A Terminological Approach To Making a Bilingual French-Lingala Dictionary For Congolese Primary Schools

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In Kinshasa schools, the lack of teaching aids such as schoolbooks and dictionaries featuring Lingala is a great hurdle for teachers who strive to make full use of this language in the classroom. Dictionaries explaining French terms (language of instruction) in Lingala (language of daily communication) are therefore sorely needed, in the form of tools conceived to help teachers and students understand better, in Lingala, concepts named in French. I have thus chosen to adopt a terminological approach, in order to build a bilingual student’s dictionary through a set of domain-structured booklets.

In this paper I describe the process of getting data from a wordlist extracted from the Congolese national curriculum. Based on that wordlist, I have then drawn up a questionnaire allowing me to define, illustrate and name French terms using Lingala words. The replies were based on pre-existing schoolbooks, bilingual French-Lingala dictionaries, the available corpus data, and my knowledge as native speaker and lexicographer.

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