The Democratic Republic of Congo is amid the most multilingual diverse countries in the world, with approximately 200 languages spoken in the country.
The French is the official language which is widely used in education and government plays a very important role in their day to day activities.
Aside French as the National language for communication,there are four national languages namely Kikongo (Kituba), Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba which are others languages spoken in Dr Congo.
The distribution of speakers for each of the four national languages is shared in four parts of the country. Lingala is widely spoken in the northwest, Swahili in the East Kituba in the southwest, and Tshiluba in the southeast. Notably, the spread of speakers of Kituba and Tshiluba is much more concentrated.
When the country was a Belgian colony, it had already instituted teaching and use of the four national languages in primary schools, making it one of the few African nations to have had literacy in local languages during the European colonial period. French remains the official language in the Congolese government.
The following are the main National languages of Democratic Republic of Congo(Dr Congo)
French is the official language of the country since its colonial period under Belgian rule. Due to that, French has been the most used language in DR Congo and has many similarities with Belgian French .
French has been maintained as the official language since the time of independence because it is widely spoken in the capital of the country,Kinshasa.
It belongs to none of the indigenous ethnic groups and eases communication between them as well as with the rest of the Francophone, which includes many African countries.
According to a 2014 report, 33 million Congolese people of about 47% population can read and write in French.In the capital city Kinshasa , 67% of the population can read and write French, and 68.5% can speak and understand it.The Democratic Republic of the Congo currently has the largest French speaking population of any country outside France.
2. Kituba (Kikongo)
Another National language is Kikongo . A language that is used in the constitution and by the administration in the provinces of Bas Congo which is inhabited by the Bakongo, Kwango and Kwilu. Kituba has become a vernacular language in many urban centres including Kikwit, Bandundu, Matadi, Boma and Muanda.Kikongo is one of the Bantu languages spoken by the Kongo and Ndundu people living in the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Angola. It is a tonal language.
It was spoken by many of those who were taken from the region and sold as slaves in the Americas. For this reason, while Kikongo still is spoken in these countries, creolized forms of the language are found in ritual speech of Afro-American religions, especially in Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Linguala is a language which gained its modern form in the colonial period, with the push of missionaries to standardize and teach a local Lingua Franca. It was originally spoken in the Upper Congo river area but rapidly spread to the middle Congo area and eventually became the major Bantu language in Kinshasa.
Lingala was made the official language of the army under Mobutu but since the rebellions, the army has also used Swahili in the east.
With the transition period and the consolidation of different armed groups into the Congolese Army, the linguistic policy has returned to its previous form and Lingala is again the official language of the Army.
Lingala is a language which gained its modern form in the colonial period, with the push of missionaries to standardize and teach a local lingua franca or a bridge language.
It was originally spoken in the upper Congo river area but rapidly spread to the middle Congo area and eventually became the major Bantu language in Kinshasa for many reasons.
It is estimated that there are over 70 million people who can speak Lingala world wide.
Swahili is the most widespread Lingua Franca spoken in Eastern Equatorial Africa . Many variations of Swahili are spoken in the country but the major one is Kingwana, sometimes called Copperbelt Swahili , especially in the Katanga area.
The constitution does not specify which of the two major variations of Tshiluba is the national language. Luba kasai is spoken in the East Kasai Region by Luba people and Luba lulus is used in the West Kasai Region among the Bena lulua people . Luba-Kasai seems to be the language used by the administration.
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