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Language Reference Guide For Zulu
Posted on Saturday, October 13 @ 03:30:39 EDT
Topic: Lingustics

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1. Grammar and Spelling
2. Punctuation
3. Measurements and Abbreviations
4. Hyphenation
5. Miscellaneous Peculiarities
6. Geographic Distribution
7. Character Set

Section One - Grammar and Spelling

1. Tone: Zulu has two phonological tones, namely high and low. These tones sometimes cluster to form the high-low tone cluster. It is these phonological tones that we normally employ for indicating tone in Zulu. We use signs like ˆ, ? DQG_? to indicate the "high-low tone", the "low tone" and the "high tone" respectively.
There are also those tones we call gliding tones. The rising tone results when a high tone is co-articulated with a depressor. Regular depressors in Zulu are the following consonants: bh, pronounced like in Ben, Isabel; d; g, pronounced like in dog, guilty; gc, you put your tongue and press it hard on your palate while pronouncing; gq, you roll your tongue hard on your palate while pronouncing; gx, you put your tongue and produce sound as if it comes from your palate and push down so it comes through your teeth, like v in vest; hh, you depress your h to produce a gliding tone; etc, etc.

2. Gender: We have a masculine and feminine gender. If there is no proper noun used, they cannot be easily recognized, especially in the use of pronouns. Unlike in English where there is a 'she' and a 'he' /'him' /'her' /'his'/ 'hers', Zulu has no gender specifics.

3. Articles: We do not have a way of differentiating between definite and indefinite articles like in English. For instance if English says: He is a God & He is the God. In Zulu we can only say "UnguNkulunkulu", without a clear definite article; whereas in English "the" is the definite article referring to the only true God.

4. Accents: Accents also appear on upper case characters.

5. Plurals: The plural form is always recognized in the prefix rather than in the suffix.

E.g. English would say:dog - dogs.In Zulu: inja - izinja
 cat - cats.In Zulu: ikati - amakati
 bread. In Zulu: isinkwa - Izinkwa
Section Two - Punctuation

Zulu follows English style in punctuation.

1. Full stops: We do not use full stops at the end of headings, addresses, dates, number of pages, titles etc.

2. Speech marks: We use opening and closing quotes and follow English style in most cases, but would normally differ in English in the sense that with the following sentences this is what we would do:

1. "Give me more work!", shouted Chloe.
1. UChloe wamemeza: "Nginike omunye umsebenzi."

2. "Would anyone like some tea?" asked George.
2. U"George wabuza: "Ukhona ofuna itiye?"

3. "I'm bored - can I go home now?", Michala said.
3. UMichala wathi: "Ngicikekile - sengingabuyela ekhaya manje?"

3. Apostrophe: The apostrophe will be used to indicate elision, which occurs mainly in poetry and dialogue. e.g. - "Ngob' isab' izul' eladum' eSandlwane!" In prose literature for the primary school, words will be written in full. Common elided forms may be written in full without the apostrophe - e.g. Mntanami, instead of Mntwana wami.

4. Colons, semi-colons and ellipsis: These are used as in English.

5. Brackets: Brackets & text within them is treated the same way as English would do.

6. Capital letters: Yes, some words are in-capped, i.e. words like "Your Majesty": Ndabezitha!; Sir: Mnumzane; Doctor: Dokotela; Professor: Profesa; etc. Capital letters will also be used in the following instances:

The first letter after the initial vowel in the middle of the sentence shall be capitalized in case of personal nouns of class 1 (a), including compounds of ka-, ma-, no-, so-, etc, e.g.
uNtombenhle; uMboniseni; uKaMagagula; uMaXaba; uNozizwe; uSobantu.

Deity: uNkulunkulu (God); uMenzi (Creator); uMelusi Olungileyo (Good Shepherd); etc.

Days of the week: iSonto (Sunday); uMsombuluko (Monday); uLwesibili (Tuesday), etc.

National & Tribal Designations: umXhosa; umZulu; amaNdiya, amaNgisi etc.

Months of the year: Januwari; Febhruwari; Mashi; Ephreli, Meyi, Juni; etc.

Geographical Names: KwaDukuza; EThekwini; KwaNongoma; KwaDlangezwa; etc.

Sentences: We begin sentences with capital letters.

Proper Names: We cap proper names; e.g. uSipho, uXolani, uLeonard, u- Arthur; uWentzel; u-Eddie etc.

Headings: We cap every first letter of the heading.

Section Three - Measurements and Abbreviations

1. Measurements: Zulu uses loan words for measurements, e.g. kilometre - ikhilomitha; metre - imitha; litre - ilitha; etc. There are some measurements which are specific to the language, i.e. ibanga letshe, meaning a distance of a stone (like when one throws a stone, and a distance such a stone would take).

A comma and a space would be used to denote decimals and to separate thousands, respectively.

Time: this is written according to the examples below:

10.30 am / noon / 4.30 pm / midnight
10:30 ekuseni / emini / 4:30 ntambama / phakathi kwamabili

Date: the format is as follows:

20 February 2004 - 20 Febhuwari 2004
20th February 2004 - Zingu-20 kuFebhuwari 2004
20/02/2004 - 20/02/2004
February 20 - Febhuwari 20

There should always be a space between a figure and a measurement abbreviation; e.g. 20 kg. No there should not be a space before a % symbol.
There should also not be a space between °C.

Currency: This is written according to the examples below:

£250 / 250 pounds sterling / €45 / 45 euro / $98 billion / 98 billion Dollars = R250 / opondo abangu-250 / ama-euro angu-45 / amaDola ayizigidi ezingu-98.

A three letter currency code would be confusing in our language, unless well known by the target audience.

2. Abbreviations:

N/A - N/A
No. - INo.
e.g. - isib.
WxLxHxD - WxLxHxD
1st / 2nd / 3rd / 4th - 1st / 2nd / 3rd / 4th
Mr. / Mrs. - Mnu. / Nkk.
Messrs. - Nkosikazi
Miss - Nkz.
Dear Sir / Madam - Mnu. / Nkosazana Othandekayo
m (for metre) - m
cm (for centimetre) - cm
lb (for pound weight) - lb
g (for gram) - g
km (for kilometre) - km
yr (for year) - -nyaka
k (for 1000) - -nkulungwane
EMEA (Europe, Middle-East & Asia) - YMEA

Days of the week: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun - Mso., Lwesib., Lwesith., Lwesin., Lwesihl., Mgq., Sont.

Months: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec - Jan. Feb. Mas. Ephr. Mey. Jun. Jul. Aga. Sepht. Okht. Nov. Dis.

Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter (not normally abbreviated in English. Intwasahlobo; Ihlobo; Ikwindla, Ubusika

Section Four - Hyphenation

Hyphens are used to separate two vowels coming together with a glottal stop in between them, e.g. ama-apula, ama-altare, i-engela; u-inki etc. Also when words are split over lines, they should be broken down by the use of a hyphen.

When joining concords to numerals; e.g. umbuzo we-10; izimbuzi ezingu-10 Prefixes can be joined to some words with a hyphen, like in cases of um- Israyeli (an Israelite), because of the possible ambiguous articulation, but not in words like umJuda. In suffixes, hyphenation is used in enclitics, e.g. sebenza-ke.

In combination of characters, hyphens should never be used if it is a proper noun, e.g. USigwinyanansimbi - meaning 'a swallower of metal'. (uSigwinya na insimbi).

We use both short and long dashes, depending on the contextual need of a dash as in English.

Section Five - Miscellaneous Peculiarities

Tonal marks may be used to distinguish tense in some instances. In most cases a sentence can give two meanings which would not have been grasped had it not been for the present of accent marks. e.g. Abantu abavunyelwe ukungena lapha - People are not allowed here. Versus: Ábantu abavunyelwe ukungena lapha - It is the people that are allowed here.

Surnames are given after the first name, e.g. Leonard Moloi. Surnames are not all written in upper case, only the first letter in upper case.

Stylistic forms are written in English pattern.

Section Six - Geographic Distribution

English; Afrikaans; IsiZulu; IsiXhosa; TshiVenda; Xitsonga; Setswana; Sepedi; Sesotho; IsiNdebele; IsiSwati. (The languages highlighted in Yellow are used in the following contexts: legal, financial, media, written, spoken etc.) Those not highlighted are used in the following contexts: Media, written, spoken.

Most of these languages are capable of functioning as media of higher education; i.e. in Sociology, Psychology; Social Work; Nursing; Public Administration & Primary School Teaching.

Language and Economy: There has been a growing relationship between language and Economic Development. More specifically between language and production.

Zulu is a language of the majority in Southern Africa. The whole African community living in KwaZulu Natal communicate in Zulu and there has been a growing need of undertaking translation work in business sectors, education and media, etc. Gauteng (Johannesburg) and surrounding cities, are also majoring in Zulu. Immigrants who come to South Africa to this place find it easier to communicate with people of South Africa in Zulu, hence all learn Zulu first as they come to South Africa.

Section Seven - Character Set

[ ] = Alt key codes

a á [225] à [224] â [226]A Á [193] À [192] Â [194]
c C
e é [233] è [232] ê [234]  E É [201] È [200] Ê [202]
g G
h H
i í [237] ì [236] î [238] I Í [205] Í [204] Î [206]
n N
o ó [243] ò [242] ô [244] O Ó [211] Ò [210] Ô [212]
p P
s S
t T
u ú [250] ù [249] û [251] U Ú [218] Ù [217] Û [219]

By Wordbank Ltd,
TEL: +44 (0) 20 7903 8800, FAX: +44 (0) 20 7903 8888,


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