Fuliiru language

Fuliiru (Furiiru, Kifuliiru, Fulero) is a Great Lakes Bantu language spoken by the Fuliiru people (Bafuliiru), also known as the Fuliru or Fulero, who live north and west of the town of Uvira in Uvira Territory, South Kivu province in the far eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is closely related to Kinyindu.[3]

Native toUganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo
Native speakers
400,000 (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
flr – Fuliiru
job – Joba (Vira)
Glottologfuli1240  Fuliiru
joba1238  Joba



The table below gives the consonant set of Fuliiru.[3][4]

Labial Labiodental Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Laryngeal
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced d g
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ h
voiced v z ʒ
Prenasalized plosive mb nd ŋg
Nasal m n ɲ
Liquid l/ɾ
Approximant β j (w)[5]

Several sounds change when preceded by a nasal: voiceless sounds become voiced, and /β/ and /h/ are realized as [b].

The phoneme /n/ assimilates to the place of consonants that follow it: it can be realized as [m], [ɱ], [n], [ɲ], or [ŋ].

The phoneme /l/ is realized as [d] after /n/, as [ɾ] after the front vowels /e/ and /i/, and as [l] elsewhere. The phoneme /ɾ/ is likewise realized as [d] after /n/, but as [ɾ] elsewhere.


The table below gives the vowel sounds of Fuliiru.[3]

Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

All five vowels occur in long and short forms, a distinction that is phonemically distinctive. The quality of a vowel is not affected by its length.


Like most Bantu languages, Fuliiru is tonal, with a two-way contrast between high and low tones. Morphemes can be underlyingly high (H), low (L), or toneless. Phonetically, high, low, mid, and falling tones can all occur; mid tones are the realization of an underlying LH sequence, and falling tones are the realization of an underlying HL sequence or an utterance-final H tone.


  1. ^ Fuliiru at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Joba (Vira) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ a b c Van Otterloo, Karen (2011). The Kifuliiru Language: Volume 1. Dallas, TX: SIL International. ISBN 978-1-55671-261-6.
  4. ^ Van Otterloo, Roger (2011). The Kifuliiru Language: Volume 2. Dallas, TX: SIL International. ISBN 978-1-55671-270-8.
  5. ^ This sound is very rare in Fuliiru, and only occurs after other consonants or as the result of a /u/ becoming a glide.