The following words give evidence of the playful nature of this language as it is shaped by many cultural influences. Read over the list and you will get a sense of the fun native speakers and foreigners enjoy in their use of the language.
Balabala – road, and you can feel the bumps and holes as you say it
Kpokoso – difficult, and it is, somewhat even for Congolese to pronounce
Poto Poto – Mud, as in wet earth used for making bricks for house construction
PuluPulu – diarrhea (sorry but I couldn’t resist this one)
Makelele – a dispute, hear them going back and forth?
Ingelesa – the Protestant Church, evidence of the largely English speaking nationalities of the early missionaries?
Semisi – shirt, or Smith since the English pronunciation is too difficult
Kokwei ndeke – literally “the bird is falling” but used as “falling in love”
Mondoki – rebel, this one carries a somber message as it means literally the one with a gun and is derived from ndoki or sorcery;
Mozwi – the one who receives literally, but used for a greedy person
PoussePousse – from the French “pousser”, to push, and used for the metal push carts hired for transporting loads in Congo’s cities.
Ngonga – hour, or gong if you prefer
Mpusu or Miao – they both mean cat and couldn’t you guess
Sukulu – school, more evidence of English speaking missionaries’ influence in educating many Congolese in times past.
Noki noki – real fast as opposed to noki which is just fast. Malembe malembe is real, real slow.
Kotambolatambola – the verb katambola means to walk so by repeating tambola the meaning changes to parading around; repetition as in the previous example intensifies the meaning. Could be used for any other verb you choose. Kolukaluka would mean to search everywhere as opposed to koluka which means a simple search.