14 different pronunciations. This is explained in the nine books of Acoli Accented Orthography.
Notes and references
# Heron, G.A., 1972, Introduction p.8 in p'Bitek, Okot, 1984.
# Ladefoged et al., 1972:80.
*Crazzolara, J.P. (1938) ''A study of the Acooli language. Grammar and Vocabulary.'' International Institute of African Languages and Cultures. London/New York/Toronto: Oxford University Press.
*Kitching, Arthur Leonard (1932) ''An outline grammar of the Acholi language'' (first published 1907). London: Sheldon Press / Kampala: The Uganda Bookshop.
*Ladefoged, Peter; Ruth Glick; Clive Criper; Clifford H. Prator; Livingstone Walusimbi (1972) ''Language in Uganda'' (Ford Foundation language surveys vol. 1). London/New York etc. Oxford University Press.
*Malandra, Alfred (1955) ''A new Acholi grammar''. Kampala: Eagle PressHathitrust record
*Okidi, Festo (2000) ''Acholi for beginners: grammar, Acholi–English, English–Acholi''. London: Pilato Books.
*p'Bitek, Okot (1985) ''Acholi proverbs''. Nairobi: Heinemann Kenya.
*p'Bitek, Okot (1984) ''Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol''. (African Writers Series
, 266). London: Heinemann Educational.
*Janet Lakareber (2011) ''Coono Leb Acoli (intro) Acoli Accented Orthography''. London: GBILA.
*Listen to a sample of Acholi from Global Recordings NetworkIRIN Radio
– Radio programming from northern Uganda in Luo
Category:Languages of Uganda
Category:Languages of South Sudan