Other names: Tshiluba, Luba-Kasai, Luba-Lulua
ISO code: lua
Spoken in the following countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (National)
Cilubà is mainly spoken in Western and Eastern Kasai, in present-day Congo (DRC, formerly Zaïre), but also extends far beyond those provinces. It is one of the national languages of the DRC, the other three being Lingála, Kiswahili and Kikongo. The official language of the DRC is French. Recent population statistics are not available, but it is generally accepted that there are at least six million speakers of Cilubà. In Guthrie's classification of the Bantu languages, the Lubà language is labelled as the 1st language of the 3rd group of zone L, thus L31 (Guthrie 1948: 54). In addition, Guthrie distinguishes between three dialects: L31a, L31b and L31c (see map below).
The geographical areas where Cilubà is spoken can tentatively be pinpointed as shown in the map below, taken from De Schryver (1999: 11).