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Supplementary material for "Native Languages of the Democratic Republic of Congo" by Helena Lopez Palma, published in BHL 3 - HLPA 1 (2022)

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posted on 15.07.2022, 14:24 authored by Brill Books1Brill Books1, Helena Lopez Palma

These are the supplementary materials for an article published in Brill’s Handbooks in Linguistics 3 (subseries: Handbooks of Language Policies in Africa 1) entitled 'Native Languages of the Democratic Republic of Congo', by Helena Lopez Palma, with DOI:10.1163/9789004516724_007.


DRC is a multilingual country where more than 200 native languages are spoken among a population of 92,798,854 inhabitants. Language variety strongly evidences the genetic force of the human language faculty for creating symbolic systems. Congolese native languages spoken by local communities are unique and precious coding systems that constitute an important asset of the heritage of the DRC. Today’s science and technology focuses on developing cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence technology. In that aspect, the rich language variety of drc is of great advantage, since much of ai Technology is applied to natural language data. Moreover, many Congolese people have become by now highly educated scientists who could lead digital innovative groups which would take care of preserving their valuable native languages. So it is a great historical moment for transforming Congolese linguistic data into industries that would return progress and social welfare to the people. We review some outstand- ing linguistic properties of 3 bantu languages (Cilubà, Lɔmɔ́ngɔ, Nzadi), and asses the depth of knowledge and expertise of their mother tongues by the Congolese population and the use of these indigenous languages in education. We then consider the adequacy of Education Plans to boosting, promoting and preserving the unique multilingual wealth of DRC.


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