1650 map entitled 'Regna Congo et Angola' by Joannes (Johan) Jansson - Janssonium

Group photo in Boma, UGent linguists.

Late night work.

Working on Cimbala.

Recording pottery making in Nsangi Binsu.

Linguistic fieldwork in the Lower Congo province (DRC): summer 2012

From 4 August until 14 September 2012 a team of four UGent researchers carried out linguistic fieldwork on Kikongo varieties in the Lower Congo.

We took off for the DRC with the following objectives:
Collect lexical and grammatical data on poorly known varieties of Kikongo, with a focus on the Eastern and Western extremities of the Lower Congo Province, discover hitherto unknown varieties, and gather information on the geographical distribution of the Kikongo dialects.

Types of data collected:
For each of the varieties studied, we tried to gather as much data as possible: basic vocabulary (the Swadesh-100 list), vocabulary to check sound correspondences, culinary vocabulary, basic grammatical information by means of a translation questionnaire with special attention to verbal derivation and tense/aspect, information structure by means of a dedicated questionnaire with special attention to focus, text corpora (both oral and written).

We succeeded in achieving the following results:
- Discovery of four Kikongo varieties which were hitherto (almost) unknown
   in the scientific literature: Cizali, Cimbala, Cilinji, and Cizobe;
- Documentation of six more poorly documented or undocumented Kikongo
   varieties: Kimbata, Kimbeko, Kinkanu, Kimpangu, Ciwoyo, and Kisolongo;
- Collection of hitherto inaccessible text corpora for several other Kikongo
- Ethno-archaeological data recorded of women potters' ancient tradition
   in Nsangi Binsu east of the Inkisi river (video, tapes, interviews).

Location map of the fieldwork.

Wilfried Ntunda Nzeza (ISP Mbanza Ngungu) was of great help during our fieldwork on eastern Kikongo varieties in Ngidinga. Zephyrin Pinzi was a magnificent language assistant during our fieldwork in the western part of the Lower Congo Province (Boma and elsewhere). We also thank all the informants who were willing to work on their language with us.

A pdf file (1.3 Mo) illustrating the fieldwork.

Sebastian Dom's blog on the 2012 linguistic fieldwork

Other photographs :

corpus collection in Mbanza Ngungu

Wilfried Ntunda Nzeza getting us to work on

Zephyrin Pinzi transcribing a mass
(various Kikongo dialects)

Recording stories in Cilinji

Mapping Cizobe

Working on Kinkanu