A Runyankore-Rukiga thesaurus co-authored by President Yoweri Museveni has been published and is set for launch next week.
A thesaurus is a kind of dictionary that lists words grouped together according to similarity in meaning.
The other authors are Manuel Muranga, Alice Muhoozi and Gilbert Gumoshabe.
The book was written to document the language’s rich vocabulary as well as act as a springboard for a greater understanding of the Bantu languages of the region, Museveni said in the foreword.
Museveni also points out that Runyankore-Rukiga is intelligible in varying degrees from eastern Congo to western Kenya and from northwestern Tanzania to central Uganda.
“The deliberate promotion of the integrity of each of the Runyakitara languages or dialects – as opposed to any one artificial attempt to create one uniform language out of them – plus the simultaneous promotion of mutual intelligibility and legibility among them, is doubtless the best policy to follow in planning for an economically viable future for these languages,” Museveni wrote alongside the other authors in the introduction to the book.
The hard cover 500 page book will cost sh50,000 and will be launched next Wednesday.
The authors present the thesaurus as their contribution to the advancement of the language.
“We feel inspired to believe that our mother tongues in their relative smallness have a potentially great future. If only we could get more linguistic patriots working, writing, promoting the teaching of these languages in our schools, sensitising the population about the importance of our rich robust mother tongues and the amazing intellectual and artistic heritages,” they said.
The book is published by Fountain Publishers and follows on the heels of a dictionary in the language published three years ago.