Lunyole reading Mark

The Banyole live in eastern Uganda. They call their language Lunyole.


Quick facts

Population: 530,120 (2014)

Locations: Butaleja, Mbale and Tororo District in eastern Uganda.

Language family: Niger-Congo > Bantu > Masaba-Luhya

Read about Lunyole [nuj] on the Ethnologue website

Lunyole locationLunyole is spoken in 3 districts in eastern Uganda (area shaded red).

Some background information

In 1964 some Banyole who were zealous about the development of their language came together and formed the Lunyole Language Association, known locally as “Ehibbubbu Hy’Olulimi Olunyole (EHYO)”. The major aim of the Association was to promote Banyole culture and language with an additional aim of developing a writing system for Lunyole and putting the rich heritage of the Banyole into writing. Under the Association, the late Rev. Canon Asanasiyo Malingha Ngwede and the late Dani Mubene attempted to begin the work of Bible translation in Lunyole. However, due to the unfavourable political developments in this country, the work was not able to continue.

The Lunyole Bible Translation Committee, a local organization with representatives from all church denominations in the area, was formed in 1993. Their vision was to have the Word of God in their own language. In 1999, two missionary families were sent by SIL to serve among the Banyole and study their language. They assisted with the creation of an orthography for writing Lunyole. The first book from the Bible to be published was Jonah to test the new orthography. Full-time translation began in 2005, and the Gospel of Mark was published in 2006.

Other language development activities have also been undertaken alongside Bible translation. A Lunyole-English dictionary was produced and published in August 2012, both in print and online. In addition, the Lunyole literacy and Scripture engagement team has conducted literacy courses, and writers’ workshops and trained literacy teachers to teach both adults and children to read Lunyole. They have also produced many books including basic literacy and transition literacy primers, a Lunyole orthography guide, easy reading books for inclusion in a Mother Tongue Education program, various Bible story books and Bible Study Guides.

The Lunyole New Testament was launched in January 2017 and Old Testament translation is now going on. SIL continues to support this work by providing consultant services.

Some available resources

  • Lunyole New Testament, 2017 – text and audio

  • Genesis and Exodus

  • Lunyole Orthography & Spelling Guides, 2006

  • Lunyole Primer (Hwege Ohusoma Olunyole), 2006

  • Lunyole Dictionary, 2012 (online version here)

  • The JESUS film (watch online)

  • Various story books, proverbs, Bible study guides, and health materials           


Visit the Lunyole project website to access more resources


Contact us for more information about language development work in Lunyole.