Language and Dictionary Software »
[African Languages]

isiZulu (Zulu)

[ General information | Overview | Map | Phrases | Dictionaries | Books | Translation | Radio stations | Links ]

General information
Name: isiZulu
English name: Zulu
Other names: Zooloo
Population: 10,677,305
ISO code: zul,zu
Spoken in the following countries: South Africa (Official)


isiZulu (Zulu) is one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. There are 10,677,305 (23.82 %) first language speakers [2001 census data], which makes this the language in South Africa with the most first language speakers. isiZulu is mostly spoken in and around Kwa-Zulu Natal (see map). There are also a fairly large number of speakers in the Gauteng area.

isiZulu is a member of the "Nguni" language group, and is most closely related to isiXhosa, isiNdebele and SiSwati.

isiZulu words that have made their way into English

Mamba (a type of snake); Indaba (issue, matter, topic)

If you are learning Zulu, you might find this noun class reference chart handy (note: this is for reference/study purposes, it assumes you have already studied the grammar).

isiZulu (Zulu) language tree
isiZulu (Zulu) language family tree.

Geographical distribution

A map showing the (very) approximate geographical area of South Africa where isiZulu (Zulu) is spoken (indicated in blue). There are also a number of speakers in Gauteng.

Zulu phrases

English isiZulu
Hello Sawubona
(To more than one person)
Sanibonani (pronounced, roughly, "San'bonaan")
How are you? Unjani?
I am fine Ngikhona
("Stay well" - to one person, if he/she remains behind)
Sala kahle
(Or: Usale kahle)
("Go well" - to one person, if he/she is leaving)
Hamba kahle
(Or: Uhambe kahle)
("Stay well" - to multiple people, if they remain behind)
Salani kahle
(Or: Nisale kahle)
("Go well" - to multiple people, if they are leaving)
Hambani kahle
(Or: Nihambe kahle)
Thank you Ngiyabonga
Yes Yebo
No Cha

Zulu dictionaries

Online dictionaries / Electronic dictionaries

Zulu - English Microsoft Terminology New October 2014 Online searchable version of Microsoft's Zulu - English terminology (site not affiliated with Microsoft), published using tlTerm

Zulu - English / English - Zulu Dictionary Online Zulu - English / English - Zulu dictionary.

Zulu - English / English - Zulu Dictionary Downloadable Zulu - English / English - Zulu dictionary.

Jason Wolfe's Useful Zulu Medical Dictionary "Important Zulu Medical Words - Their Pronunciation and Translation."


Oxford Bilingual School Dictionary: Zulu and English / Isichazamazwi Sesikole: isiZulu - isiNgisi
Oxford Bilingual School Dictionary: Zulu and English / Isichazamazwi Sesikole: isiZulu - isiNgisi (Gilles-Maurice de Schryver et al.). New (2010) and revised 2015, modern Zulu - English bilingual dictionary with many useful features, such as real (corpus-based) usage examples, most frequent words indicated, detailed part of speech and grammatical information and word sense breakdowns, and more
[ Publisher link to Oxford Bilingual Zulu - English Dictionary ]

English-Zulu, Zulu-English
English-Zulu, Zulu-English (CM Doke, D McK Malcolm, JMA Sikakana, BW Vilakazi).
("The most comprehensive English-Zulu/Zulu-English dictionary available. Complete with notes on the new orthography, it is an invaluable reference for students of Zulu, Zulu speaking students of English and linguists working in the Zulu language")
[ Buy from ]

Scholars Zulu dictionary: English-Zulu/Zulu-English (GR Dent, CLS Nyembezi)
[ Buy from ]

South African Oxford Multilingual Primary Dictionary (Nguni) (OUPSA)
[ Buy from | Publisher link ]


Learning Zulu


  • Zulu Translation TshwaneDJe Language Services (Translation, Proofreading, Editing, Transcription and more, for all official South African languages and most major world languages).

Radio stations


Online newspapers

Isolezwe (Zulu news)
A Zulu language South African newspaper, now online

Ilanga (Zulu news)
A Zulu language South African newspaper (since 1903), now online

Language courses

African Voices
produces multimedia CD-ROM lessons for isiXhosa and isiZulu. These can be ordered directly from African Voices in South Africa, or can also be purchased from Amazon:
Speak Zulu With Us (Book & CD-Rom...)

Miscellaneous websites

Zulu learner's reference guide by Matt Williams
Ipheji labakhuluma isiZulu. isiZulu website, with discussion board.

eLanguage isiZulu site
Multimedia (images, sounds) isiZulu learning site.


Zulu Language Interface Pack for Windows XP
A partial isiZulu translation of Windows XP.
A non-profit organization translating various OpenSource software packages such as and the Mozilla web browser into all official South African languages. They have released isiZulu, Sesotho sa Leboa and Afrikaans versions of OpenOffice.

Wikipedia yesiZulu


Google in isiZulu

Zulu Translation Services
Zulu - English

Spellchecker & Hyphenator

Ngenani! isiZulu
Teach yourself isiZulu