Luba-Kasai, also known as Western Luba, Bena-Lulua, Ciluba/Tshiluba, Luba-Lulua or Luva, is a Bantu language (Zone L) of Central Africa and a national language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, alongside Lingala, Swahili, and Kikongo.
An eastern dialect is spoken by the Luba people of the East Kasai Region and a western dialect by the Lulua people of the West Kasai Region. The total number of speakers was estimated at 6.3 million in 1991.
Within the Zone L Bantu languages, Luba-Kasai is one of a group of languages which form the "Luba" group, together with Kaonde (L40), Kete (L20), Kanyok, Luba-Katanga (KiLuba), Sanga, Zela and Bangubangu. The L20, L30 and L60 languages are also grouped as the Luban languages within Zone L Bantu.
|Native to||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|(6.3 million Cilubaphones cited 1991)|
Official language in
|Democratic Republic of Congo (national language)|
|Native to||DR Congo|
|ISO 639-3||None (|
Tshiluba is chiefly spoken in a large area in the Kasaï Occidental and Kasaï Oriental provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, the differences in Tshiluba within this area are minor, consisting mostly of differences in tones and vocabulary, and speakers understand each other without a problem. Both dialects are further made up of sub-dialects. Additionally, there is also a pidginised variety of Tshiluba, especially in cities where the everyday spoken Tshiluba is enriched with French words and even words from other languages such as Lingala or Swahili. Nevertheless, this variety is not a typical form of a pidgin since it is not common to every one, and changes its morphology and the quantity and degree to which words from other languages are used. Its form changes depending on who speaks it and varies from city to city and from one social class to another. However, in general people speak the regular Tshiluba language in their daily lives rather than the pidgin. The failure of the language to be taught at school has resulted in the replacement of native words by French words for the most part. For instance, when people are speaking they generally count in French rather than in Tshiluba; this situation where French and Tshiluba are used simultaneously makes linguists think the language has been pidginised while in reality it has not.
|Western dialects||Eastern dialects||English|
|Mankaji (shi)/tatu mukaji||tatu mukaji||aunty|
Tshiluba has 5 vowels: /a, e, i, o, u/.
This chart shows the consonants of Tshiluba.
/p/ may also have the sound [ɸ]. If a /d/ is preceding an /i/, it may also be pronounced as an affricate sound [dʒ].
Kasaï-Occidental (French for "Western Kasai"; Luba-Lulua: Kasai Wa Mubuelu) was one of the eleven provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 1966 and 2015, when it was split into the Kasaï-Central and the Kasaï provinces.
Note: The Guthrie classification is geographic and its groupings do not imply a relationship between the languages within them.