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Facts And History About The Zulu Language

Introduction To Zulu Language

The Zulu language is also known as IsiZulu. It is an African language coming from the southern part of the continent. The language is from the Nguni branch which is Southern Bantu in nature. The Zulu language has marked a place as the second most spoken language. It is understood by almost half of the population while being the home language to twenty percent of the inhabitants. This South African language has its place as the eleventh official language of the region.

History Of The Zulu Language

Zulu, Xhosa and Nguni are the tribes whose people have lived in South Africa for ages. The Zulu migrants were a reason as to how the language spread to other regions and gained acknowledgment. The click and sounds in this language is something that can be found in other South African languages as well but it is what makes this language distinguishable.

These South African languages were only spoken verbally until the missionaries arrived to the continent from Europe. These people brought with them Latin alphabets which were then used to pen down the verbal language into a written one. The first ever published book in Zulu language was a bible, their first grammar book came out in 1850, a Zulu language television was also introduced which broadcast new and shows in the specific language.

Facts About The Zulu Language


The Zulu language has around 9 million speakers that are mostly located in South Africa.

Masculine and Feminine

A very interesting thing about this language is that the people while speaking do not differentiate between a he or she. So when they talk in any other language other Zulu they have a very hard time distinguishing between the two.

Click And Sounds

This language is known for its click sounds that are present in it. These click sounds can be found in other South African languages as well. Mainly the language includes three click sounds a ‘C click’ a ‘Q click’ and a ‘X click’.

Tonal Language With Latin Alphabets

Zulu language is said to be a tonal language. It has a high tone, a low tone, and a falling tone. Since the language was penned down by after the arrival of missionaries they used a lot of Latin alphabets which are now a part of this language.

Zulu Words In South African English

South African English has also adopted a few words from Zulu language for instance the word ‘Muti’ means medicine and the word ‘Indunga’ means a leader one can even find more words that have become a part of the South African English and are belonging to this language.

Standard And Urban Zulu

The language also has a standardized version which is taught in schools, also known as deep Zulu. It is the purist form which uses derivation while on the other hand urban Zulu has loan words chiefly from English.

Zulu Represents The South African Culture

The Zulu word ‘Ubantu’ which means humanity is a famous representative of the South African people and their culture.

Zulu Language~ A Mandatory Course

There are universities in South Africa where this language course is deemed as mandatory.

South African Drummers at the Zulu Festival

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