Ateso is a member of the Eastern Nilotic branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family. It is spoken by about 2.7 million people mainly in eastern Uganda, and also in northwestern Kenya. In Uganda there are about 2.3 million speakers of Ateso in the districts of Amuria, Bukedea, Butebo, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Kumi, Ngora, Pallisa, Serere, Soroti and Tororo, and in the Lake Bisina area. In Kenya there are about 418,000 Ateso speakers in Busia country.

Ateso is also known as Bakedi, Bakidi, Elgumi, Etossio, Ikumama, Iteso, Teso or Wamia. It is closely related to Turkana and Karamojong. In Uganda it is taught in primary and secondary schools, and used in newspapers, on the radio, and in some literature, including a translation of the Bible published in 1961.

Ateso is written with the Latin alphabet using an official spelling system introduced by the Ateso Orthography Committee in 1947.

Latin alphabet for Ateso

Latin alphabet for Ateso


Download an alphabet chart for Ateso (Excel)

Sample text

  1. Kotoma ageunet abu Edeke kosub akuj ka akwap
  2. Ido ajai akwap atai, komam etiakak; kojai amuton kokuju kaidules; kintkum emoyo loka Edeke kuju akipi.
  3. Kobala Edeke ebe, "Kojau aica"; kosodi aica ajaun.



  1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
  2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
  3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.


Videos in and about Ateso


Information about Ateso

Nilo-Saharan languages

Acholi, Alur, Aringa, Ateso, Avokaya, Baka, Bari, Beli, Bongo, Daza, Dholuo, Dinka, Dongotono, Fur, Gumuz, Jur Modo, Kanuri, Karamojong, Keliko, Komo, Lango, Lotuko, Lokoya, Lopit, Lugbara, Maasai, Ma'di, Mandari, Morokodo, Moru, Narim, Nuer, Nobiin, Old Nubian, Olu'bo, Shilluk, Toposa, Turkana, Uduk, Wa'di, Zaghawa, Zarma

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page created: 20.08.21. Last modified: 20.08.21


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