What Is Congo language

Congo or Quikong (in Quikong : Kikongo ) [ 1 ] is an African language spoken by the Bacong people in the provinces of Cabinda , Uige and Zaire , in northern Angola ; and in the lower Congo region , in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the neighboring regions of the Republic of Congo . The Kikongo language has the status of national language in Angola . It has several dialects. It was the language spoken in the former Kingdom of Congo . [ 1 ]

It is a tonal language . It was spoken by many who were taken as slaves to the Americas . For this reason, his Creole forms are adopted in the ritual language of African American religions . It also influenced the formation of the Gullah language in the United States and Palenquero in Colombia . There are currently approximately 7,000,000 native speakers and 2,000,000 people who use it as a second language . It served as base for the formation of the kituba .


  • 1Writing
  • 2Linguistic classification
  • 3Phonology
  • 4Influence in the Americas
  • 5See also
  • 6References
  • 7External links

Writing [ edit | edit source code ]

Currently, there is no spelling standard for Kikongo. Several different styles are used, mainly in newspapers , pamphlets and some books .

Quikong was the first of the Bantu languages to be written in Latin characters and was the first Banta language to have a dictionary . A Quechong catechism was written under the authority of Diogo Gomes, a Jesuit born in the Congo to Portuguese parents in 1557, but no version of it exists today.

In 1624, Mateus Cardoso, another Portuguese Jesuit, edited and published a translation for the quicongo of Marcos Jorge’s catechism. Its preface says that the translation was done by Congolese teachers from São Salvador ( Mabanza Congo ), probably partly by the Congolese Félix do Espírito Santo. [ 2 ]

The dictionary was written around 1648 for use by Capuchin missionaries and the main author was Manuel Robredo, a secular priest from Congo who would become Capuchin under the name of Francisco de São Salvador. On the back of the dictionary, there is a two-page sermon written only in Quikong. The dictionary has approximately 10,000 words.

Additional dictionaries were created by French missionaries off the coast of the Loango kingdom in the 1780s , and a word list was published by Bernardo da Canecattim in 1805.

Baptist missionaries who arrived in Congo in 1879 developed modern spelling for the language.

The “Congo Language Dictionary and Grammar” by W. Holman Bentley was published in 1887. In the preface, Bentley credited Nlemvo, an African, for his assistance, and described “the methods he used to compile the dictionary, which included organizing and correct 25,000 sheets of paper containing words and their definitions. ” [ 3 ] Eventually, Bentley, with the special assistance of João Lemvo, produced a complete Bible in 1905.

Linguistic classification [ edit | edit source code ]

Quikong belongs to the Bantu language family. According to Malcolm Guthrie, the quikong belongs to the H10 language group, the Congo language group. Another language of the group is bembe . The Ethnologue 16 includes Ndingi (H14) and Mboka (H15) as dialects of Congo, while recognizing that they can be considered different languages.

According to Bastin, Coupez and Man (Tervuren) classification, which is more recent and accurate than Guthrie’s, the language has the following dialects os

  • H16 quikong group
    • southern kichongo H16a
    • central quikong H16b
    • Yombe H16c
    • Fiote H16d
    • western quikongong H16d
    • Bwende H16e
    • Lari H16f
    • oriental kichongo H16g
    • Southeast Kichongo H16h

Phonology [ edit | edit source code ]

Consonant phonemes
Lip Coronal Dorsal
Nasal m n ng ŋ
( pre-nasalized )
mp ᵐp mb ᵐb nt ⁿt na ⁿd nk ᵑk
p b t d k
( pre-nasalized )
mf ᶬf mv ᶬv us ⁿs nz ⁿz
f v s z
approaching w l j


Vowel phonemes
previous posterior
closed i u
average and and the o
Low a

There is a contrasting vowel quantity . / m / and / n / also have syllabic variants , which contrast with pre-nasalized consonants.

Influence in the Americas [ edit | edit source code ]

Many African slaves transported to America spoke Quikong, and their influence can be seen in many Creole languages in the African Diaspora , such as Palenquero (spoken by descendants of escaped black slaves in Colombia), the congo habla (the liturgical language of the African religion). Cuban Palo ) and the Haitian Creole language . Some American English words are also derived from the quikong, likeː goober ( peanut ), from the nguba quikong ; zombie ( zombie ), the Kikongo nzombie , “dead”; andfunk , from quikongo lu-fuki . [ 4 ] [ 5 ] The name of the Cuban mambo dancederives from a Kikongo term that means “conversation with the gods “

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