Bangala language

Chokwe language Zande language Kirundi
Native toDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo
RegionHaut-Uele District
Native speakers
(undated figure of "few")[1]
3.5 million L2 speakers (1991)
Language codes
ISO 639-3bxg

Bangala is a Bantu language spoken in the northeast corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and the extreme western part of Uganda. A divergent form of Lingala, it is used as a lingua franca by people with different languages and rarely as a first language. The estimated number of speakers varies between 2 and 3.5 million.[4] It is spoken to the east and northeast of the area where Lingala is spoken. In Lingala, Bangala translates to "People of Mongala" this means people living along the Mongala River


As Lingala spread east and north, its vocabulary was replaced more and more by tribal and regional languages, and it became more of an interlanguage (a language that is a mix of two or more languages) and was classified as a separate language – Bangala. The vocabulary varies, depending on the first language of the speakers.

Around the 1980s, with the popularity and increased availability of Lingala in modern music, young people in large villages and towns began adopting Lingala so much that their Bangala is becoming more of a dialect than a separate language.[5]


In Bangala, the words for six and seven (motoba, sambo) are replaced with the Swahili words sita and saba. Many Lingala words are replaced by words in Swahili, Zande, other local languages, plus English (bilizi is derived from the English word bridge) and, of course, French.

The verb "to be" is conjugated differently in Bangala. Below is a comparison with Lingala.

English Lingala Bangala
I am nazali nazi
you are (singular) ozali ozi
he/she is azali azi
it is ezali ezi
we are tozali tozi
you are (plural) bozali bozi
they are bazali bazi

The verb prefix ko-, meaning "to" in Lingala is instead ku, as it is in Swahili, so "to be" in Bangala is kusala, not kosala. Many other Bangala words have an /u/ sound where Lingala has an /o/ sound, such as bisu (not biso - "we") and mutu (not moto - "person").


  1. ^ Bangala at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bangala". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ Bangala - A language of the Democratic Republic of Congo
  5. ^ Bangala - A language of the Democratic Republic of Congo