Luwakanda: An Interlucastrine Language for Marvel’s Wakanda

Abstract

The Marvel Comics Black Panther franchise features a fictional East African nation called Wakanda. Although Wakandan (the language of Wakanda) is not completely described in the comics or other related media, some clues can be gained from place names and miscellaneous vocabulary. From these clues, it is clear that Wakandan is a composite of various languages from all over Africa. Further, the makers of 2018 film Black Panther chose isiXhosa (a South African language) as the Wakandan language. This research paper seeks to construct a language for Wakanda that would be more fitting for Wakanda’s Great Lakes setting. In other words, this Wakandan language must be believably related to languages spoken in the region and to have been able to have developed there. To this end Lugungu, a language native to the region, is used as a basis and is supplemented by other languages spoken in the vicinity. Likewise, languages such as isiXhosa, whose speakers are too far away to have believably influenced the language, are not considered. This thesis focuses on the phonology, morphology, and syntax of this constructed language, using Marvel Comics and the Black Panther film canon as a guide and filling in any additional worldbuilding details as required in the language construction process.

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