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Zulu language

Zulu (), or isiZulu as an endonym, is a Southern Bantu language of the Nguni branch spoken in Southern Africa. It is the language of the Zulu people, with about 12 million native speakers, who primarily inhabit the province of KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa (24% of the population), and it is understood by over 50% of its population. It became one of South Africa's 11 official languages in 1994.

Zulu
isiZulu
Pronunciation
Native to
Region
EthnicityZulu people
Native speakers
12 million (2011 census)
L2 speakers: 16 million (2002)
Latin (Zulu alphabet)
Zulu Braille
Signed Zulu
Official status
Official language in
South Africa
Regulated byPan South African Language Board
Language codes
ISO 639-1zu
ISO 639-2zul
ISO 639-3zul
Glottologzulu1248
S.42
Linguasphere99-AUT-fg incl.
varieties 99-AUT-fga to 99-AUT-fge
Proportion of the South African population that speaks Zulu at home
0–20%
20–40%
40–60%
60–80%
80–100%
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see .
Zulu
PersonumZulu
PeopleamaZulu
LanguageisiZulu
CountrykwaZulu

According to Ethnologue, it is the second-most-widely spoken of the Bantu languages, after Swahili. Like many other Bantu languages, it is written with the Latin alphabet.

In South African English, the language is often referred to in its native form, isiZulu.

Contents

Geographical distribution of Zulu in South Africa: density of Zulu home-language speakers.
<1 /km2
1–3 /km2
3–10 /km2
10–30 /km2
30–100 /km2
100–300 /km2
300–1000 /km2
1000–3000 /km2
>3000 /km2

Zulu migrant populations have taken it to adjacent regions, especially Zimbabwe, where the Northern Ndebele language (isiNdebele) is closely related to Zulu.

Xhosa, the predominant language in the Eastern Cape, is often considered mutually intelligible with Zulu, as is Northern Ndebele.

Maho (2009) lists four dialects: central KwaZulu-Natal Zulu, northern Transvaal Zulu, eastern coastal Qwabe, and western coastal Cele.

The Zulu, like Xhosa and other Nguni people, have lived in South Africa for a long time. The Zulu language possesses several click sounds typical of Southern African languages, not found in the rest of Africa. The Nguni people have coexisted with other Southern tribes like the San and Khoi.

Zulu, like most indigenous Southern African languages, was not a written language until the arrival of missionaries from Europe, who documented the language using the Latin script. The first grammar book of the Zulu language was published in Norway in 1850 by the Norwegian missionary Hans Schreuder. The first written document in Zulu was a Bible translation that appeared in 1883. In 1901, John Dube (1871–1946), a Zulu from Natal, created the Ohlange Institute, the first native educational institution in South Africa. He was also the author of Insila kaShaka, the first novel written in Zulu (1930). Another pioneering Zulu writer was Reginald Dhlomo, author of several historical novels of the 19th-century leaders of the Zulu nation: U-Dingane (1936), U-Shaka (1937), U-Mpande (1938), U-Cetshwayo (1952) and U-Dinizulu (1968). Other notable contributors to Zulu literature include Benedict Wallet Vilakazi and, more recently, Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali.

The written form of Zulu was controlled by the Zulu Language Board of KwaZulu-Natal. This board has now been disbanded and superseded by the Pan South African Language Board which promotes the use of all eleven official languages of South Africa.

English, Dutch and later Afrikaans had been the only official languages used by all South African governments before 1994. However, in the Kwazulu bantustan the Zulu language was widely used. All education in the country at the high-school level was in English or Afrikaans. Since the demise of apartheid in 1994, Zulu has been enjoying a marked revival. Zulu-language television was introduced by the SABC in the early 1980s and it broadcasts news and many shows in Zulu. Zulu radio is very popular and newspapers such as isoLezwe, Ilanga and UmAfrika in the Zulu language are available in Kwazulu-Natal province and in Johannesburg. In January 2005 the first full-length feature film in Zulu, Yesterday, was nominated for an Oscar.

The mutual intelligibility of many Nguni languages has increased the likelihood of Zulu becoming the lingua franca of the eastern half of the country.

In the 1994 film The Lion King, in the "Circle of Life" song, the phrases Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (English: A lion and a leopard spots), Nans' ingonyama bakithi Baba (English: Here comes a lion, Father) and Siyonqoba (English: We will conquer) were used. In some movie songs, like "This Land", the voice says Busa leli zwe bo (Rule this land) and Busa ngothando bo (Rule with love) were used too.

The song Siyahamba is a South African hymn originally written in the Zulu language that became popular in North American churches in the 1990s.

The 2019 worldwide hit Jerusalema contains lyrics in Zulu language.

Standard vs urban Zulu

Standard Zulu as it is taught in schools, also called "deep Zulu" (isiZulu esijulile), differs in various respects from the language spoken by people living in cities (urban Zulu, isiZulu sasedolobheni). Standard Zulu tends to be purist, using derivations from Zulu words for new concepts, whereas speakers of urban Zulu use loan words abundantly, mainly from English. For example:

Standard Zulu urban Zulu English
umakhalekhukhwini icell mobile(cell) phone
Ngiyezwa Ngiya-andastenda I understand

This situation has led to problems in education because standard Zulu is often not understood by young people.

Vowels

Zulu vowel chart, from Wade (1996)

The vowel system of Zulu consists of five vowels.[citation needed]

/ɛ/ and/ɔ/ are pronounced [e] and [o], respectively, if a following syllable contains the [+ATR] vowels/i/ or/u/. They are[ɛ] and[ɔ] otherwise:

  • umgibeli "passenger", phonetically[úm̩̀ɡìɓé(ː)lì]
  • ukupheka "to cook", phonetically[ùɠúpʰɛ̀(ː)ɠà]

There is limited vowel length in Zulu, as a result of the contraction of certain syllables. For example, the word ithambo/íːtʰámbó/ "bone", is a contraction of an earlier ilithambo/ílítʰámbó/, which may still be used by some speakers. Likewise, uphahla/úːpʰaɬa/ "roof" is a contraction of earlier uluphahla/ulúpʰaɬa/. In addition the vowel of the penultimate syllable is allophonically lengthened phrase- or sentence-finally.

Consonants

[citation needed]

Zulu phonemes
Labial Dental/Alveolar Postalveolar Velar Glottal
central lateral
Click 'plain' ᵏǀʼ ᵏǁʼ ᵏǃʼ
aspirated ᵏǀʰ ᵏǁʰ ᵏǃʰ
nasalised ᵑǀ ᵑǁ ᵑǃ
slack-voiced oral ᶢǀʱ ᶢǁʱ ᶢǃʱ
slack-voiced nasal ᵑǀʱ ᵑǁʱ ᵑǃʱ
Nasal modally voiced m n ɲ
slack-voiced (ŋ̈)
Stop 'plain'
aspirated
slack-voiced ɡ̈
implosive ɓ ɠ
Affricate 'plain' tsʼ tʃʼ kxʼ~kʟ̝̊ʼ
slack-voiced dʒ̈
Fricative voiceless f s ɬ ʃ h
slack-voiced ɮ̈ ɦ̥
Approximant modally voiced l j w
slack-voiced
Trill r
  1. The plain voiceless plosives, affricates and clicks are realised phonetically as ejectives[pʼ],[tʼ],[kʼ],[tsʼ],[tʃʼ][kxʼ].
  2. When not preceded by a nasal,/ɠ/ is almost in complementary distribution with/k/ and/kʰ/. The latter two phonemes occur almost exclusively root-initially, while/ɠ/ appears exclusively medially. Recent loanwords contain/k/ and/kʰ/ in other positions, e.g. isekhondi/iːsekʰoːndi/ "second", ibhayisikili/iːbajisikiːli/ "bicycle".
  3. The slack-voiced consonants are depressor consonants. These have a lowering effect on the tone of their syllable.
  4. The consonant/ŋ/ occurs in some dialects as a reduction of the cluster/nɡ/ when it is not in stem-initial position, and is therefore always slack-voiced.
  5. The trill/r/ is not native to Zulu and occurs only in expressive words and in recent borrowings from European languages.

The use of click consonants is one of the most distinctive features of Zulu. This feature is shared with several other languages of Southern Africa, but it is very rare in other regions. There are three basic articulations of clicks in Zulu:

  • Denti-alveolar/ǀ/, comparable to a sucking of teeth, as the sound one makes for 'tsk tsk'.
  • Postalveolar/!/, comparable to a bottle top 'pop'.
  • Lateral/ǁ/, comparable to a click that one may do for a walking horse.

Each articulation covers five click consonants, with differences such as being slack-voiced, aspirated or nasalised, for a total of 15.

Phonotactics

Zulu syllables are canonically (N)C(w)V[clarification needed], and words must always end in a vowel. Consonant clusters consist of any consonant, optionally preceded by a homorganic nasal consonant (so-called "prenasalisation", described in more detail below) and optionally followed by the consonant/w/.

In addition, syllabic/m̩/ occurs as a reduction of former/mu/, and acts like a true syllable: it can be syllabic even when not word-initial, and can also carry distinctive tones like a full syllable. It does not necessarily have to be homorganic with the following consonant, although the difference between homorganic nonsyllabic/mC/ and syllabic/m̩C/ is distinctive, e.g. umpetshisi/um̩pétʃiːsi/ "peach tree" (5 syllables) versus impoko/ímpoːɠo/ "grass flower" (3 syllables). Moreover, sequences of syllabic m and homorganic m can occur, e.g. ummbila/úm̩mbíːla/ "maize" (4 syllables).

Recent loanwords from languages such as English may violate these constraints, by including additional consonant clusters that are not native to Zulu, such as in igremu/iːgreːmu/ "gram". There may be some variation between speakers as to whether clusters are broken up by an epenthetic vowel or not, e.g. ikhompiyutha/iːkʰompijuːtʰa/ or ikhompyutha/iːkʰompjuːtʰa/ "computer".

Prosody

Stress

Stress in Zulu words is mostly predictable and normally falls on the penultimate syllable of a word. It is accompanied by allophonic lengthening of the vowel. When the final vowel of a word is long due to contraction, it receives the stress instead of the preceding syllable.

Lengthening does not occur on all words in a sentence, however, but only those that are sentence- or phrase-final. Thus, for any word of at least two syllables, there are two different forms, one with penultimate length and one without it, occurring in complementary distribution. In some cases, there are morphemic alternations that occur as a result of word position as well. The remote demonstrative pronouns may appear with the suffix -ana when sentence-final, but only as otherwise. Likewise, the recent past tense of verbs ends in -ile sentence-finally, but is reduced to medially. Moreover, a falling tone can only occur on a long vowel, so the shortening has effects on tone as well.

Some words, such as ideophones or interjections, can have stress that deviates from the regular pattern.

Tone

Like almost all other Bantu and other African languages, Zulu is tonal. There are three main tonemes: low, high and falling. Zulu is conventionally written without any indication of tone, but tone can be distinctive in Zulu. For example, the words for "priest" and "teacher" are both spelled umfundisi, but they are pronounced with different tones:/úm̩fúndisi/ for the "priest" meaning, and/úm̩fundísi/ for the "teacher" meaning.

In principle, every syllable can be pronounced with either a high or a low tone. However, low tone does not behave the same as the other two, as high tones can "spread" into low-toned syllables while the reverse does not occur. A low tone is therefore better described as the absence of any toneme; it is a kind of default tone that is overridden by high or falling tones. The falling tone is a sequence of high-low, and occurs only on long vowels. The penultimate syllable can also bear a falling tone when it is long due to the word's position in the phrase. However, when it shortens, the falling tone becomes disallowed in that position.[clarification needed]

In principle, every morpheme has an inherent underlying tone pattern which does not change regardless of where it appears in a word. However, like most other Bantu languages, Zulu has word tone, meaning that the pattern of tones acts more like a template to assign tones to individual syllables, rather than a direct representation of the pronounced tones themselves. Consequently, the relationship between underlying tone patterns and the tones that are actually pronounced can be quite complex. Underlying high tones tend to surface rightward from the syllables where they are underlyingly present, especially in longer words.

Depressor consonants

The breathy consonant phonemes in Zulu are depressor consonants, or depressors for short. Depressor consonants have a lowering effect on pitch, adding a non-phonemic low-tone onset to the normal tone of the syllable. Thus, in syllables with depressor consonants, high tones are realised as rising, and falling tones as rising-then-falling. In both cases, the pitch does not reach as high as in non-depressed syllables. The possible tones on a syllable with a voiceless consonant like hla are[ɬá ɬâ ɬà], and the possible tones of a breathy consonant syllable, like dla, are[ɮǎ̤ ɮa̤᷈ ɮà̤]. A depressor has no effect on a syllable that's already low, but it blocks assimilation to a preceding high tone, so that the tone of the depressor syllable and any following low-tone syllables stays low.

Phonological processes

Prenasalisation

Prenasalisation occurs whenever a consonant is preceded by a homorganic nasal, either lexically or as a consequence of prefixation. The most notable case of the latter is the class 9 noun prefix in-, which ends in a homorganic nasal. Prenasalisation triggers several changes in the following consonant, some of which are phonemic and others allophonic. The changes can be summed as follows:

Normal Prenasalised Rule
/pʰ/,/tʰ/,/kʰ/ /mp/,/nt/,/ŋk/ Aspiration is lost on obstruents.
/ǀʰ/,/ǁʰ/,/ǃʰ/ /ᵑǀ/,/ᵑǁ/,/ᵑǃ/ Aspiration is replaced by nasalisation of clicks.
/ǀ/,/ǁ/,/ǃ/ /ᵑǀʱ/,/ᵑǁʱ/,/ᵑǃʱ/ Plain clicks become breathy nasal.
/ɓ/ /mb/ Implosive becomes breathy.
/f/,/s/,/ʃ/,/ɬ/
/v/,/z/,/ɮ/
[ɱp̪fʼ],[ntsʼ],/ntʃ/,[ntɬʼ]
[ɱb̪vʱ],[ndzʱ],[ndɮʱ]
Fricatives become affricates. Only phonemic, and thus reflected orthographically, for/ntʃ/.
/h/,/ɦ/,/w/,/wʱ/ [ŋx],[ŋɡʱ],[ŋɡw],[ŋɡwʱ] Approximants are fortified. This change is allophonic, and not reflected in the orthography.
/j/ /ɲ/ Palatal approximant becomes palatal nasal.
/l/ /l/ or rarely/nd/ The outcome/nd/ is a fossilised outcome from the time when/d/ and/l/ were still one phoneme. See Proto-Bantu language.
/m/,/n/,/ɲ/ /m/,/n/,/ɲ/ No change when the following consonant is itself a nasal.

Tone assimilation

Zulu has tonic assimilation: high tones tend to spread allophonically to following low-tone syllables, raising their pitch to a level just below that of adjacent high-tone syllables. A toneless syllable between a high-tone syllable and another tonic syllable assimilates to that high tone. That is, if the preceding syllable ends on a high tone and the following syllable begins with a high tone (because it is high or falling), the intermediate toneless syllable has its pitch raised as well. When the preceding syllable is high but the following is toneless, the medial toneless syllable adopts a high-tone onset from the preceding syllable, resulting in a falling tone contour.

For example, the English word spoon was borrowed into Zulu as isipunu, phonemically/ísipúnu/. The second syllable si assimilates to the surrounding high tones, raising its pitch, so that it is pronounced[ísípʼúːnù] sentence-finally. If tone pitch is indicated with numbers, with 1 highest and 9 lowest pitch, then the pitches of each syllable can be denoted as 2-4-3-9. The second syllable is thus still lower in pitch than both of the adjacent syllables.

Tone displacement

Depressor consonants have an effect called tone displacement. Tone displacement occurs whenever a depressor occurs with a high tone, and causes the tone on the syllable to shift rightward onto the next syllable. If the next syllable is long, it gets a falling tone, otherwise a regular high tone. If the penultimate syllable becomes high (not falling), the final syllable dissimilates and becomes low if it wasn't already. Tone displacement is blocked under the following conditions:

  • When the syllable has a long vowel.
  • When the following syllable also has a depressor consonant.
  • When the following syllable is the final syllable, and is short.

Whenever tone displacement is blocked, this results in a depressor syllable with high tone, which will have the low-tone onset as described above. When the following syllable already has a high or falling tone, the tone disappears from the syllable as if it had been shifted away, but the following syllable's tone is not modified.

Some examples:

  • izipunu "spoons", the plural of isipunu from the previous section, is phonemically/ízipúnu/. Because/z/ is a depressor consonant, tone assimilation is prevented. Consequently, the word is pronounced as[ízìpʼúːnù] sentence-finally, with low tone in the second syllable.
  • izintombi "girls" is phonemically/izíntombí/./z/ is a depressor, and is not blocked, so the tone shifts to the third syllable. This syllable can be either long or short depending on sentence position. When long, the pronunciation is[ìzìntômbí], with a falling tone. However, when the third syllable is short, the tone is high, and dissimilation of the final syllable occurs, resulting in[ìzìntómbì].
  • nendoda "with a man" is phonemically/nʱéndoda/./nʱ/ is a depressor, but so is/d/, so tone displacement is blocked. Consequently, the pronunciation is[nʱěndɔ̀ːdà], with rising pitch in the first syllable due to the low-onset effect.

Palatalisation

Palatalisation is a change that affects labial and alveolar consonants whenever they are immediately followed by/j/. While palatalisation occurred historically, it is still productive, and occurs as a result of the addition of suffixes beginning with/j/. A frequent example is the diminutive suffix -yana.

Moreover, Zulu does not generally tolerate sequences of a labial consonant plus/w/. Whenever/w/ follows a labial consonant, it changes to/j/, which then triggers palatalisation of the consonant. This effect can be seen in the locative forms of nouns ending in -o or -u, which changes to -weni and -wini respectively in the locative. If a labial consonant immediately precedes, palatalisation is triggered. The change also occurs in nouns beginning in ubu- with a stem beginning with a vowel.

The following changes occur as a result of palatalisation:

Original
consonant
Palatalised
consonant
Examples
ʃ
  • impuphuimpushana (diminutive)
  • iziphoezisheni (locative)
  • umuthiumshana (diminutive; also umthana)
p tʃʼ
  • umtapoemtatsheni (locative)
t
  • ikatiikatshana (diminutive)
  • intabaintatshana (diminutive)
  • inguboengutsheni (locative)
  • ubu- + -aniutshani (ubu- + vowel)
b
  • isigubhuisigujana (diminutive)
d
  • incwadiincwajana (diminutive; also incwadana)
m ɲ
  • inkomoinkonyana (diminutive)
  • umlomoemlonyeni (locative)
n
  • inyoniinyonyana (diminutive)
mp ntʃʼ
  • inswempeinswentshana (diminutive)
nt
  • umkhontoumkhontshwana (diminutive)
mb ndʒ
  • ithamboethanjeni (locative)
nd
  • isondoisonjwana (diminutive; also isondwana)

Latin script

Zulu employs the 26 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet.[citation needed] However, some of the letters have different pronunciation than in English. Additional phonemes are written using sequences of multiple letters. Tone, stress and vowel length are not indicated.

Letter(s) Phoneme(s) Example
a /a/ amanzi/ámáːnzi/ "water"
b /b/ ubaba/úbaːbá/ "my/our father"
bh // ukubhala/úɠubʱâːla/ "to write"
c /ǀ/ icici/îːǀíːǀi/ "earring"
ch /ǀʰ/ ukuchaza/uɠúǀʰaːza/ "to fascinate/explain"
d /d/ idada/íːdaːda/ "duck"
dl /ɮ/ ukudla/úɠuːɮá/ "to eat"
e /e/ ibele/îːɓéːle/ "breast"
f /f/ ifu/íːfu/ "cloud"
g /ɡ/ ugogo/úɡóːɡo/ "grandmother"
gc /ᶢǀʱ/ isigcino/isíᶢǀʱiːno/ "end"
gq /ᶢǃʱ/ uMgqibelo/umúᶢǃʱiɓéːlo/ "Saturday"
gx /ᶢǂʱ/ ukugxoba/uɠúᶢǂʱoːɓa/ "to stamp"
h /h/ ukuhamba/úɠuháːmba/ "to go"
hh /ɦ/ ihhashi/îːɦáːʃi/ "horse"
hl /ɬ/ ukuhlala/uɠúɬaːla/ "to sit"
i /i/ imini/ímíːni/ "daytime"
j // uju/úːdʒu/ "honey"
k /k/ ikati/îːkáːti/ "cat"
/ɠ/ ukuza/uɠúːza/ "to come"
kh /kʰ/ ikhanda/îːkʰâːnda/ "head"
kl /kx/ umklomelo/umukxómeːlo/ "prize"
l /l/ ukulala/úɠuláːla/ "sleep"
m /m/ imali/ímaːlí/ "money"
/mʱ/ umama/úmʱáːma/ "my/our mother"
mb /mb/ imbube/ímbuːɓé/ "lion"
n /n/ unina/úniːna/ "his/her/their mother"
/nʱ/ nendoda/nʱéndoːda/ "with a man"
nc /ᵑǀ/ incwancwa/íᵑǀwáːᵑǀwa/ "sour corn meal"
ng /nɡ/ ingane/ínɡáːne /"a child"
ngc /ᵑǀʱ/ ingcosi/íᵑǀʱoːsí/ "a bit"
ngq /ᵑǃʱ/ ingqondo/íᵑǃʱoːndo/ "brain"
ngx /ᵑǂʱ/ ingxenye/íᵑǂʱéːɲe/ "part"
nj /ndʒ/ inja/îːndʒá/ "dog"
nk /ŋk/ inkomo/íŋkoːmó/ "cow"
nq /ᵑǃ/ inqola/íᵑǃóːla/ "cart"
ntsh /ntʃʼ/ intshe/îːntʃʼé/ "ostrich"
nx /ᵑǂ/ inxeba/íːᵑǁeːɓa/ "wound"
ny /ɲ/ inyoni/íɲoːni/ "bird"
o /o/ uphondo/úːpʰoːndo/ "horn"
p /p/ ipipi/îːpíːpi/ "pipe for smoking"
ph /pʰ/ ukupheka/uɠúpʰeːɠa/ "to cook"
q /ǃ/ iqaqa/íːǃaːǃá/ "polecat"
qh /ǃʰ/ iqhude/îːǃʰúːde/ "rooster"
r /r/ iresiphi/iːrésiːpʰi/ "recipe"
s /s/ isisu/isíːsu/ "stomach"
sh /ʃ/ ishumi/îːʃûːmi/ "ten"
t /t/ itiye/îːtíːje/ "tea"
th /tʰ/ ukuthatha/úɠutʰáːtʰa/ "to take"
ts /tsʼ/ itswayi/íːtsʼwaːjí/ "salt"
tsh /tʃʼ/ utshani/útʃʼaːní/ "grass"
u /u/ ubusuku/úɓusûːɠu/ "night"
v /v/ ukuvala/uɠúvaːla/ "to close"
w /w/ ukuwela/uɠúweːla/ "to cross"
/wʱ/ wuthando/wʱúːtʰâːndo/ "It's love."
x /ǂ/ ixoxo/íǂoǂo/ "frog"
xh /ǂʰ/ ukuxhasa/úɠuǂʰáːsa/ "to support"
y /j/ uyise/újiːsé/ "his/her/their father"
/jʱ/ yintombazane/jʱintómbazâːne/ "It's a girl"
z /z/ umzuzu/umúzuːzú/ "moment"

Reference works and older texts may use additional letters. A common former practice was to indicate the implosive/ɓ/ using the special letter ɓ, while the digraph bh would then be simply written as b. Some references may also write h after letters to indicate that they are of the depressor variety, e.g. mh, nh, yh, a practice that is standard in Xhosa orthography.

Very early texts, from the early 20th century or before, tend to omit the distinction between plain and aspirated voiceless consonants, writing the latter without the h.

Nouns are written with their prefixes as one orthographical word. If the prefix ends with a vowel (as most do) and the noun stem also begins with a vowel, a hyphen is inserted in between, e.g. i-Afrika. This occurs only with loanwords.

Main article: Zulu grammar

Here are some of the main features of Zulu:

  • Word order is subject–verb–object.
  • Morphologically, it is an agglutinative language.
  • As in other Bantu languages, Zulu nouns are classified into morphological classes or genders (16 in Zulu), with different prefixes for singular and plural. Various parts of speech that qualify a noun must agree with the noun according to its gender. Such agreements usually reflect part of the original class with which it is agreeing. An example is the use of the class 'aba-':
Bonke abantu abaqatha basepulazini bayagawula.
All the strong people of the farm are felling (trees).
The various agreements that qualify the word 'abantu' (people) can be seen in effect.
  • Its verbal system shows a combination of temporal and aspectual categories in their finite paradigm. Typically verbs have two stems, one for present-undefinite and another for perfect. Different prefixes can be attached to these verbal stems to specify subject agreement and various degrees of past or future tense. For example, in the word uyathanda ("he loves"), the present stem of the verb is -thanda, the prefix u- expresses third-person singular subject and -ya- is a filler that is used in short sentences.
Suffixes are also put into common use to show the causative or reciprocal forms of a verb stem.
  • Most property words (words encoded as adjectives in English) are represented by relative. In the sentence umuntu ubomvu ("the person is red"), the word ubomvu (root -bomvu) behaves like a verb and uses the agreement prefix u-. however, there are subtle differences; for example, it does not use the prefix ya-.

Morphology of root Zulu

The root can be combined with a number of prefixes and thus create other words. For example, here is a table with a number of words constructed from the roots -Zulu and -ntu (the root for person/s, people):

Prefix -zulu -ntu
um(u) umZulu (a Zulu person) umuntu (a person)
ama, aba amaZulu (Zulu people) abantu (people)
isi isiZulu (the Zulu language) isintu (culture, heritage, mankind)
ubu ubuZulu (personification/Zulu-like tendencies) ubuntu (humanity, compassion)
kwa kwaZulu (place of the Zulu people)
i(li) izulu (the weather/sky/heaven)
pha phezulu (on top)
e ezulwini (in, at, to, from heaven)

The following is a list of phrases that can be used when one visits a region whose primary language is Zulu:

Zulu English
Sawubona Hello, to one person
Sanibonani Hello, to a group of people
Unjani? / Ninjani? How are you (sing.)? / How are you (pl.)?
Ngiyaphila / Siyaphila I'm okay / We're okay
Ngiyabonga (kakhulu) Thanks (a lot)
Ngubani igama lakho? What is your name?
Igama lami ngu... My name is...
Isikhathi sithini? What's the time?
Ngingakusiza? Can I help you?
Uhlala kuphi? Where do you stay?
Uphumaphi? Where are you from?
Hamba kahle / Sala kahle Go well / Stay well, used as goodbye. The person staying says "Hamba kahle", and the person leaving says "Sala kahle". Other translations include Go gently and Walk in peace.
Hambani kahle / Salani kahle Go well / Stay well, to a group of people
Eish! Wow! (No real European equivalent, used in South African English) (you could try a semi-expletive, such as oh my God or what the heck. It expresses a notion of shock and surprise)
Hhayibo No! / Stop! / No way! (used in South African English too)
Yebo Yes
Cha No
Angazi I don't know
Ukhuluma isiNgisi na? Do you speak English?
Ngisaqala ukufunda isiZulu I've just started learning Zulu
Uqonde ukuthini? What do you mean?
Ngiyakuthanda. "I love you."

The following is from the preamble to the Constitution of South Africa:

Thina, bantu baseNingizimu Afrika, Siyakukhumbula ukucekelwa phansi kwamalungelo okwenzeka eminyakeni eyadlula; Sibungaza labo abahluphekela ubulungiswa nenkululeko kulo mhlaba wethu; Sihlonipha labo abasebenzela ukwakha nokuthuthukisa izwe lethu; futhi Sikholelwa ekutheni iNingizimu Afrika ingeyabo bonke abahlala kuyo, sibumbene nakuba singafani.

Translation:

We, the people of South Africa, Recognize the injustices of our past; Honor those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

Counting from 1 to 10

The digital numerical counting etiquette on the fingers begins with the little finger of the left hand to the left thumb, and then continuing with the right-hand thumb towards the right little finger. Starting with a closed left hand, each finger is extended with each subsequent number from one to five. Once the left hand is open, then counting continues on the right hand with each finger opening in turn. It is noteworthy that in isiZulu, the names for the numbers six to nine reflect either the anatomical name of the digit (six, isithupha, means 'thumb'), action (seven, isikhombisa, means 'the one that points out'), or position/placement (eight, or isishiyagalombili, means 'two remaining', and nine, or isishiyagalolunye, indicating 'one remaining').

IsiZulu English
Kunye One
Kubili Two
Kuthathu Three
Kune Four
Isihlanu Five
Isithupha Six
Isikhombisa Seven
Isishiyagalombili Eight
Isishiyagalolunye Nine
Ishumi Ten

Months in Zulu

English Zulu
January uMasingane
February uNhlolanja
March uNdasa
April UMbasa
May UNhlaba
June UNhlangulana
July uNtulikazi
August UNcwaba
September uMandulo
October uMfumfu
November uLwezi
December uZibandlela

South African English has absorbed many words from the Zulu language. Others, such as the names of local animals (impala and mamba are both Zulu names) have made their way into standard English. A few examples of Zulu words used in South African English:

  • muti (from umuthi) – medicine
  • donga (from udonga) – ditch (udonga means 'wall' in Zulu and is also the name for ditches caused by soil erosion)
  • indaba – conference (it means 'an item of news' in Zulu)
  • induna – chief or leader
  • songololo (from isongololo) – millipede
  • ubuntu – compassion/humanity.
  1. Ethnologue estimates (calculated between 2000 and 2015):
    • Swahili: 98 million (L1: 16 million, L2: 80 million)
    • Zulu: 27 million (L1: 11 million, L2: 16 million)
    • Shona 9 million (L1: 7 million, L2: 2 million)
  1. Zulu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Webb, Vic. 2002. "Language in South Africa: the role of language in national transformation, reconstruction and development", Impact: Studies in language and society, 14:78
  3. Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. Ethnologue 2005
  5. Swahili, Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015): "47,000,000 in Tanzania, all users. L1 users: 15,000,000 (2012), increasing. L2 users: 32,000,000 (2015 D. Nurse). Total users in all countries: 98,310,110 (as L1: 16,010,110; as L2: 82,300,000)."
  6. "Ethnologue: Zulu". Ethnologue. Retrieved5 March 2017.
  7. "Ethnologue: Shona". Retrieved6 March 2017.
  8. sahoboss (3 April 2011). "Zulu". South African History Online. Retrieved17 June 2018.
  9. NorthernNdebele.blogspot.com NorthernNdebele.blogspot.com
  10. Spiegler, Sebastian; van der Spuy, Andrew; Flach, Peter A. (August 2010). "Ukwabelana – An open-source morphological Zulu corpus". Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Computational Linguistics. Beijing, China: Tsinghua University Press. p. 1020.
  11. Rakkenes, Øystein (2003) Himmelfolket: En Norsk Høvding i Zululand, Oslo: Cappelen Forlag, pp. 63–65
  12. "pansalb.org.za". Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved17 December 2007.
  13. isolezwe.co.za
  14. ilanganews.co.za
  15. "Oscar nomination for SA film – Brand South Africa". brandsouthafrica.com. 26 January 2005. Retrieved21 August 2020.
  16. Magagula, Constance Samukelisiwe (2009). Standard Versus Non-standard IsiZulu: A Comparative Study Between Urban and Rural Learners' Performance and Attitude. Durban: University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  17. "PHOIBLE 2.0 -". phoible.org. Retrieved10 October 2020.
  18. Rycroft & Ngcobo (1979) Say it in Zulu, p. 6
  19. Zulu-English dictionary, C.M. Doke & B.W. Vilakazi
  20. Zulu-English Dictionary, Doke, 1958
  21. Zulu English Dictionary
  22. Ayonrinde, Oyedeji A.; Stefatos, Anthi; Miller, Shadé; Richer, Amanda; Nadkarni, Pallavi; She, Jennifer; Alghofaily, Ahmad; Mngoma, Nomusa (12 June 2020). "The salience and symbolism of numbers across cultural beliefs and practice". International Review of Psychiatry. 33 (1–2): 179–188. doi:10.1080/09540261.2020.1769289. ISSN 0954-0261. PMID 32527165. S2CID 219605482.
  • Canonici, Noverino, 1996, Imisindo YesiZulu: An Introduction to Zulu Phonology, University of Natal
  • Canonici, Noverino, 1996, Zulu Grammatical Structure, University of Natal
  • Wade, Rodrik D. (1996). "Structural characteristics of Zulu English". An Investigation of the Putative Restandardisation of South African English in the Direction of a 'New' English, Black South African English (Thesis). Durban: University of Natal. Archived from the original on 13 October 2008.
Zulu edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Zulu
Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Zulu.
Wikimedia Commons has media related toZulu language.

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Zulu language
Zulu language Language Watch Edit Zulu ˈ z uː l uː or isiZulu as an endonym is a Southern Bantu language of the Nguni branch spoken in Southern Africa It is the language of the Zulu people with about 12 million native speakers who primarily inhabit the province of KwaZulu Natal of South Africa Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa 24 of the population and it is understood by over 50 of its population 4 It became one of South Africa s 11 official languages in 1994 ZuluisiZuluPronunciation isizṳːlu Native toSouth Africa Lesotho EswatiniRegionKwaZulu Natal Gauteng Mpumalanga Free StateEthnicityZulu peopleNative speakers12 million 2011 census 1 L2 speakers 16 million 2002 2 Language familyNiger Congo Atlantic CongoVolta CongoBenue CongoBantoidSouthern BantoidBantuSouthern BantuNguni TsongaNguniZundaZuluWriting systemLatin Zulu alphabet Zulu BrailleSigned formsSigned ZuluOfficial statusOfficial language in South AfricaRegulated byPan South African Language BoardLanguage codesISO 639 1 span class plainlinks a rel nofollow class external text href https www loc gov standards iso639 2 php langcodes name php iso 639 1 zu zu a span ISO 639 2 span class plainlinks a rel nofollow class external text href https www loc gov standards iso639 2 php langcodes name php code ID 502 zul a span ISO 639 3 a href https iso639 3 sil org code zul class extiw title iso639 3 zul zul a Glottolog a rel nofollow class external text href http glottolog org resource languoid id zulu1248 zulu1248 a Guthrie codeS 42 3 Linguasphere a rel nofollow class external text href http linguasphere info page linguascale amp linguacode 99 AUT fg 99 AUT fg a incl br varieties 99 AUT fga to 99 AUT fgeProportion of the South African population that speaks Zulu at home 0 20 20 40 40 60 60 80 80 100 This article contains IPA phonetic symbols Without proper rendering support you may see question marks boxes or other symbols instead of Unicode characters For an introductory guide on IPA symbols see Help IPA ZuluPersonumZuluPeopleamaZuluLanguageisiZuluCountrykwaZulu According to Ethnologue it is the second most widely spoken of the Bantu languages after Swahili a Like many other Bantu languages it is written with the Latin alphabet In South African English the language is often referred to in its native form isiZulu 8 Contents 1 Geographical distribution 2 History 3 Contemporary usage 3 1 Standard vs urban Zulu 4 Phonology 4 1 Vowels 4 2 Consonants 4 3 Phonotactics 4 4 Prosody 4 4 1 Stress 4 4 2 Tone 4 4 3 Depressor consonants 4 5 Phonological processes 4 5 1 Prenasalisation 4 5 2 Tone assimilation 4 5 3 Tone displacement 4 5 4 Palatalisation 5 Orthography 5 1 Latin script 6 Morphology 6 1 Morphology of root Zulu 7 Sample phrases and text 8 Counting in isiZulu 9 Months 10 Zulu words in South African English 11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 Sources 15 Bibliography 16 Further reading 17 External links 17 1 Courses 17 2 Grammar 17 3 Dictionaries 17 4 Newspapers 17 5 Software 17 6 Literature and cultureGeographical distribution Edit Geographical distribution of Zulu in South Africa density of Zulu home language speakers lt 1 km2 1 3 km2 3 10 km2 10 30 km2 30 100 km2 100 300 km2 300 1000 km2 1000 3000 km2 gt 3000 km2 Zulu migrant populations have taken it to adjacent regions especially Zimbabwe where the Northern Ndebele language isiNdebele is closely related to Zulu Xhosa the predominant language in the Eastern Cape is often considered mutually intelligible with Zulu as is Northern Ndebele 9 10 Maho 2009 lists four dialects central KwaZulu Natal Zulu northern Transvaal Zulu eastern coastal Qwabe and western coastal Cele 3 History EditThe Zulu like Xhosa and other Nguni people have lived in South Africa for a long time The Zulu language possesses several click sounds typical of Southern African languages not found in the rest of Africa The Nguni people have coexisted with other Southern tribes like the San and Khoi Zulu like most indigenous Southern African languages was not a written language until the arrival of missionaries from Europe who documented the language using the Latin script The first grammar book of the Zulu language was published in Norway in 1850 by the Norwegian missionary Hans Schreuder 11 The first written document in Zulu was a Bible translation that appeared in 1883 In 1901 John Dube 1871 1946 a Zulu from Natal created the Ohlange Institute the first native educational institution in South Africa He was also the author of Insila kaShaka the first novel written in Zulu 1930 Another pioneering Zulu writer was Reginald Dhlomo author of several historical novels of the 19th century leaders of the Zulu nation U Dingane 1936 U Shaka 1937 U Mpande 1938 U Cetshwayo 1952 and U Dinizulu 1968 Other notable contributors to Zulu literature include Benedict Wallet Vilakazi and more recently Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali The written form of Zulu was controlled by the Zulu Language Board of KwaZulu Natal This board has now been disbanded and superseded by the Pan South African Language Board 12 which promotes the use of all eleven official languages of South Africa Contemporary usage EditEnglish Dutch and later Afrikaans had been the only official languages used by all South African governments before 1994 However in the Kwazulu bantustan the Zulu language was widely used All education in the country at the high school level was in English or Afrikaans Since the demise of apartheid in 1994 Zulu has been enjoying a marked revival Zulu language television was introduced by the SABC in the early 1980s and it broadcasts news and many shows in Zulu Zulu radio is very popular and newspapers such as isoLezwe 13 Ilanga 14 and UmAfrika in the Zulu language are available in Kwazulu Natal province and in Johannesburg In January 2005 the first full length feature film in Zulu Yesterday was nominated for an Oscar 15 The mutual intelligibility of many Nguni languages has increased the likelihood of Zulu becoming the lingua franca of the eastern half of the country In the 1994 film The Lion King in the Circle of Life song the phrases Ingonyama nengw enamabala English A lion and a leopard spots Nans ingonyama bakithi Baba English Here comes a lion Father and Siyonqoba English We will conquer were used In some movie songs like This Land the voice says Busa leli zwe bo Rule this land and Busa ngothando bo Rule with love were used too The song Siyahamba is a South African hymn originally written in the Zulu language that became popular in North American churches in the 1990s The 2019 worldwide hit Jerusalema contains lyrics in Zulu language Standard vs urban Zulu Edit Standard Zulu as it is taught in schools also called deep Zulu isiZulu esijulile differs in various respects from the language spoken by people living in cities urban Zulu isiZulu sasedolobheni Standard Zulu tends to be purist using derivations from Zulu words for new concepts whereas speakers of urban Zulu use loan words abundantly mainly from English For example Standard Zulu urban Zulu Englishumakhalekhukhwini icell mobile cell phoneNgiyezwa Ngiya andastenda I understand This situation has led to problems in education because standard Zulu is often not understood by young people 16 Phonology EditVowels Edit Zulu vowel chart from Wade 1996 The vowel system of Zulu consists of five vowels citation needed Front Central BackClose i uMid ɛ ɔOpen a ɛ and ɔ are pronounced e and o respectively if a following syllable contains the ATR vowels i or u 17 They are ɛ and ɔ otherwise umgibeli passenger phonetically um ɡiɓe ː li ukupheka to cook phonetically uɠupʰɛ ː ɠa There is limited vowel length in Zulu as a result of the contraction of certain syllables For example the word ithambo iːtʰambo bone is a contraction of an earlier ilithambo ilitʰambo which may still be used by some speakers Likewise uphahla uːpʰaɬa roof is a contraction of earlier uluphahla ulupʰaɬa In addition the vowel of the penultimate syllable is allophonically lengthened phrase or sentence finally Consonants Edit citation needed Zulu phonemes Labial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Velar Glottalcentral lateralClick plain ᵏǀʼ ᵏǁʼ ᵏǃʼaspirated ᵏǀʰ ᵏǁʰ ᵏǃʰnasalised ᵑǀ ᵑǁ ᵑǃslack voiced oral ᶢǀʱ ᶢǁʱ ᶢǃʱslack voiced nasal ᵑǀʱ ᵑǁʱ ᵑǃʱNasal modally voiced m n ɲslack voiced m n ŋ Stop plain pʼ tʼ kʼaspirated pʰ tʰ kʰslack voiced b d ɡ implosive ɓ ɠAffricate plain tsʼ tʃʼ kxʼ kʟ ʼslack voiced dʒ Fricative voiceless f s ɬ ʃ hslack voiced v z ɮ ɦ Approximant modally voiced l j wslack voiced j w Trill rThe plain voiceless plosives affricates and clicks are realised phonetically as ejectives pʼ tʼ kʼ tsʼ tʃʼ kxʼ When not preceded by a nasal ɠ is almost in complementary distribution with k and kʰ The latter two phonemes occur almost exclusively root initially while ɠ appears exclusively medially Recent loanwords contain k and kʰ in other positions e g isekhondi iːsekʰoːndi second ibhayisikili iːbajisikiːli bicycle The slack voiced consonants are depressor consonants These have a lowering effect on the tone of their syllable The consonant ŋ occurs in some dialects as a reduction of the cluster nɡ when it is not in stem initial position and is therefore always slack voiced The trill r is not native to Zulu and occurs only in expressive words and in recent borrowings from European languages The use of click consonants is one of the most distinctive features of Zulu This feature is shared with several other languages of Southern Africa but it is very rare in other regions There are three basic articulations of clicks in Zulu Denti alveolar ǀ comparable to a sucking of teeth as the sound one makes for tsk tsk Postalveolar comparable to a bottle top pop Lateral ǁ comparable to a click that one may do for a walking horse Each articulation covers five click consonants with differences such as being slack voiced aspirated or nasalised for a total of 15 Phonotactics Edit Zulu syllables are canonically N C w V clarification needed and words must always end in a vowel Consonant clusters consist of any consonant optionally preceded by a homorganic nasal consonant so called prenasalisation described in more detail below and optionally followed by the consonant w In addition syllabic m occurs as a reduction of former mu and acts like a true syllable it can be syllabic even when not word initial and can also carry distinctive tones like a full syllable It does not necessarily have to be homorganic with the following consonant although the difference between homorganic nonsyllabic mC and syllabic m C is distinctive e g umpetshisi um petʃiːsi peach tree 5 syllables versus impoko impoːɠo grass flower 3 syllables Moreover sequences of syllabic m and homorganic m can occur e g ummbila um mbiːla maize 4 syllables Recent loanwords from languages such as English may violate these constraints by including additional consonant clusters that are not native to Zulu such as in igremu iːgreːmu gram There may be some variation between speakers as to whether clusters are broken up by an epenthetic vowel or not e g ikhompiyutha iːkʰompijuːtʰa or ikhompyutha iːkʰompjuːtʰa computer Prosody Edit Stress Edit Stress in Zulu words is mostly predictable and normally falls on the penultimate syllable of a word It is accompanied by allophonic lengthening of the vowel When the final vowel of a word is long due to contraction it receives the stress instead of the preceding syllable Lengthening does not occur on all words in a sentence however but only those that are sentence or phrase final Thus for any word of at least two syllables there are two different forms one with penultimate length and one without it occurring in complementary distribution In some cases there are morphemic alternations that occur as a result of word position as well The remote demonstrative pronouns may appear with the suffix ana when sentence final but only as a otherwise Likewise the recent past tense of verbs ends in ile sentence finally but is reduced to e medially Moreover a falling tone can only occur on a long vowel so the shortening has effects on tone as well Some words such as ideophones or interjections can have stress that deviates from the regular pattern Tone Edit Like almost all other Bantu and other African languages Zulu is tonal There are three main tonemes low high and falling Zulu is conventionally written without any indication of tone but tone can be distinctive in Zulu For example the words for priest and teacher are both spelled umfundisi but they are pronounced with different tones um fundisi for the priest meaning and um fundisi for the teacher meaning In principle every syllable can be pronounced with either a high or a low tone However low tone does not behave the same as the other two as high tones can spread into low toned syllables while the reverse does not occur A low tone is therefore better described as the absence of any toneme it is a kind of default tone that is overridden by high or falling tones The falling tone is a sequence of high low and occurs only on long vowels The penultimate syllable can also bear a falling tone when it is long due to the word s position in the phrase However when it shortens the falling tone becomes disallowed in that position clarification needed In principle every morpheme has an inherent underlying tone pattern which does not change regardless of where it appears in a word However like most other Bantu languages Zulu has word tone meaning that the pattern of tones acts more like a template to assign tones to individual syllables rather than a direct representation of the pronounced tones themselves Consequently the relationship between underlying tone patterns and the tones that are actually pronounced can be quite complex Underlying high tones tend to surface rightward from the syllables where they are underlyingly present especially in longer words Depressor consonants Edit The breathy consonant phonemes in Zulu are depressor consonants or depressors for short Depressor consonants have a lowering effect on pitch adding a non phonemic low tone onset to the normal tone of the syllable Thus in syllables with depressor consonants high tones are realised as rising and falling tones as rising then falling In both cases the pitch does not reach as high as in non depressed syllables The possible tones on a syllable with a voiceless consonant like hla are ɬa ɬa ɬa and the possible tones of a breathy consonant syllable like dla are ɮǎ ɮa ɮa A depressor has no effect on a syllable that s already low but it blocks assimilation to a preceding high tone so that the tone of the depressor syllable and any following low tone syllables stays low Phonological processes Edit Prenasalisation Edit Prenasalisation occurs whenever a consonant is preceded by a homorganic nasal either lexically or as a consequence of prefixation The most notable case of the latter is the class 9 noun prefix in which ends in a homorganic nasal Prenasalisation triggers several changes in the following consonant some of which are phonemic and others allophonic The changes can be summed as follows 18 19 Normal Prenasalised Rule pʰ tʰ kʰ mp nt ŋk Aspiration is lost on obstruents ǀʰ ǁʰ ǃʰ ᵑǀ ᵑǁ ᵑǃ Aspiration is replaced by nasalisation of clicks ǀ ǁ ǃ ᵑǀʱ ᵑǁʱ ᵑǃʱ Plain clicks become breathy nasal ɓ mb Implosive becomes breathy f s ʃ ɬ v z ɮ ɱp fʼ ntsʼ ntʃ ntɬʼ ɱb vʱ ndzʱ ndɮʱ Fricatives become affricates Only phonemic and thus reflected orthographically for ntʃ h ɦ w wʱ ŋx ŋɡʱ ŋɡw ŋɡwʱ Approximants are fortified This change is allophonic and not reflected in the orthography j ɲ Palatal approximant becomes palatal nasal l l or rarely nd The outcome nd is a fossilised outcome from the time when d and l were still one phoneme See Proto Bantu language m n ɲ m n ɲ No change when the following consonant is itself a nasal Tone assimilation Edit Zulu has tonic assimilation high tones tend to spread allophonically to following low tone syllables raising their pitch to a level just below that of adjacent high tone syllables A toneless syllable between a high tone syllable and another tonic syllable assimilates to that high tone That is if the preceding syllable ends on a high tone and the following syllable begins with a high tone because it is high or falling the intermediate toneless syllable has its pitch raised as well When the preceding syllable is high but the following is toneless the medial toneless syllable adopts a high tone onset from the preceding syllable resulting in a falling tone contour For example the English word spoon was borrowed into Zulu as isipunu phonemically isipunu The second syllable si assimilates to the surrounding high tones raising its pitch so that it is pronounced isipʼuːnu sentence finally If tone pitch is indicated with numbers with 1 highest and 9 lowest pitch then the pitches of each syllable can be denoted as 2 4 3 9 20 The second syllable is thus still lower in pitch than both of the adjacent syllables Tone displacement Edit Depressor consonants have an effect called tone displacement Tone displacement occurs whenever a depressor occurs with a high tone and causes the tone on the syllable to shift rightward onto the next syllable If the next syllable is long it gets a falling tone otherwise a regular high tone If the penultimate syllable becomes high not falling the final syllable dissimilates and becomes low if it wasn t already Tone displacement is blocked under the following conditions When the syllable has a long vowel When the following syllable also has a depressor consonant When the following syllable is the final syllable and is short Whenever tone displacement is blocked this results in a depressor syllable with high tone which will have the low tone onset as described above When the following syllable already has a high or falling tone the tone disappears from the syllable as if it had been shifted away but the following syllable s tone is not modified Some examples izipunu spoons the plural of isipunu from the previous section is phonemically izipunu Because z is a depressor consonant tone assimilation is prevented Consequently the word is pronounced as izipʼuːnu sentence finally with low tone in the second syllable izintombi girls is phonemically izintombi z is a depressor and is not blocked so the tone shifts to the third syllable This syllable can be either long or short depending on sentence position When long the pronunciation is izintombi with a falling tone However when the third syllable is short the tone is high and dissimilation of the final syllable occurs resulting in izintombi nendoda with a man is phonemically nʱendoda nʱ is a depressor but so is d so tone displacement is blocked Consequently the pronunciation is nʱendɔ ːda with rising pitch in the first syllable due to the low onset effect Palatalisation Edit Palatalisation is a change that affects labial and alveolar consonants whenever they are immediately followed by j While palatalisation occurred historically it is still productive and occurs as a result of the addition of suffixes beginning with j A frequent example is the diminutive suffix yana Moreover Zulu does not generally tolerate sequences of a labial consonant plus w Whenever w follows a labial consonant it changes to j which then triggers palatalisation of the consonant This effect can be seen in the locative forms of nouns ending in o or u which changes to weni and wini respectively in the locative If a labial consonant immediately precedes palatalisation is triggered The change also occurs in nouns beginning in ubu with a stem beginning with a vowel The following changes occur as a result of palatalisation Original consonant Palatalised consonant Examplespʰ ʃ impuphu impushana diminutive izipho ezisheni locative tʰ umuthi umshana diminutive also umthana p tʃʼ umtapo emtatsheni locative t ikati ikatshana diminutive bʱ intaba intatshana diminutive ingubo engutsheni locative ubu ani utshani ubu vowel b dʒ isigubhu isigujana diminutive d incwadi incwajana diminutive also incwadana m ɲ inkomo inkonyana diminutive umlomo emlonyeni locative n inyoni inyonyana diminutive mp ntʃʼ inswempe inswentshana diminutive nt umkhonto umkhontshwana diminutive mb ndʒ ithambo ethanjeni locative nd isondo isonjwana diminutive also isondwana Orthography EditLatin script Edit Zulu employs the 26 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet citation needed However some of the letters have different pronunciation than in English Additional phonemes are written using sequences of multiple letters Tone stress and vowel length are not indicated Letter s Phoneme s Examplea a amanzi amaːnzi water b b ubaba ubaːba my our father bh bʱ ukubhala uɠubʱaːla to write c ǀ icici iːǀiːǀi earring ch ǀʰ ukuchaza uɠuǀʰaːza to fascinate explain d d idada iːdaːda duck dl ɮ ukudla uɠuːɮa to eat e e ibele iːɓeːle breast f f ifu iːfu cloud g ɡ ugogo uɡoːɡo grandmother gc ᶢǀʱ isigcino isiᶢǀʱiːno end gq ᶢǃʱ uMgqibelo umuᶢǃʱiɓeːlo Saturday gx ᶢǂʱ ukugxoba uɠuᶢǂʱoːɓa to stamp h h ukuhamba uɠuhaːmba to go hh ɦ ihhashi iːɦaːʃi horse hl ɬ ukuhlala uɠuɬaːla to sit i i imini imiːni daytime j dʒ uju uːdʒu honey k k ikati iːkaːti cat ɠ ukuza uɠuːza to come kh kʰ ikhanda iːkʰaːnda head kl kx umklomelo umukxomeːlo prize l l ukulala uɠulaːla sleep m m imali imaːli money mʱ umama umʱaːma my our mother mb mb imbube imbuːɓe lion n n unina uniːna his her their mother nʱ nendoda nʱendoːda with a man nc ᵑǀ incwancwa iᵑǀwaːᵑǀwa sour corn meal ng nɡ ingane inɡaːne a child ngc ᵑǀʱ ingcosi iᵑǀʱoːsi a bit ngq ᵑǃʱ ingqondo iᵑǃʱoːndo brain ngx ᵑǂʱ ingxenye iᵑǂʱeːɲe part nj ndʒ inja iːndʒa dog nk ŋk inkomo iŋkoːmo cow nq ᵑǃ inqola iᵑǃoːla cart ntsh ntʃʼ intshe iːntʃʼe ostrich nx ᵑǂ inxeba iːᵑǁeːɓa wound ny ɲ inyoni iɲoːni bird o o uphondo uːpʰoːndo horn p p ipipi iːpiːpi pipe for smoking ph pʰ ukupheka uɠupʰeːɠa to cook q ǃ iqaqa iːǃaːǃa polecat qh ǃʰ iqhude iːǃʰuːde rooster r r iresiphi iːresiːpʰi recipe s s isisu isiːsu stomach sh ʃ ishumi iːʃuːmi ten t t itiye iːtiːje tea th tʰ ukuthatha uɠutʰaːtʰa to take ts tsʼ itswayi iːtsʼwaːji salt tsh tʃʼ utshani utʃʼaːni grass u u ubusuku uɓusuːɠu night v v ukuvala uɠuvaːla to close w w ukuwela uɠuweːla to cross wʱ wuthando wʱuːtʰaːndo It s love x ǂ ixoxo iǂoǂo frog xh ǂʰ ukuxhasa uɠuǂʰaːsa to support y j uyise ujiːse his her their father jʱ yintombazane jʱintombazaːne It s a girl z z umzuzu umuzuːzu moment Reference works and older texts may use additional letters A common former practice was to indicate the implosive ɓ using the special letter ɓ while the digraph bh would then be simply written as b Some references may also write h after letters to indicate that they are of the depressor variety e g mh nh yh a practice that is standard in Xhosa orthography Very early texts from the early 20th century or before tend to omit the distinction between plain and aspirated voiceless consonants writing the latter without the h Nouns are written with their prefixes as one orthographical word If the prefix ends with a vowel as most do and the noun stem also begins with a vowel a hyphen is inserted in between e g i Afrika This occurs only with loanwords Morphology EditMain article Zulu grammar Here are some of the main features of Zulu Word order is subject verb object Morphologically it is an agglutinative language As in other Bantu languages Zulu nouns are classified into morphological classes or genders 16 in Zulu with different prefixes for singular and plural Various parts of speech that qualify a noun must agree with the noun according to its gender Such agreements usually reflect part of the original class with which it is agreeing An example is the use of the class aba Bonke abantu abaqatha basepulazini bayagawula dd All the strong people of the farm are felling trees dd The various agreements that qualify the word abantu people can be seen in effect Its verbal system shows a combination of temporal and aspectual categories in their finite paradigm Typically verbs have two stems one for present undefinite and another for perfect Different prefixes can be attached to these verbal stems to specify subject agreement and various degrees of past or future tense For example in the word uyathanda he loves the present stem of the verb is thanda the prefix u expresses third person singular subject and ya is a filler that is used in short sentences Suffixes are also put into common use to show the causative or reciprocal forms of a verb stem Most property words words encoded as adjectives in English are represented by relative In the sentence umuntu ubomvu the person is red the word ubomvu root bomvu behaves like a verb and uses the agreement prefix u however there are subtle differences for example it does not use the prefix ya Morphology of root Zulu Edit The root can be combined with a number of prefixes and thus create other words For example here is a table with a number of words constructed from the roots Zulu and ntu the root for person s people Prefix zulu ntuum u umZulu a Zulu person umuntu a person ama aba amaZulu Zulu people abantu people isi isiZulu the Zulu language isintu culture heritage mankind ubu ubuZulu personification Zulu like tendencies ubuntu humanity compassion kwa kwaZulu place of the Zulu people i li izulu the weather sky heaven pha phezulu on top e ezulwini in at to from heaven Sample phrases and text EditThe following is a list of phrases that can be used when one visits a region whose primary language is Zulu Zulu EnglishSawubona Hello to one personSanibonani Hello to a group of peopleUnjani Ninjani How are you sing How are you pl Ngiyaphila Siyaphila I m okay We re okayNgiyabonga kakhulu Thanks a lot Ngubani igama lakho What is your name Igama lami ngu My name is Isikhathi sithini What s the time Ngingakusiza Can I help you Uhlala kuphi Where do you stay Uphumaphi Where are you from Hamba kahle Sala kahle Go well Stay well used as goodbye The person staying says Hamba kahle and the person leaving says Sala kahle Other translations include Go gently and Walk in peace 21 Hambani kahle Salani kahle Go well Stay well to a group of peopleEish Wow No real European equivalent used in South African English you could try a semi expletive such as oh my God or what the heck It expresses a notion of shock and surprise Hhayibo No Stop No way used in South African English too Yebo YesCha NoAngazi I don t knowUkhuluma isiNgisi na Do you speak English Ngisaqala ukufunda isiZulu I ve just started learning ZuluUqonde ukuthini What do you mean Ngiyakuthanda I love you The following is from the preamble to the Constitution of South Africa Thina bantu baseNingizimu Afrika Siyakukhumbula ukucekelwa phansi kwamalungelo okwenzeka eminyakeni eyadlula Sibungaza labo abahluphekela ubulungiswa nenkululeko kulo mhlaba wethu Sihlonipha labo abasebenzela ukwakha nokuthuthukisa izwe lethu futhi Sikholelwa ekutheni iNingizimu Afrika ingeyabo bonke abahlala kuyo sibumbene nakuba singafani Translation We the people of South Africa Recognize the injustices of our past Honor those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it united in our diversity Counting in isiZulu EditCounting from 1 to 10 The digital numerical counting etiquette on the fingers begins with the little finger of the left hand to the left thumb and then continuing with the right hand thumb towards the right little finger Starting with a closed left hand each finger is extended with each subsequent number from one to five Once the left hand is open then counting continues on the right hand with each finger opening in turn It is noteworthy that in isiZulu the names for the numbers six to nine reflect either the anatomical name of the digit six isithupha means thumb action seven isikhombisa means the one that points out or position placement eight or isishiyagalombili means two remaining and nine or isishiyagalolunye indicating one remaining 22 IsiZulu EnglishKunye OneKubili TwoKuthathu ThreeKune FourIsihlanu FiveIsithupha SixIsikhombisa SevenIsishiyagalombili EightIsishiyagalolunye NineIshumi TenMonths EditMonths in Zulu English ZuluJanuary uMasinganeFebruary uNhlolanjaMarch uNdasaApril UMbasaMay UNhlabaJune UNhlangulanaJuly uNtulikaziAugust UNcwabaSeptember uManduloOctober uMfumfuNovember uLweziDecember uZibandlelaZulu words in South African English EditSouth African English has absorbed many words from the Zulu language Others such as the names of local animals impala and mamba are both Zulu names have made their way into standard English A few examples of Zulu words used in South African English muti from umuthi medicine donga from udonga ditch udonga means wall in Zulu and is also the name for ditches caused by soil erosion indaba conference it means an item of news in Zulu induna chief or leader songololo from isongololo millipede ubuntu compassion humanity See also Edit South Africa portal Languages portal Impi Shaka kaSenzangakhona Tsotsitaal a Zulu based creole language spoken in Soweto Xhosa language Northern Ndebele languageNotes Edit Ethnologue estimates calculated between 2000 and 2015 Swahili 98 million L1 16 million L2 80 million 5 Zulu 27 million L1 11 million L2 16 million 6 Shona 9 million L1 7 million L2 2 million 7 References Edit Zulu at Ethnologue 18th ed 2015 Webb Vic 2002 Language in South Africa the role of language in national transformation reconstruction and development Impact Studies in language and society 14 78 a b Jouni Filip Maho 2009 New Updated Guthrie List Online Ethnologue 2005 Swahili Ethnologue 18th ed 2015 47 000 000 in Tanzania all users L1 users 15 000 000 2012 increasing L2 users 32 000 000 2015 D Nurse Total users in all countries 98 310 110 as L1 16 010 110 as L2 82 300 000 Ethnologue Zulu Ethnologue Retrieved 5 March 2017 Ethnologue Shona Retrieved 6 March 2017 sahoboss 3 April 2011 Zulu South African History Online Retrieved 17 June 2018 NorthernNdebele blogspot com NorthernNdebele blogspot com Spiegler Sebastian van der Spuy Andrew Flach Peter A August 2010 Ukwabelana An open source morphological Zulu corpus Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Computational Linguistics Beijing China Tsinghua University Press p 1020 Rakkenes Oystein 2003 Himmelfolket En Norsk Hovding i Zululand Oslo Cappelen Forlag pp 63 65 pansalb org za Archived from the original on 17 December 2007 Retrieved 17 December 2007 isolezwe co za ilanganews co za Oscar nomination for SA film Brand South Africa brandsouthafrica com 26 January 2005 Retrieved 21 August 2020 Magagula Constance Samukelisiwe 2009 Standard Versus Non standard IsiZulu A Comparative Study Between Urban and Rural Learners Performance and Attitude Durban University of KwaZulu Natal PHOIBLE 2 0 phoible org Retrieved 10 October 2020 Rycroft amp Ngcobo 1979 Say it in Zulu p 6 Zulu English dictionary C M Doke amp B W Vilakazi Zulu English Dictionary Doke 1958 Zulu English Dictionary Ayonrinde Oyedeji A Stefatos Anthi Miller Shade Richer Amanda Nadkarni Pallavi She Jennifer Alghofaily Ahmad Mngoma Nomusa 12 June 2020 The salience and symbolism of numbers across cultural beliefs and practice International Review of Psychiatry 33 1 2 179 188 doi 10 1080 09540261 2020 1769289 ISSN 0954 0261 PMID 32527165 S2CID 219605482 Sources EditUCLA Language Materials Project ZuluBibliography EditCanonici Noverino 1996 Imisindo YesiZulu An Introduction to Zulu Phonology University of Natal Canonici Noverino 1996 Zulu Grammatical Structure University of Natal Wade Rodrik D 1996 Structural characteristics of Zulu English An Investigation of the Putative Restandardisation of South African English in the Direction of a New English Black South African English Thesis Durban University of Natal Archived from the original on 13 October 2008 Further reading EditColenso John William 1882 First steps in Zulu being an elementary grammar of the Zulu language Third ed Martizburg Durban Davis Dent G R and Nyembezi C L S 1959 Compact Zulu Dictionary Pietermaritzburg Shuter amp Shooter ISBN 0 7960 0760 8 Dent G R and Nyembezi C L S 1969 Scholar s Zulu Dictionary Pietermaritzburg Shuter amp Shooter ISBN 0 7960 0718 7 Doke C M 1947 Text book of Zulu grammar London Longmans Green and Co Doke C M 1953 Zulu English Dictionary Johannesburg Witwatersrand University Press ISBN 1 86814 160 8 Doke C M 1958 Zulu English Vocabulary Johannesburg Witwatersrand University Press ISBN 0 85494 009 X Doke C M 2014 English Zulu Zulu English Dictionary Johannesburg Witwatersrand University Press ISBN 978 1 86814 738 0 Nyembezi C L S 1957 Learn Zulu Pietermaritzburg Shuter amp Shooter ISBN 0 7960 0237 1 Nyembezi C L S 1970 Learn More Zulu Pietermaritzburg Shuter amp Shooter ISBN 0 7960 0278 9 Wilkes Arnett Teach Yourself Zulu ISBN 0 07 143442 9External links EditZulu edition of Wikipedia the free encyclopediaWikibooks has a book on the topic of ZuluWikivoyage has a phrasebook for Zulu Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zulu language Dryer Matthew S Haspelmath Martin eds 2013 Zulu World Atlas of Language Structures Online Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Zulu South African Languages IsiZulu A short English isiZulu Japanese phraselist incl sound file Zulu Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words from Wiktionary s Swadesh list appendix Counting in ZuluCourses Edit TeachMe Zulu PDF Zulu workbook Zulu With Dingani Online beginner s course University Of South Africa free online course Sifunda isiZulu Grammar Edit Zulu Grammar with Audio Dictionaries Edit isiZulu net Zulu English Online Dictionary Zulu English DictionaryNewspapers Edit Isolezwe Ilanga UmAfrika Izindaba News24Software Edit Spell checker for OpenOffice org and Mozilla OpenOffice org Mozilla Firefox web browser and Mozilla Thunderbird email program in Zulu Translate org za Project to translate Free and Open Source Software into all the official languages of South Africa including Zulu PanAfrican L10n wiki page on ZuluLiterature and culture Edit KwaZulu Natal Literary Map Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Zulu language amp oldid 1054784799, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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, read, download, free, free download, mp3, video, mp4, 3gp, jpg, jpeg, gif, png, picture, music, song, movie, book, game, games.