Alternate Names
Kikomo, Kikumo, Kikumu, Kikuumu, Kumo, Kumu, Kuumu

400,000 (1998 SIL).


Maniema province: Lubutu and Punia territories; Nord-Kivu province: Walikale; Tshopo province: Bafwasende territory, Opienge. Lubutu is center.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).


No identified dialects, but speech varieties have the following differences: up to 10% lexical differences, in comparison with the reference lexicon as found in Lubutu. Most noticeable phonological variation: lambdacism. Most noticeable relational word variation: shape of the alienable possession marker. Lexical similarity: 80% with Bhele [bhy], 70% with Bila [bip], 58% with Bera [brf], 48% with Bwa [bww], 46% with Bali [bcp], Lika [lik], and Pagibete [pae], 30% with Lingala [lin], Lega-Shabunda [lea], and Budu [buu].


SVO; prepositions; noun head followed by genitive and relative clause; question word initial; 7 prefixes; 4 suffixes; word order distinguishes subject, object, indirect object; human-animate-inanimate contrast in plural and adjective agreement (no Bantu concord); verb affixes obligatorily mark person and number of subject and object; some ergativity in gerund phrase; middle, stative, unaccusative marked by suffix; causatives marked by suffix; comparisons; CV, V, Nasal CV, CV Nasal, Nasal; tonal.

Language Use

Some young people, all adults. All agss except in population centers where L1 is Congo Swahili, then it is 7 and older for boys. A few also use Lingala [lin], especially those around Kisangani. Also use Congo Swahili [swc]. Used as L2 by Lengola [lej].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 50% older men (born before 1970), 30% younger men, less than 10% women. Literature. Dictionary. Bible portions: 1991–1998.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Christian, Muslim, traditional religion.

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