Alternate Names
Baali, Kibaali, Kibala, Kibali, Libaali, Southeast Bwa

42,000 (1987 UBS). 2,100 monolinguals.


Orientale province: Tshopo district, Bafwasende territory, Tshopo river south to Ituri river north, and Ituri river north bank.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Bafwandaka, Bakundumu, Bekeni, Bemili. The Bemili dialect is central linguistically and geographically. Lexical similarity: 52% with Lika [lik]; 40%–45% with Bwa [bww] and Pagibete [pae]; 46% with Komo [kmw]; 40% with Bhele [bhy], Bila [bip], and Bera [brf]; 30% with Budu [buu] and Ndaka [ndk]; 25% with Lega languages and Lingala [lin].


SVO; prepositions, genitives before nouns; articles, adjectives, numerals, relatives after nouns; question word sentence final; 1–3 prefixes; 1–5 suffixes; word order distinguishes role; affixes mark person, number of subject and object in one noun group; active, passive, reflexive; 2 causatives; aspect; comparatives; tonal, 3 tones; stress; 9 vowels.

Language Use

Congo Swahili [swc] is spoken by leaders, nearly all youth and men (proficiency in certain domains), most women and older men (less fluently), many older women and young children (low proficiency). French [fra] is spoken by the less than 5% with secondary school education. Lingala [lin] is used mainly by those who travel or have been in military service. Used as L2 by Kango [kzy].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–2%. Literacy rate in L2: 30%–40% in Congo Swahili [swc].
Other Comments

‘Kibali’ is the official name.