|Native to||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|60,000 Lobala (2000)|
21,000 Boko (no date)
Bala is spoken in the northwest corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo west of the Congo River by about 60,000 people. Most of these are not monolingual, but the language is being passed on to the next generation, especially in more remote areas. Ethnologue classifies the language as "vigorous", meaning that it is sustainable.
There are four dialects of Bala: Likoka, Poko (Iboko), South Lobala, and Tanda.
Like many languages in the Benue-Congo group, Bala forms negatives by adding an affix to the verbal phrase. However, Bala is unusual in that it adds two affixes to form negatives. These are added as a prefix and an suffix to the subject affix. For example,
Here the te and the ik elements are the double affixes indicating negation, attached to the ba affix indicating third party plural. The tub element is the verb "to sing" and the aka affix indicates the past tense.
In a similar way the t and iká negation elements are affixed to the verbal affix element a (indicating third person singular).
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Note: The Guthrie classification is geographic and its groupings do not imply a relationship between the languages within them.