The effecacy of the current Runyankole-Rukiga Orthography: A Case Study of How it Facilitates Rukiga Speaking Learners
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This study focused on the ability of the Runyankore-Rukiga Orthography to effectively facilitate all the learners that use it, especially Rukiga speaking ones. It hinged on the fact that most Kigezi dialects that are far from the Ankore borders are spoken quite differently from the way the language is written. The study aimed at examining areas of language variation; factors of variations and their effect on the performance of the learners; and the general efficiency of the RR orthography in the teaching-learning situations. The specific objectives of the study were to establish degrees of language variation of Kigezi dialects as compared to the standard dialect in relation to teaching and learning, and mutual intelligibility of the users; to observe factors of language variation and their impact on the teaching and learning process of mother tongue (MT); and, to evaluate the degree of variation and whether it calls for orthographic re-adjustment. The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. A sample of 256 pupils, 64 teachers of MT, 16 Head teachers and 08 stakeholders from the different corners of the dialect continuum, i.e. from Kayonza (Kinkiizi) to Rubaya (Ndorwa), were studied. Study findings indicated that the Rukiga - speaking learner is not fully helped by the current orthography .The learners in question write what they pronounce which deviates from the orthography. Most mistakes made are related to pronouns placement, tense marking, vocabulary and a lot of elisions, which are unacceptable. Recommendations made were based on the difficulties observed among learners, which included: 1. Spelling errors are based on specific dialects of the learners. The study revealed that learners far from Ankore borders make many spelling and reading mistakes compared to counterparts who live in close proximity to the same borders. The recommendation is to encourage one key version of Rukiga that should be written and respected as a standard dialect that could be used for publications. 2. Learners‟ omission of diphthongs in writing probably due to speech patterns in their dialects calls for close examination of vowels and consonants per the rules of Runyankore-Rukiga orthography especially in the areas that challenge Rukiga speaking learners. For instance, /r/ and /l/. ei eine = eyi = eyizire ai = ayi = aine = ayitsire.