Lendu language

Last updated
Native to Congo (DRC)
Ethnicity Lendu, Hema, Alur, Okebu
Native speakers
(760,000, including Ndrulo cited 1996) [1]
  • Badha
Language codes
ISO 639-3 led
Glottolog lend1245
Linguasphere 03-BAD

The Lendu language is a Central Sudanic language spoken by the Balendru, an ethno-linguistic agriculturalist group residing in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in the area west and northwest of Lake Albert, specifically the Ituri Region of Orientale Province. It is one of the most populous of the Central Sudanic languages. There are three-quarters of a million Lendu speakers in the DRC. A conflict between the Lendu and the Hema was the basis of the Ituri conflict. [2]


Besides the Balendru, Lendu is spoken as a native language by a portion of the Hema, Alur, and Okebu. In Uganda, the Lendu tribe live in the districts of Nebbi and Zombo districts, northwest of Lake Albert.[ citation needed ]


Ethnologue gives Bbadha as an alternate name of Lendu, but Blench (2000) lists Badha as a distinct language. A draft listing of Nilo-Saharan languages, available from his website and dated 2012, lists Lendu/Badha.



Front Central Back
Close i u
Near-close ɪ ʊ
Mid ɛ ə ɔ
Open a


Labial Dental/
Palatal Velar Labial-
Nasal m n ɲ
voiceless p t t͡s t͡ʃ k k͡p ʔ
voiced b d d͡z d͡ʒ ɟ ɡ ɡ͡b
prenasal ᵐb ⁿd ᶮd͡ʒ ᵑɡ
vl. implosive ɓ̥ ɗ̥ ʄ̊
vd. implosive ɓ ɗ ʄ
Fricative voiceless f θ s ʃ h
voiced v ð z ʒ
prenasal ⁿz
Rhotic r
Approximant plain l j w
glottalized ʼw


Demolin (1995) [3] posits that Lendu has voiceless implosives, /ɓ̥ɗ̥ʄ̊/ (ƭƈ/). However, Goyvaerts (1988) [4] had described these as creaky-voiced implosives /ɓ̰ɗ̰ʄ̰/, as in Hausa, contrasting with a series of modally voiced implosives ɗʄ/ as in Kalabari, and Ladefoged judges that this seems to be a more accurate description. [5]

Related Research Articles

In phonetics, a plosive, also known as an occlusive or simply a stop, is a pulmonic consonant in which the vocal tract is blocked so that all airflow ceases.

Uvulars are consonants articulated with the back of the tongue against or near the uvula, that is, further back in the mouth than velar consonants. Uvulars may be stops, fricatives, nasals, trills, or approximants, though the IPA does not provide a separate symbol for the approximant, and the symbol for the voiced fricative is used instead. Uvular affricates can certainly be made but are rare: they occur in some southern High-German dialects, as well as in a few African and Native American languages. Uvular consonants are typically incompatible with advanced tongue root, and they often cause retraction of neighboring vowels.

In phonetics, ejective consonants are usually voiceless consonants that are pronounced with a glottalic egressive airstream. In the phonology of a particular language, ejectives may contrast with aspirated, voiced and tenuis consonants. Some languages have glottalized sonorants with creaky voice that pattern with ejectives phonologically, and other languages have ejectives that pattern with implosives, which has led to phonologists positing a phonological class of glottalic consonants, which includes ejectives.

Labial–velar consonants are doubly articulated at the velum and the lips, such as. They are sometimes called "labiovelar consonants", a term that can also refer to labialized velars, such as the stop consonant and the approximant.

Implosive consonants are a group of stop consonants with a mixed glottalic ingressive and pulmonic egressive airstream mechanism. That is, the airstream is controlled by moving the glottis downward in addition to expelling air from the lungs. Therefore, unlike the purely glottalic ejective consonants, implosives can be modified by phonation. Contrastive implosives are found in approximately 13% of the world's languages.

In linguistics, fortis and lenis, sometimes identified with 'tense' and 'lax', are pronunciations of consonants with relatively greater and lesser energy, respectively. English has fortis consonants, such as the p in pat, with a corresponding lenis consonant, such as the b in bat. Fortis and lenis consonants may be distinguished by tenseness or other characteristics, such as voicing, aspiration, glottalization, velarization, length, and length of nearby vowels. Fortis and lenis were coined for languages where the contrast between sounds such as 'p' and 'b' does not involve voicing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chickasaw language</span> Muskogean language from the southeastern US

The Chickasaw language is a Native American language of the Muskogean family. It is agglutinative and follows the word order pattern of subject–object–verb (SOV). The language is closely related to, though perhaps not entirely mutually intelligible with, Choctaw. It is spoken by the Chickasaw tribe, now residing in Southeast Oklahoma, centered on Ada.

Glottalization is the complete or partial closure of the glottis during the articulation of another sound. Glottalization of vowels and other sonorants is most often realized as creaky voice. Glottalization of obstruent consonants usually involves complete closure of the glottis; another way to describe this phenomenon is to say that a glottal stop is made simultaneously with another consonant. In certain cases, the glottal stop can even wholly replace the voiceless consonant. The term 'glottalized' is also used for ejective and implosive consonants; see glottalic consonant for examples.

Dahalo is an endangered Cushitic language spoken by around 500–600 Dahalo people on the coast of Kenya, near the mouth of the Tana River. Dahalo is unusual among the world's languages in using all four airstream mechanisms found in human language: clicks, implosives, ejectives, and pulmonic consonants.

Doubly articulated consonants are consonants with two simultaneous primary places of articulation of the same manner. They are a subset of co-articulated consonants. They are to be distinguished from co-articulated consonants with secondary articulation; that is, a second articulation not of the same manner. An example of a doubly articulated consonant is the voiceless labial–velar plosive, which is a and a pronounced simultaneously. On the other hand, the voiceless labialized velar plosive has only a single stop articulation, velar, with a simultaneous approximant-like rounding of the lips. In some dialects of Arabic, the voiceless velar fricative has a simultaneous uvular trill, but this is not considered double articulation either.

Ngadha is an Austronesian language, one of six languages spoken in the central stretch of the Indonesian island of Flores. From west to east these languages are Ngadha, Nage, Keo, Ende, Lio, and Palu'e. These languages form the proposed Central Flores group of the Sumba–Flores languages, according to Blust (2009).

The Ngiti, or South Lendu, is an ethnolinguistic group located in the Ituri Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ngiti speakers call their language Ndruna. In 1991, the Ngiti numbered 100,000 located in the Irumu territory south of Bunia. During the Ituri conflict, the Front for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri was formed as a Ngiti militia group and political party.

Lese is a Central Sudanic language of northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as a name for the people who speak this language. The Lese people, live in association with the Efé Pygmies and share their language, which is occasionally known as Lissi or Efe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Margi language</span> Chadic language of Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad

Margi, also known as Marghi and Marghi Central, is a Chadic language spoken in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad. It is perhaps the best described of the Biu–Mandara branch of that family. Marghi South language and Putai are closely related and sometimes considered dialects of Margi.

Suri, is a Surmic language spoken in the West Omo Zone of the South West Ethiopia Peoples' Region in Ethiopia, to the South Sudan border by the Suri. The language has over 80% lexical similarity to Mursi. The language is often referred to by another form of its name, Surma, after which the Surmic branch of Eastern Sudanic is named, but that form is frequently used for the three related languages spoken by the Surma people: Suri, Mursi, and Me'en.

Gimi (Labogai) is a Papuan language spoken in Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea.

The Mangbetu–Asoa or Mangbetu languages of the Central Sudanic language family are a cluster of closely related languages spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A voiceless velar implosive is a very rare consonantal sound. The symbol for this sound in the International Phonetic Alphabet is ɠ̊ or kʼ↓. A dedicated IPA letter, ƙ, was withdrawn in 1993.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Voiceless retroflex implosive</span> Consonantal sound represented by ⟨ᶑ̥⟩ or ⟨𝼉⟩ in IPA

A voiceless retroflex implosive is an extremely rare consonantal sound, used in very few spoken languages. There is no official symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound, but ᶑ̊ or ʈʼ↓ may be used, or the old convention 𝼉.

The voiced labial–velar implosive is a rare type of consonantal sound. It occurs in Lese, a language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to Floyd (1981) and Clark (1990), both voiced and voiceless labial–velar implosives occur in Central Igbo.


  1. Lendu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. "AFRICA | 101 Last Tribes - Lendu people". www.101lasttribes.com. Retrieved 2024-02-05.
  3. Demolin, Didier. 1995. The phonetics and phonology of glottalized consonants in Lendu. In Connell, Bruce and Arvaniti, Amalia (eds.), Phonology and Phonetic Evidence. Papers in Laboratory Phonology IV, 368-385. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  4. Goyvaerts, Didier L. 1988. Glottalized Consonants a New Dimension. Belgian Journal of Linguistics 3. 97-102. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  5. Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 87–89. ISBN   0-631-19815-6.