Zulu/Lesson 5

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Nginabantwana[edit | edit source]

In this lesson, we learn how to tell people what family members we have. We also introduce plurals for all the professions that we learnt in isiFundo esibili. In addition, we introduce name of various other professions.

Ngiyimaneja[edit | edit source]

uNandi: Sawubona Philani!
uPhilani: Yebo sawubona Nandi!
uNandi: Unjani?
uPhilani: Ngiyaphila, wena unjani?
uNandi: Nami ngikhona kodwa angiphilile.
uPhilani: Uphethwe yini?
uNandi: Ngiphethwe ngumkhuhlwane.
uPhilani: Ube ngcono!
uNandi: Ngiyabonga kakhulu, Philani.
uPhilani: Ubaba wakho wenza msebenzi muni?
uNandi: Ubaba wami uyimeneja.
uPhilani: Ubaba wami uyi-Accountant.
uNandi: Hamba kahle.
uPhilani: Sala kahle.
Zulu English
iMeneja Manager
i-Accountant Accountant
Ngiyabongo kakhulu! Thank you very much!
Uphethwe yini? What are you suffering from?
umkhuhlwane flu or a cold
Ube ngcono! Get well!

The above dialogue illustrates how a conversation changes if someone is not feeling well. In the table below, we provide a short list of what someone might be suffering from. Note the use of words that have been borrowed from English, these words for profession all begin with an 'i'.

Zulu English
Ngiphethwe yisisu. I have stomach ache.
Siphethwe ngumsebenzi I suffering from work/ I'm stressed.
Uphethwe yikhanda. I have a headache.
Yena uphethwe ngumkhuhlane. I have a cold/flu.

Plurals[edit | edit source]

Class 1/1a Class 2/2b
Zulu English Zulu English
Singular Plural
udokotela doctor odokotela doctors
umkandi repairman abakandi repairmen
umama mother omama mothers
umfundi student abafundi students
ubaba father obaba fathers
umngane friend abangane friends
umzali parent abazali parents
umfundisi preacher abafundisi preachers
umyeni husband abayeni husbands

In English, we form plurals, in general, by adding 's' to the end of words e.g. mother becomes mothers. In Zulu, this is done by changing the prefix of the word for example umzali becomes abazali.

The nouns in the above table belong to class 1 or 1a in singular and 2/2b in plural. Class 1 is all nouns that have singular um/umu- and plurals of Class 2 aba/abe- whereas Class 1a is all nouns that have singular u- and plural of Class 2b o-. This may seem unimportant presently but each noun class has its distinct subject concord i.e. umfundisi uyahamba and abafundisi bayahamba. Class 1/1a and 2/ 2b have different prefixes but the same subject concords. This is why they are grouped into the same class.

The table below has nouns from class 5 and plural of Class 6 that correspond to various borrowed words from English. These are by no means the only words in Class 5/6 but they are introduced here for your convenience.

Class 5 Class 6
Zulu English
iConsultant Consultant amaConsultant Consultant
iKholigi Colleague amaKholigi Colleagues
iMeneja Manager amaMeneja Managers

Note that there is a true Zulu word for manager it is umphathi (um/aba). But borrowed words may and are often used especially in city centre or when speaking to second language speakers. Nouns of Class 5, have subject concords i- so 'iKholigi isenbenza eVodacom futhi'. In the plural form ,Class 6 , has a- for its subject concord 'amaKhogili ayasebenza.'

Nginabantwana[edit | edit source]


Sanibona! NginguZandile wakwaKhoza. Nginabantwana. Ngihlala eYeoville. Ngineminyaka engu-32 ubudala. Nginemoto. Nginomyeni. Igama lakhe uSipho. Sineminyaka engu-12 sihlala khona.

Zulu English
imoto car
lakhe your
eYeoville in Yeoville
Nginabantwana. I have children.

Use of na[edit | edit source]

In Zulu, when vowels come together one of three possibilities occurs. The three possibilities are:

  • If i or u is placed on another vowel it becomes y or w.
  • One of the vowels is deleted.
  • Vowel merge to form a new vowel, this called coalescence.

Coalescence simply mean a + a = a, a + i = e and a + u = o.

When we use 'na' as it is used in the short passage above, coalescence occurs. So if look more closely at some of the phrases above. For instance, 'Nginomyeni' the word umyeni means husband so Ngi + na + umyeni coalescence occurs a + u = o so we get Nginomyeni. If we examine the rest of the passage, we seeing coalescence happening five times.

Summary[edit | edit source]

  • We can ask someone what they are suffering from. Uphethwe yini?
  • We can form plurals of Class 1/1a and Class 3. uMama; oMama; umzali; abazali; iKholigi; amaKholigi.
  • We are able to use 'na' to express have. Yena unemoto.