Ethnicity5,000 (2007)[1]
Native speakers
50 (2012)[1]
  • Tepes
  • Kadam
  • Napak
Language codes
ISO 639-3teu

Soo or So is the Kuliak language of the Tepes people of northeastern Uganda. The language is moribund, with most of the population of 5,000 having shifted to Karamojong, and only a few dozen elderly individuals are still able to speak Soo. Soo is divided into three major dialects: Tepes, Kadam (Katam), and Napak (Yog Toŋi).

There are between 3,000 and 10,000 ethnic Soo people (Carlin 1993). They were historically hunter-gatherers, but have recently shifted to pastoralism and subsistence farming like their Nilotic and Bantu neighbors.[2] Beer (2009: 2) found that most Soo villages have only one speaker remaining. Thus, the speakers rarely have a chance to actively use the Soo language.


Soo dialects are spoken on the slopes of the following three mountains in east-central Uganda just to the north of Mount Elgon.[3]

There are fewer than 60 elderly speakers of all three dialects combined.[2]

Carlin (1993: 2-3) notes that there are only minor differences between the Tepes and Kadam dialects, which are mutually intelligible.


So grammar has been described by Beer, et al. (2009).[9]

Word order is VSO (verb–subject–object). So has rich verbal morphology.[9]


So nominative and accusative pronouns are:[9]

Singular Plural
1st aja inja/izja
2nd bija bitja
3rd ica iɟa


So interrogatives are:[9]


There are four verb tenses:[9]


Some So affixes are:[9]

Singular suffixes are /-at/, /an/, /-ɛn/, and /-it/.

Plural suffixes are /-in/, /-ɛk/, /-ɛz/, /-an/, /-ɛl/, /-ra/, /-ce/, /-ɔt/, and /-e/.


  1. ^ a b Soo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Beer (2009: 1)
  3. ^ Carlin, Eithne. 1993. The So Language. (Afrikanistische Monografien (AMO), 2.) Institut für Afrikanistik, Universität zu Köln.
  4. ^ a b Beer (2009: 2)
  5. ^ a b Carlin (1993: 6)
  6. ^ Carlin (1993: 7-8)
  7. ^ Carlin (1993: 8)
  8. ^ Heine, Bernd. m.s. The So Language of Eastern Uganda.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Beer, Sam, Amber McKinney, Lokiru Kosma 2009. The So Language: A Grammar Sketch. m.s.