Lingala

Lingala has its origins in a process of pidginization that took place in the early 1880s involving the Central African language Bobangi as main lexifier. In 1884, the resulting pidgin was taken to the colonial state post Bangala Station (today, Mankanza), where it underwent expanding influence from the local languages and where it received its first glossonym, “Bangala”. From the late 1880s onwards, the language spread from the station in north-eastward direction, as far as the Sudanese border, and in southward direction, as far as Léopoldville (now, Kinshasa). In each place, influence from local languages further expanded the language along independent trajectories. On top of this, in the first decade of the 20th century, missionaries working in the Bangala Station area (then renamed Nouvelle-Anvers) embarked on a vast project of prescriptive corpus planning, also suggesting the new glossonym “Lingala”. The engineered variant gained ground in the north-western region of the Belgian Congo, where the language as spoken today still very much resembles the way the missionaries designed it to be. But in Léopoldville its functions were restricted to church and school contexts, while for routine communication Bangala remained in use, following its own path of linguistic development (particularly marked by influence from Kikongo) and, in the first half of the 20th century, spilling over to Brazzaville. The new language name was more successful, soon receiving acceptance in Léopoldville, too. But in the north-eastern parts of the Congo, the old glossonym Bangala survived and, in fact, continues to be used until today. Since the late colonial and post-colonial eras, the variety spoken in the politically important and culturally vanguard capital Léopoldville -Kinshasa has been the most influential and popular one, encroaching on the varieties spoken in the north-west of the DR Congo, in the north-east, and in Brazzaville. This is the variant covered in the present Atlas.

Glossed text (63.0KB, application/pdf)
No. Feature Value % Details Source
No. Feature Value % Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

mbprenasalized voiced bilabial plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ⁿdprenasalized voiced dental/alveolar plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ŋgprenasalized voiced velar plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ⁿzprenasalized voiced dental/alveolar sibilant fricative - Exists only as a minor allophone

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % Details Source