Habla Congo

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Habla Congo
Habla Bantu
Native to Cuba
Native speakers
(liturgical language)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

Habla Congo or Habla Bantu is a Kongo-based liturgical language of the Palo religion with origins in Cuba, later spreading to other countries in the Caribbean Basin.[1] The language may be called lengua conga or lengua congo but is generally referred to simply as lengua, meaning "language" in Spanish. It involves code-switching between Kongo-derived words and phrases; Bozal Spanish, the archaic Spanish creole of the Cuban slave plantations, or at least an imitation of it; and colloquial Cuban Spanish.

A palero (Palo priest) would say that he habla congo (or habla conga) "speaks Kongo", habla en congo, or habla palero. It is not secret, but it is intended to be impenetrable to the uninitiated.[2]

See also[edit]

  • Palo
  • Lucumí, a similar liturgical language based on Yoruba


  1. ^ a b Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  2. ^ Armin Schwegler, 2006. "Bozal Spanish". In Studies in Contact Linguistics: Essays in Honor of Glenn G. Gilbert.