Difference between revisions of "Zulu phrasebook"

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Zulu phrasebook

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'''t'''  like the t in "tea".
'''t'''  like the t in "tea"
'''k'''  somewhere between a K and a G in English
'''k'''  somewhere between a K and a G in English
'''kh'''  this is a digraph; it is pronounced like a hard k in english, like k in "kick". Not pronounced like "ch" in the Scottish "loch"
'''kh'''  this is a digraph; it is pronounced like a hard k in english, like k in "kick". Not pronounced like "ch" in the Scottish "loch"
'''h'''  like English h
'''h'''  like English h
'''hh'''  A digraph. this is a voiced h, like "ch" in the Scottish "loch", but softer.
'''hh'''  A digraph. this is a voiced h, like "ch" in the Scottish "loch", but softer.
'''y'''  Like the English y
'''y'''  Like the English y
'''b'''  Like the English b
'''b'''  Like the English b
== Click Consonants ==
== Click Consonants ==

Revision as of 15:21, 16 March 2009

Zulu is the language of the Zulu people, the majority of them living in South Africa.

Pronunciation guide


Zulu vowels are very similar to those found in english. However, Zulu is a tonal language, so the meaning of some words depends on whether you use a high or low pitch. For instance, "Unjani?" with a high tone on the u means "how are you?" whereas a low thone on the u means "How are they?"


t like the t in "tea"

k somewhere between a K and a G in English

kh this is a digraph; it is pronounced like a hard k in english, like k in "kick". Not pronounced like "ch" in the Scottish "loch"

h like English h

hh A digraph. this is a voiced h, like "ch" in the Scottish "loch", but softer.

y Like the English y

b Like the English b

Click Consonants

Zulu has three click consonants, represented by c, q, and x in written Zulu.

c click your tongue off the back of your teeth, like a disapproving "tch" q sounds like the click made to summon a horse; click the side of your tongue off your molars, on either or oth sides of your mouth x the Hardest click. Should sound somewhat like a cork being popped from a bottle. put your tongue on the edge of your hard palate, and pullif of sharply. Will take some practise.

Common diphthongs

Phrase list



"Hello" to one person


"Hello" to a group of people


"How are you?" (singular 'you')


"How are you?" (plural 'you')

Ungubani igama lakho?

"What's your name?"

Igama lami ngingu_____

"My name is _____"


"Can you help me?"


"How much (does it cost)?"


"What's the time?"


"Where are you from?"

Uyasikhuluma isiNgisi?

"Do you speak English?"


"Thank you"

Sala kahle / Hamba kahle

"Stay well / Go well" (used as 'goodbye')


Police Amapoyisa

Where is the Police Station?

Ikuphi iPolice Station?

I will call the Police.

Ngizobiza amaPoyisa


zero- iqanda (q is click, put your tongue on the bottom of your jaw) one- kunye two- kubili three- kuthathu four- kune five- isihlanu six- isithupha seven-isikhombisa eight- isishiyagalombili nine- isishiyagalolunye ten- ishumi eleven- ishumi nanye twelve- ishumi nambili thirteen-ishumi nantathu fourteen- ishumi nane fifteen- ishumi nesihlanu sixteen- ishumi nesithupha seventeen- ishumi nesikhombisa eighteen- ishumi nesishiyagalombili nineteen- ishumi nesishiyagalolunye twenty- amashumi amabili twenty-one amashumi amabili nanye twenty-two amashumi amabili nambili twenty-three amashumi amabili nantathu twenty-four amashumi amabili nane twenty-five- amashumi amabili nesihlanu twenty-six amashumi amabili nesithupha twenty-seven- amashumi amabili nesikhombisa twenty-eight amashumi amabili nesishiyagalombili twenty-nine- amashumi amabili nesishiyagalolunye thirty- amashumi amathathu forty- amashumi amane fifty- amashumi amahlanu sixty- amashumi ayisithupha seventy- amashumi ayisikhombisa eighty- amashumi ayisishiyagalombili ninety- amashumi ayisishiyagalolunye hundred- ikhulu hundred and one- ikhulu nanye hundred and two ikhulu nambili two hundred- amakhulu amabili three hundred- amakhulu amathathu four hundred- amakhulu amane five hundred- amakhulu amahlanu six hundred- amakhulu ayisithupha seven hundred- amakhulu ayisikhombisa eight hundred- amakhulu ayisishiyagalombili nine hundred- amakhulu ayisishiyagalolunye thousand- inkulungwane two thousand- izinkulungwane ezimbili three thousand- izinkulungwane ezintathu four thousand- izinkulungwane ezine five thousand- izinkulungwane ezinhlanu six thousand- izinkulungwane eziyisithupha seven thousand- izinkulungwane eziyisikhombisa eight thousand- izinkulungwane eziyisishiyagalombili nine thousand- izinkulungwane eziyisishiyagalolunye ten thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi eleven thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi ezinanye twelve thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi ezimbili thirteen thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi ezintathu fourteen thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi ezine fifteen thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi ezinhlanu sixteen thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi eziyisithupha seventeen thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi eziyisikhombisa eighteen thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi eziyisishiyagalombili nineteen thousand- izinkulungwane eziyishumi eziyisishiyagalolunye twenty thousand- izinkulungwane eziamashumi eziamabili thirty thousand- izinkulungwane eziamashumi eziamathathu forty thousand- izinkulungwane eziamashumi eziamane fifty thousand- izinkulungwane eziamashumi eziamahlanu sixty thousand- izinkulungwane eziamashumi eziamathupha seventy thousand- izinkulungwane eziamashumi eziamakhombisa eighty thousand- izinkulungwane eziamashumi eziamaisishiyagalombili ninety thousand- izinkulungwane eziamashumi eziamaisishiyagalolunye hundred thousand- izinkulungwane eziyikhulu two hundred thousand- izinkulungwane eziamakhulu eziamabili three hundred thousand- izinkulungwane eziamakhulu eziamathathu four hundred thousand- izinkulungwane eziamakhulu eziamane five hundred thousand- izinkulungwane eziamakhulu eziamahlanu six hundred thousand- izinkulungwane eziamakhulu eziamathupha seven hundred thousand- izinkulungwane eziamakhulu eziamakhombisa eight hundred thousand izinkulungwane eziamakhulu eziamaisishiyagalombili nine hundred thousand- izinkulungwane eziamakhulu eziamaisishiyagalolunye million- isigidi


Clock time



Monday- uMsombuluko Tuesday- uLwesibili Wednesday- uLwesithathu Thursday- uLwesine Friday- uLwesihlanu Saturday- uMgqibelo Sunday- iSonto


Writing time and date


Blue - luhlaza okwesibhakabhaka orange- i-orenji purple- iPhephuli green- luhlaza gray- mpunga brown-nsundu black- mnyama white- mhlophe


car- imoto(amamoto, plural) bus- ibhasi(amabhasi) ship-umkhumbhi, (imikhumbhi) plane- indiza/ibhanoyi(izindiza, amabhanoyi) motorcycle- ithukathuka(amathukathuka) train- isitimela(izitimela)

Bus and train

   (ibhasi)  (isitimela) 










iphoyisa (amaphoyisa) police

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