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Isizulu Language

The Language, Culture and People

IsiZulu is one of the 11 official languages spoken in South Africa. Approximately 10 million people in South Africa speak isiZulu as a first language and many more as a second language. There are an additional 38 000 in Malawi and 15000 in southern Swaziland who speak isiZulu. IsiZulu is part of the Nguni sub group of the Bantu languages which are part of the Niger-Congo language family. As one of the Nguni languages, IsiZulu is mostly closely related to other major languages such as isiXhosa, isiSwati (in Swaziland) and isiNdebele (in Zimbabwe) and some parts of South Africa. IsiZulu is related to a number of all the languages spoken throughout Eastern, Southern and Central Africa; from South Africa to Cameroon in the west and Kenya in the east. IsiZulu is the language that most English, Afrikaans and foreign speakers choose when learning an African language. Most of the speakers of this language are situated in one the South African provinces of KwaZulu Natal. However, large concentrations of isiZulu speakers can also be found in Gauteng and Mpumalanga. IsiZulu speakers are nevertheless found throughout South Africa. Like many other Bantu languages it is written using the Latin alphabet in Southern Africa. IsiZulu is considered a "national" language in the Republic of South Africa.

Why Study IsiZulu at OHIO

IsiZulu is the language of over 10 million in South Africa and has a rich tradition of poetry and music. Students enrolled in IsiZulu are introduced to Zulu greetings, vocabulary, grammar – however more emphasis on building conversational and written Zulu language ability.

Learning isiZulu offers a great personal satisfaction through the challenge of learning a new language.

IsiZulu is the most popular language in South Africa – for those who are interested in undertaking study abroad programs in South Africa, knowledge of isiZulu offered in our program will be useful.

The African Studies and African languages faculty are committed to assisting and advising language students with regard to career pursuits.

For more information, please contact african.studies@ohio.edu.

Images from South Africa