In 1974, the First Seminar of Linguists of Zaire has determined the alphabet as we know it nowadays. Before that, there were as many ways to write Ciluba as there were linguists, even if each system was very similar to the other. Normally, I should use the accents too but that would make it more complicated. Let’s keep it simple for now !!!
|c (say “tsh”)||cibasu||planche||board|
|uu (long)||kutuuta||frapper||to hit|
|y (semi-vowel)||kweyela||respirer||to breathe|
Combined vowels don’t exist in Ciluba compared to French “ai” (a + i) or “ou” (o + u). Thus, you pronounce each letter as you read and see it. No tricks! Also, q, r and x are only used when using words borrowed from other languages. Ciluba also includes some sounds specific to the language such as nasalizations and aspired letters. We’ll check those out as we go.