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Which languages are spoken in DRC?

congolese flag with text which languages are spoken in dr congo with congo map

The Democratic Republic of Congo, often referred to as DRC, is a vibrant and diverse country located in Central Africa. With a population of over 90 million people, it is no surprise that the country is home to a wide variety of languages. In fact, DR Congo is known for its linguistic diversity, with over 200 different languages spoken throughout the country.

What languages do they speak in Congo?


The official language of DR Congo is French, which is used in government, business, and education. French was introduced during the colonial period when the country was under Belgian rule. Today, it remains an important language in DR Congo and is spoken by a significant portion of the population.

In addition to French, there are four national languages recognised in DR Congo: Lingala, Swahili, Tshiluba, and Kikongo ya leta. These languages are spoken by different ethnic groups across the country and play a crucial role in preserving the cultural heritage of the nation.

map congo with national languages: swahili, lingala, kikongo, tshiluba

Lingala is spoken primarily in the capital city of Kinshasa and is also used as a lingua franca in the western part of the country. Swahili, on the other hand, is spoken in the eastern regions of DR Congo and is widely used for communication across different ethnic groups.

Tshiluba is spoken by the Luba people in the Kasai region, while Kikongo is spoken by the Kongo people in the western part of the country. Both languages have a rich oral tradition and are an integral part of the cultural identity of their respective communities.

In addition to these official and national languages, there are numerous other languages spoken in DR Congo, reflecting the country's rich cultural tapestry. From Lingombe to Lunda, Chokwe to Otetela, each language tells a unique story of the people who speak it.

Despite the linguistic diversity in DR Congo, language serves as a unifying force that brings together people from different backgrounds. Whether speaking French in the bustling streets of Kinshasa or conversing in Lingala with friends and family, language plays a vital role in everyday life in DR Congo.

So, the next time you find yourself in DR Congo, take the time to learn a few phrases in the local languages. You'll not only impress the locals but also gain a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of this beautiful and diverse country. 😊


learn lingala, swahili, kikongo, tshiluba. african american lady with laptop on the bed working


The biggest languages present in Democratic Republic of the Congo are:


15. Nyabwisha

14. Tetela

13. Nyarwanda

12. Alur

11. Songe

10. Ngombe

9. Mongo

8. Lendu

7. Nande

6. Kituba

5. Luba


In conclusion, the four national languages of DR Congo – Lingala, Swahili, Tshiluba, and Kikongo – each offer a unique perspective on the country's diverse cultural landscape. By embracing the linguistic diversity of this vibrant nation, we can forge connections, foster understanding, and celebrate the richness of Congolese heritage. So, whether you're a language enthusiast, a curious traveler, or simply someone with a passion for learning, why not take a step into the world of DR Congo's national languages? Who knows, you might just discover a new way to connect with the amazing people and cultures of this captivating country.

Congolese proverbs

5 Proverbs in Lingala - Masese:

Lingala

Translation and Meaning

Komeka mozindo na mosapi te

T: Don't measure the depth (of the water) with your finger. M: Don't set yourself an impossible challenge.

Nzambe alaka te

T: God never sleeps. M: You mustn't give up hope.

Mama abotaka mwana, kasi motema ya mwana te.

T: A mother gives birth to a child, but not to her heart. M: Whether you have a good heart or a bad one is up to you.

Matoyi elekaka moto te.

T: The ears don't stick out above the head. M: Said for young people who think they are smarter than their elders.

Mokili ekendaka liboso, kasi ezongaka sima te.

T: The world is moving forward but not backwards. M: Making the most of every moment of your life.

5 proverbs in Kikongo - Bingana:

Kikongo

Translation and meaning

Kisalu mu ntuala, kutuba mu nima.

T: Work first, speeches later. M: Prioritise work over chit-chat.

Sambila ye sala, sala ye sambila

T: Pray and work, work and pray. M: Prayer and action go hand in hand.

Kisalu ki mene mene kibuta mbongo

T: Working in the morning produces wealth.

Kiaku kiaku, kiangani kiangani

T: What's yours is yours, what's someone else's is someone else's. M: Good that is not well acquired never benefits.

Toko edi diambote, tala vana kalekanga

T: This young man is well dressed; go and see where he lives. M: Don't be fooled by appearances.

5 proverbs in Swahili:

Swahili

Translation and meaning

Furaha ya mzazi ni mtoto kucheka

T: The happiness of a parent is to see her child laughing. M: Every mother wants to see her children happy.

Akili ni kama moto.

T: Wisdom is like fire you can get it from a neighbor. M: We can seek advice from our neighbors.

Kujaribu jaribu huboresha

T: Practicing perfectly makes perfect. M: The more we are used at something the more we gain experience and understanding.

Mtu akosaye kuuliza mawaidha hutembea usiku mzima

T: Failure to ask for advice will make one wonder all night like a river that flows all night. M: A fool things that he can do without advice, but suffering becomes her/his portion.

Mandugu hula pamoja.

T: Brothers share on the same table. M: Brothers are there for each other during hardships.

5 proverbs in Tshiluba:

Tshiluba

Translation and meaning

Bakupa peba wapangana

T: Learn to give as you receive. M: When God blesses you, always think of sharing your blessings with others. The more you share, the more you are blessed.

Munu umue kawena mua kukuma bionso.

T: A finger cannot do all by itself. M: The proverb stipulates that one cannot do all by himself. Unity is strength.

Mukana mua muntu mukole mutu mununka kadi muamba bulelela.

T: An elder’s mouth may stink but it’s says the truth. M: However useless elderly people might have become, they have lived and gone through many years and garnered enough experience on practical life. It pays to listen to their advice is the message encapsulated in the proverb.

Kalume kabo nkufikisha bujitu

T: The brave man is the one who takes his load to the end.

M: this means that a true man is the one who takes on challenges, perseveres them and resolves them subsequently.

Kubunda maalu nku kola

T: Resolving problems makes one mature. M: Experience makes one wise. As you encounter many occurrences in life you get to become swift to resolve similar ones in the future.

Share your favourite proverbs in the comments below and let's spread some Congolese wisdom together. 💬


Few congolese words:

ENGLISH

LINGALA

KIKONGO

KISWAHILI

TSHILUBA

TETELA

Hello

Mbote

Kiambote

Jambo

Beetu abu

Moyo

Yes

Iyo, Eh

Ingeta, Inga

Ndiyo

Eyo


Learn

Yekola

Longuka

Jifunze

Longa


Friend

Moninga

Nduku

Rafiki

Mulunda

Ongenyi

Man

Mobali

Bakala

Mume

Mulume

Pami

Woman

Mwasi

Nkento

Mwanamke

Mukaji

Womoto

Mother

Mama

Mama

Mama

Maamu

Nyango

Father

Tata

Tata

Baba

Taatu

She

King

Nkumu

Mfumu

Mwami

Mfumu

Owandji wa pami

Queen

Nkumu-mwasi

Mfumu-knento

Malkia

Ina

Wowandji w'omoto


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