Friday, 9 April 2010


Dear visitor,

My name is Rogério Goma. One of my favourite hobbies is to learn languages. Apart from Lingala, I speak Kikongo, Portuguese, French, German and English.
I am from Angola, but I did my primary school in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and went on later to do my secondary school in Pointe-Noire (second largest city in Congo-Brazzaville). This blog is essentially for me to share my passion for African languages and encourage other Africans to do the same thing. A dictionary Kikongo-English and English-Kikongo could be my next project if things would work out in line with my expectations.


This dictionary will - among other things - help you to understand some features of the Congolese culture, in particular the Congolese music.

The majority of Congolese people speak modern Lingala, which contains a lot of French words, because of the colonial past. The Democratic Republic of Congo was colonised by Belgium, whereas Congo-Brazzaville was a French colony.

While working on this dictionary, I was primarily guided by the intention of producing something which will help in day to day communication. I did not want a dictionary full of obsolete words. I decided to select only words that are widely used in conversations. This dictionary contains therefore many French words, as the latter have become part of today’s Lingala. This dictionary cannot of course pretend to completeness.

You can order the English-Lingala dictionary from any bookshop in the UK. The price is £ 10.50.


Verbs start with “ko” in Lingala. Two examples: koloba: to speak and kotala: to see. To look up the verb koloba, please go to “L” and find loba. To look up kotala, go to T and find tala.

Thank you in advance for your comments.



and: na, mpé
anger: nkándá, nkele
angry: kozala na nkándá; to get angry: koyóka nkándá
another: mosúsu
answer: eyano
answer (to): koyanola, kozóngisa
anything: eloko nionso
apartment: ndako, apartema, (apartement)
apostle: ntóma
appear (to): komónana, kobíma, kobimela
apple: mbálá, libengé, (pomme)
appointment: (rendez-vous)
April: sánzá ya minéi, (avril)
area: mboka, esíká, (zone), (quartier)
area code: code ya mboka
arrange (to): kobongisa
artery: mosísa ya monéne, (artère)
artist: (artiste)
ashamed (to be): koyoka nsóni
assistant: (assistant)
assurance: (assurance)
asthma: (asthme)
astonishment: bokamwi
asylum: ngunda, azile
association: lisangá
attack: (attaque), (crise)
attention: (attention)
attractive: (attractif)
August: sánzá ya mwambe, (août)
aunt, aunty: tatá mwási, (tante)
authentic: (authentique)
author: (auteur)
authority: bokonzi
authorization: autorisation
available: (disponible)
avenue: aveni, (avenue)
average: ya kátikáti, (moyen)
avoid (to): koevité, (eviter)
axe: kóngo, nsóka, (hache)
awake (to be): kozala ya kolamuka
award: (recompense, prix, dommages-intérêts)
aware (of): (conscient de)
away (far): mosíká
awful: ya mabé mpenza, (horrible)

Baby: bébé
baby food: biléi ya bébé
back: mokongo
backache: mpási ya mokongo
background: (éléments de base, provenance; arrière-plan)
bad: mabé
badge: (insigne, plaque)
bag: líbenga, (sac, sacoche)
baggage: (bagages)
bail: (caution)
bake (to): (cuire au four)
baker: mosáli mápa, (boulanger)
ball: bále, ndembó
banana: likémba, etabe
bank: bank, (banque)
bank [river]: libóngó
baptize (to): kobátisa
barefoot: makolo ngúlu, (nu-pieds)
basket: ekoló
to be: kozala
beat (to): kobéte, kobéta
beautiful: kitóko
beauty: bonzénga, kitóko
because: mpô na, mpámba té
bed: mbéto
bedroom: elalelo, súku, (chambre)
beef: ngómbé
beg (to): kosénge; (mendier); (supplier),(implorer)
to behave: kotámbola
behaviour: etámboli
believe (to): koyamba, kondima
believer: mondimi
bell: ngonga
best: malámu ya koleka
better: malámu míngi
bible: biblíya

-laka: to promise, to pledge
-lakisa: to show, to teach
-lakisana: to teach one another
-lála: to sleep
-lálisa: to cause to sleep
-lámba: to cook food
-lámbela: to cook for sb else
-landa: to follow, to pursue
lángi: colour
-lángwa: to get drunk
-lángwisa: to intoxicate, to make sb get drunk
-láta: to dress (up)
-látisa: to dress sb
-léisa (-léyisa): to feed, to nourish
-leka: to pass by, to surpass
-lekaleka: to pass by again and again
-lekisa: to overtake, to exceed
-lela: to cry, to weep
-lelisa: to cause to weep, to cry
leló: today
-lembe: to be tired, to get tired
-lembisa: to make weak
-léndisa: to persevere
-lénga: to tremble, to shake, to shiver
-léngele: to care for, to treat
-lía (-líya): to eat
líamba: cannabis, hashish, weed
libaku: stumbling
libála: marriage
libale: liver
libándá: outer, outside, external, exterior
libandeli: start, outset, beginning
libángá: stone, rock
libatá: duck
libáyá: wood
libélá: definitive, final
libéle: breast
líbenga: bag; pocket
libíki: deliverance, liberation, escape
libóké: parcel
libóma: madness
libóndo: heap
libóngó: bank, platform, wharf, quay
libonza: offering
libosó: in front, ahead; first
libótá: offspring; family
libúlú: hole; well
libumu: tummy, stomach; pregnancy
libúnga: oblivion
libwá: nine
lidusú: hole
lífelo (límfelo): hell
lifúta (lifúti): payment
ligbólóló (ligóródó): toad
likabo: gift, present, offering
likála: charcoal, coal
likambo: piece of news, story; dispute
likámwisi: miracle
likanisi: thought, idea
likáyá: tobacco, cigarette
líki: egg
likélélé: cricket

má !: take !
maba: leper
mabé: bad
mabelé: earth, ground
madam: madam
madésu (nkúnde): bean
mafúta: oil, fat
magazíní: shop, store
mái (máyi): water
maíná (mayíná): pus
makáko (nkéma): monkey
makála: charcoal
makángo: concubine
makási: strong; hard; difficult
makayábo: salt fish
makeléle: noise
makélélé: crickets
makilá: blood
makusa: kitchen
makwánza: scabies; itch
maládi: illness, disease
malámu: well, fine; smoothly
malási: perfume; scent, flagrance
málemba: grated cassava
malémbe: slowly; gently, softly
malíli: cold
malongá: good, high quality; fitting
malóngi: religious education, catechism
mamá: mother, mum
mamiyo: dew
mámpa (mápa): breads (plural)
manaka: calendar
mandéfu: beard
mángá: mango
mangolo: mango
mangúngu: threat, intimidation
mángwele: vaccine
mansélé: paralysis of legs
mantéka: butter
-manyola: to think, to meditate, to ponder
mapása: twin
masanga: drink, bier, wine
masángó (masángú): maize, corn
masese (plural of lisese): paraboles
masúba: urin
masúwa: ship
-mata: to go upstairs; to climb; to ascend



The indefinite article “a” (or an) is “mókó”, whether it is a masculine or a feminine noun. “mókó” always stands after a noun,

a bed: mbéto mókó
a day: mokolo mókó
a woman: mwási mókó
an idea: likanisi mókó

Note that “mókó” also means: one.
For example:
moto mókó: one person

The definite article “the” does not exist in Lingala:

the man: mobáli
the woman: mwási
the knife: mbelí
the answer: eyano

The plural of most nouns in Lingala is formed with “ba”, placed before a noun:

kópo (glas) ba kópo (glasses)
nzeté (tree) ba nzeté (trees)
ndáko (house) ba ndáko (houses)
nzúbé (thorn) ba nzúbé (thorns)

But there are some exceptions. The plural of some nouns, which begin with “li” or “lo”, is formed with “ma”. The latter replaces “li” or “lo”:

The plural of some nouns, which begin with “mo”, is formed with “mi”. The latter replaces “mo”:

moyíbi (thief) miyíbi (thieves)
mobáli: (man) mibáli (men)
mololo: (day) mikolo (days)
mondélé: (white person) mindélé: (white persons)

The plural of very few nouns, which begin with “mwá”, is formed with “ba”. The latter replaces “mwá”:

mwási (woman) bási (women)
mwána (child) bána (children)

This lesson is part of a ten-lesson E-course in Lingala. You can purchase it from Amazon marketplace by clicking on

For more details send us an e-mail at: .


  1. Congratulation for your effort.You must expand the dictionary to others words that seem more technical such as:deposit,stock market, bond,alliance, ect...

  2. What I wonder if Congoleses know Lingala why when you ask them the favor that they say a song in Lingala, Congoleses say not knowing about. I wonder is that they do not want to teach Lingala or is a way to use them as spies?

  3. congratulation for your effort I really appreciate that.

  4. could you help me with translation-"solisanga te mamam ponani ozo nyokolamotema ya mwana moto boyee"

    1. Well it means : talk to me lady , why are you making someone's heart suffering like this ?

  5. wht does it mean?
    mere zala nzinga nzinga na pere
    please translate ths for me guys

    1. Loll, it means : Mother don't leave the Father alone. Literally it means: Mother ,be around father

    2. Loll, it means : Mother don't leave the Father alone. Literally it means: Mother ,be around father

  6. what sharigi means, ozali, ozala, mwana na pate, sokyo te

  7. Where can i purchase this in South Africa?

  8. Very good job have you been done! Thank you!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. please could you help me witht the meaning of Nama sumu nasalaki nkolo limbisa ngai

    1. please i need it as soon as possible and also with the meaning of Bipanina kei molili kaka sasu Mumanga semi ku-mba lelo name senze le nkolo limbisa ka ngai.

  11. Amazing project! I started a similar one for Lingala ages ago. Please do contact me: or/and pls visit my page :

  12. This is really amazing!

    Could you help me with the meaning of some words and expressions?

    - Docado; Tukokama; tobina; tokeba; ataki

    - Mokonzi ya terrain;
    - La kotapi à côte, maiya si cayé;
    - Ka danser reguilé, ka danser na regui eh;
    - Yo kaba pasi;
    - Ka danser ka danser ka danser na reguilé;
    - Zali prof

    Thank you very much!