Kikongo Language Structures

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Michal Temkin Martinez and Tim Thornes


This poster provides a preliminary description of the linguistic features of Kikongo, a major language spoken in southeastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and by at least one refugee in the Boise area. Kikongo is characterized as an Atlantic-Congo, Narrow Bantu, Central language (H.16) within the Niger-Congo language family. Although it is spoken by over 5 million people, it has not yet received extensive attention in the linguistic literature. Over the course of the semester, we have worked with a native speaker of Kikongo to document the phonological, morphological, and syntactic features of the language, as well as several semantic domains of interest. The archived recordings and analyses resulting from this project will provide the scientific community with new data to promote theoretical linguistic research on Kikongo. Our project will also benefit the Kikongo-speaking community in the diaspora by increasing linguistic awareness and providing documentation, which may be adapted for use in the development of language teaching materials.


Kikongo Language Teacher: Joseph Paul Malibeki

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