Learn to speak Zulu provides a simplified approach to the study of Zulu, and is aimed at adults and children who have no knowledge of the Zulu language.

  • There are 12 Introductory lessons which deal with the very basics of the Zulu language.
  • There is also a list of common expressions which you can practise in your daily life with Zulu speakers.

This book will also serve as a useful handbook for teachers.

Why you should learn Zulu

Zulu is one of the official languages of South Africa.

As a mother-tongue, Zulu is spoken by more people than any other language in South Africa. There are an estimated 11.6 million mother-tongue speakers of Zulu. Countless others speak it as a second language.

Zulu belongs to the largest linguistic group of languages in South Africa, namely the Nguni group. One of the implications of this is that if you have a practical knowledge of Zulu, then you should be able to communicate to a certain extent with speakers of Ndebele, Xhosa and Swati. It is estimated that approximately 22 million people belong to the Nguni group.

About the Author

Professor George Poulos obtained the degrees of BA Hons and MA at the University of the Witwatersrand and PhD at Rhodes University. He has specialised in theoretical linguistics and phonetics, which he has applied to African linguistic studies. He has presented numerous scientific papers at international conferences and seminars, and has published widely. He is also the main author of a series of works on the linguistic analyses of the Southern African languages.

He has received numerous scholarships, research grants and awards. In 1997, he became the first South African linguist to receive the highly acclaimed Onassis research grant, and was also presented with the South African Man of the Year Award for Excellence, by the Greek Chamber of Commerce and Industries. He is Emeritus Professor attached to the University of South Africa.

He is currently carrying out research for a book on the 'Origins of Human Language'.

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A Linguistic Analysis of Zulu is the third publication in a series of analyses of Southern African languages. The other two books which have appeared are A Linguistic Analysis of Venda (1990); and A Linguistic Analysis of Northern Sotho (1994 - with co-author Louis J Louwrens).

More about this publication

  • A Linguistic Analysis of Zulu represents a detailed study of the Zulu language.
  • It is the first comprehensive study of its kind in decades.
  • The book comprises 590 pages, filling a vast vacuum with regard to the scientific description of this widely spoken language.
  • Linguistic domains addressed include the following: morphology phonology, syntax, semantics, tonology.
  • Reference is also made to discourse, cognitive and typological issues.
  • Several innovative ideas have been introduced in the analysis of the various word categories and constructions, as well as in the description of the Zulu sound system.

The book is aimed at:

  • Linguistic specialists, computational analysts, typologists, historical linguists.
  • Teachers.
  • University, college and school students.

The introduction deals with the following topics:

  • The nature of the Zulu language.
  • Orthographic issues.
  • Zulu dialects.
  • The classification of word categories.

The Chapters address the following topics:

Chapter 1: The Noun
Chapter 2: Pronouns and Deictic Expressions
Chapter 3: The Qualificative
Chapter 4: The Verb. Part 1 - An Analysis of the Verb Root
Chapter 5: The Verb. Part 2 - The Conjugation of the Verb
Chapter 6: The Copulative
Chapter 7: The Adverb
Chapter 8: The Ideophone
Chapter 9: The Interjection, the Conjunction and the Interrogative
Chapter 10: Aspects of the Sound System of Zulu

A Subject Index is also included.

The Authors

The Main Series Author, George Poulos, holds the degrees BA Hons and MA from the University of the Witwatersrand and PhD from Rhodes University. He is Emeritus Professor attached to the University of South Africa.

The Co-author, Christian T Msimang, obtained his BA Hons, MA, and DLitt et Phil degrees at the University of South Africa.

For further information on A Linguistic Analysis of Zulu, contact:


A Linguistic Analysis of Venda

George Poulos

The book: A Linguistic Analysis of Venda


A Linguistic Analysis of Northern Sotho

George Poulos and Louis J. Louwrens

The book: A Linguistic Analysis of Northern Sotho
Learn to speak Zulu by Professor George Poulos
A Linguistic Analysis of Zulu by George Poulos and Christian T. Msimang