Adopting and adapting English abbervaiations in Scientific Luganda

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IALI NGO has been authorized b y terminologist Charles Muwanga to post this article from his Luganda scientific terminology research on Luganda wikipedia for free public consumption.

Enfundiwazo (Abbreviations)


The concept of “enfundiwazo” (abbreviations) is from the Luganda word “okufunza ebigambo” ( to abbreviate) meaning using initials of a word.

Abbreviations are formed by the initial letters of a word or phrase. “Enfundiwazo are mainly used in written language, not spoken language. In the chemistry of Luganda, we are borrowing almost all the chemical elements and their abbreviated chemical symbols from the chemical names adopted and adapted from English.

In all our blafrican languages, abbreviations of the elements of the periodic table of elements are very useful in scientific discourse. The borrowed “Namunigina z’Amawanga ez’Ebipimo” (International System of Units) in Luganda are likewise abbreviated for convenience in calculations and publications.

See tables below:

Nigi (Units)

loanword Ensirisiwazo

Miita (meter) M

kirogulaamu (kilogram) Kg

Sikonda (seconds) S

Ampaya (ampire) A

Kaluviini (Kalvin) K

Yinsi (inches) Yi

Fuuti (feet) Ft

Yaadi (yards) Yd

Mairo (mile) Ml

Ggalani (golon) Gn

Sentimita (centmeter) Sm


Take note of the following units of measurements below:

There are also nigi ezibbule (derived units) which are also abbreviated as follows:

Ekipimo(Measurement) Nigi/Unigi/Nigina/

Namunigina (units) Akabonero(symbol)

Obugazi or Obwagagavu (Area) Miita ya kyebiriga (square meter ) m2

Obubangirivu (Volume) Miita ya kyesatuza (cubic meter) m3

Embiro n’eng’enda(speed and velocity) Miita buli sikonda(meter per second) m/s

Entebenta (acceleration) Miita buli sikonda eya kyebiriga (meter per square second ) m/s2

Omuwendo gw’ejjengo(Wave number) Miita eya kasulike(reciprocal meter) m-1

Obukwafuwavu bw’enzitoya (mass density) Kirogulaamu buli mita aya kyesatuza (kilogram per cubic meter) kg/m3

Obubangirivu obwesonjovu(specific volume) Miita ya kyesatuza buli kirogulaamu(Cubic meters per kilogram) m3/kg

Obukwafuwavu bw’omugendo gw’amasannyalaze(current density) Ampaya buli miita eya kyebiriga (Ampires per square meter A/m2

Eryanyi l y’ekyebulungulo kya magineeti (magnetic field strength Ampaya buli miita (ampire per meter A/m


Abbreviations used on the “Endagabwolekero” (Geographical Compass)


Other abbreviations necessary in any vernacular include those used on the Compass Rose (Endagabwolekero):


1) BK (Bukiikakkono), the Luganda equivalent of N for North

2) BD (Bukiikaddyo), the Luganda equivalent of S for South).

3) BV (Buvanjuba), the Luganda equivalent of E for East.

4) BG (Bugwanjuba), the Luganda equivalent of W for West

5) BKoBV (Bukiikakkono owa Buvanjuba) the Luganda equivalent of NE for “North East”.

6) BKoBG (Bukiikakkono owa Bugwanjuba) the Luganda equivalent of NE for North West

7) BDoBV (Bukiikaddyo owa Buvanjuva) the Luganda equivalent of SE for South East.

8) BDOBG (Bukiikaddyo owa Bugwanjuba) the Luganda equivalent of SW for South West.

Abbreviations of the elements of the Periodic Table

The Luganda elements of the periodic table of chemical elements and their abbreviations or symbols are almost all borrowed from the one of English. For ease of uniformity, all the vernacular abbreviations should remain as they are in English in all our blafrican languages.