Lingala is a Bantu language spoken in parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Angola. It has about five million speakers and is also known as Ngala.
Lingala is closely related to Swahili, and the two languages share a lot of vocabulary. However, Lingala is simpler than Swahili, with shorter sentences and fewer noun classes.
Lingala is mostly spoken as a second language, but there are some areas where it is the first language. It is used as a lingua franca in the Congo basin, and is also the language of instruction in some schools.
Lingala has been influenced by French, the colonial language of the Congo. However, it has also borrowed words from other languages, such as English, Portuguese and Kiswahili.
Lingala is written with a Latin alphabet, which was introduced by Catholic missionaries in the 19th century. There is also a traditional script, called Bangi, which is used by some writers.