Lingala language

Lingala language

      according to some linguists, a Bantu (Bantu languages)-based creole (creole languages) of Central Africa. Lingala is spoken by more than 10 million people in a region comprising the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo) south to its capital, Kinshasa, and the northern part of the Republic of the Congo (Congo), particularly in part of its capital, Brazzaville.

      Lingala, meaning “language of the Bangala (riverine) people,” evolved from Bobangi, a Bantu language (Bantu languages) of the Benue-Congo (Benue-Congo languages) branch of the Niger-Congo (Niger-Congo languages) family, which was used by riverine traders between the northwestern bend of the Congo River and Stanley (now Malebo) Pool in the south and along the Ubangi River. Lingala developed in the late 19th century from the Bobangi used by missionaries for proselytizing and by colonial administrators for communication with the local populations through their auxiliaries such as the armed forces and the police. Lingala continues to be associated with the military and the police throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

      Lingala enjoys a great deal of local prestige among the masses. Because it functions as the primary vernacular of both Kinshasa and Brazzaville, it is associated with modernity and urban culture. While French is associated with power and socioeconomic mobility in both capital cities, Lingala determines participation in the popular culture. It is the dominant language of popular dance music, soukous (an urban style of indigenous dance that first developed in the region in the 1960s), and jazz throughout Central Africa, even in places where it is not spoken. Lingala radio and television broadcasts, print materials, and audio cassettes have been spreading rapidly in both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.

      Unlike Kikongo-Kituba, another Bantu creole, Lingala has preserved more of the canonical Bantu agglutinating verbal structure, in which several prefixes and suffixes attach to the verb to modify its meaning. An example is a-ko-m ón-is-a yo ‘he/she will show it to you' (literally, he-[future]-see-[cause]-[final vowel] ‘he/she will cause you to see'). It has also retained the simplified subject-verb agreement system now based on the distinction between animate and inanimate subjects, such as mw-ána a-kómi ‘the child has arrived' versus e-lóko e-kómi ‘the thing has arrived.' Lingala is also very tonal, which helps identify nonnative and nonfluent speakers even among Bantu speakers, who tend to pronounce words using the wrong tonal patterns. Canonical Bantu grammatical features are more common in Lingala Makanza, the standard variety of Lingala designed by missionaries and promoted by the school system. Lingala is one of the four major indigenous lingua francas (lingua franca), called “national languages,” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as a vernacular of urban centres in the western part of the country, except in Bas-Congo (Lower Congo) province and in southern and eastern Bandundu province.

Salikoko Sangol Mufwene

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lingala language — This article is about the Lingala language. For Lingala Music, see Soukous. For other uses, see Lingala (disambiguation). Ngala language redirects here. For Ba Ngala, see Bangala language. Lingala Lingála Spoken in …   Wikipedia

  • Lingala (disambiguation) — Lingala can refer to: * Lingala language in central Africa * Lingala music, a synonym for Soukous music * Lingala village a village in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, India. * Lingala, Kadapa district, a village and mandal in Kadapa district,… …   Wikipedia

  • Lingala Wikipedia — Infobox website name = Lingala Wikipedia caption = url = commercial = No location = Miami, Florida type = Internet encyclopedia project language = Lingala registration = Optional owner = Wikimedia Foundation author = The… …   Wikipedia

  • Lingala — [liŋ gä′lə] n. a Bantu language used as a lingua franca in W Democratic Republic of the Congo …   English World dictionary

  • Lingala — [lɪŋ gα:lə] noun a Bantu language used as a lingua franca in Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire). Origin the name in Lingala …   English new terms dictionary

  • Lingala — /lɪŋˈgalə/ (say ling gahluh) noun a Bantu language spoken in the Congo region of Africa, particularly in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; used as a trade language …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Lingala — noun Date: 1922 a Bantu language widely used in trade and public affairs in the Congo River area …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Lingala — /ling gah leuh/, n. a Bantu language used as a lingua franca in the N Democratic Republic of the Congo. * * * …   Universalium

  • Lingala — noun A Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo Kinshasa) and a large part of the Republic of the Congo (Congo Brazzaville), as well as to some degree in Angola and the Central African… …   Wiktionary

  • Lingala — ISO 639 3 Code : lin ISO 639 2/B Code : lin ISO 639 2/T Code : lin ISO 639 1 Code : ln Scope : Individual Language Type : Living …   Names of Languages ISO 639-3

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