Tshiluba language: Wikis


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Spoken in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Region Kasai-Occidental and Kasai-Oriental provinces
Total speakers 6,300,000 (1991)
Language family Niger-Congo
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 lua
ISO 639-3 lua

Tshiluba (also called Luba-Kasai and Luba-Lulua) is a Bantu language spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is a national language.



Tshiluba belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo languages. It is the language of the Baluba people.

Geographic distribution

Tshiluba is spoken by about 6.3 million people in the Kasaï Occidental and Kasaï Oriental provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.



There are significant dialect differences between the East Kasai Region (Luba people) and the West Kasai Region (Bena Lulua people).


The Bantu word identified in June 2004 by Today's Translations, a British translation company, as the most untranslatable in the world: ilunga, in the Tshiluba tongue, means "a person ready to forgive any abuse the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time". However, it is more likely to be a personal name rather than a difficult word.


  • MacIntyre, Ben. Why do Koreans say 'a biscuit would be nice' instead of 'I want a biscuit'?, The Times, August 21, 2004.

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