Tetela language

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Native toDemocratic Republic of the Congo
RegionNorthern Kasai Oriental Province
EthnicityTetela people
Native speakers
(760,000 cited 1991)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
tll – Tetela
hba – Hamba
Glottologtete1250  Tetela
hamb1245  Hamba

Tetela (Otetela, Kitetela, Kikitatela), also Sungu, is a Bantu language of northern Kasai-Oriental Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is spoken by the Tetela people.

Noun classes [edit]

Like other Bantu languages, Tetela grammar arranges nouns into a number of classes. The ancestral system had 22 classes (counting singular and plural as distinct according to the Meinhof system), with most Bantu languages sharing at least ten of them.

class semantics prefix singular translation plural translation
1, 2 persons o-/ɔ-/w-, a- omfúnjí scribe, secretary amfúnjí scribes, secretaries
3, 4 trees, etc o-/ɔ-/w-, e-/ɛ- ojja place ejja places; region
5, 6 various di-/dy-, a- dihamvú fruit of Chrysophyllum lacourtianum ahamvú fruits of Chrysophyllum lacourtianum
7, 8 various ke-/e-, di-/dy- kesashi chief disashi chiefs
9, 10 animals, etc Ø-/N-, Ø-/N- mbódí goat mbódí goats
11, 10 abstract concepts, etc lo-, N- lolémí language némí languages
12, 13 various ka-/k-, to-/t- kashikɛ helmet (from French casque) toshikɛ helmets
19, 13 various °i- (complex morphology), to-/t- jɔ́ndɔ́ ??? tɔlɔ́ndɔ́ ???


  1. ^ Tetela at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Hamba at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online