Learn Lingala:

A Grammatical Dictionary of Lingala

Lingala is a Bantu language spoken mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) and in Congo-Brazzaville. The structure of Bantu languages make traditionally-arranged dictionaries very difficult to use for those trying to learn these languages. So The Language Secret has developed a revolutionary new system to help you:


These are some of the innovative and original features of our Bantu-language dictionaries:

Underlining of verb roots: Lingala, Kongo (also known as Monokutuba, Kikongo ya Leta or Kituba) and Lari are all in the Bantu group. A characteristic of all Bantu languages is that they are built up of verb roots. We have invented a new system wherein all verb roots are underlined to enable the learner or researcher to make connections easily between seemingly unrelated words. For example, whereas the English words teacher, school and lesson have no obvious common etymology, by underlining the root in the equivalent word in Lingala moteyi, eteyelo and liteya, we see instantly that they are all derived from the root -tey-, meaning to teach.

Grammatical boxes in the body of the dictionary: Bantu languages use affixes to modify the meaning of the root, making dictionaries arranged according to the traditional pattern of very limited use for those not familiar with the grammatical structure. Many words in any given Bantu text will not feature as headwords. We have therefore used an original method, incorporating these affixes into the body of the dictionary, along with a brief grammatical explanation of their function, to enable the user to find the meaning of the word being researched. These boxes have a border to distinguish them from the headwords.

Explanation of cultural features: Many words relating to cultural practices and realities have no equivalent in European languages. Small articles within the body of the dictionary describe and explain these features.