Mongo, Nkundo

1.  Classification / Classification

Mongo and Nkundo belong to the Bongo Group (Guthrie C61) of Bantu. "Mongo is the name most currently used for a whole cluster of more or less closely related dialects. Originally the term was applied only to the northern section, with Nkundo being restricted to the southern part (between the equator and the River Kasai.) Nowadays, the tendency is to use the term (Lo-)Mongo for the whole ethnic/linguistic group, reserving Nkundo for the sections of the western part" (Hulstaert, personal communication, 1986). (Webbook?)

Ethnologue? lists the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Northwest, C, Mongo (C.70)

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

Spoken in northwestern Dem. Rep. of the Congo and around Mbandaka. (Webbook)

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

400,000 (1995) (Ethnologue)

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

Voegelin and Voegelin (1977) report five dialects of Mongo/Nkundo, of which Nkundo is the largest. (Webbook)

According to Ethnologue, dialects are:

  • Mpama
  • Wangata
  • Panga (Ipanga, Titu, Buli, South Nkundo)
  • Bukala (Kala)
  • Yalima (Yajima)
  • Kutu (Bakutu)
  • Ekonda Mongo (Lomongo)
  • Longo (Bolongo)
  • Nkundo (Nkundu, Lonkundu, Lonkundo, Lolo)
  • Ntomba-Inongo
  • Ntomba-Bikoro
  • Konda (Ekonda, Lokonda, Lokwala)
  • Longombe.

Dialect or language cluster:

  • Lalia
  • Mongo-Nkundu
  • Ngando
  • Ombo

The Longombe dialect is spoken along the road between Boende and Wema, is closest to the Bakutu dialect, and is distinct from the Lingombe language. Ntomba-Inongo, Ntomba-Bikoro, and Konda may be separate languages. (Ethnologue)

5.  Usage / Utilisation

Hulstaert reports that "Mongo is used both as a local language by the Western-Central dialect cluster defined above and as a lingua franca by the other dialect speakers in the basins of Lulonga, Tshuapa, and their affluents. It is also spoken as a second language by the limitroph Ngombe between the rivers Ruki and Ikelemba." (Webbook)

Lingala is increasing in use [among Mongo/Nkundo speakers] (Ethnologue)

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

Different orthographies have been developed by the Catholic and Protestant missions. To our knowledge, neither has received official status. (Webbook) [needs update]

It is a tonal language (are tone markings used?)

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

Several language samples are shown on the "Language Museum" site (not sure what or whose orthographies they follow):

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

We are not aware of any localisation efforts.

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

  • ISO 639-1: -
  • ISO 639-2: lol
  • ISO 639-3: lol

7.6  Other / Autre

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile

9.  Comments / Remarques

10.  References / Références

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, (page on "Mongo/Nkundo," )

The Linguist List, "The Mongo-Nkundu Language,"

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Mongo-Nkundu,"

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables,"

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language,"

Wikipedia, "Mongo language,"

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Categories: Languages, CongoDemRep