The FSI Lingala course is designed to teach students the basic communicative skills necessary to speak Lingala. Lingala is a lingua franca or trade language spoken in the areas on both sides of the Congo River from Leopoldville up to about a hundred miles from Stanleyville. Lingala, usually called Mangala by Africans, was originally the language of the Bamangala, a Bantu tribe that has almost completely disappeared. Most speak-ers of Lingala are native speakers of another language and use Lingala as a means of communicating with other tribal groups and to a lesser extent with Europeans; however, there is a growing number of younger people, especially in urban centers such as Leopoldville, whose native language is Langala.
Since Lingala is spoken by so many people of varied linguistic backgrounds, it is inevitable that the language as spoken in different areas should vary to a greater or lesser degree. The speaker on whose speech these materials are based is from Leopoldville, a child of parents who could not speak each other's language and who consequently always spoke Lingala with each other and with their children. Langala has been a written language for quite some time; but unfortunately written or 'literary' Langala is different in many ways from Lingala as it is nearly always spoken by Africans. One can say without hesitation that literary Langala is an invention of Europeans who have tried to 'improve' on the language, because Africans who speak Lingala fluently have trouble understanding literary Lingala even when it is spoken. This manual is based strictly on Lingala as spoken by the person described above.
The transcription system used in this manual is the orthography regularly used to write Lingala plus diacritic markings to indicate tone, which as not usually written, and to make it clear how a word or segment is pronounced in cases where the student may have difficulty interpreting the orthography. Some words have been respelled. but this is indicated in the footnotes the first Lingala contains many words borrowed both from African and European languages. It is often difficult, if not impossible, to recognize words borrowed from other Bantu languages. Since most of the people who speak Lingala are native speakers of some other language, words from other languages are constantly used in Lingala. A number of Arabic words have come in via Swahili. Portuguese and French words have been borrowed for several centuries, and many such words have been so fully assimilated into the sound system that they too are very hard to recognize. A number of English words also have entered.
French words are freely used in everyday speech in a more or less un-assimilated form. Those persons who speak French fluently also try to pronounce French words as they would be an French when these words are used in Lange's. Assimilated words occurring in this text are spelled as pronounced in Lingala, and the first time they occur, the standard French spell-ing is given in parentheses, e.g., (l'etat), 'government'. Words recently borrowed and not assimilated into the Lingala sound system are given the standard French spelling an the Lingala text. Un-assimilated French words usually have a high tone on the final syllable. The diacritic marks on French words are NOT tone marks, but they are the same as those regularly used in French spelling.
Lingala is a Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a large part of the Republic of the Congo, as well as to some degree in Angola and the Central African Republic. It has over 10 million speakers. Standard Lingala (called lingala littéraire or lingala classique in French) is mostly used in educational and news broadcastings on radio or television, in religious services in the Roman Catholic Church and is the language taught as a subject at all educational levels. Standard Lingala is historically associated with the work of the Catholic Church and missionaries. It has a seven-vowel system /a/ /e/ // /i/ /o/ // /u/ with an obligatory tense-lax vowel harmony. It also has a full range of morphological noun prefixes with mandatory grammatical agreement system with subjectverb, or nounmodifier for each of class. Standard Lingala is largely used in formal functions.
Lingala is spoken in: Uganda
Lingala is also called: Ngala