Tshiluba language

Tshiluba language

states=Democratic Republic of the Congo
region=Kasai-Occidental and Kasai-Oriental provinces
speakers=6,300,000 (1991)
fam7=Narrow Bantu

Tshiluba (also called Luba-Kasai and Luba-Lulua) is a Bantu language spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is a national language.


Tshiluba belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo languages. It is the language of the Baluba people.

Geographic distribution

Tshiluba is spoken by about 6.3 million people in the Kasaï Occidental and Kasaï Oriental provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


There are significant dialect differences between the East Kasai Region (Luba people) and the West Kasai Region (Bena Lulua people).


The Bantu word identified in June 2004 by Today's Translations, a British translation company, as the most untranslatable in the world: "ilunga", in the Tshiluba tongue, means "a person ready to forgive any abuse the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time". However, it is more likely to be a personal name rather than a difficult word.


*MacIntyre, Ben. "Why do Koreans say 'a biscuit would be nice' instead of 'I want a biscuit'?", The Times, August 21, 2004.

External links

* [http://www.ciyem.ugent.be/ Online Cilubà - French Dictionary]
* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=lua Ethnologue report on Tshiluba]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3830521.stm BBC News: Congo word "most untranslatable"]
* [http://www.panafril10n.org/wikidoc/pmwiki.php/PanAfrLoc/Luba PanAfrican L10n page on Luba]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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