Lingala was dialect of a city of the Congo, but the language rapidly conquer the hearts and to become one of the first languages of the Congo. Congolese musicians have transported it across Africa since the 1960s. Congolese living outside Africa then transported it with them and conveyed the love of lingala all around them.
A poetic language
Lingala is, for many, the language of poetry, the language of rhymes. It’s the language of rumba and Afrobeat. It is very natural to form rhymes with Lingala, which will make you immediately fall in love with the language. An example with rhymes in “a”: Yóká mwána wáná; alobaka mwá lingála.
Immerse yourself in the culture
To learn Lingala is to dive in the heart of a culture of mutual well-being, of a certain respect for the other. Lingala is, in particular, one of the African languages to have kept its matriarchal origins, which also makes it a naturally feminist language.
The woman, especially th mother, occupies a central place in the Lingala culture. The word “mamá”, in addition to referring to the mother, is synonymous with greatness and wisdom. For example ; “The biggest chair” will be called “mamá na bakíti” (the mother of the chairs).
When the woman becomes a mother she is honored with a title reminiscent of the gift she has given to the community. Imagine a woman whose first child is named Amina. Amina’s mom will be called “Amina Mom” or “Amina Me”, named after her first child, remembering her entry into the mothers community.
Lingala is the language of friendship, fraternity
When you go to someone who is dear to you, you can call her (if she’s called Amina); “Amina na bísó” (our Amina). It is a way of telling your interlocutor that he is close, that he belongs to your community. This is the equivalent of “My dear Amina”. To mark a closeness still , indicating a relationship you can say “Amina na ngai” (my Amina).
You can also associate the term “mamá” to mark the proximity with your interlocutor by simply calling it “mwána ‘mamá” (mother’s child). This formula is not used only between siblings; as for “Amina na bísó” It is mainly used to call people for whom one feels a great affection, to a degree, however stronger than the previous one.
A rich language
Lingala is, finally, the language of proverbs. As in all of Africa, the culture that gave Lingala has its share of proverbs, tales, mysteries. Congolese artists have, from the beginning of the rumba, integrated maxims, proverbs and parables in their songs. We can mention Koffi Olomide, Luambo Makadi, Felix Wazekwa, Fabregas and many others whose new album is an opportunity to discover a range of expression, reflections, proverbs, known or invented by themselves. Each reflecting their understanding of the world, expressing the experience told in their songs.
Speaking Lingala will give you access to a reservoir of experiences, modes of thought and unique aesthetics. Lingala has not finished seducing hearts, its future is radiant.