The official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is French although a number of indigenous languages hold national language status. These four national languages are Kitub (also known as Kikongo), Lingala, Swahili, and Tshuluba. While the country was a colony of Belgium, it became one of the only countries in African history to be colonized while maintaining education and communications in their local languages. According to many sources, there are approximately 215 living languages in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which makes the nation one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. Dutch was formerly an official language while the DRC was considered a Belgium colony, although French was used much more widely.

The International Organization of Francophonie (OIF) put out a report in 2014 that stated 47% of the population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo could speak, read, and write in French. This percentage equates to roughly 33 million people. The majority of the capital city of Kinshasha is literate in French. Currently, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has the largest French speaking population to be found anywhere outside of France.

Hello, written as bonjour and pronounced as "bon-jour" is a very common greeting in any society that speaks French. "Merci" is also an easy word to learn and it means thank you. "Parlez-vous anglais?" is a helpful phrase that means "do you speak English?"

Minority languages in the country are numerous with over 215 languages being used in the nation today. The most common minority languages include Budza, Chokwe, Komo, Lendu, and Zande, just to name a few. These languages are usually regional in their dispersal throughout the country. The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo also has plans to introduce Portuguese as a national educational language.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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