Native toSouth Sudan
RegionBahr el Ghazal
EthnicityLuwo people
Native speakers
260,000 (2017)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3lwo

Luwo (Luo, Dheluwo), is a language spoken by the Luo people of Bahr el Ghazal region in South Sudan. The language is predominantly spoken in the western and northern parts of Bahr el Ghazal. The Luwo form a majority in the Jur River County.

The language is part of the Luo languages of East Africa and is especially related to the languages of South Sudan such as Anyuak and Päri with whom it forms a dialect cluster.[2]


The Luwo language is spoken by the Luwo (or Jur Col), an ethnic group in South Sudan. Jur is exonym adopted from the local Dinka language whose speakers are the Luwo's northern and eastern neighbours.[3] Its original Dinka usage, non-cattle-holding non-Dinka, was not particular to the Jur. Jur Col ("black Jur") is today used to disambiguate Luwo from other Jur groups.[citation needed]


Dhe Luwo is currently a developing language. Meaning that the language is developing its written language, standard dialect and undergoing modernization.[4]



Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t c k ʔ
voiced b d ɟ g
Trill r
Lateral l
Approximant w j


Oral vowels
Front Central Back Front Central Back
Close i iː u uː ɪ ɪː ʊ ʊː
Mid e eː ʌ̈ ʌ̈ː o oː ɛ ɛː ɔ ɔː
Open a aː
Breathy vowels
Front Central Back Front Central Back
Close i̤ i̤ː ṳ ṳː ɪ̤ ɪ̤ː ʊ̤ ʊ̤ː
Mid e̤ e̤ː ʌ̤̈ ʌ̤̈ː o̤ o̤ː ɛ̤ ɛ̤ː ɔ̤ ɔ̤ː
Open a̤ a̤ː

Sample phrases

English Luwo
Hello (How are you?) Mahdhia (Ni dih)?
I am fine (nothing bad) Gihn me raaj tooro.
What is your name? Nyingi nga'a?
My name is Dimo. Nyinga Dimo.
Child Nyithiin
Boy Nyidhohg
Girl Nyakuo
God is great. Juag Duohng.
Good Ber
Thank you! Kori!
I am happy. Ciwnya med.


  1. ^ Luwo at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Reh, Mechthild (1996): Anywa Language: Description and Internal Reconstructions. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe. p.5
  3. ^ Santandrea, Stefano (1968). The Luo of the Bahr el Ghazal (Sudan). Bologna: Editrice Nigrizia.
  4. ^ "Language Development". Ethnologue. 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  5. ^ Storch, Anne (2014). A Grammar of Luwo: An anthropological approach. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.