Linguistic Features of Kibembe

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Michal Temkin Martinez, Tim Thornes


This poster provides a preliminary description of the linguistic features of Kibembe, a language spoken in Congo and by a small group of refugees in the Boise area. Kibembe is characterized as an Atlantic-Congo, Narrow Bantu, Central language within the Niger-Congo language family and, although it is spoken by over 252,000 people around the world, it is virtually undocumented in the linguistic literature. Over the course of a semester, our group met with a native speaker of Kibembe to document the phonological, morphological, and syntactic features of the language. This analysis, along with recordings made by our group, serves the greater linguistic community by providing theoretical linguists with new language data to support their research. It will also serve the Kibembe community in the diaspora by providing documentation and archiving of this language for future generations to access.

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