Language - Lingala language

Language  >  Lingala language

Lingala language

Lingala (Ngala) is a Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a large part of the Republic of the Congo. It is spoken to a lesser degree in Angola and the Central African Republic. There are over 70 million lingalophones.

In the 19th century, before the creation of the Congo Free State, the Bangala (literally: 'river people') were a group of similar Bantu peoples living and trading along the bend of the Congo River that reached from Irebu at the mouth of the Ubangi River to the Mongala River. They spoke similar languages, such as Losengo, but their trade language was Bangi, which was the most prestigious language between Stanley Pool (Kinshasa) and Irebu. As a result, people upstream of the Bangala mistook Bangi for the language of the Bangala and called it Lingala (language of the Bangala), and European missionaries followed suit.

In the last two decades of the 19th century, after the forces of Leopold II of Belgium conquered the region and started exploiting it commercially, Bangi came into wider use. The colonial administration, in need of a common language for the region, started to use the language for administrative purposes. It had already simplified, compared to local Bantu languages, in its sentence structure, word structure and sounds, and speakers borrowed words and constructs liberally from other languages. This allowed the language to spread easily amongst the Congolese population. However, the fact that speakers had very similar native languages prevented Lingala from becoming as radically restructured as Kituba, which developed among speakers of both Bantu and West African languages.

Around 1900, CICM missionaries started a project to "purify" the language in order to make it "pure Bantu" again. Meeuwis (1998:7) writes:

[M]issionaries, such as the Protestant W. Stapleton and later, and more influentially, E. De Boeck himself, judged that the grammar and lexicon of this language were too poor for it to function properly as a medium of education, evangelization, and other types of vertical communication with the Africans in the northwestern and central-western parts of the colony (..). They set out to 'correct' and 'expand' the language by drawing on lexical and grammatical elements from surrounding vernacular languages.

The importance of Lingala as a vernacular has since grown with the size and importance of its main center of use, Kinshasa and Brazzaville; with its use as the lingua franca of the armed forces, and with the popularity of soukous music.

Country

Central African Republic

The Central African Republic (CAR; Sango: Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka; République centrafricaine, or Centrafrique ) is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west. The CAR covers a land area of about 620,000 km2 and had an estimated population of around million. Currently, the C.A.R. is the scene of a civil war, ongoing since 2012.

Most of the CAR consists of Sudano-Guinean savannas, but the country also includes a Sahelo-Sudanian zone in the north and an equatorial forest zone in the south. Two thirds of the country is within the Ubangi River basin (which flows into the Congo), while the remaining third lies in the basin of the Chari, which flows into Lake Chad.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( République démocratique du Congo ), also known as DR Congo, the DRC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is the southernmost country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997. The DRC borders the Central African Republic to the north; South Sudan to the northeast; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the east; Zambia to the south; Angola to the southwest; and the Republic of the Congo and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the second-largest country in Africa after Algeria (the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa) by area and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth-most-populated country in Africa, and the 16th-most-populated country in the world.

Centred on the Congo Basin, the territory of the DRC was first inhabited by Central African foragers around 90,000 years ago and was reached by the Bantu expansion about 3,000 years ago. In the west, the Kingdom of Kongo ruled around the mouth of the Congo River from the 14th to 19th centuries. In the centre and east, the kingdoms of Luba and Lunda ruled from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century. In the 1870s, just before the onset of the Scramble for Africa, European exploration of the Congo Basin was carried out, first led by Henry Morton Stanley under the sponsorship of King Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo territory at the Berlin Conference in 1885 and made the land his private property, naming it the Congo Free State. During the Free State, the colonial military unit, the Force Publique, forced the local population to produce rubber, and from 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of disease and exploitation. In 1908, Belgium, despite initial reluctance, formally annexed the Free State, which became the Belgian Congo.

Republic of the Congo

The Republic of the Congo ( République du Congo, Repubilika ya Kôngo), also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic or simply the Congo, is a country located in the western coast of Central Africa. It is bordered by five countries: Gabon to its west; Cameroon to its northwest and the Central African Republic to its northeast; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southeast and the Angolan exclave of Cabinda to its south; and the Atlantic Ocean to its southwest.

The region was dominated by Bantu-speaking tribes at least 3,000 years ago, who built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. Congo was formerly part of the French colony of Equatorial Africa. The Republic of the Congo was established on the 28th of November 1958 but gained independence from France in 1960. The sovereign state has had multi-party elections since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 Republic of the Congo Civil War, and President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who first came to power in 1979, has ruled for 33 of the past 38 years.

Language

Lingala language (English)  Lingua lingala (Italiano)  Lingala (Nederlands)  Lingala (Français)  Lingála (Deutsch)  Língua lingala (Português)  Лингала (Русский)  Idioma lingala (Español)  Język lingala (Polski)  林加拉语 (中文)  Lingala (Svenska)  リンガラ語 (日本語)  Лінґала (Українська)  링갈라어 (한국어)  Lingala (Suomi)  Bahasa Lingala (Bahasa Indonesia)  Ngalų kalba (Lietuvių)  Ngalština (Česky)  Лингала (Српски / Srpski)  Lingala keel (Eesti)  Lingalčina (Slovenčina)  Lingala jezik (Hrvatski) 
 mapnall@gmail.com