85.Na, ‘with,’ is used (60) with a noun to express the idea of having, possessing, &c., for which no verbs exist in Zulu.

In this way also the lack of adjectives is largely supplied.

Ex.          uNkulunkulu unobubele, God he (is) with mercy=God is merciful.

inkosikazi inomusa, the Queen (is) with grace = is gracious.

ihashi linamandla, the horse (is) with strength = is strong.

umuntu una’nto’mbili esibilini sakhe, a man has two things in his person, for unezinto ezimbili.

86. When na is used in the sense of having, &c., in a negative or interrogative sense, the noun which follows it loses the initial letter of its inflex, as in the last of the above examples.

N.B. In the following examples, the negative particle takes the form of a prefix a, or of an inserted nga or nge, according to rules which will be given hereafter.

Ex.          angina’ muntu, I have no person, from umuntu.

akuna’lutho, it is of no consequence, from ulutho.

ungabi na’mona, be not thou envious, from umona.

ngingena’hashi, I having no horse, from ihashi.

ungena’bantwana , thou having no children, from abantwana.

una’hashi lini na? what horse hast thou ?

sina’mnako’muni nawe na? we have what business with thee?

ang’azi na’kubuya mina, I don’t know even about returning = whether I shall return at all.

okwake akuna’kukuzwa, akuna’kubatshazwa, his (affair) is not (with hearing it=) to be heard, it is not to be talked about=it passes our comprehension altogether.

asiqedi na’kubuya, we are not certain either about (his) returning.

The same thing occurs in such negative or interrogative sentences as the following.

Ex.          ningapangi’ muntu, do not ye plunder any man.

ubona’lutho na? dost thou see anything?

okungekwa’kuzenzisa, which is not of hypocrisy.

okungekwa’mthetho, which is not of the law.

87. Na also expresses and, also, both, too, even, &c.

Ex.          emhlabeni nas’emanzini, in the earth and in the water.

uJojo wahamba naye, Jojo went also, or Jojo went, he too.

ses’esaba nokunyatela, we now feared even to tread.

Ngingena sikati nesokudla, I having not time even to eat.

as’azi na’kufa nani, we know not whether it is death or what, =whether he will die or not.

zingakaphumi nenkomo, and the cattle not having yet gone out.

88. Na may be prefixed either to the noun itself, or to the corresponding pronoun, with the noun following in appositicn.

Ex.          nezinto zonke, or nazo zonke izinto, and all things.

And so with the other prepositions ku, nga, njenga, &c.

89. Na is also used after verbs in ana, and some others, which imply a mutual action.

Ex.          salahlekelana nezindhlela zakho, we erred from thy ways (lit. we and thy ways were lost to each other).

iquzuke lapha nesondo, it (the wagon) has got struck here (with the wheel=) on the wheel.

ibanga eliya eThekwini nas’emGungundhlovu kude kangakanani, usuka emGungundhlovu uya eThekwini na? the distance which goes from Durban to Maritzburg (is) how far, thou starting from Maritzburg, thou going to Durban?

90. Ku is used to express the force of the Locative in all its different shades of meaning, to, from, at, among, &c.

Ex.          kuvela kuwe, it comes from thee.

ngiya ku’malume, I am going to my (maternal) uncle.

ngiya kwomalume (=ku-omalume), I am going to my (two or more) uncles, or to my mother’s kraal.

As proper nouns have no Locative forms, ku will always beused with them, to express the sense of the Locative. Or, when emphasis is required, ku may be used with the personal pronoun, followed by the noun in apposition.

Ex.          indhlela eya ku’Mpande or kuye uMpande, a path which goes to Umpande.

91. Ku is also used with a Plural Personal Pronoun, to express my or our people, &c.

Ex.          Kuthi, kithi, kithina, my or our people (lit. among us) ;

kuni, kini, kinina, thy or your people.

kubo, kubona, his or their people.

                                Abafazi bakithi, women of ours; izinkomo zakini, cattle of yours.

                                Izwe lakubo, land of theirs, that is, of his or their people

                                Uye ekhaya kubo, he is gone home to his people = to his tribe.

hambani niye kini, (go ye=) be off to your tribe.

So also with Plural Proper Names.

Ex.          kwoNgoza for ku-oNgoza = kubo ka’Ngoza, the people of Ngoza.

Ku or kuna is also used in comparisons as follows.

Ex.          uma kutiwa angikete kunoJojo noFaku, ahle ngikete uJojo, if it be said (that) I should choose between Jojo and Faku, I would choose Jojo.

92. Kwa is used with a Plural Personal Pronoun, to express at, to, or from the hut, or kraal, or people of the person referred to.

Ex.          uhlezi endlini kwabo, he is staying in the hut, at his father’s.

but uhlezi ekhaya kubo, he is staying at his own home.

sabona kwa’Dukuza, we saw uDukuza (kraal).

bahlezi endlini ka’Mfulatelwa kwa’Ngoza, they are stopping at Mfulatelwa’s hut, among Ngoza’ s people.

umuntu wakwa’Zulu, wakwa’Zungu, &c., a man of the Zulus, the Zungus, &c., a complimentary way of naming the man’s great ancestor uZulu, uZungu, &c.

N.B. The following idiomatic expressions are noticeable.

Ex.          kubo=his or their people, tribe, family, &c.

kwabo=his or their people’s place, kraal, hut, &c.

kwo’Ngoza or kwa’ Ngoza, at Ngoza’ s.

inkabi ka’Jojo, Jojo’s ox; inkabi yakubo ka’Jojo or yakwo’Jojo

or yako’Jojo, ox of Jojo’s people; inkabi yakwa’Jojo, an ox of Jojo or of Jojo’s people (if he is their chief).

umdindimana wakwabo’Tolapi, a little pot of Tolapi’s (place).

abako’nyanga, the doctor’s people, for abakubo inyanga.

sasing’abako’ Ngomane, we were Ngomane’s people.

kwelako’Magema=kwelakwoMagema=kwelakubo’Magema, at (the land, izwe) of  Magema’s people.

kwabo’Venge, at Venge’s father’s kraal, &c.

kufupi nje kubo, it is quite near, his (their) people.

abantu bako’ntombi, for bakubo’ntombi, the girl’s people.

abantu bakhona ko’ntombi, the people of their, the girl’s people.

wabaleka lapha kubo kwa’Zulu, he fled from here home to Zululand.

wayibonga inkosi yakubo wayikwelisa ngamazibukwana, he praised

the chief of his people, he carried him (sang his praise) over the drifts=all the rivers.

kwelakithi (izwe), eTongwe, kwa’ maningi amagonsi, at our country, eTongwe, where the amagonsi abound (lit. at many amagonsi plants).

impi yakwa’Sikonyana, the impi of Sikonyana’s people.

N.B. A wife will say kwethu of her husband’s father’s house; mta kwethu, ‘ child of ours,’ may be said by one boy or girl to another.

93. Nga is used for through, by means of, for, by reason of, concerning, on account of, &c.

Ex.          ngamandla amakhulu, through mighty power.

ngazo zonk’izinto, or ngezinto zonke, on account of all things.

ak’eme nga’nyawo, let him stand by a foot = let him just stop a bit.

94. Diversity of number, time, place, &c., is expressed by means of ana, and a repetition of the noun.

Ex.          esakhuluma imihla ngemihla, he still speaking day by day.

kukhona izinto ngezinto ezil’igugu, there are there things upon things that are precious.

namhlanje ngibone imibala ngemibala yezinto zabelungu, to-day I have seen all sorts of colours of white-men’s things.

ahle nibeke amadoda ngamadoda adla ubomi, come and see (men upon men) a number of men eating ubomi (meat in an incipient state of putrefaction, which, like high game, is much approved by natives).

umuntu ofuyileyo nangas’enkomeni, a man who is well off too in respect of cattle.

95. Nga is used to express ‘two and two,’ &c.

Ex.          baya ngababili, ngabathathu, &c.,they went by two’s, by three’s, &c.

96. Nga is used also in the sense of about or towards.

Ex.          uvela ngapi, or uvela ngaphi na? thou comest from whereabout?

but uvela-phi na? thou comest from where?

uye ngalapha, he is gone there-about.

izwe langas’emVoti, land of about the Umvoti.

uye ngakubo, he is gone towards his people.

izwe langakwa’Ngoza, land about Ngoza’s (people).

So we have phezu, above, ngaphezu, somewhere above; phansi, below, ngaphansi, somewhere below, &c.

97. Nga is also used for the purpose of (ukubonga) extolling or expressing admiration.

Ex.          uNgoza ngehashi lakhe! Ngoza for his horse! = what a fine horse has Ngoza!

Wo! ngebandhla lika’Jojo! what a troop of men has Jojo!

98. From the word nga are compounded many words used as adverbs or conjunctions.

Ex.          ngako, therefore, = nga-ko, on account of it,

                                ngokuba, because, = nga ukuba, on account of the being.

99. From the same root nga are probably formed the preposition njenga, like as, nganga, as great or as many as.

Ex.          njengokukhanya kwelanga, like as the light of the sun.

Ungangawe na? is he as large as thou?

100. The direct agent after any Passive (or Neuter) Verb or Participle may be denoted by prefixing ng’ to the noun which expresses it, if its inflex begins with u or a, or y’ if the noun’s inflex begins with i, or y’i, before a pronoun (111).

Ex.          kutshiwo ng’uNgoza loko, it is said hy Ngoza, that.

wadhliwa y’inkato, he was chosen (eaten) by the lot.

ngilibele y’imisebenzi, I have been delayed by works.

ningakolwa y’iloko, do not (be satisfied by =) credit that.

Or l’ may be used before nouns in ili and ulu.

Ex.          utshaywe I’itshe embaleni, he has been struck by a stone on the shin.

lo’muntu I’idaka, that man is a sot.

leyo’nkomo itwel’amehlo, il’idhlanyasi, that bullock has lifted the eyes, it is mischievous.

waba I’ukuni, he was a fire-log, i.e., hard, stiff, unbending.

iminyaka el’ishumi, years which are ten.

waba I’uto lulapha, he was something here = he was furious as a tiger.

Or nga may be used with a plural pronoun.

Ex.          wabonwa ngabo, he was seen by them, or he was seen hy means of them.

101. The above particles, however, are very often omitted, and the agent stands after the verb without any sign to distinguish it.

Ex.          kutshiwo uNgoza loko; wadhliwa inkato.

kunjenje umlilo, it is so through fire.

102. In point of fact, the particles (ng’, y’) in the above are not prepositions, as they seem to be, but are employed as a kind of copula in place of the substantive-verb — perhaps, merely for euphony, to avoid an hiatus. We shall call them the Substantive Particles.

Ex.          lowo’muntu ung’ubani na? that man he is who?

sing’abantu baka’Ngoza (s’abantu baka’Ngoza), we are people of Ngoza.

ngiy’indodana yakho, I am thy son.

izinkomo ziy’incozana, the cattle are a few.

y’isitsha lesi or ‘sitsha lesi, this is a cup.

ubuhle obu’buhle bezinto zonke, the beautiful which is the beautiful of all things, for obung’ubuhle.

103. Hence it would appear that the real construction of such expressions as those in (100) is as follows.

Ex.          kutshiwo — uNgoza or ng’uNgoza, it is said — it is Ngoza (who says it).


72. The want of a Possessive or Genitive Case in Zulu is supplied by means of a Possessive Particle, which is set before

Ex.          ubuso bentombi (ba-intombi), the face of a girl; where ba is the Possessive Particle, set before the noun intombi.

73.This possessive particle, in any case, consists of the personal pronoun, which corresponds to the governing noun, followed by the vowel a, before which the vowel of the pronoun is either dropped, or, when u, is changed to w, and, when i, to y. But the u of lu is very frequently dropped before o, and the u of bu altogether, thus u-a, li-a, i-a become wa, la, ya, &c., Thus the different possessive particles, according to the Class of the governing noun will be —

Sing.  wa, la, ya, sa, wa, Iwa or la, bwa or ba, kwa.

Plur. ba, a, za, zg, ya. za.  

74. The possessive particles, when placed before the governed noun, will coalesce with the initial vowel, by (60).

Ex.          indlu yamacala, house of causes, for ya-amacala.

uti Iwendoda, rod of tho man, for Iwa-indoda.

usuku lokuphumula, day of rest, for Iwa-ukuphumula.

okoko babantu, ancestors of the people, for ba-abantu.

amahashi amakhosi, horses of tho chiefs, for a-amakhosi.

Amanzi omfula, water of the river, for a-umfula.

amaqanda enyoni, eggs of the bird, for a-inyoni.

amakanda onina, for a-onina, heads of the mothers.

75. The a in the possessive particle appears to be simply a connecting vowel; so that the expression ubuso bentombi=ubuso bu-a-intombi face, it of the girl.

76. But the particle may precede a personal pronoun in the possessive form, or a  demonstrative pronoun, or an adverb; and it will then usually appear in its full form, as it will not then precede a vowel.  

Ex.          indlu yakho, thy house; umuntu walapha, a man of here.

indaba yakuleso’sikhati, a story of that time.

uManjanja owale kude, Manjanja of there far away.

77. Singular Proper Names, however, usually drop the inflex, and prefix ka, preceded by the personal pronoun which corresponds to the governing noun. This pronoun, however, may be omitted, if it be a, i, or u.

Ex.          uMpande ka’ Senzangakona, Panda (son) of Senzangakona.

izwe lika’Ngoza, land of Ngoza.

umzi ka’Mfulatelwa, kraal of Fulatelwa.

isitsha sika’Ndiane, plate of Undiane.

una ka’Jojo, mother of Jojo (una contracted for unina).

wena ka’Jojo! thou (mother) of Jojo, if a man calls to her.

wena ka’Jojo, thou (son) of Jojo, if a man talks with him.

umka’Zatshuke, wife of Zatshuke (um contracted for umfazi).

ukuthanda kuka’Nkulunkulu, God’s loving (God’s love to us).

ukuthandwa kuka’Nkulunkulu, God’s being loved (by us).

But imizi yao Ngoza, kraals of Ngoza and his people.

amagama aka’Vimba, sayings (or songs) of Vimba.

N.B. Ma, contracted for umta ka=umntwana ka, ‘child of,’ is used frequently in speaking of a man’s wife, especially when a husband speaks of his own wife, calling her by her father’s name.

Ex.          uMa’Jojo, the child of Jojo, uMa’ Mpande, the child of Mpande.

tata le’mbenge uyiyise laphaya kwaMa’Ngosa, take this basket,

carry it thither to Ngoza’s child’s (place).

The natives often repeat a name, sometimes their own, by way of isibongo.

Ex. bazekuta uNyangali, uNyangali ka’Nyangali wakho, they have come to settle (the ukulobola) for Nyangali your (daughter) Nyangali.

78. All other words which form their singular in a, plur. o, take the possessive particles in the same way as proper names.

Ex.          ihashi lika’baba, horse of my father.

ingubo ka’nina, blanket of his mother.

umfunzi ka’gwai, bundle of tobacco.

79. Proper names of places express the Possessive by prefixing the possessive particles to the Locative Case with the letter s between them.

Ex.          izwe las’eBotwe, land of Natal.

abantu bas’emVoti, people of the umVoti.

umuntu was’eSwazini, man of the amaSwazi.

But umuntu wakwa’Zulu, man of the amaZulu, because was’ezulwini means ‘from heaven.’

80. Certain adverbs of place, which are merely nouns in the Locative Case, are treated like proper names of places in expressing the Possessive.

Ex.          izwe las’enzansi, land of (down below) the south-east.

izilo zas’endhle, wild animals of the veldt.

imithi yas’ehlanzeni, trees of the bush.

81. The possessive particles are often used to express fitness or capability for an action.

Ex.          isikati sokusebenza, time for working.

ukudhla kwokuphekwa, food for being cooked.

amanzi okukiwa ebusuku, water which should be drawn at night.

82. The possessive form is also used in expressions like the following, where the English idiom would require an adjective.

Ex.          ihashi lenduna, lensikazi, a male horse, a female horse.

abantu besilisa, besifazana, male people, female people.

inkabi yesibili, the second ox.

ithole leshumi, the tenth calf.

umuntu wejara, a person who is a young dandy.

ka’muntu wa’luto, he (is) not a person of anything,

umuntu wendodakazi, a person who is a daughter.

uPotolosi weBunu, Pretorius the Boer.

umta ka’Jojo wentombi, Jojo’s child the girl.

amatoyana lawa enkunzana (ezinkunzana), these little bull-calves.

soku’mdhlekedhlana nje weze, it is now (a worthless -thing of emptiness=) an useless old bullock.

izinto zokuhle z’enziwe ngamabomu, things (of beings=) which are actually done on purpose.

83. The noun utho or ulutho takes the possessive particle as above, when it is used generally for ‘a something,’ or ‘ anything,’ and not specially for a ‘certain thing.’

Ex.          akuso’nto ya’lutho, it is no longer a thing of anything (“worth anything).

bengena’cala la’luto, they not being in fault for anything.

akuyi’lubuyayo Iapho, there is nothing returning from thence.

In like manner, umuntu is used with a possessive particle in the sense of ‘a person,’ or ‘anyone.’

Ex. angiteti’cala la’muntu, I do not judge a cause of any man.

Such expressions generally occur, as above, after a negative.

84. The noun umnini, owner, is formed into a compound word with the noun it governs, as follows:

Ex.          Umnini’indlu, master of the house.

abanini’mizi, owners of the kraals.

So also with pronouns.

Ex. umnini-lo, owner of it (ihashi).

abanini-zo, owners of them (izinkomo).

So umnini-yena (wena, mina), for which a native would probably say uyise, uyihlo, ubaba.


62. Nouns are used in three cases : 

1. The Simple=Nominative or Accusative;

2. The Vocative;

3. The Oblique (or Locative)=Dative or Ablative.

We shall see afterwards (Chap. V) how the want of a Possessive or Genitive is remedied.

63. The Simple Case is the primitive noun, inflex and root.

64. The Vocative is formed by eliding the initial vowel.

Ex.          Mpande, O Mpande; bantu, O people; from uMpande, abantu.

But plurals of Class I, with inflex o, prefix b.

Ex.          yizwanini bobaba, bomame, bodade, boJojo, hear ye fathers, mothers, sisters, Jojo and his party.

65. The Oblique or Locative Case (so called, because it is often used to denote the place, at, to, or from, which the action in any case proceeds), is formed by changing the noun’s initial vowel into e, and its final vowel, if a, into eni, if e, ini, if o, into weni, if u, into wini, except that the w is omitted in the last two cases, when the preceding consonant is any one of the labials (b, p, m,f, v).

Moreover, when the last consonant of the noun is b, p, or m, the rules of (53) will come into operation, almost always, if the final vowel be o, — frequently, if it be u, — more rarely, if it be any other vowel.

Ex.          entabeni, from intaba, mountain.

ezulwini, izulu, heaven.

emacetsheni, amacebo, deceits.

emputsheni, impupu, tiour, meal.

emlonyeni, umlomo, mouth.

emkunjini, umkumbi, ship.

But umzimba, body, makes emzimbeni, — insimbi, iron, metal, makes ensimbeni, — indlu, hut, room, house, makes endlini, &c. Such exceptions as these will be learnt by practice.

N.B. The uncontracted forms of the inflex are generally but not invariably, used with the Locative form .

Ex.          ezweni or elizweni, from izwe, land; etshwaleni, from utshwala; etshanini or otshanini (66), from utshani, grass.

66. Nouns in u, contracted for ulu, have, besides the above, another form of the Locative, made by changing the u into o, and altering the termination, as before.

Ex.          eludakeni or odakeni, from udaka, mud, marsh, mortar.

okukweni, from ukuko, mat, oNdini, from uNdi (uluNdi), at Ulundi.

67. Proper names of places, rivers, &c., unless they are also common nouns (like iteku, bay of the sea, which is used for Durban, and makes regularly eThekwini, form their Locatives by merely changing their initial vowels to e.

Ex. eBotwe, from iBotwe, Natal.

emGungundhlovu, from umGungundlovu, Maritzburg.

emGungundhlovwana, (little Maritzburg) Greytown.

emDhloti, (at the Umhloti) Verulam.

emHlali, (at the Umhlali=) Williamstown.

But such nouns, with initial u for ulu, change u into o (66).

Ex. oTukela from uTukela, name of a river.

oKahlamba, from uKahlamba, Drakensberg Mountains.

N.B. oSutu—ku’baSutu, among the Basutos, or among the Sutu,

Cetshwayo’s people ; but oSutwini may be used in speaking about the latter, and about the cattle of the former.

eSwazini among the amaSwazi, emaMpondweni=among the amaMpondo (Pondos).

Kraals or places of abode, with their neighbourhoods, are often named from former residents, by prefixing kwa (92).

Ex. kwa’Magwaza, kwa’Dukuza, kwa’Zulu.

68. Several nouns, which denote a particular situation or a definite period of time, form also their Locatives by merely changing their initial vowels to e.

Ex.          ekhaya, at home, from ikhaya; plur. emakhaya,

eminini, by day, from immini.

ebusuku, by night, from ubusuku.

obala, in the open plain, from ubala..

empumalanga, in or from the East, from impumalanga.

Entshonalanga, in or from the West, from intshonalanga.

Enhloka or enhlakweni, on the hand, plur. ezihloka.

69. The Locative takes an s before it, whenever it follows either of the words na, nja, njenga, or a Personal Pronoun or Possessive Particle, or any  part of the verb ba, to be.

Ex.          umkuba was’ empumalanga , custom of the East. 

Njengas’ ezulwini, like as in heaven.

us’ekufeni, he (is) at the point of death (lit. in dying).

bas’ekhaya, they (are) at home.

kwaba s’obala, it was plain (lit. in the open).

70.  A noun is placed in the Oblique or Locative Case when it follows a verb of which it is not the direct object ; and it will need to be rendered variously in English (like the Latin Dative and Ablative), by means of a preposition, in, to, from, at, among, before, &c., according to the context.

Ex. waya wangena endlini, he went, he entered into the hut.

yabona isithunzi emanzini, it saw the shadow in the water.

kwaphuma emlonyeni, it came out of the mouth.

ulele okukweni, he is laid on a mat.

ekuvukeni kwake, at his waking.

71. Particularly, the name of a place at which any one is residing or acting, or to or from which he is proceeding, is always put in the Locative form.

Ex. us’emGungundlovu, he is at Maritzburg.

bavela eThekwini na? do they come from the Bay?

bapuma emDumezulu, they came forth from Umdumezulu.


57. (The vowels a, e, i, are often elided at the end of a word, when the next word is closely connected with it, and begins with a vowel.

Ex.          leth’ihashi, bring the horse, for letha; amanz’ami, my amanzi (literally water, but used for utshwala); amas’abo, their amasi.

So, too, a weak final o may be elided.

Ex. laph’ehlezi khona, where he sits, for lapho.

Sometimes, on the other hand, a weak initial vowel may be elided after a stronger final one.

Ex.          abendlu’nkulu, those of the (great) royal house, for enkulu.

So the vowel of a personal pronoun is dropped before a vowel-verb, that is, before a verb beginning with a vowel.

Ex.          b’eza abantu, the people came, for ba eza.

‘eza amahashi, the horses came, for a eza.

kaz’ote, let him come that he may get dry, for kaze ‘ote=kaze aote.

yeka lo’mntwana ‘onakala (for eonakala)! oh that child spoiling itself !

But the u of u, lu, bu, ku, is changed to w, and the vowel- pronoun i to y.

Ex.          ngibona intombi yehla (i ehla) entabeni, I see a girl descending from the hill.

uma kwabanolaka (ku abanolaka), if there (are) who (are) in a rage.

uma kwegijimayo (ku egijimayo) leyo’nja, if it (be one) that runs, that dog.

kweziningi (ku eziningi) , it being many= there being many.

kwizinsizwa (ku izinsizwa) zombili, there being both the young men.

indaba kweyakini, (ku eyakini) a matter it (being that) of your people.

Or the u or w is often dropped altogether in such cases.

Ex.          ng’ubona (ngiubona=ngiwubona) umuzi en’ufunayo (eniwufunayo), I see it, the kraal which ye seek.

And in rapid or careless speech the u or w is dropped in other instances.

Ex.          alaza I’ezwa, (it did not come, it heard=) it did not get to hear, for alwaza Iw ‘ezwa.

58. When a demonstrative pronoun precedes its noun, its final vowel causes the initial vowel of the noun to be dropped.

Ex.          laba’bantu, these people, for laba abantu.

le’ngubo, this coat, for, le ingubo.

Except a before o.

Ex.          laba onina, these mothers; but labo’nina, those mothers.

59. When the preposition ku, to or from, precedes a noun singular of Class I, the u in ku expels the initial vowel of the noun’s inflex, if it be a or u, but is itself changed to w before i, and dropped before o.

Ex. ku’bantu (ku abantu), to or from the people.

ku’Mpande (ku uMpande), to or from Umpande.

60. When any one of the Possessive Particles, wa, la, ya, &c. (73), or the words na, nga, kwa, njenga, precedes a noun, its final a coalesces with the initial vowel of the noun’s inflex, viz. a and a coalesce into a, a and i into e, a and o, or a and u into o.

Ex.          inKosikazi yamaNgisi (ya amaNgisi), Queen of the English.

                Njengoyise (njenga oyise) babo, like their fathers.

amansi nemithi notshani (na imithi na utshani), water, and trees,and grass.

Except such cases as the following, where the contraction does not take place.

Ex.          sambamba kanye naoPutaneka, wo caught him together with Putaneka and his people.

izingane zonke zami kanye naonina, all my little ones together with their mothers.

Bafa ukulwa nezizwe na ukufa kwalawo’mazwe, they died through fighting with the tribes and through the sickness of those lands.

61. In all other cases, if two vowels come together, they

must be sounded separately.

Ex.          ugwai, snuff; inkawu, a monkey; ubuula, folly.




20. There is no article in Zulu ; but the definiteness or indefiniteness of a noun must be gathered from the context.

21. Every Zulu noun consists of two parts the root and the inflex, the latter being a small particle, which is set before the root, forming with the complete noun.

Ex.          u-Mpande, Panda; aba-ntu, people; in-dlu, house; imi-thi, trees.

22. We give the name of inflex to this initial particle, because by changes of it certain modifications of the noun are effected, as they are in Latin and Greek by means of terminal particles or inflexes set after the root.

Thus in the Latin word homo, ‘man,’ the root is hom, and the inflex o, which is changed to ines for the plural, and the whole word becomes homines, ‘men’; just as in the Zulu word umuntu, ‘person,’ the root is ntu, and the inflex umu, which is changed to aba for the plural, and the whole word becomes abantu, ‘people.’

23. In the Zulu there are eight singular nominative inflexes, six of which have plural forms; and thus we shall have eight different classes of nouns, of which two have no plural.

24. A portion of each inflex, which may be considered its characteristic portion, is used as a personal pronoun of the third person, to represent any noun of the class in question.

25. The following are the eight Classes of Zulu Nouns

Class Sing. Inflex Pers. Pro. Examples Plur. Inflex Pers. Pro. Examples
I umu, um, u u umuntu, person umfazi, wife uMpande, Panda aba o Ba ba abantu abafazi oMpande
II Ili, contr. i li izwi, word ibuto, soldier ama a amazwi amabuto
III im, in, i i imvu, sheep indlu, house iyobo, rejected lover izim, izin, izi zi izimvu izindlu iziyobo
IV isi si isilo, leopard izi zi izilo
V umu, um, u u umuthi, tree umhla, day unyaka, year imi i Imithi Imihla iminyaka
VI ulu, contr. u lu ubambo, rib uthi, stick, rod ulwanga, palate Izim, izin, izi zi Izimbambo Izinti izilwanga
VII ubu, contr. u bu Ubukhosi, royalty utshani, grass      
VIII uku ku ukukhanya, light      


26. When any inflex, ending in a vowel, is prefixed to a root which begins with a vowel, the terminal vowel of the inflex is dropped, except in the case of uku, when it is usually changed to the semivowel w.

Ex.          isandla, hand, ukwenza, doing, for isi-andla, uku-enza.

Before o, however, the final u of uku is often dropped:

Ex.          ukwona or ukona, injury, sin.


27.Nouns of Class I are almost all personal nouns, and those of Classes V and VI are generally impersonal. But we find umhlobo, friend, plur. imihlobo, and some other personal nouns, belonging to Class VI.

28. Names of persons invariably take the inflex u, plur. o, which latter, as well as aba, is represented by the personal pronoun ba.

Ex.          uNkulunkulu, uMvelinqangi, names for the Deity; uMpande, uNgoza, uZatshuke, names of chiefs.

But izibongo, that is, names given to people in praise or sport, may be formed with other prefixes.

Ex. uBisi (or uLubisi) Iwembongolo, Mule’s-milk, plur. oLubisi.

29. The plural of proper names of persons is often used (i) for a single person, a pluralis excellentice, (ii) to express a person and the people who are with him.

Ex.          oSomtseu ka’Sonzica, Somtseu (Sir T. Shepstone) son of Sonzica.

oZatshuke, the Zatshukes=Zatshuke and his people.

oTshaka, Chaka; oDingane, Dingaan; oMpande, Panda; oCetshwayo, Cetshwayo.

oNgoza bamukile, the Ngozas (=Ngoza and his party) they have departed.

So abayeni, the bridegroom (umyeni) and his party.

30. Certain other nouns, which have the force of proper names, take the inflex u, plural o or ao.

Ex.          ubaba, my or our father, plur. obaba or aobaba.

umame, my or our mother, plur. omame or aomame.

uyihlo, thy or your father; unyoko, thy or your mother.

uyise, his, her, or their father; unina,.his, her, or. their mother.

udade, sister, umkhulu, grandparent, &c.

In forming compound names, yise and nina are contracted into so and no.

Ex.          uSojuba, uNozimpisi.

N.B. — The following are also names of relationship.

ubaba, my or our father’s sister;

ubabakazi or ubabekazi my or our father’s brother;

uyihlo, thy or your father’s sister;

uyihlokazi, thy or your father’s brother;

uyise, his, her, or their father’s sister;

uyisekazi, his, her, or their father’s brother;

umalume, my or our mother’s brother;

umamekazi, my or our mother’s sister;

unyokolume, thy or your mother’s brother;

unyokokazi, thy or your mother’s sister;

uninalume, his, her, or their mother’s brother;

uninakazi, his, her, or their mother’s sister.

Instead of ubaba for ‘father’s sister’ may be used the full expression, udade wobaba.

So, too, umkhulu may be used for grandfather or grandmother on father’s or mother’s side, whether my, thy, or his; but sometimes, especially by the amaLala, ubabamkulu is used for ‘my or our grandmother,’ &c.

If the son of one man marries the daughter of another, the two fathers will call each other umlingane; the husband will call the girl’s father ‘father ‘ (ubaba) or ‘father-in-law’ (umukhwe), and the girl’s mother ‘ mother-in-law ‘ (umkhwekazi) . A ‘ brother-in-law ‘ or ‘sister- in-law ‘ is umlamu, plur. abalamu; a ‘ wife’s brother’ is umkhwenya, a ‘ son-in-law,’ umkhwenyana.

The children of one father are called izelamane, which word, though generally used of the boys only, may be employed for boys and girls collectively.

The children of one father and mother are called aba’ ndlu’nye or aba’ndlini’nye, i.e., ‘children of, or in, one house’ ; and the offspring of one father and mother, so long as they intermarry with each other, are still reckoned as aba’ndlu’ nye. One who marries out ot the family becomes by that act separated, umuntu wesizwe,  ‘a man of the tribes’ or stranger ‘ ; and two persons, who are ‘strangers’ to each other, will not eat the amasi, ‘ sour-milk,’ which comes from each other’s kraal

31. The names of many birds, insects, trees and plants form their singular in u, plur. O.

Ex.          ujojo, long-tailed finch; umiyane, mosquito; umalibombo, name of a plant.

So also do a few words of foreign origin.

Ex.          umpondwe, a pound; ushelene, a shilling; upeni, three-pence; umbaimbai, a connon; umese, a knife; usaoti, salt; ugwai, tobacco snuff; ukolweni, wheat.

32. Nouns not of Class I may be formed into Proper Names, with inflex u, plur. o.

Ex.          beka phezulu! kus’emi osilimela abadala, kus’emi ondosa abadala, kus’emi ompandu abadala, look above! there still stands the old Pleiades (isilimela), there still stands the old Jupiter (indosa), there still stands the old August (umpandu).

33.The full form, umu, in Classes I and V, may be employed or not, at pleasure, but occurs chiefly before mono-syllabic roots.

Ex.          umuntu or umntu, person; umuhla or umhla, day.

34. Names of countries are usually of Class II, like izwe, land.

Ex.          iBotwe, Natal; iEngland, iJudia.

35. National names are either of Class I, or, more commonly of Class II.

N.B. umlungu, white-man, plur. abalungu or abelungu; but isilungu =the whole of the white population.

Ex. umSuthu, plur. abaSuthu or abeSuthu ; uMthethwa, uMbo.

iZulu, iSwazi, iMpondo, iXhosa, plur. amaZulu, amaSwazi, amaMpondo, amaXhosa.

So iNgisi, an Englishman, iBunu, a Dutch Boer.

36. But the singular noun, uZulu, Class I, is used to express, collectively, the whole people of the Zulus, the plural form amaZulu denoting only a number of Zulus.

So umSwazi, Class I, expresses the people of the amaSwazi, and uSuthu, Class V, the people of the abaSuthu or Basuto.

uSutu is also the name of that portion of the Zulu people which belongs to Cetshwayo ; but the locative case (65) is, for the former, oSutu, for the latter, oSutwini.

In such cases the people are called collectively by the name of a present or former famous chief.

37. The inflexes, ili of Class II and ulu of Class VI, are very frequently contracted into i and u respectively, and the i or u is then pronounced long, as if a double i or u.

Ex. idada, duck; utango, hedge; ihashi, horse; udaka, mud, mortar.

So zibuko, Class II, a ford or drift; but izibuko. Class IV, windows or a pair of spectacles.

38. Some few nouns, not of Class II in the singular, form, their plurals in ama.

Ex.          indoda, husband, amadoda; indodana, son, amadodana. insimu, garden, amasimu; inkosi, chief, amakhosi.

Sometimes, however, when the form in ama would leave the meaning’ doubtful, that in izin is employed, and vice versa.

Ex.          yazibiza izinkosi zamakulu, he them called, the chiefs of hundreds, for yawabiza amakhosi amakulu, which might be understood to mean, he them called, the great chiefs.

hlanganisa izinkomo ez’amaduna, collect the cattle which are males, for hlanganisa izinkomo ezi’zinduna, where the last word might be mistaken for ezezinduna, belonging to the indunas.

Some nouns of Class II make the plural in ama or in izin.

Ex.          ikambi, plur. amakambi or izinkambi, refuse, such as the pith of imfe.

N.B. So usuku a day. Class VI, makes its plural both izinsuku and amasuku; and intombi, girl, makes its plural izintombi, while intombazana, young girl, makes its plural amantombazana. But iso (for iliso), eye, makes its plural amehlo, as if from another singular.

39. Some nouns, especially of Class II, are only used in the plural. 

Ex.          amandla, power, strength.          amanzi, water. 

amasi, sour milk.                              amafuta, fat, butter, ointment.

amalahle, charcoal.                         amakhaza, cold.

amatumbu, intestines                   amathe, spittle

amabomu, purpose, intention, amabibi, weeds, rubbish.

40. In Class III, im is used before either a vowel or a labial (b, p, m, f, c), in in all other cases; and so with izim and izin.

Ex. imbuzi, goat; impisi, hyaena; imfuyo, treasure; imvu, sheep.

This rule holds for the plural prefixes in Class VI, except that izi is always used before a root beginning with h or l.

Ex.          upape, feather, plur. izimpape ; uzipo, claw, plur. izinzipo. uhududu, old worn-out blanket, plur. izihududu. ulimi, or ulwimi, tongue, plur. izilimi, or izilwimi.

41. The plural inflexes, izim, izin, izi, frequently drop the z, and so are contracted to im, in, i, where the i must be pronounced long, as if ii.

Ex.          ezo’nto, those things, for ezo into, and that for lezo izinto.

ikati zonke, all times, for izikati.

igcagogwana, slander, for izigcagogwana.

ifamona zabantu, spiteful jealousies of people, for izifamona.

ngaithatha ikali zami, I them took, my weapons, for ngazithatha izikali zami.

inkomo nenkabi, cattle and oxen, for izinkomo nezinkabi.

onondongoyi laba inyosi enkulu; kanti bay’ahlulwa yilezi

encinyane, these drones are large bees ; however, they are mastered by these small ones, for izinyosi, ezinkulu, ezincinyane.

So often in forming proper names.

Ex.          uNoitshada, uNoinsaba, for uNozitshada, uNozinsaba.

In like manner isi is sometimes contracted before s into i.

Ex.          isando for isisando, name of a plant.

And imi in some words is also heard as i.

Ex.          imbali, flowers, for imimbali, Class V, which has no singular.

42. Some nouns of Class IV begin with isi or isa, some with isa only.

Ex.          isingcokolo or isangcokolo, grub in mealie stalks.

isinkuntshane or isankuntshane, name of a plant.

isandla, hand; isando, hammer.

43. The same roots may appear with different inflexes and a corresponding difference in meaning.

Ex. umkiwane, fig-tree; ikiwane, fig.

izwe (ilizwe), land; isizwe, tribe, nation.

into, thing; uto, something, anything.

umuthi, tree, herb, medicine; uthi (uluthi), stick, rod; ubuti, poison.

ibele, female breast, cow’s udder; amabele, Kafir-corn; isibele, man’s nipple; umbele, woman’s nipple, cow’s teat; ububele, tenderness.

umuntu, person; abantu, people; isintu, human race; uluntu, outer covering of the bowels; ubuntu, human nature.

But sometimes the same root is found with different inflexes and the same meaning.

Ex. umqulo or uqulo (uluqulo), stitch in the side.

idlelo or isidlelo, snuff-box; but idlelo means also cattle-run.

umlozi, plur. omlozi or imilozi, familiar spirit.

intuma, intungwa, indoni, names of trees, but also umtuma, umtungwa, umdoni.

uqondo or ingqondo, palmetto fibre.

N.B. In the last example, the root appears as gqondo or ngqondo. And so an m or n is often heard before the root in other instances.

Ex. isipofu, poor man, ubupofu, poverty, but also ubumpofu.

ijuba, dove, ubujuba or ubunjuba, dove-nature.

imvu, sheep, ubumvu, sheep-nature; inja, dog, ubunja, dog-nature.

umgoma, witch-doctor, but also ubungoma.

umbungu, foetus of calf, plur. imbungu, for imimbunju (41).

Such words as imvu, inja, might. in fact. be written immvu, innja,

or imvu, inja, with inflex i, plur. izi.

So from zifisa, pretend to die, is formed umzifisi, plur. omzifisi.

from zigaxa, intrude one’s self, imzigaxi, plur. omzigaxi.

from khanya, shine, comes ubunkanyezi, brightness,

from songa, wind, insongensonge or properly innsongensonge, winding.

44. Nouns of Class I are derived from verbs, by changing the final a of the verb-root into i, and prefixing the inflex um; and such nouns express the agents of the verb’s action.

Ex.          From funda, learn, is formed umfundi, learner, disciple.

fundisa, make to learn, umfundisi, teacher.

The above words, however, and most of the above kind which appear in the printed books, are formed by Missionaries, not by the Natives, who employ these derivatives much more sparingly, but may form them at pleasure, so that they cannot lie entered in dictionaries as standard Zulu words.

Ex.          umondli (from ondla) wezinkedama zabantu, nourisher of the orphans of the people, an isibongo of Mpande.

isisu somhambi (from hamba) asingakanani, a traveller’s (stomach = ) appetite is not very large.

But some of the.se words belong to the language.

Ex.          umfi, a deceased person, hence umtaka’mufi, child of a deceased man, fatherless orphan.

umfiki, more properly isifiki, a new-comer, fresh arrival.

45. Names of trees are mostly of Class V.

Ex. umkombe, yellow-wood, umtulwa. wild-medlar. Umkiwane, wild-

fig, umtuma, wild-apple, umdoni. water-boem, umtungulu, Natal plum, umtunduluka, tree bearing a red acid plum, the juice of which is used in dyeing.

Their fruits are mostly of Class II or Class III.

Ex.          itulwa, ikiwane, ituma (fruit of large umtuma). intuma (fruit of small untuma). indoni. itungulu, itunduluka; but ukova(Class VI. no plur.), banana (plant and fruit).

So indumba, species of bean. but umdumba, whole pod.

Plates where things grow, or persons in the habit of doing what is indicated by the root, are of CIass IV.

Ex. inkoba. forest of yellow-wood; : izikova, banana grove; isidhlubu, place for under-ground nuts; isimbila, mealie ground; isihlaza, sweet potato garden; isidumbi, place where Kafir potatoes grow, whence Esidumbeni, name of a district where such plants abound; isikohlwa, forgetful person; isilauli, habitual jester.

46. Nouns of Class VII are derived from nouns and adjectives by prefixing the inflex ubu to the root, and they express the abstract idea corresponding to the meaning of the root.

Ex. From inkosi, chief, is formed ubukhosi, chieftainship.

khulu, great, ubukhulu, greatness.

47. Nouns of Class VIII are nearly all verbal substantives being, in fact, identical in form with the infinitives of verbs, and expressing the action of the corresponding verb.

Ex.          From khanya, shine, is formed ukukhanya, light.

thanda, love, ukuthanda, love.

azi, know, ukwazi, knowledge.

ng’azi, not know ukung’azi, ignorance.

N.B. ukwindla, autumn, is not a verbal noun.

48. A noun is made feminine by the addition of kazi.

Ex.          inkosi, chief, king; inkosikazi, female chief, queen;

inkomo, bullock; inkomokazi or inkomazi, cow.

N.B. Inkomo is the generic name of a bullock of any kind, while inkunzi denotes a ‘bull,’ inkabi an ‘ox,’ inkomazi a ‘cow.’

The last three words may also be used to distinguish the corresponding kinds of first-class animals, as of a horse.

Ex.          leli’hashi liy’inkunzi, liy’inkabi, liy’ inkomazi, this horse is a

stallion, is a gelding, is a mare.

Or the possessive particle (72) may be used with the above words.

Ex.          ihashi lenkunzi or inkunzi yehashi, a stallion, ihashi lenkabi, a gelding, ihashi lenkomazi, a mare.

N.B. The corresponding words for sheep, whose generic name is imvu, are inqama, ram, umtondolo, wether, imvukazi, ewe, and those for goat, whose generic name is imbuzi, are impongo, umtondolo, imbuzikazi.

49. Some singular nouns are nouns of multitude, that is, are used for one or many, e.g., the names for small plants when plentiful, or for particular classes of oxen.

Ex.          ugagane, small mimosa; umsasane, another sort of mimosa.

ukova, banana (plant or plants or fruit).

umdlunkulu, girl or girls of the (great house) chief knial.

Kwatatwa umdhlunkulu wambili, there were taken two girls of the chief kraal.

nant’ ukungwane lulubili, there are two winged ants.

nant’ukuni, there is firewood.

umqeku wamashumi’mane, forty one-year-old heifers.

50. Male and female of persons may be defined by using the possessive particle witli the words isilisa and isifazana.

Ex.          umntwana wesilisa, a male child; abantwana besifazana, female children.

izinceku zendlu ezesilisa nezesifazana, servants of the house, male and female.

Male and female of animals are defined by using the possessive particle with the words induna and insikazi and their plurals.

Ex. ihashi lenduna, a male horse; amahashi ezinsikati, female horses.

induna yennja, yekati, yengulube, yenkuku, or innja yenduna, &c.,

a male dog, cat, pig, fowl.

51. Sometimes the termination kazi is added to a noun, in order to magnify or intensify its meaning. It may bo added to the adjective joined to a noun, as well as to the noun itself.

Ex.          umfazikazi omkulukazi, a great, distinguished woman.

itshekazi, great stone; umuthikazi, great shrub; umntwanakazi, fine girl.

intombikazi endekazi, fine tall (intombi=) marriageable girl.

niyabona lo’mzikazi omkulukazi, you see this huge town.

le’nnjakazi yami yensikazi, this great bitch of mine.

But kazi sometimes is used to express dislike.

Ex. nangu lo’muntukazi ol’ivila futhi, here is that fellow who is idle too.

Or a noun is intensified by the repetition of the root.

Ex.          wake lapha iminyakanyaka, he has lived here many ywirs.

bakhona ba’ndwendwendwendwe , uzolubona okulu, they are there, they being a prodigious troop, you will see it a great one — from udwendwe (43 N.B.)

52. Dimunitive are formed by adding to the noun or adjective the termination ana or anyana. the final vowel of the root being elided before the amx, or, in the case of o or u, being changed to w.

Ex.          umntu, person; umntwana, child.

imvu, sheep ; imvana or imvwana, lamb.

isilo, wild animal; isilwana. small wild animal; isilwanyana, insect.

induku enhlana, a handsome little staff.

ukudla, food; ukudlana, a little food.

kusihlwa, evening; kusihlwana, nearly evening.

ngezinsukwana, in a few days; amaswana, a few word.

In the diminutive, I is often changed to y before ana.

Ex.          umfula omkhulu, a great river; umfuyana omkuyana, a little brook.

ihele, a file of men; iheyana, a small file of men.

If it is desired to make a distinction of sex, ana is used for the masculine diminutive, and azana or kazana for the feminine.

Ex.          inkosi, chief; inkosana, petty chief; inkosazana, princess, young lady (the Zulus would call the Queen inkosazana.)

intombi, girl; intombazana, young girl.

innja yensikazana, a puppy bitch.

abafazazana abafutshanyana, little short women.

53. If the last consonant of the noun be b, p, or m, it geverally undergoes a change before the diminutive termination; thus b is changed to j or tsh, p to tsh, m to ny, mb to nj, mp to ntsh.

Ex.          intaba, hill, mountain, makes diminutive intatshana

ingubo, blanket, ….. ingutshana

kufupi, near, ….. kufutshane

inkomo, bullock, ….. inkonyana

intambo, cord, ….. intanjana

kumhlotshana, it is white, but small, from mhlophe

54, The following are other instances of diminutives not included under the foregoing rules.

Ex.          isilonda, sore, isilonjana.

kude, far off, kujana.

Iqata, slice, iqatshana.

ningi, many, ningana, rather many.

izilwane, animals, izilwanyana, small animals, izilwanyakazane, gnats.

zikhona izintatshana ezincinyane zimbiyana, there are little hills there, they are rather bad, from izintaba, zimbi.

utuli, dust, utulana or utuyana.

N.B. uLutuli or uNtulikazi, is the name of the month when there is much wind or dust (April-May), uLutudlana, of the month when there is little dust (March- April.)

uto, something, utwana or utshwana, a little something.

So isixuku’tshwanyana, a very little crowd (isixuku and utshwanyana.)

utokazi Iwemmamba, a huge thing of an immamba.

dindi or dindikazi, dead, dull, stupid.

inkomana yakhe, or umqolokazana wakhe, his few cattle, used for a single head, from inkomo, umqolokazi.

pakatshana kakulwana, a tolerably good way in, from phakathi, within, and kakhulu, greatly.

indwele or indwelemana or indwelemanakazana , very clever little fellow.

iqolakazi, large ox with white on rump, iqolazana, small cow with white on rump.

umhlophekazi, large white ox, umhlotshazana, small white cow.

N.B. The last nouns make the plural imihlopekazi, imihlotshazana,

though the root is mhlope, white : see (43, N.B.)

55. The particle ndini is added to nouns, and expresses a slight feeling of pity, as follows.

Ex. mina, ndodandini! here, my good man!

wo! mfazindini! alas! good woman!

mina, shingandini! bazakukukolisa, (mind) me, you rascal ! they will lay it into you.

56. The women have a singular practice of avoiding the utterance of any word which occurs in the name of the principal members of their husband’s family, whether male or female, and, indeed, in the name of any of the males above the age of mere boys.

Ex. If the names uSandhla, uNkomo, uSomahashi, uNjakasana, should happen to occur in the family, the woman would not use the words isandhla, inkomo, ihashi, inja, for ‘hand,’ ‘ bullock,” ‘horse,’ ‘dog,’ respectively, but would adopt, or invent at her own pleasure, some; other words in place of them ; e.g., she might use isamkelo for ‘ hand,’ ininga for ‘ cow,’ imetye, for ‘horse,’ intshumpa for ‘dog’.

Further, she must not call the men of her husband’s family by their birth-names (i.e., the names given them by their parents), but by the names which they have assumed or had given to them by their companions of the same age (intanga), when they become izinsizwa, ‘young men.’

This causes some perplexity at times, when white people are bargaining with native women.

Ex. Thus a woman may say that she has umtamusa in her sack, when she means umbila, ‘ mealies.’

In such cases she is said ukuzila, ‘ to abstain from,’ or ukuhlonipha, ‘ to treat with modesty or reserve,’ the word in question.

Zulu Dialects in Natal


The Zulu-Kafir Language is properly the dialect of a small tribe, the amaZulu, who, under their famous Chief Tshaka (Chaka), and his brothers and successors Dingane and Mpande, have acquired and maintained, for some sixty years, the supremacy over the natives along the S.E. coast of Africa, excepting, of course, those who have been living under British protection since Natal came under our Government in 1845. On this account it has a right to be considered the standard dialect of this part of Africa; though other varieties of the Kafir Language are spoken by different tribes within and far beyond, the borders of the Colony.

Thus the language of the tribes on the Eastern Frontier of the Cape Colony, of the Basuto nation, and of the amaSwazi, is substantially the same; though the dialects spoken by some of these tribes are sometimes so different that even natives living within the small district of Natal can hardly understand each other, as the vulgar dialect of Lincolnshire and Somersetshire vary considerably from each other, and from the standard language of educated Englishmen.

Philologists indeed have shown conclusively that there are strong affinities between the languages spoken by the tribes living on the eastern and those on the western coast of Africa; and the tendency of modern inquiries is towards the conclusion that the whole central part of this continent, from the north-west to the south-east, is inhabited by tribes, speaking only different varieties of the same common tongue.

Thus the name for the Deity among the Zulus, at least the nearest approach to a name for the Creator, is uNkulunkulu, ‘the Great-Great- One.’ And Dr. W. H. Bleek has informed me, ‘ This same word is used with the same meaning, though in abbreviated forms, all along the eastern coast of Africa, e.g. Mulungulu in Inhambane, Mulungu in the Kikamba and Ki-nika languages, Mlungu at Cape Delgado, Mulungo or Muluko in the Makwa language, Murungu at Sofala, Murungu or Morongu at Sena and Tete, Mungu in the Swahili, and Mungo in the Pokomo. [No doubt from this is derived the word umlungu, commonly used in this colony for ‘white-man.’] It would, of course, be a bold thing to identify this last form Mungo with the Zulu uNkulunkulu, if we could not follow up the gradual abbreviation through so many different stages. But, as it is, there is no doubt that from Natal to the borders of tlie Gallas country this very same word has, by most different authorities (English, Portuguese, Germans, French, &c.), been noted as the nearest representative of our word ‘God.’ And even in Otshiherero (spoken on the West Coast, to the north of Great Namaqualand) a cognate word is used, viz., Om-kuru; and among theTimnchs of Sierra Leone (whose language has, by the late Bishop Vidal, been recognised as related to the Kafir) the name of God is Kuruh; though the identity of this last word with tho South African names cannot yet be considered as an established fact.’

At the present time the district of Natal is largely occupied by a very mixed populiitidti of native tribes. The majority of them are sprung from the aboriginal inhabitants, who either took refuge in the natural fastnesses of the country, when the desolating waves of Tshaka’s invasions roIled over the land, and have since emerged into the light of day, or had

fled beyond his reach into the neighbouring districts, and returned to settle in their own abodes, as soon as the Dutch Boers took possession of the land, before the proclamation of British supremacy. Others have since come in from all quarters round, to seek shelter and protection under a civilized government. Most of these are commonly called Zulus from their having been formerly under the Zulu rule and still using the Zulu dialect. But there are also large bodies of the natives who speak other dialects, differing distinctly from the Zulu, though the grammar of the language is essentially the same for all.

The principal varieties of the Kafir tongue, which prevail to any extent in this district, are the dialects of the amaXhosa, the amaTefula, and the amaLala.

The amaXhosa dialect belongs properly to the Kafir nation of that name upon the Eastern Frontier of the Cape Colony.

It prevails among many of the tribes in the S. and S.W. parts of Natal. One of its most striking peculiarities is to, sound continually nd for ng; and there are many of its words and forms of expression which are not used at all by the great body of natives in this district.

The Wesleyan Missionaries have translated the whole Bible and most of the Prayer-Book of the Church of England into the amaXhosa dialect. But it varies so much from the vernacular of these parts that these books, though easily understood by an intelligent Zulu, are of little use among the great body of Natal natives.

The amaTefula dialect is spoken by many of the Natal Kafirs, especially by the amaQwabe tribe. Its chief peculiarity consists in putting y (or rather a sound which resembles that of y, but is really a softening of the l ) in the place of l, and changing ny into n, as shown in the following examples :

Zulu                                                                                                                                       amaTefula

lapho, there, when                                                                                                          yapho

lezi, these                                                                                                                            yezi

umlilo, fire                                                                                                                          umyiyo

inyama, meat                                                                                                                    inama

inyoni, bird                                                                                                                          Inoni

The amaLala dialect differs much from the Zulu, The name (amaLala) is given collectively to certain tribes in this district (the amaNcolosi and others), who were conquered by the Zulus, and of whom many are said to tekeza in their speech, whereas the tribes along the Zulu coast to the N.E. of Natal, as far as Delagoa Bay and beyond, generally tefula.

A few examples of the peculiarities of this dialect are here given.

Zulu-Kafir                                                                                                                                             amaLala

inkomo, bullock                                                                                                                                 iyomo

inkunzi, bull                                                                                                                                        iyudi

inkomokazi, cow                                                                                                                               iyomwadi

inkonyana, calf                                                                                                                                  Iyomwane

upondo, horn                                                                                                                                    yilupondo

umuntu, person, man                                                                                                                    umunu

umlomo, mouth                                                                                                                               unomo

inkosi, chief                                                                                                                                        iwosi

inja, dog                                                                                                                                               imbwa

abafazi, women                                                                                                                                abafati

amanzi, water                                                                                                                                   amadi

izinkomo, cattle                                                                                                                                itioma

ngihlezi kahle, I am comfortable                                                                                                ndzireti kahle

ngihlabe izolo, I slaughtered yesterday                                                                                  ndzirabe itolo

isandla, hand                                                                                                                                     isangra

From the above instances it appears that the amaTefula dialect differs but little from the ordinary Zulu, whereas that of the amaLala varies from it considerably. The former is intelligible to any Zulu and may be heard at the royal kraal; indeed, Mpande’s great wife, Monase,” now a refugee in this colony, uses it habitually, though her son Mkungo does not, but speaks the pure Zulu. The ukutefula, in fact, is rather a sort of lisping Zulu ; whereas the ukutekeza is quite a distinct dialect, and is understood with difficulty even by a Zulu, if unpractised in it. It is not, however, considered correct to tefula, and in legal and other proceedings of importance it would be avoided as much as possible.

The amaLala use very freely the harsh guttural represented by r in the last of the above instances, which practice is called ukuradula. Many of the tribes, however, in Natal, which formerly used to tekeza, are Zuluized.


1. The sounds of the Zulu-Kafir tongue are usually expressed by means of the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet, five being employed for the vowels, seventeen for the consonants, three for clicks, and one for a harsh guttural.

2. The five vowels in simple syllables, (those, namely, which end in a vowel, as most syllables do in Zulu), as a general rule, are sounded as follows : —

a             as in the English father

e             as in the English there

i               as in the English ravine

o             as in the English pole

u             as in the English rule

Sometimes, however, in a simple syllable the vowel has a closer sound ; and words of different meaning, which may be spelt alike, are distinguished by this difference in the sound of the vowels.

Ex.          kwathi qwa (a as in father), it resounded as a thing struck;

kwathi qwa (a as in fat), it was perfectly white.

bhala, write (a as in balm), bala, count (a as in banish).

In compound syllables, the sounds of the vowels, similar to the above, are necessarily closer and shorter.

4. There are no diphthongs in Zulu. But the sound of the vowels au, when uttered rapidly, approaches to that of the diphthong ou in English.

Ex.          awu! oh! (expressing dislike or astonishment).

5. The seventeen consonants are those of the English language, except c, q, x, and r; and they are pronounced as in English, except that g is always hard, as in go, give.

6. The two English sounds of c are represented in Zulu by k and g, and that of q by kw ; while that of x is not required, since the combination ks does not occur in Zulu.

The English sound of r is also foreign to the Zulu tongue; and the natives, in attempting to pronounce it, will usually give it the sound of l. Most of them, however, if required to do so, will sound the r without much difficulty.

Ex.          uViktolia, Victoria; iKafula, a Kafir.

N.B. The natives speak of themselves as abantu, ‘ people,’ and of a single person as umuntu; they never use iKafula, except disparagingly; thus lowo’muntu ul’ikafula nje, ‘ that man is merely a Kafir’

— a low, beggarly fellow. And this term also would be generally used in Zululand in speaking of Natal natives.

The word Kafir, however, means in Arabic ‘ unbeliever,’ and in that sense is applied to the English by the Mahomedan natives of India, as it was probably applied to the natives of these parts or their forefathers by the Mahomedan tribes, which they passed in their descent along the Eastern coast of Africa.

7. The letters c, q, x, are taken to represent the dicks, which are sounds not heard in any European language, being used to denote the dental, palatal, and lateral clicks respectively, so called from their being uttered by thrusting the tongue against the top of the front teeth, the roof of the mouth, and the side-teeth, and suddenly withdrawing it.

The ‘ clicks ‘ used by the Kafir tribes have apparently increased in number as the tribes have advanced further towards the South — perhaps from closer contact with the Hottentots (amaLau) and Bushmen (izicwe, ama Busumane), who use a great variety of these sounds; whereas the Zulus employ scarcely any clicks, the Natal Kafirs only three or four, the amaXhosa Kafirs many more.

The remaining letter r is taken to represent the guttural which is sounded like the strong German ch, as heard in auch, noch.

But this sound is usually softened down among the Natal natives to that of h; so that in books intended for their use such sounds may be denoted by r or h.

Ex.          Zulu-Katir                                                                                                                            Natal-Kafir

rola, draw                                                                                                                            hola                                                       umrau, strong emotion                                                                                                  umhau

There is another sound occurring in some Zulu words, which may be pronounced either as a guttural from the bottom of the throat or as a click in a peculiar way. But the sound must be heard in order to be imitated. We shall denote it by x among Italic, or x among Roman letters; and the proper sound may be got from a native.

Ex.          ixwa a sort of umkhonto or assegai; xeza, milk into one’s mouth; ixoba, distant hill-fire; ixosa, glutton; xweba, scratch.

9. There is a slight aspiration heard in very many words (as in Hebrew or Hibernian English) after the letters b, g, d, k, p, t. This will account for some roots, which in the dictionaries appear identical, having a difference of meaning, which a native would indicate by difference in enunciation.

Ex.          kona, it; but khona, there.

kwako, its; but kwakho, thine.

bala, count; but bhala, write.

tetema, be nice in eating; thatha, take.

A nasal aspirate also may be heard, but very rarely.

Ex.          nhinhiza, mumble, speak low or indistinctly.

10. The student must carefully distinguish between hl and dl, since there are some words, very different in meaning, which only differ in sound by the insertion of the d. Compare in English thigh and thy, thousand and thou.

Ex.          hlala, stay ; dlala, play, frolic.

behlile, they having descended; bedlile, they have eaten.

bahlulile, they have conquered (by might, &c.)

badhlulile, they have surpassed (in speed, height, &c).

N.B. The sound of hl in the above is that of the Welsh II, as in Llanelly, and resembles somewhat thl, not shl, with which English people are prone to confound it, saying, for instance, Umshlali for Umhlali, where Umthlali would be nearer the mark, though not the exact representative of the true sound of the aspirate in this case, which is uttered by touching with the tongue the front of the palate (not the root of the front-teeth, as with th), and then withdrawing it.

11. No consonant can end a syllable in Zulu, except m or n; and these frequently express initial nasal sounds, when it might be supposed that they were final.

Ex.          ha-mba, a-ba-ntu, be-ngi-tha-nda, not ham-ba, a-ban-tu, be-ngi-

than-da; but i-zim-vu, i-zin-ti, um-ntwa-na.

The student will easily learn to make these distinctions as he proceeds.

12. The accent in Zulu falls always, as a rule, on the penultimate syllable in each word.

Ex.          inkosi, chief; igama, name; yena, he; hambani, go ye; njalo, so.

But some interjections are accented on the ante- penultimate.

Ex.          yebuya! yelula!

Hence, from the last syllable of a noun being more faintly utttered, its vowel is often heard indistinctly, or is even dropped altogether. This accounts for many slight variations in spelling, when words have been taken down from native lips, the unaccented vowel having been heard as e or i, o or u, or we, u or wa.

Ex.          ubane or ubani, flash of lightning.

umtulu or umtulwa, sort of wild medlar.

uxamo, uxamu, or uxam’, kind of iguana.

inkos’, amas’, abalam’, for inkosi, chief, amasi, sour-milk, abalamu, wife’s brothers or sisters.

13. The interrogative particle na (which is equivalent to a note of interrogation in English, and need not generally be translated in words) takes the accent with emphasis.

Ex.          lo’muntu ung’ubani na? this man, he is who?

14. Hut the particle ke, when placed after the word, forms, as it were, a part of the word itself, and acts as an enclitic, that is to say, it draws the accent forward upon the final syllable of the word.

Ex.          yena-ke, he then; hambani-ke, go ye then; njalo-ke, so then.

15. And the interrogative particlces ni, ‘what,’ phi,. ‘where,’ placed after the verb, have a similar effect upon the accent of the verb.

Ex.          nifuna-ni-na? y<ni you seek what? wakhe-phi-na? where dost thou live? (literally, where hast thou built?)

16. In like manner, when a noun or verb is closely connected with a succeeding monosyllable, or with a

dissyllable whose initial vowel has been elided so as to form, as it wore, one word with it, the accent is naturally drawn backwards.

Ex. indlu, house; indlu’nye. one house; umnini. owner, umnini-lo, its owner.

17. (Some words, though. spelt alike, are distinguished in utterance by the voice being depressed on a certain syllable, the accent remaining, as usual, on the penultimate.”

Ex.          beka, put down; bheka, look;

umuzi, hemp or flax in the rough state, umuzi, kraal;

inyanga, skilled adept, native doctor, inyanga, moon;

ucebile, he has devised, ucebile, he is rich ;

izindebe, lips; izindebe, calabash-dippers.

N.B. The difference in soiind in the case of beka may be easily heard by making a native read the following sentence, in which the word occurs twice in each sense: – Wabeka isandla phezu kwayo, wabuza wathi, ‘ Ubona’lutho na? ‘ Yab’is’iphakamisa ubuso, yabeka yathi, ‘ Ngibona abantu abahambayo, befana nemithi.’ uJesu wabuya wabeka isandla futhi phezu kwamehlo ayo, wathi ‘ Beka-ke!

18. In conjugating verbs it will be seen that the second and third persons singular are often alike in form. But a stress is thrown upon the pronoun in the former case and on the verb-root in the latter.

Ex.          uyathanda, thou lovest; uyathanda, he loves.

uthandile, thou hast loved; uthandile, he has loved.

watanda, thou lovedst ; wathanda, he loved.

19. The Kafir Language is very ill adapted for the composition of hymns in rhyme.

In most attempts of this kind, the same rhymes will recur continually, e.g. bethu, wethu, sethu, &.C., or bakho, lakho, kwakho, &c., varied, perhaps, occasionally by bonke, konke, zonke, &.C., which are only different forms for our, thy, all, respectively. This arises from the fact that hymns, which are generally addresses to the Deity or expressions of individual or united worship, must involve a frequent use of the personal pronouns, my, thy, our, &c. And the pronouns in Zulu are much more prominent and sonorous than in English, .and will generally fall into their place at the end of each line, instead of being expended in the middle of it.

Again, the regular fall of the accent on the penultimate makes the ordinary Long, Common, and Short Metres of English Psalmody utterly unsuitable for Zulu hymns.

These tunes should on no account be used for this purpose. The practice of so doing arises from want of due consideration, or else from mere want of taste. Missionaries too often compel the natives to offend against all the laws of accentuation, and force the rhythm of their own words, not once or twice, but constantly, in singing, in order to accommodate our favourite tunes. Let any Englishman attempt to sing the line ‘O’er the gloomy hills of darkness,’ to any L.M. or CM. tune, and he will soon be convinced of the frightful effect which the singing of words to such tunes must have upon the ear of the natives, until by degrees the taste becomes wholly perverted.

But for prose hymns, suited for chanting, like the Psalms, or for metrical hymns, without rhyme, the Zulu language is very well adapted.

The metre, however, will require to be trochaic in its character. Any tunes, for instance, which are used for Sevens, may, by repeating the last note of each line, be converted into a tune for Eights, in which each line will consist of four trochees, such as ‘Hark, what mean those holy voices!’ and these can be easily supplied with Zulu words.

The greatest difficulty, however, in composing metrical pieces in Zulu arises from the fact that this language consists largely of monosyllables, several of which are often connected together to form a single word.

Thus, from the adjective de, ‘ long,’ is formed the adverb kade, ‘for a long while’; and from this and the verb-root ma, ‘stand,’ and one of the noun-inflexes (12), is formed the noun isimakade, plur. izimakade, which is used to express anything of primeval antiquity, such as an ancient tree, a rock, &c. The natives would dread some calamity, if they cut off all the branches of such a tree. Hence the expression inkosi isimakade, ‘the King Eternal.’

From the same root we have the adverbs phakade and naphakade, and hence the noun unaphakade, which appears usually, with other particles prefixed, in the form kubeng’unaphakade or kuzekubeng’unaphakade, ‘ to all eternity.’