Kikongo-Kituba - English
word list


Kikongo-Kituba is a creole language that is based on some Bakongo languages. It is known with various names, such as Kikongo ya leta, Munukutuba, Ikeleve and sometimes plainly as Kituba and even Kikongo. It is spoken by several peoples in the Republic of Congo (a.k.a. Congo-Brazzaville), the Democratic Republic of Congo (a.k.a. Congo-Kinshasa, ex-Zaire) and Angola. It is an official language in Congo-Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville. The language has up to 10 million speakers.
Kikongo-Kituba words consist of a prefix and a stem. In this dictionary the Kituba words are arranged in the alphabetic order according to the word stem. Therefore it is essential to be able to recognise the prefixes. They are presented in the following table.
Singular
prefix
Plural
prefix
Examples Notes on usage
- ba- kento bakento This is the most common class
mu- mukento bakento This class includes mostly words describing human beings
N- nkento bakento This is contraction of the previous class
mu- mi- mukánda mikánda Many kinds of words are included in this class.
- ma- kutu makutu This class includes i.a. living organisms and body parts.
di- dikutu makutu The plural is used for uncountable things such as liquids.
ki- bi- kilápi bilápi Tools and apparatus
lu- n-
ba-lu-
lukáya nkáya
balukáya
Collective things
ka- tu- kamfulu tumfulu Diminutive and affectionate words.
bu- bumósi This class includes abstract ideas, therefore there is no plural.
ku- kupésa This group includes only verbs and verbal nouns.
Notes

The two "mu"-prefixes are differentiated with enumeration. "¹mu" stands for Class 1-2 (mu-, ba-) and "³mu" stands for Class 3-4 (mu-, mi-).
Kikongo-Kituba has pitch accent system with one pitch distinction: low vs. high. In this word list the low pitch is unmarked and the high pitch is marked with acute accent on vowels.
Note on pronunciation: nk = [ŋk], ng = [ŋg] and ng' = [ŋ].
Kituba has two tones, high (´) and low (`). A falling tone (^) occurs rarely, on the final syllable. Great majority of Kituba words have the main pattern of a single high tone on the penultimate (second to last) syllable. Only words with deviating tone patterns are marked in this dictionary.

  1. The second to last syllable has high tone.
  2. The last syllable has high tone.
  3. All the syllables have low tone.
  4. All the syllables of the stem have low tone and the prefix that immediately precedes the stem has high tone.
  5. All the syllables of the stem have high tone and all prefixes have low tone.


A B D E F G H I K L M N NG' O P R S T U V W Y Z

A


kiadi angst, anxiety, mental pain → mpási
Afelika Africa = Katiopa
diaki egg
maki eggs
Alubé Albert
³muamba palm oil
Amelika America
¹muana child
bumuana childhood
bana children
bana ya Kongo the people of Congo
bana ya Nzambi children of God
ata particle marking future tense → ta
Azia Asia
B


ba they = bawu
kibahá Bahaism, the Bahá'í faith
kubaka to take, to receive
bakala man, male; husband = yakala
kibakala courage, manliness
³mubaku fox
kibala shell, scale
mbàlà time, iteration
mbalá yam; potato
mbàlà mingi many times, often, frequently
mbàlà mosi one time, once
kimbanda an Afro-American religion of Brazil
dibanga boulder, rock, stone
kubangula to explain
babantu the Bantu people(s)
kibantu Bantu, Bantoid
mbanza town, city
Mbanza-Kongo former capital of the Congo Kingdom
Mbanza-Ngungu major station town in Central Congo
kubasika to get out, to exit
kubasisa to let out, to oust
bawu they
kubeba to be spoiled, wasted
kubebisa to spoil, to waste, to squander
dibelé breast, teat
mabelé breasts, bust, bosom; milk
bembe dove, pigeon
kibendé iron
kibeni self (myself, yourself, himself, herself, ...)
kibeni dump truck
beno you (plural)
beno kibeni you yourself
benu you (plural)
kibesi hoe
dìbètè drop, water drop
beto we
mbeto bed = mfúlu
kibila sacred grove, sanctuary
kibilikí brick
biló bureau, office; desk
kubinga to invite
kubisa to defy, to disobey, to oppose
kimbisa an Afro-American religion of Cuba = kipálo
bisi = busi
mbizi fish
mbizi ya kuyúma dried or smoked fish
diboka a shamanic dance or divinatory technique
diboko hand, arm
kiboko hippopotamus = ngubu
boma pen, enclosure, paddock
mbombo nose; nostril
bambombo nostrils
mbòngo money
Mbóté! Hello!
kimbóté goodness
ya mbóté good
boyi boy, houseboy, servant
mbuá dog
buala village, town
Buali ancient capital of Luango
kibubu gorilla
mbuetete star
buku book → ³mukanda
mbuku place, locality, centre = mbúka
Mbuku-Nzawu Bucu-Zau, a municipality in the enclave of Cabinda
bula-matadi government
kubukuna to break, to fracture
kubukuta to crunch, to munch
kibula-matadikituba
kubula to hit; to break
kubula mabóko to clap hands, to applaud
kubula ³mukanda na masinu to type with typewriter
dibunda thigh
dibundu fruit, berry
(di)bundu sect, church, congregation
Bundu ya Kongo a Bakongo movement for the restauration of the Kongo Kingdom
dibundu ya katolika the Catholic Church
kibundu total, entirety
busi bus
mbuta elder; ancestor
kubutama to be born
kibuti parent
D


dalapó flag
badawi the Bedouins
ndefu = ndevu
ndeke bird = nuni
³mundelé white person, Caucasian
bamindelé the White people
dernié last = ya nsuka
(ma)ndevu beard
kúdia to eat
mádia food
diaka again
Dido Dieudonné
kudila to cry, to weep
ludimi tongue
ndinga language
ndinga ya bwála national language
ndokí sorcerer, witch
kindokí sorcery, witchcraft
dokotolo doctor, physician = munganga
budokotolo medicine = kilongo
ndómbé person with dark skin, negroid
ndona lady, mistress; madonna
ndosi dream
ya ndudi sour
nduku friend
³muduma mamba (snake)
nduma mamba
ndumba miss, young woman
didungú testicle
madungú testicles, balls
ndundú albino
Bandundú Bandundu city, ex-Banningville
ndunzi happiness
E


ebene ebony
ébue...? Is it so that...?
éé yes → ínga
estano → ntani
Ezipte Egypt = Ngipiti
F


kifalu rhinoceros
¹mufarisi Pharisee
fasó fashion, way, style → mpilá
mafinya pus
fioti a little, not much
ya fioti little, small
foti fault, mistake
kufua to die; to kill
lufua death
kufwana to suffice, to be enough
kufuanana to be alike/equal, to resemble
kifuanisu image, portrait, likeness
(di)fubu marrow, core; pineapple
kufuété must, to have to
fufú rat
fuku million
mfulu bed
kamfulu cradle
mfumu chief, boss
kufunda to accuse
¹mufundi accuser
kufundisa to judge
kifundisi judge
¹mufundisi judge
mafuta grease, oil
G


Ngabu Gabon
¹mungabu Gabonese
gale train station
bangala the Bangala people
dingala Lingala
kingala Lingala, the lingua franca of North Congo
ngandu crocodile
mugàngà = nganga
ngàngà medicine man, physician, doctor; priest
ngàngà-nkisi medicine man
ngàngà-nzambi priest
ngasi palm nut
gata village = buala
ngayí-ngayí acidious
gazete periodical, journal, gazette
gazi gas
ngé you (singular)
na ngé your
ya ngé your
Ngipiti Egypt
ngò leopard, panther
ngò-zulu eagle
ngolo power, force, strength
ngoma drum
ngondá moon; month
ngongolo centipede
nguana Arabized blacks of East Africa
kinguana variant of kiswahili spoken in east Congo-Kinshasa
nguba peanut
ngubu hippopotamus = kibóko
ngulú pig
ngulú-gata domestic pig
ngulú-mfinda bush pig
ngumba porcupine
ngunga bell, gong; bell ring; hour, the interval between two bell rings
ngunza prophet; messiah, saviour
kingunza prophetic religion
nguvu hippopotamus = kiboko
H


hozana! hosanna!
bahúng'ana a Bakongo tribe
I


ikele particle marking durative tense/aspect → kele, ké
builu darkness, obscurity
imene particle marking perfect tense/aspect → mene, mé
³muinda light, lamp, candle
inga yes → éé
¹muisi inhabitant (pl. besi)
ivuari ivory → dinu ya nzáu
iyá 4, four
ya iyá fourth
kiyá Thursday
K


³mukaba belt, girdle
(di)kabu part, section
nkadi (ya mpembe) demon, evil spirit
nkafi oar, paddle
kaka only
nkaka other, another
ya nkaka other
kakí khaki (color)
dikaku monkey
makaku monkeys
(ma)kala charcoal; blackness
ya makala black, pitch-black
kalasi class; school
(di)kalu rail, metal bar, metal rod
kikalu stairs, ladder
lukalu train
nkama 100, hundred
³mukanda text: letter, article; book = buku
nkanda text, document; letter
kanza cobra
kapita foreman
makasi anger, wrath
katekisimu catechism
kati center; interior
nkati center; interior
na kati ya inside
ya kati ya central
Katiopia Africa
nkatu nothing, nil, zero
katuka from = tuka
nkayi = nkafi
particle marking the present tense
kele particle marking the present tense
kele na to have
makelélé noise, sound
¹mukeluba cherub
kena to be =
(¹mu)kentó woman; female
nkentó woman; female
luketo hip
nkì(í)nki
nkiama rainbow
³mukìdì river bank, solid land
kiló kilogram
kukina to dance
(ki)kindá grave, sepulchre
makinu dance
mukisi = nkísi
nkisi spirit of nature; magical power; fetish, amulet, talisman; medicine
nkisi nsi spirit of earth
nkita spirit that is captured by ngàngà to fight against ndokí
Klisto Christ
¹muklisto christian
nkokila evening
¹mukoko tribal Teke king
mukólé snail
nkólé captive, prisoner
lukolo school
komí secretary, registrar
komputa computer
kóndé net, network, web
Kongo Congo
Kongo-Braza Congo-Brazzaville
Kongo-Kinsasa Congo-Kinshasa
Kongo ya ntotila Congo Kingdom
bakongo the Kongo people
dikongó spear, javelin
kikongo any of the interrelated languages spoken by the Bakongo, incl. kituba
kikongo ya letá Kikongo of the state = kitúba
kikongo-kituba lingua franca based on Kikongo
¹mukongo a Kongo person
³mukongó back, spine
nkongo a Kongo person; hunter
nkosi lion; fetish (representing lion)
dikoto knee
¹múkua possessor of, inhabitant of
nkua possessor of, inhabitant of
nkua Bandundu inhabitant of Bandundu
Kuámuntu Kwamouth
³mukuba painting
³mukubu ya mengá bleeding, flow of blood
nkubu bleeding
Kuenda mbóté! Goodbye!, Farewell!
kukuenda to go, to leave
kukuisakukwiza
Kuíza mbóté! Welcome!
kukuiza to come
nkulu ancestor; spirit of deceased = nkuyu
kinkulu past, history
(di)kùlù foot, leg
kumbi wagon; ship; train
kumbi ya maza ship = masuá
kumbi ya ntoto train = lukalu
kumi 10, ten
kumi ná mosi 11, eleven
kumi ná zolé 12, twelve
kumi ye mosi 11, eleven
kumi ye zolé 12, twelve
makumi zolé 20, twenty
makumi zolé ná mosi 21, twenty-one
kuna there
dikundú supplementary internal organ of witches, organ of supernatural power in abdomen
nkuni wood, firewood
kurá electric current, electricity
nkusi fart
nkusu parrot
¹mukuyu spirit of deceased, ghost, lost soul
nkuyu spirit of deceased, ghost, lost soul
L


labó (hand) plane
balabu the Arabs
kilabu Arabic language
¹mulabu an Arab
baladi a Bakongo tribe = balari
ladió radio
malafu alcohol
dilálá orange, citrus fruit
langi color
ya langi muamba yellow
³mulàngì bottle
lapé rabbit
kilari a dialect of Kikongo spoken mainly in Brazzaville and the Pool region
¹mulate mulatto
¹mulatere mulatto
Malebo the Malebo Pool, the Stanley Pool
kiletá = kikongo ya leta, kituba
kilima climate
³mulisi militia
lita liter, litre
litelo = lita
³mulolo savanna shrub
dilòngà plate
kilongo medicine = nkisi
Lorá Laurent
loso rice
Luango ancient empire of the Bavili
baluba the Luba people
kiluba the Luba language
kiluba ya Kasai Ciluba
kiluba ya Katanga Kiluba
dilulu insect
maluma semen, sperm
kilumbu day, 24 hours
(ki)lunzi soul, spiritual double
Lunzi Santu the Holy Ghost
kuluwé to rent, to lease
Luwí Louis
M


kíma thing, item, article
bíma things, stuff
mama mother
mamá mother
kimanianga a dialect of Kikongo spoken in the Manianga region = kikongo ya Manianga
(di)manga mango
masuá boat, ship
mbua dog
imbua dog
bumbuli central pillar of house
(di)mémé sheep
mene particle marking perfect tense/aspect =
particle marking perfect tense/aspect = méne
menga blood
mesa table
meta meter, metre
metelometa
meza table → mesa
mine mine (bomb), mine (excavation)
mingi many, much; very
lumingu Sunday
mira myrrh
misa (Catholic) mass
kumona to see, to look
¹mumoni seer, visionary, clairvoyant
kumonisa to show
mono I, me = múnu
na mono my
ya mono my
Mose Moses
mosi 1, one; self
bumosi oneness, unity
kimosi Monday
moyo soul, spirit
kimpenzi chimpanzee
kimpiti antelope
I, me
Mú zaba ve. I don't know.
Mudiso Maurice
munu I, me
munu kibeni me myself
ya munu my
múnukutúba kikongo ya munu kutuba = kituba
muéné ruler, lord, sir
bamuéné rulers, lords
muéné Kongo Manikongo, ruler of Kongo
muéné Mputu ruler of Portugal (hist.)
muéné-nsi ruler of land, head of state
muéné Soyo ruler of Soyo, count of Soyo (hist.)
N


at, in, on; to; from
with; and
mama ná muana mother and child
nanasi pineapple
nani who
banani who (plural)
nde that (conjunction)
¹mundongo slave
lùngàdì muslim = musilamu
lunguenia chameleon
ni it's
ni munu it's me
ni nge it's you
ni nge yina me sala yawu. it's you who did it.
niama animal, beast; prey; meat
niau cat
Nikolá Nicholas
nioka snake
nionia ant
nitu body
kinkokó magic animal, animal familiar, demon familiar, totem animal
³munòkò mouth, orifice, opening
(í)nsua permission, right
kinsukulu eggplant, aubergine
mante saliva
(í)nti tree; wood
(í)ntu head
bàntù people, population
bántu heads
bùntù humanity, humaneness
¹mùntù person, human being
bumùntù humanity
dínu tooth
dínu ya nzawu elephant tusk, ivory
ménu teeth
kunuana to fight, to battle
nuanu conflict, fight, battle
nuani fighter, warrior
núni bird → ndeke
³munuta minute, 60 seconds
kúnua to drink
³munyi the visible world
nyitu body = nitu
dinzanza tin plate, sheet metal
kinzanzala insect
(í)nzo house
(í)nzo-nzambi church (building)
(í)nzo ya manzanza house with tin roof
mwanzo cottage, cabin, shed, hangar, small house
NG' (Ŋ)


ng'ambú the opposite shore
na ng'ambú on the other side of the river
³mungwá salt
(í)nki? what?
(í)nki kilumbu? which day?
(í)nki ntangu? what time? when?
ng'ombé cow, bovine
ng'ombé-koko bull
ng'ombé-nkento cow
O


oro gold = wolo
P


kipalo an Afro-American religion of Cuba, Palo = kimbisa
mpangi friend
kimbangi fraternity
papá father, poppa
mpasi pain, ache
pe and = yé, ná
mpe also, too
mpémbé white
³mupèpè wind, breeze
kupesa to give
¹mupesi donor, giver
Pételo Peter
mpevé spirit
Mpevé Santu the Holy Ghost
kupeza to weigh, to measure weight
mpi also = mpe
mpika slave
bumpika slavery
mpilá type, sort, kind; way → fasó
mpilá mosi similar, same kind, same way
mpilá na mpilá all kinds of
mpilá ve no way, impossible
mpilá yayi this way, like this
lupitalu hospital
mpimpá night; dark
kupola to rot
ya kupola rotten
mpondó millet or sorghum
¹mupopó Beninese, a person from Benin
potó-póto swamp, marsh, mud
puaka simpleton
puante point, tip
Puántenuá Pointe-Noire
Mpumbu the Malebo pool; (old name of) Kinshasa
mputo grape
Mputu Europe
R


rabólabó
radió radio → ladió
Repo! At ease! (mil.)
Roma Rome
Rusia Russia
S


mása = máza
sabala Saturday
(ki)sabato Saturday; Sabbath
sabatu shoe
kusadisa to help
(di)nsala feather
kusala to do; to work
sala ngolo make an effort
nsala feather, dove
kisalu work, job
sanduku case, suitcase, trunk, chest
nsangu news
nsangu ya mbóté Gospel, the Good Word
lusanse gasoline
santu saint
ya santu saint, holy
busantu saintity, holiness
³músapi finger, toe
nséké savannah, steppe, prairie; land, region
selafé seraphim
sena senate, parliament
si land = nsi
besi people of
besi Kongo people of Kongo
besi Mputu Europeans
¹músi land = nsi
Músikongo = Músi Kongo Kongo land
nsi land
nsi ya ntotila kingdom
na nsi ya under, beneath, at the base of
ínsi land
¹muisi inhabitant (pl. besi)
¹muisi Kongo inhabitant of Congo, a Congolese
¹munsi inhabitant = ¹muisi
(³mu)nsikú law
minsikú ya letá constitution
kisilamu Islam
musilamu muslim, moslem
simba lion = nkosi
kusimbá to grab, to grasp, to hold
kusimbá nzila to take route
(ki)simbi genie, water spirit, nature spirit
masini machine
sodá soldier
sokolá chocolate
dísu eye
mésu eyes
masuba urine, piss
kisubulu toilet, WC
nsuka end
ya nsuka the last, final
sukadi sugar
kusukula to wash, to bathe
kusumba to buy
kusumbama to be bought
nsusu hen, chicken
nsusu-koko cock, rooster
kiswahili Kiswahili, the lingua franca of East Africa
T


ta particle marking future tense = ata
ditadi stone, rock
kitadi metal; medal
takisí taxi
ditaku buttock
mataku buttocks, bottom, bum, ass
kutala to look, to watch, to see
(ki)talatala mirror
³mutambu trap, snare
ntandu highland(s), upland(s)
kintandu Kikongo dialect of upper Congo
ntangu sun; moment, time
ntangu ya when, at the moment of
ntani tin, Sn
tanu 5, five
ya tanu fifth
kitanu Friday
tata father
tatá father
tatu 3, three
ya tatu third
butatu trinity
kitatu Wednesday
ntatu trio, troika
bateké Teke people
kiteki idol, statue of deity
kutela to call for, to send for, to summon
lutelu calling, summoning, convoking
ya ntété the first, premier
to, until; and =
nti tree = (í)nti
ntima heart
ntinu head of state, monarch, emperor, chieftain
ntinu-nkento queen, empress
to or
toko young man
kitoko beauty
ntomi priest, augur, soothsayer
ntomubilu automobile
(bu)tongo brain
kutonda to thank, to appreciate, to show gratitude
ntonda thanks, gratitude
Matondo Thanks!, Thank you!
Matondo kibeni! Thank you yourself!
Matondo na beno! Thank you!
(bu)tonzu brain = tongo
ntotila monarch, king
ya ntotila royal
ntoto earth
ntuadisi leader
na ntuala behind, after, in back of
na mantuala behind, after, in back of
kituba lingua franca (based on Kikongo), essentially the same as múnukutúba and kikongo ya letá
kutuba to speak, to talk
tuka from = katúka
tuka Kinsása tí Matádi from Kinshasa to Matadi
kutuka to leave, to depart
ditungulu onion
dituti cloud
(di)tutu flute
U


Unazá National University of Zaire
uvua 9, nine
ya uvua ninth
V


vanda to be
vandaka particle marking past tense; was
kuvanda to rest
kuvanda na to have
ve no, not
bavili a Bakongo tribe of the Atlantic coast north of the Kongo river
kivili the language of Bavili
mvita combat, war
kuvuanda to reside, to live; to rest
vuatili car, automobile, vehicle
kuvutuka to return, to come back
W


Wa fasó? How are you? (used in Congo-Brazzaville) = wapi fasó
kúwa to sense, to perceive, to listen; to understand
kúwa makasi to get angry
wanzio angel
wapi? question particle
wapi fasó? which way?, how?
Wapi mambu? What's the problem/matter?
wapi mutindu? which way?, how?
wapi sika? where?
wolo gold
Y


ya of
he, she = yandi; it = yawu
kiyá Thursday
¹muyadi administrator, ruler
yakala man, male; husband = bakala
kuyala administrate, govern, reign
luyalu administration, government, regime, reign
yandi he, she
yandi mosi he himself, she herself
yangó the one(s) in question
bayansi Yansi people
yawu it = yo
yayi this, these
and =
Yemá Emma
Yesu Jesus
kiyesu Christianity
¹muyesu a christian
mayi water = maza
Mayi-Ndómbé a great lake near Bandundu
yina this, these
yina who, which
yinki what?
yinti tree = nti
yinzo house = nzo
mayita semen, sperm
it = yawu
bayombé a Bakongo tribe, Mayombe
Mayombé vast rain forest in Cabinda and Congo
yowa the cosmic cross of the Bakongo religion
Yuda Judas
¹muyuda Jew
kuyuma to dry, to get dry
ya kuyuma dried or smoked
kuyumisa to dry, to make dry
Z


Jean, John
maza water; river, lake, sea, etc.
kuzaba to know, to know how
kizábavé = kituba
muzabi expert, sage
kuzabisa to inform, to let know
kizabu science
mazabu knowledge, information
nzadi river
nzadi Kongo Congo river
nzala hunger, famine
nzala nail, claw
kizama exam, examination
nzambi god, divinity
Nzambi-Mpungu God Almighty
Nzambi ya Mpungu God Almighty
nzawu elephant
kuzaya to know = kuzaba
mazayu information, knowledge, science = kizabu, mazabu
nzazi lightning, thunderbolt
nzò house = (í)nzo
muzidi figurine, statue, idol, fetiche statue
mazi oil, grease = mafúta
kuzieta to walk, to go for a walk
nzietolo walk, promenade
nzila road, street, path, route, way
na nzila ya on the way to
nzila-kumbi railroad, railway
nzila-lukalu railroad, railway
nzila-mukidi road on land
nzila-nseke path on savanna
nzila-nzadi waterway, riverine route
nzimbu seashell money
nzinga roll, cylinder
muziri = muzidi
buzitu respect
kuzola to like, to love; to want, to feel like doing
zolé 2, two
ya zolé the second
kizolé Tuesday
nzolé a couple, twosome
luzolo love; desire
kuzonzá to discuss, to talk
(di)zulu sky, heaven; top
mazulu heavens
na zulu ya on, on top of
¹muzuluma muslim = ¹musilamu
zuzi judge = ¹mufundisi
Bantu week

The traditional Bakongo week consists of four days. The week is called nsóna, which is also the name of the day dedicated for rest and worship i.e. their equivalent for Sunday.

  1. nsona = day of rest and worship
  2. nkandu/mukila
  3. (mu)konso/konzo = market day
  4. nkéngé

References

In addition to other sources I have used the following dictionaries as reference in compiling this word list.

  • Hermann Hochegger: Dictionnaire français - kikongo ya leta. 1983, CEEBA, Bandundu.
  • Jean de Dieu Nsondé: Parlons kikôngo: Le lâri de Brazzaville et sa culture. 1999, L'Harmattan, Paris.
    (In fact this book is an introduction to the Kilari language, but more than half of the book is occupied by a concise dictionary.)
  • Pierre Swartenbroeckx: Dictionnaire kikongo et kituba - français. 1973, CEEBA, Bandundu.