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How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

French really is a must, no one outside of the expat community speaks English. There affordable tutors available. Do Duolingo before you come. - Dec 21, 2017
You really need French to communicate for everyday life. - Dec 4, 2017
Must. Have. French! Lingala is even better. Roughly 20% of the population will have some English. This is not generally enough to have a conversation or get directions. - Mar 2, 2017
You must have French or you will be unable to communicate in daily life. Push for language classes before arriving at post if possible, as local options for learning are not very good. Those without French tend to be much more isolated and frustrated with local life. - Jan 21, 2017
French is necessary. Lingala is the lingua franca of western DRC and reigned in Kinshasa. There are people in the city who don't speak anything but. It's not necessary, but is a very easy and beautiful language, and useful. - Sep 26, 2016
You do not need to know the local language (Lingala) but you do need to know some French (the national business language) - almost no one speaks English here. You can manage without French, but it is much, much more difficult. - Apr 26, 2016
French is required with very few locals speaking English. Congolese speak Lingala, not French to each other, and while it is not a requirement at all, you'll get better prices and reception if you have at least a basic knowledge. - Jan 6, 2014
French is absolutely necessary. Lingala would be helpful for anyone who actually wants to interact with the majority of the people in Kinshasa. Swahili is also spoken some. - Nov 24, 2012
Must know French. - May 21, 2012
French is a must. All stores/markets/locals speak French and there is not much English spoken. - Feb 13, 2012
French is mandatory. - Nov 13, 2011
French comes in very handy. No need to learn Lingala - Aug 4, 2011
French is the main language, and the more you know the better you are. Knowing some of the local language will make a positive impact on the Congolese. - Jan 19, 2011
French is fine. You get the most out of your experience by learning even a little lingala. I personally think it is more useful than French. But, as I say, French is fine. - Oct 16, 2010
Most people here don't speak English, so you'll need to know some French. Knowing some Lingala helps too. - Jan 21, 2009