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Zulu at SOAS Language Centre

Zulu is one of the eleven official languages of South Africa, and the language with the largest number of mother-tongue speakers, estimated to be more than 10 million. It is a Bantu language and closely related to Ndebele (South Africa and Zimbabwe), Swati (spoken in Swaziland and adjacent areas in South Africa), and Xhosa. One of the languageā€™s most noticeable phonetic features are click consonants, which came into Zulu through contact with neighbouring (Khoisan) languages. Zulu is spoken mainly in KwaZulu-Natal, but it is also a lingua franca of the Gauteng province, one of the most densely populated industrial areas in South Africa. In recent years, Zulu has become an important South African language and is often heard on television and on the radio, in meetings and functions, as well as in music and public places. Other urban dialects of young people borrow abundantly from Zulu vocabulary and structure.

  • Introduction to Zulu (Not available in the autumn 2014)