The Info List - Lingala

(Ngala) is a Bantu language
Bantu language
spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
and a large part of the Republic of the Congo, as well as to some degree in Angola
and the Central African Republic. It has over 10 million speakers.


1 History 2 Name 3 Characteristics and usage 4 Variations 5 Phonology

5.1 Vowels

5.1.1 Vowel harmony 5.1.2 Vowel shift

5.2 Consonants

5.2.1 Prenasalized consonants

5.3 Tones

5.3.1 Tonal morphology

6 Grammar

6.1 Noun class system 6.2 Verb inflections and morphology

6.2.1 Verbal extensions 6.2.2 Tense inflections

7 Writing system

7.1 Alphabet 7.2 Sample

8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 External links

History[edit] 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
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
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
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. 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; with its use as the lingua franca of the armed forces, and with the popularity of soukous music. Name[edit] European missionaries called the language Bangala, after the Bangala people, or Lingala. The latter was intended to mean '(language) of the Bangala' or 'of the River' (that is, 'Riverine Language'). However, this was an error, as the proper Bangi form would have been Kingala.[4] The name Lingala
first appears in writing in a publication by the CICM missionary Egide De Boeck (1903). Characteristics and usage[edit] According to some linguists, Lingala language
Lingala language
is a Bantu-based creole of Central Africa.[5] In its basic vocabulary, Lingala
has many borrowings words from different other languages such as in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. In practice, the extent of borrowing varies widely with speakers of different regions (commonly among young people), and during different occasions. French language/French

Momie, although it means mother, is used in Lingala
to mean girlfriend Kelasi for class/school

Spanish language/Spanish

chiclé) for chewing gum

Portuguese language/Portuguese

manteka for butter mésa for table sapátu for shoes


miliki for milk supou for soup pesodent for peso dent mamiwata for mermaid, literally mammy/seareine búku for book[6] mótuka, from motor-car, for car[7]

Variations[edit] The Lingala language
Lingala language
can be divided into several dialects or variations. The major variations are considered to be Standard Lingala, Spoken Lingala, Kinshasa
and Brazzaville Lingala. Standard Lingala
(called lingala littéraire or lingala classique in French) is mostly used in educational and news broadcastings on radio or television, in religious services in the Roman Catholic Church and is the language taught as a subject at all educational levels. Standard Lingala
is historically associated with the work of the Catholic Church and missionaries. It has a seven-vowel system /a/ /e/ /ɛ/ /i/ /o/ /ɔ/ /u/ with an obligatory tense-lax vowel harmony. It also has a full range of morphological noun prefixes with mandatory grammatical agreement system with subject–verb, or noun–modifier for each of class. Standard Lingala
is largely used in formal functions. Spoken Lingala
(called lingala parlé in French) is the variation mostly used in the day-to-day lives of Lingalaphones. It has a full morphological noun prefix system, but the agreement system is more lax than the standard variation, i.e. noun-modifier agreement is reduced to two classes. Regarding phonology, there is also a seven-vowel system but the vowel harmony is not mandatory. This variation of Lingala
is historically associated with the Protestant missionaries' work. Spoken Lingala
is largely used in informal functions, and the majority of Lingala
songs use spoken Lingala
over other variations. Modern spoken Lingala
is increasingly influenced by French; French verbs, for example, may be "lingalized" adding Lingala
inflection prefixes and suffixes: "acomprenaki te" or "acomprendraki te" (he did not understand, using the French word comprendre) instead of classic Lingala
"asímbaki ntína te" (literally: s/he grasped/held the root/cause not). Phonology[edit] Vowels[edit]

Front Back

Close i u

Close-mid e o

Open-mid ɛ ɔ

Open a

IPA Example (IPA) Example (written) Meaning Notes

i /lilála/ lilála orange

u /kulutu/ kulutu oldest child

e /eloᵑɡi/ elongi face

o /mobáli/ mobáli boy pronounced slightly higher than the cardinal o, realized as [o̝]

ɛ /lɛlɔ́/ lɛlɔ́ today

ɔ /ᵐbɔ́ᵑɡɔ/ mbɔ́ngɔ money

a /áwa/ áwa here

Vowel harmony[edit] Lingala
words show vowel harmony to some extent. The close-mid vowels /e/ and /o/ normally do not mix with the open-mid vowels /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ in words. For example, the words ndɔbɔ 'fishhook' and ndobo 'mouse trap' are found, but not

ndɔbo or ndobɔ.

Vowel shift[edit] The Lingala
spoken in Kinshasa
shows a vowel shift from /ɔ/ to /o/, leading to the absence of the phoneme /ɔ/ in favor of /o/. The same occurs with /ɛ/ and /e/, leading to just /e/. So in Kinshasa, a native speaker will say mbóte as /ᵐbóte/, compared to the more traditional pronunciation of /ᵐbɔ́tɛ/. Consonants[edit]

This section may require cleanup to meet's quality standards. The specific problem is: The prenasalized stops are indicated as phonemic in the table of examples, but are not included in the consonants table. Please help improve this section if you can. (June 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Labial Alveolar Post- alveolar Palatal Velar





Stop p b t d

k g

Fricative f v s z ʃ (ʒ)





IPA Example (IPA) Example (written) Meaning

p /napɛ́si/ napɛ́sí I give

ᵐp /ᵐpɛᵐbɛ́ni/ mpɛmbɛ́ni near

b /boliᵑɡo/ bolingo love

ᵐb /ᵐbɛlí/ mbɛlí knife

t /litéja/ litéya lesson

ⁿt /ⁿtɔ́ᵑɡɔ́/ ntɔ́ngó dawn

d /daidai/ daidai sticky

ⁿd /ⁿdeko/ ndeko sibling, cousin, relative

k /mokɔlɔ/ mokɔlɔ day

ᵑk /ᵑkóló/ nkóló owner

ɡ /ɡalamɛ́lɛ/ galamɛ́lɛ grammar

ᵑɡ /ᵑɡáí/ ngáí me

m /mamá/ mamá mother

n /bojini/ boyini hate

ɲ /ɲama/ nyama animal

f /fɔtɔ́/ fɔtɔ́ photograph

v /veló/ veló bicycle

s /sɔ̂lɔ/ sɔ̂lɔ truly

ⁿs /ɲɔ́ⁿsɔ/ nyɔ́nsɔ all

z /zɛ́lɔ/ zɛ́lɔ sand

ⁿz (1) /ⁿzáᵐbe/ nzámbe God

ʃ /ʃakú/ cakú or shakú African grey parrot

l /ɔ́lɔ/ ɔ́lɔ gold

j /jé/ yé him; her (object pronoun)

w /wápi/ wápi where

(1) [ᶮʒ] is allophonic with [ʒ] depending on the dialect. Prenasalized consonants[edit] The prenasalized stops formed with a nasal followed by a voiceless plosive are allophonic to the voiceless plosives alone in some variations of Lingala.

/ᵐp/: [ᵐp] or [p]

e.g.: mpɛmbɛ́ni is pronounced [ᵐpɛᵐbɛ́ni] but in some variations [pɛᵐbɛ́ni]

/ⁿt/: [ⁿt] or [t]

e.g.: ntɔ́ngó is pronounced ⁿtɔ́ᵑɡó but in some variations [tɔ́ᵑɡó]

/ᵑk/: [ᵑk] or [k]

e.g.: nkanya (fork) is pronounced [ᵑkaɲa] but in some variations [kaɲa]

/ⁿs/: [ⁿs] or [s] (inside a word)

e.g.: nyɔnsɔ is pronounced [ɲɔ́ⁿsɔ] but in some variations [ɲɔ́sɔ]

The prenasalized voiced occlusives, /ᵐb/, /ⁿd/, /ᵑɡ/, /ⁿz/ do not vary. Tones[edit] Lingala
being a tonal language, tone is a distinguishing feature in minimal pairs, e.g.: moto (human being) and motó (head), or kokoma (to write) and kokóma (to arrive). There are two tones possible, the normal one is low and the second one is high. There is a third, less common tone – starting high, dipping low and then ending high – all within the same vowel sound, e.g.: bôngó (therefore). Tonal morphology[edit] Tense morphemes carry tones.

koma (komL-a : write) inflected gives

simple present L-aL :

nakoma naL-komL-aL (I write)

subjunctive H-aL :

nákoma naH-komL-aL (I would write)


nakomí naL-komL-iH (I have been writing)

sepela (seLpel-a : enjoy) inflected gives

simple present L-aL :

osepela oL-seLpelL-aL (you-SG enjoy)

subjunctive H-aL :

ósepéla oH-seLpelH-aH (you-SG would enjoy)

present L-iH:

osepelí oL-seLpelL-iH (you-SG have been enjoying)

Grammar[edit] Noun class system[edit] Like all Bantu languages, Lingala
has a noun class system in which nouns are classified according to the prefixes they bear and according to the prefixes they trigger in sentences. The table below shows the noun classes of Lingala, ordered according to the numbering system that is widely used in descriptions of Bantu languages.

Class Noun prefix Example Translation

1 mo- mopési servant

2 ba- bapési servants

3 mo- mokíla tail

4 mi- mikíla tails

5 li- liloba word

6 ma- maloba words

7 e- elokó thing

8 bi- bilokó things

9 m-/n- ntaba goat

10 m-/n- ntaba goat (pl.)

9a Ø sánzá moon

10a Ø sánzá moon (pl.)

11 lo- lolemo tongue

12 bo- bosoto dirt

Individual classes pair up with each other to form singular/plural pairs, sometimes called 'genders'. There are seven genders in total. The singular classes 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 take their plural forms from classes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, respectively. Additionally, many household items found in class 9 take a class 2 prefix (ba) in the plural: lutu → balutu 'spoon', mesa → bamesa 'table', sani → basani 'plate'. Words in class 11 usually take a class 10 plural. Most words from class 14 (abstract nouns) do not have a plural counterpart. Class 9 and 10 have a nasal prefix, which assimilates to the following consonant. Thus, the prefix shows up as 'n' on words that start with t or d, e.g. ntaba 'goat', but as 'm' on words that start with b or p (e.g. mbisi 'fish'). There is also a prefixless class 9a and 10a, exemplified by sánzá → sánzá 'moon(s) or month(s)'. Possible ambiguities are solved by the context. Noun class prefixes do not show up only on the noun itself, but serve as markers throughout the whole sentence. In the sentences below, the class prefixes are underlined. (There is a special verbal form 'a' of the prefix for class 1 nouns.)

molakisi molai yango abiki (CL1.teacher CL1.tall that CL1:recovered) That tall teacher recovered bato bakúmisa Nkómbó ya Yɔ́ (CL2.people CL2.praise name of You) (Let) people praise Your name (a sentence from the Lord's Prayer)

Only to a certain extent, noun class allocation is semantically governed. Classes 1/2, as in all Bantu languages, mainly contain words for human beings; similarly, classes 9/10 contain many words for animals. In other classes, semantical regularities are mostly absent or are obscured by many exceptions. Verb inflections and morphology[edit] Verbal extensions[edit] There are 4 morphemes modifying verbs. They are added to some verb root in the following order:

Reversive (-ol-)

e.g.: kozinga to wrap and kozingola to develop

Causative (-is-)

e.g. : koyéba to know and koyébisa to inform

Applicative (-el-)

e.g. : kobíka to heal (self), to save (self) and kobíkela to heal (someone else), to save (someone)

Passive (-am-)

e.g. : koboma to kill and kobomama to be killed

Reciprocal or stationary (-an-, sometimes -en-)

e.g. : kokúta to find and kokútana to meet

Tense inflections[edit] The first tone segment affects the subject part of the verb, the second tone segment attaches to the semantic morpheme attached to the root of the verb.

present perfect (LH-í) simple present (LL-a) recurrent present (LL-aka) undefined recent past (LH-ákí) undefined distant past (LH-áká) future (L-ko-L-a) subjunctive (HL-a)

Writing system[edit] Lingala
is more a spoken language than a written language, and has several different writing systems, most of them ad hoc. Due to the low literacy of Lingala
speakers in Lingala
(in the Republic of the Congo literacy rate in Lingala
as a first language is between 10% and 30%),[citation needed] its popular orthography is very flexible and varies from one Congo to the other. Some orthographies are heavily influenced by the French language
French language
orthography; including double S, ss, to transcribe [s] (in the Republic of the Congo); ou for [u] (in the Republic of the Congo); i with trema, aï, to transcribe [áí] or [aí]; e with acute accent, é, to transcribe [e]; e to transcribe [ɛ], o with acute accent, ó, to transcribe [ɔ] or sometimes [o] in opposition to o transcribing [o] or [ɔ]; i or y can both transcribe [j]. The allophones are also found as alternating forms in the popular orthography; sango is an alternative to nsango (information or news); nyonso, nyoso, nionso, nioso (every) are all transcriptions of nyɔ́nsɔ. In 1976, the Société Zaïroise des Linguistes (Zairian Linguists Society) adopted a writing system for Lingala, using the open e (ɛ) and the open o (ɔ) to write the vowels [ɛ] and [ɔ], and sporadic usage of accents to mark tone, though the limitation of input methods prevents Lingala
writers from easily using the ɛ and ɔ and the accents. For example, it is almost impossible to type Lingala according to that convention with a common English or French keyboard. The convention of 1976 reduced the alternative orthography of characters but did not enforce tone marking. The lack of consistent accentuation is lessened by the disambiguation due to context. The popular orthographies seem to be a step ahead of any academic based orthography. Many Lingala
books, papers, even the translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and more recently, Internet forums, newsletters, and major websites, such as Google's Lingala, do not use the Lingala
specific characters ɛ and ɔ. Tone marking is found in most literary works. Alphabet[edit] The Lingala language
Lingala language
has 35 letters and digraphs. The digraphs each have a specific order in the alphabet, for example mza will be expected to be ordered before mba, because the digraph mb follows the letter m. The letters r and h are rare but present in borrowed words. The accents indicate the tones :

no accent for default tone, the low tone acute accent for the high tone circumflex for descending tone caron for ascending tone

Variants Example

a A á â ǎ nyama, matáta, sâmbóle, libwǎ

b B


c C


d D


e E é ê ě komeka, mésa, kobênga

ɛ Ɛ ɛ́ ɛ̂ ɛ̌ lɛlɔ́, lɛ́ki, tɛ̂

f F


g G


gb Gb


h H

bohlu (bohrium)

i I í î ǐ wápi, zíko, tî, esǐ

k K


l L


m M


mb Mb

kolámba, mbwá, mbɛlí

mp Mp


n N


nd Nd


ng Ng


nk Nk


ns Ns


nt Nt


ny Ny


nz Nz


o o ó ô ǒ moto, sóngóló, sékô

ɔ Ɔ ɔ́ ɔ̂ ɔ̌ sɔsɔ, yɔ́, sɔ̂lɔ, tɔ̌

p P


r R


s S


t T


u U ú butú, koúma

v V


w W


y Y


z Z



Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer (Catholic version)

Tatá wa bísó, ozala o likoló, bato bakúmisa Nkómbó ya Yɔ́, bandima bokonzi bwa Yɔ́, mpo elingo Yɔ́, basálá yangó o nsé, lokóla bakosalaka o likoló Pésa bísó lɛlɔ́ biléi bya mokɔlɔ na mokɔlɔ, límbisa mabé ma bísó, lokóla bísó tokolimbisaka baníngá. Sálisa bísó tondima masɛ́nginyá tê, mpe bíkisa bísó o mabé.

Na yɔ́ bokonzi, nguyá na nkembo, o bileko o binso sékô. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer (Protestant version used in Ubangi-Mongala region)

Tatá na bísó na likoló, nkómbó na yɔ́ ezala mosanto, bokonzi na yɔ́ eya, mokano na yɔ́ esalama na nsé lokola na likoló. Pésa bísó kwanga ekokí lɛlɔ́. Límbisa bísó nyongo na bísó, pelamoko elimbisi bísó bango nyongo na bango. Kamba bísó kati na komekama tê, kasi bíkisa bísó na mabé.

Mpo ete na yɔ́ ezalí bokonzi, na nguyá, na nkembo, lobiko na lobiko. Amen.

See also[edit]

Africa portal Languages portal


^ Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Lingala". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online ^ Derek Nurse (2003) The Bantu Languages, p 199. ^ https://www.britannica.com/topic/Lingala-language ^ Le grand Dzo : nouveau dictionnaire illustré lingala-français / Adolphe ^ Lingala
– Malóba ma lokóta/Dictionnaire


Van Everbroeck, René C.I.C.M. (1985) Lingala
– Malóba ma lokóta/Dictionnaire. Editions l'Epiphanie. B.P. 724 LIMETE (Kinshasa). Edama, Atibakwa Baboya (1994) Dictionnaire bangála–français–lingála. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique SÉPIA. Etsio, Edouard (2003) Parlons lingala / Tobola lingala. Paris: L'Harmattan. ISBN 2-7475-3931-8 Bokamba, Eyamba George et Bokamba, Molingo Virginie. Tósolola Na Lingála: Let's Speak Lingala
(Let's Speak Series). National African Language Resource Center (May 30, 2005) ISBN 0-9679587-5-X Guthrie, Malcolm & Carrington, John F. (1988) Lingala: grammar and dictionary: English-Lingala, Lingala-English. London: Baptist Missionary Society. Meeuwis, Michael (1998) Lingala. (Languages of the world vol. 261). München: LINCOM Europa. ISBN 3-89586-595-8 Meeuwis, Michael (2010) A Grammatical Overview of Lingála. (Lincom Studies in African Linguistics vol. 81). München: LINCOM Europa. ISBN 978-3-86288-023-2. Samarin, William J. (1990) 'The origins of Kituba
and Lingala', Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, 12, 47-77. Bwantsa-Kafungu, J'apprends le lingala tout seul en trois mois'. Centre de recherche pédagogique, Centre Linguistique Théorique et Appliquée, Kinshasa
1982. Khabirov, Valeri. (1998) "Maloba ma nkota Russ-Lingala-Falanse. Русско-лингала-французский словарь". Moscow: Institute of Linguistics-Russian Academy of Sciences (соавторы Мухина Л.М., Топорова И.Н.), 384 p. Weeks, John H. (Jan–Jun 1909). "Anthropological Notes on the Bangala of the Upper Congo River". Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (– Scholar search)format= requires url= (help). 39: 97–136. doi:10.2307/2843286. JSTOR 2843286. weeks1909. 

External links[edit]

Look up Lingala
in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

edition of, the free encyclopedia

First words in Lingala
(in French) Maloba ya lingála (in French) Dictionnaire bilingues lingala - français (in French) Dictionary of Congo-Brazzaville National Languages Lingala-English dictionary Freelang Lingala
Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix) PanAfriL10n page on Lingala UCLA Language Profiles : Lingala Google in Lingala Inflections: Problems Small Collection of Lingala
Online resources Parallel French-Lingala-English texts Maneno (African blogging platform) in Lingala

v t e

 Languages of Angola

Official language


National languages

Bolo Chokwe Gciriku Hakaona Holu Ibinda Khwe Kimbundu Kongo !Kung Kwadi Kongo Kung-Ekoka Kuvale Kwangali Kwanyama Lunda Mbunda Ndonga Oshiwambo Umbundu Lingala Lucazi Luimbi Luvale Luyana Mashi Mbali Mbangala Mbukushu Ndombe Ngambwe Ngoya Nkumbi Nsongo Nyaneka Nyengo Ruund Sama Sekele Zemba

v t e

Languages of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Official language


National languages



Lingala Swahili Tshiluba

Indigenous languages (by province)


Boma Chokwe Ding Hungana Kwese Lia-Ntomba Mbala Mpuono Nzadi Pende Sakata Sengele Shinji Sonde Suku Tiene Yaka Yansi


Bala Bangi Bango Budza Central Banda Furu Losengo Mbaka Mbandja Mongo Mono Ndolo Ndunga Ngbaka Minagende Ngbinda Ngbundu Ngombe Pagibete Sango South Banda Yangere


Binji Bushong Chokwe Lele Lwalu Wongo


Budya Dengese Luna Nkutu Salampasu Songe Tetela


Bangubangu Bemba Bwile Chokwe Hemba Kaonde Kebwe Lunda Ruund Sanga Tabwa Zela Yazi




Hendo Zimba


Amba Havu Hunde Kinyarwanda Kirundi Nande Nyanga Talinga Tembo Vanuma Yaka


Alur Asoa Avokaya Bangala Bangba Barambu Beeke Bila Budu Bwa Bwela Dongo Guru Hema Kaliko Kango Kari Kele Lendu Lese Lika Likile Linga Loki Logo Lombo Lugbara Ma Mangbetu Mangbutu Mayogo Mba Mbo Ndaka Ngbee Ngelima Nyali Nyanga-li Nzakara Omi Pambia Poke Soko Tagbo Zande


Buyu Fuliiru Havu Kabwari Kinyarwanda Kirundi Shi Tembo

Sign languages

French African Sign

v t e

Languages of the Republic of the Congo

Official language


National languages

Kituba Lingala

Indigenous languages

Aka Akwa Bekwil Bwenyi Bwisi Fang Kaning'i Kota Koyo Kwala Lumbu Mbama Mbere Mboko Mboshi Njebi Punu Tsaangi Vili

v t e

Narrow Bantu languages
Bantu languages
(by Guthrie classification)

Zones A – B

Zone A


A11[101] Londo A12[101] Barue A13 Balong A14 Bonkeng A15 Mbo [A141 Bafo A151 Nkongho]


A21 Bomboko A22 Baakpe A23 Su A24 Duala A25 Oli A26 Pongo A27 Mulimba [A221 Bubia A231 Kole]


A31a North Bobe A31b Southwest Bobe A31c Southeast Bobe A32a Banoo A32b Bapoko A33a Yasa A33b Kombe A34 Benga


A41 Lombi A42 Bankon A43a Mbene A43b North Kogo A43c South Kogo A44 Banen A45 Nyokon A46 Mandi [A441 Aling'a A461 Bonek A462 Yambeta


A51 Fa’ A52 Kaalong A53 Kpa A54 Ngayaba [A501 Hijuk]


A61[601] Ngoro A62 Yambasa A63 Mangisa A64[601] Bacenga A65 Bati [A621 Baca A622 Gunu A623 Mbule]


A71 Eton A72a Ewondo A72b Mvele A72c Bakja A72d Yangafek A73a Bëbëlë A73b Gbïgbïl A74 Bulu A75 Fang [A751 South-West Fang]


A81 Mvumbo A82 So A83 Makaa A84 Njem A85a Konabem A85b Bekwil A86a Medjime A86b Mpompo A86c Mpiemo A87 Bomwali [A801 Gyele A802 Ukwedjo A803 Shiwe A831 Byep A832 Bekol A841 Bajue A842 Koonzime]


A91 Kwakum A92a Pol A92b Pomo A93 Kako

Zone B


B11a Mpongwe B11b Rongo B11c Galwa B11d Dyumba B11e Nkomi


B21 Sekiyani B22a West Kele B22b Ngom B22c Bubi B23 Mbangwe B24 Wumbvu B25 Kota [B201 Ndasa B202 Sighu B203 Sama B204 Ndambomo B205 Metombola B221 Molengue B251 Shake B252 Mahongwe]


B31 Tsogo B32 Kande [B301 Viya B302 Himbaka B303 Bongwe B304 Pinzi B305 Vove]


B41 Sira B42 Sangu B43 Punu B44 Lumbu [B401 Bwisi B402 Varama B403 Vungu B404 Ngubi B411 Bwali]


B51 Duma B52 Nzebi B53 Tsaangi [B501 Wanzi B502 Mwele B503 Vili]


B61 Mbete B62 Mbaama B63 Nduumo [B602 Kaning'i B603 Yangho]


B71a Tege-Kali B71b Njiningi B72a Ngungwele B72b Mpumpu B73a Tsaayi B73b Laali B73c Yaa B73d Kwe B74a Ndzindziu B74b Boma B75 Bali B76a Musieno B76b Ngee B77a Kukwa B77b Fumu B78 Wuumu [B701 Tsitsege]


B81 Tiene B82 Boma B83 Mfinu B84a[84] Mpuon B84b[84] Mpuun B85a Mbiem B85b East Yans B85c Yeei B85d Ntsuo B85e Mpur B86 Di B87[84] Mbuun [B821 Mpe

B822 Nunu

B861 Ngul (Ngwi) B862 Lwel B863 Mpiin B864 West Ngongo B865 Nzadi]

Zones C – D

Zone C


C11 Ngondi C12a Pande C12b Bogongo C13 Mbati C14 Mbomotaba C15 Bongili C16 Lobala [C101 Dibole C102 Ngando C103 Kota C104 Yaka C105 Mbenga C141 Enyele C142 Bondongo C143 Mbonzo C161 Bomboli C162 Bozaba]


C21 Mboko C22 Akwa C23[21] Ngare C24 Koyo C25 Mbosi C26 Kwala C27 Kuba [C201 Bwenyi]


C31a Loi C31b Ngiri C31c Nunu C32 Bobangi C33 Sengele C34 Sakata C35a Ntomba C35b Bolia C36a Poto C36b Mpesa C36c Mbudza C36d Mangala C36e Boloki C36f Kangana C36g Ndolo C37 Buja [C301 Doko C302 Bolondo C311 Mabaale C312 Ndoobo C313 Litoka C314 Balobo C315 Enga C321 Binza C322 Dzamba C323 Mpama C371 Tembo C372 Kunda C373 Gbuta C374 Babale]


C41 Ngombe C42 Bwela C43 Bati C44 Boa C45 Angba [C401 Pagibete C403 Kango C411 Bomboma C412 Bamwe C413 Dzando C414 Ligendza C415 Likula C441 Bango]


C51 Mbesa C52 So C53 Poke C54 Lombo C55 Kele C56 Foma [C501 Likile C502 Linga]


C61a Northeast Mongo C61b Northwest Mongo C62 Lalia [C63 Ngando C611 Bafoto]


C71 Tetela C72 Kusu C73 Nkutu C74 Yela C75 Kela C76 Ombo [C701 Langa]


C81 Dengese C82 Songomeno C83 Busoong C84 Lele C85 Wongo

Zone D


D11 Mbole D12 Lengola D13 Metoko D14 Enya [D141 Zura]


D21 Bali D22 Amba D23 Komo D24 Songola D25 Lega D26 Zimba D27 Bangubangu D28a West Holoholo D28b East Holoholo [D201 Liko D211 Kango D251 Lega-Malinga D281 Tumbwe D282 Lumbwe]


D31 Peri D32 Bira D33 Nyali [D301 Kari D302 Guru D303 Ngbinda D304 Homa D305 Nyanga-li D306 Gbati-ri D307 Mayeka D308 Bodo D311 Bila D312 Kaiku D313 Ibutu D331 Bvanuma D332 Budu D333 Ndaaka D334 Mbo D335 Beeke D336 Ngbee]


[J]D41 Konzo [J]D42 Ndandi [J]D43 Nyanga


[J]D51 Hunde [J]D52 Haavu [J]D53 Nyabungu [J]D54 Bembe [J]D55 Buyi [J]D56 Kabwari [JD501 Nyindu [J]JD502 Yaka [J]JD531 Tembo]


[J]D61 Ruanda [J]D62 Rundi [J]D63 Fuliiro [J]D64 Subi [J]D65 Hangaza [J]D66 Ha [J]D67 Vinza [JD631 Vira]

Zones E – H

Zone E


[J]E11 Nyoro [J]E12 Tooro [J]E13 Nyankore [J]E14 Ciga [J]E15 Ganda [J]E16 Soga [J]E17 Gwere [J]E18 Nyala [JE101 Gungu JE102 Talinga-Bwisi JE103 Ruli JE121 Hema]


[J]E21 Nyambo [J]E22 Ziba [J]E23 Dzindza [J]E24 Kerebe [J]E25 Jita [JE221 Rashi JE251 Kwaya JE252 Kara JE253 Ruri]


[J]E31a Gisu [J]E31b Kisu [J]E31c Bukusu [J]E32a Hanga [J]E32b Tsotso [J]E33 Nyore [J]E34 Saamia [J]E35 Nyuli [JE341 Xaayo JE342 Marachi JE343 Songa]


[J]E41 Logooli [J]E42 Gusii [J]E43 Koria [J]E44 Zanaki [J]E45 Nata E46 Sonjo [JE401 Nguruimi JE402 Ikizu JE403 Suba/Suba-Simbiti JE404 Shashi JE405 Kabwa JE406 Singa JE407 Ware JE411 Idaxo JE412 Isuxa JE413 Tiriki JE431 Simbiti JE432 Hacha JE433 Surwa JE434 Sweta]


E51 Kikuyu E52 Embu E53 Meru E54 Saraka E55 Kamba E56 Daiso [E531 Mwimbi-Muthambi E541 Cuka]


E61[621a] Rwo E62a[621b,622a] Hai E62b[622c] Wunjo E62c[623] Rombo E63 Rusa E64 Kahe E65 Gweno


E71 Pokomo E72a Gyriama E72b Kauma E72c Conyi E72d Duruma E72e Rabai E73 Digo E74a Dabida E74b[741] Sagala [E701 Elwana E731 Segeju E732 Degere E74 Taita]

Zone F


F11 Tongwe F12 Bende


[J]F21 Sukuma [J]F22 Nyamwezi [J]F23 Sumbwa [J]F24 Kimbu [J]F25 Bungu


F31 Nilamba F32 Remi F33 Langi F34 Mbugwe

Zone G


G11 Gogo G12 Kaguru


G21 [E74a] Tubeta G22 Asu G23 Shambala G24 Bondei [G221 Mbugu]


G31 Zigula G32 Ngwele G33 Zaramo G34 Ngulu G35 Ruguru G36 Kami G37 Kutu G38 Vidunda G39 Sagala [G301 Doe G311 Mushungulu]


G41 Tikuu G42a Amu G42b Mvita G42c Mrima G42d Unguja G43a Phemba G43b Tumbatu G43c Hadimu G44a Ngazija G44b Njuani [G402 Makwe G403 Mwani G404 Sidi G411 Socotra Swahili G412 Mwiini]


G51 Pogolo G52 Ndamba


G61 Sango G62 Hehe G63 Bena G64 Pangwa G65 Kinga G66 Wanji G67 Kisi [G651 Magoma]

Zone H


H11 Beembe H12 Vili H13 Kunyi H14 Ndingi H15 Mboka H16a South Kongo H16b Central Kongo H16c Yombe H16d Fiote H16e Bwende H16f Laadi H16g East Kongo H16h Southeast Kongo [H111 Hangala H112 Kamba-Doondo H131 Suundi]


H21a (North) Mbundu H21b Mbamba H22 Sama H23 Bolo H24 Songo


H31 Yaka H32 Suku H33 [L12b] Hungu H34 Mbangala H35 Sinji [H321 Soonde]


H41 Mbala H42 Hunganna

Zones J – M

Zone J*


[J]D41 Konzo [J]D42 Ndandi [J]D43 Nyanga


[J]D51 Hunde [J]D52 Haavu [J]D53 Nyabungu [J]D54 Bembe [J]D55 Buyi [J]D56 Kabwari [JD501 Nyindu [J]JD502 Yaka [J]JD531 Tembo]


[J]D61 Ruanda [J]D62 Rundi [J]D63 Fuliiro [J]D64 Subi [J]D65 Hangaza [J]D66 Ha [J]D67 Vinza [JD631 Vira]


[J]E11 Nyoro [J]E12 Tooro [J]E13 Nyankore [J]E14 Ciga [J]E15 Ganda [J]E16 Soga [J]E17 Gwere [J]E18 Nyala [JE101 Gungu JE102 Talinga-Bwisi JE103 Ruli JE121 Hema]


[J]E21 Nyambo [J]E22 Ziba [J]E23 Dzindza [J]E24 Kerebe [J]E25 Jita [JE221 Rashi JE251 Kwaya JE252 Kara JE253 Ruri]


[J]E31a Gisu [J]E31b Kisu [J]E31c Bukusu [J]E32a Hanga [J]E32b Tsotso [J]E33 Nyore [J]E34 Saamia [J]E35 Nyuli [JE341 Xaayo JE342 Marachi JE343 Songa]


[J]E41 Logooli [J]E42 Gusii [J]E43 Koria [J]E44 Zanaki [J]E45 Nata E46 Sonjo [JE401 Nguruimi JE402 Ikizu JE403 Suba/Suba-Simbiti JE404 Shashi JE405 Kabwa JE406 Singa JE407 Ware JE411 Idaxo JE412 Isuxa JE413 Tiriki JE431 Simbiti JE432 Hacha JE433 Surwa JE434 Sweta]


[J]F21 Sukuma [J]F22 Nyamwezi [J]F23 Sumbwa [J]F24 Kimbu [J]F25 Bungu

Zone K


K11 Chokwe K12a Luimbi K12b Nyemba K13 Lucazi K14 Lwena K15 Mbunda K16 Nyengo K17 Mbwela K18 Nkangala


K21 Lozi


K31 Luyana K32 Mbowe K33 Kwangali K34 Mashi K35 Simaa K36 Sanjo K37 Kwangwa [K321 Mbume K322 Liyuwa K332 Manyo K333 Mbukushu K334 Mbogedu K351 Mulonga K352 Mwenyi K353 Koma K354 Imilangu K371 Kwandi]


K41 Totela K42 Subiya [K402 Fwe K411 Totela of Namibia]

Zone L


L11 Pende L12 Samba & Holu L13 Kwese [L101 Sonde]


L21 Kete L22 Binji (Mbagani) L23 Songe L24 Luna [L201 Budya L202 Yazi L221 Lwalwa L231 Binji]


L31a Luba-Kasai L31b Lulua L32 Kanyoka L33 Luba-Katanga L34 Hemba L35 Sanga [L301 Kebwe L331 Zeela]


L41 Kaonde


L51 Salampasu L52 Lunda L53 Ruund [L511 Luntu]


L61 Mbwera L62 Nkoya [L601 Kolwe L602 Lushangi L603 Shasha]

Zone M


M11 Pimbwe M12 Rungwa M13 Fipa M14 Rungu M15 Mambwe [M131 Kuulwe]


M21 Wanda M22 Mwanga M23 Nyiha M24 Malila M25 Safwa M26 Iwa M27 Tambo [M201 Lambya M202 Sukwa]


M31 Nyakyusa [M301 Ndali M302 Penja]


M41 Taabwa M42 Bemba [M401 Bwile M402 Aushi]


M51 Biisa M52 Lala M53 Swaka M54 Lamba M55 Seba [M521 Ambo M522 Luano M541 Lima M542 Temba]


M61 Lenje M62 Soli M63 Ila M64 Tonga [M611 Lukanga Twa M631 Sala M632 Lundwe M633 Kafue Twa]

Zones N – S

Zone N


N11 Manda N12 Ngoni N13 Matengo N14 Mpoto N15 Tonga [N101 Ndendeule N102 Nindi N121 Ngoni of Malawi]


N21 Tumbuka [N201 Mwera of Mbamba Bay]


N31a Nyanja N31b Cewa N31c Manganja


N41 Nsenga N42 Kunda N43 Nyungwe N44 Sena N45[44] Rue N46[44] Podzo [N441 Sena-Malawi]

Zone P


P11 Ndengereko P12 Ruihi P13 Matumbi P14 Ngindo P15 Mbunga


P21 Yao P22 Mwera P23 Makonde P24 Ndonde P25 Mabiha


P31 Makua P32 Lomwe P33 Ngulu P34 Cuabo [P311 Koti P312 Sakati P331 Lomwe of Malawi P341 Moniga]

Zone R


R11 Umbundu R12 Ndombe R13 Nyaneka R14 Khumbi [R101 Kuvale R102 Kwisi R103 Mbali]


R21 Kwanyama R22 Ndonga R23 Kwambi R24 Ngandyera [R211 Kafima R212 Evale R213 Mbandja R214 Mbalanhu R215 Ndongwena R216 Kwankwa R217 Dombondola R218 Esinga R241 Kwaluudhi R242 Kolonkadhi-Eunda]


R31 Herero [R311 North-West Herero R312 Botswana Herero]


R41 Yei

Zone S


S11 Korekore S12 Zezuru S13a Manyika S13b Tebe S14 Karanga S15 Ndau S16 Kalanga


S21 Venda


S31a Tswana S31b Kgatla S31c Ngwatu S31d[311] Khalaxadi S32a Pedi S32b Lobedu S33 Sotho [S301 Phalaborwa S302 Kutswe S303 Pai S304 Pulana]


S41 Xhosa S42 Zulu S43 Swati S44 (Northern) Ndebele [S401 Old Mfengu S402 Bhaca S403 Hlubi S404 Phuthi S405 Nhlangwini S406 Lala S407 South Ndebele S408 Sumayela Ndebele]


S51 Tswa S52[53] Gwamba S53 Tsonga S54 Ronga [S511 Hlengwe]


S61 Copi S62 Tonga [S611 Lenge]

Note: The Guthrie classification is geographic and its groupings do not imply a relationship between the languages within them.

Authority control

SUDOC: 027459284 N