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PanAfriL10n - PanAfrLoc - Zulu

Zulu - isiZulu

1.  Classification / Classification

Zulu is a language in the Nguni group of Bantu (Guthrie S40). (Webbook?)

Ethnologue? lists the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Nguni (S.40)

Fanagalo is a Zulu-based pidgin.


2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

Zulu is spoken in South Africa south of Swaziland inland and along the coast. (Webbook)

Zululand and northern Natal (South Africa). Also spoken in Lesotho (apparently parts of north and east?), Malawi (apparently parts of southwest and north?), Mozambique (in the south), and Swaziland (apparently border areas of west and south). (Ethnologue, accessed 11-2015; location information from Ethnologue and other sources - see comments)


3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to Ethnologue:

  • 9,200,144 in South Africa (1996 census);
  • 248,000 in Lesotho (1993);
  • 76,000 in Swaziland (1993 Johnstone);
  • 37,480 in Malawi (1966 census);
  • 1,798 in Mozambique (1980 census)
  • Population total all countries: 9,563,422.
  • 15,700,000 second-language speakers.

Fanagalo has "[s]everal hundred thousand speakers in South Africa (1975 Reinecke)" (Ethnologue)


4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

According to Ethnologue: Lala, Qwabe. Close to Swazi and Xhosa.

One variety of Ndebele is close to Zulu.

Although based on Zulu, Fanagalo is a pidgin language?.


5.  Usage / Utilisation

Zulu is one of the 11 official languages? of South Africa. It is the most spoken language in the country.

Literacy rate (according to Ethnologue, accessed 2007):

  • L1: ?
  • L2: 70%

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

Zulu has a standardized orthography based on the unmodified Latin alphabet. This is described in the Terminology and Orthography No. 4 of 1993. [need full citation]

Zulu has a Roman-based orthography which represents the spoken language well. The click sounds ... are written using various combinations of graphemes .... (UCLA-LMP)

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

Zulu uses all 26 letters of the English alphabet, but some characters have different values for the sounds in the language, and there are several letter combinations.

SALanguages.com has a page with alphabet and pronunciation at http://salanguages.com/isizulu/zulpg.htm . The alphabet (with digraphs and trigraphs) listed there is:
a b bh ch d dl e f g gc gq gx h hh hl i j k k kh kl l m n nc ng nq nx ny o p ph qh s sh t th ts tsh u v w xh y z

Omniglot also has a page with alphabet and pronunciation at http://www.omniglot.com/writing/zulu.htm . The alphabet (with digraphs and trigraphs) listed there is:
a b bh c ch d dl dy e f g gc gq gx h hh hl i j k kh kl kp l m n nc ngc ngq ngx nhl nk nkc nkq nkx nq ntsh nx ny o p ph q qh r rh s sh t th tl ts tsh u v w x xh y z

See also:

The "Language Museum" site has text samples for:

The South African Languages site has some sample texts: http://salanguages.com/isizulu/zultexts.htm


7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

Latin fonts without extended ranges (such as commonly used for English) will suffice.

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

An English keyboard or the South African keyboard http://translate.org.za/content/view/24/41/ can be used (verify re the English keyboard)

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

The OpenOffice suite of software applications has been localized in Zulu by Translate.org.za. See http://translate.org.za/content/view/17/54/

Microsoft has localised some of its products in LIP packages:

There is an "isiZulu Spelling Checker 1.0 & Hyphenator" for Microsoft products for sale at http://www.bowline.co.za/home.asp?pid=24&product=1098

CTexT has developed a spellchecker and hyphenator for use with Microsoft Windows. See: http://www.spel.co.za/

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

  • ISO 639-1: zu
  • ISO 639-2: zul
  • ISO 639-3: zul

7.6  Locales / Paramètres régionaux

7.7  Other / Autre

The Local Language Speech Technology Initiative (LLSTI) http://www.llsti.org/ has a text-to-speech (TTS) system for Zulu. According to the site: "The isiZulu TTS system has been developed under the leadership of Marelie Davel at CSIR in Pretoria, South Africa, with input from Prof Etienne Barnard, and much hard work from festival expert Aby Louw." For more info and downloads see http://www.llsti.org/downloads-languages-isizulu.htm

Google has a version localized in Zulu: http://www.google.com/intl/zu/

Diverse resources for reference, learning:


8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

Localisation experts

Language experts (from other sources - this will need verifying)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

Zulu Language Board of KwaZulu

Translate.org.za http://translate.org.za

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile


9.  Comments / Remarques


10.  References / Références

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, http://africa.isp.msu.edu/afrlang/hiermenu.html (page on "Zulu," http://africa.isp.msu.edu/afrlang/Zulu_root.html )

Omniglot, "Zulu (isiZulu)," http://www.omniglot.com/writing/zulu.htm

SALanguages.com (South African Languages), "IsiZulu," http://salanguages.com/isizulu/

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Zulu," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/zul

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www-01.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/englangn.html

UCLA, Language Materials Project, "Zulu (profile)," http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Profile.aspx?LangID=23&menu=004

Wikipedia, "IsiZulu," https://zu.wikipedia.org/wiki/IsiZulu

______, "Zulu language," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zulu_language


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Categories: Languages, South Africa, Parts of Lesotho, Parts of Swaziland, Southern Mozambique, Parts of Malawi