Culture and Society

Tervuren Series for African Language Documentation and Description

In both academic and non-academic circles, there is a growing awareness of our responsibility to document and describe languages as vehicles of intangible cultural heritage, especially endangered languages. It has become widely recognised that at least half of the world’s languages are threatened to disappear. This is also the case in Africa, which is by far the linguistically most diverse continent of the world.

As a world centre of research and knowledge dissemination on Africa, the Royal Museum for Central Africa wishes to play an important role in raising awareness about Africa’s linguistic diversity and the conservation of its intangible cultural heritage. In this regard, the “Tervuren Series for African Language Documentation and Description” is launched as an important vehicle for the diffusion of knowledge on African languages.

This new series intends to publish scientifically high quality books that contribute to both the description and documentation of hitherto poorly or non-described African languages. It will be complementary to Africana Linguistica, the RMCA’s journal of African linguistics, in that it aims at scientific contributions which do not fit the format of a research article. It welcomes not only lexical and grammatical descriptions of variable length (lexicons, dictionaries, full-fledged grammars, grammatical sketches), but also annotated text materials in African languages whose interest is larger than language description.

In harmony with the editorial policy of the RMCA, all contributions to the new series will be peer-reviewed. Contributions can be in English or French and should be submitted, both electronically to Isabelle Gérard and in hard copy to Publications Service, RMCA, Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren, Belgium.

For more info regarding the contents of the new series send an e-mail to:

Cover Limbum-English
  • Limbum-English Dictionary & English-Limbum Index

    Author: Francis Wepngong Ndi

    Series "Tervuren Series for African Language Documentation and Description"

    ISBN : 978-9-4916-1527-6
    420 p. 
    Retail price: 27 €

Limbum (the Mbum language) is an Eastern Grassfields Bantu language which is made up of three dialects. According to Cameroon’s 2010 population census results, approximately 1.340.000 people speak Limbum. Most speakers are natives of the Nkambe Central and the Ndu subdivision of the North West Region of the Republic of Cameroon.

This dictionary is a practical guide to Standard Limbum with over 8.343 references. It is the first lexical database of the Mbum language which covers a wide range of grammatical findings.

Francis Ndi Wepngong, born in Mbot on the 15th of January 1968 holds a Research Masters (MPil) in Linguistics from Leiden University. He started his lexicographic work on Limbum in the year 2002 while working as a volunteer at Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) in Yaounde, Cameroon. Since 2010, he has been working as an independent linguistic consultant based in Leiden, The Netherlands. His research interests are Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis and Sociolinguistics.

Cover nom et usages

  • Noms et usages de plantes, animaux et champignons chez les Mbuun, Mpiin, Ngong, Nsong et Hungan en RD Congo

    Author: Joseph Koni Muluwa
    Editor: Maud Devos

    Series '"Tervuren Series for African Language Documentation and Description"

    Available in French
    ISBN: 978- 9- 4916-1528-3
    168 p.

    Retail price: 18 €

Nsong, Ngong, Mpiin, Mbuun and Hungan are Bantu languages spoken in and around the city of Kikwit in Badundu province, DR Congo. These minority languages have been gradually abandoned by speakers, who instead favour the country’s national and official languages.

This book is a collection of traditional knowledge on the plants, animals, and fungi of the region. It describes various uses – nutritional, medicinal, artisanal, meteorological, ritual – of these organisms. Such uses have been tested in these societies and may also benefit others if scientists are able to explore them. Unfortunately, such knowledge is fast disappearing, hence the importance of this lexicon.

Joseph Koni Muluwa, born in Kikwit, DR Congo in 1964, holds a doctorate in languages and letters from the Université libre de Bruxelles (2010). He began specialising in the relationships between linguistics and biodiversity in 2005 and devoted several years of study to the subject. He also worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren until 2012. At present, Koni Muluwa is connected with Ghent University, where his work focuses on endangered Bantu languages. His areas of speciality are comparative and historical linguistics and the documentation of endangered African traditional cultural knowledge.



  • Lexique yoómbe-français avec index français-yoómbe

    Author: Jan De Grauwe 
    Editor: Koen Bostoen

    Series "Tervuren Series for African Language Documentation and Description"

    Available in French 
    216 pp
    ISBN  978- 9- 0747-5262-6
    Retail price: 25 €

About the publication

Yoómbe is a Bantu language spoken by approximately 1,100,000 inhabitants of Mayombe territory in Bas-Congo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The lexicon includes more than 5,000 lemmas. It contains a great quantity of everyday vocabulary but also many specialized terms that sometimes occur only in proverbs. Even though this volume is not a complete dictionary, it is the first lexical study of this scale for Yoómbe.

About the author
Jan De Grauwe, born in Sint-Amandsberg in 1929, is a graduate of Ghent University, where he specialized in Roman philology. He began his work on Yoómbe when he lived in Bas-Congo from 1950 to 1960. He taught at Ghent’s Sint-Barbara secondary school until 1991. His great research passion is history and the spirituality of the order of Carthusian monks in Belgium.

Document Actions