Zulu language

Zulu (/ˈzl/), or isiZulu as an endonym, is a Southern Bantu language of the Nguni branch spoken in Southern Africa. It is the language of the Zulu people, with about 12 million native speakers, who primarily inhabit the province of KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa (24% of the population), and it is understood by over 50% of its population.[4] It became one of South Africa's 11 official languages in 1994.[5]

Native to
EthnicityZulu people
Native speakers
12 million (2011 census)[1]
L2 speakers: 16 million (2002)[2]
  • KwaZulu Natal Zulu
  • Transvaal Zulu
  • Qwabe
  • Cele
Latin (Zulu alphabet)
Zulu Braille
Ditema tsa Dinoko
Signed Zulu
Official status
Official language in
 South Africa
Regulated byPan South African Language Board
Language codes
ISO 639-1zu
ISO 639-2zul
ISO 639-3zul
Linguasphere99-AUT-fg incl.
varieties 99-AUT-fga to 99-AUT-fge
Proportion of the South African population that speaks Zulu at home
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According to Ethnologue, it is the second-most-widely spoken of the Bantu languages, after Swahili.[lower-alpha 1] Like many other Bantu languages, it is written with the Latin alphabet.

In South African English, the language is often referred to in its native form, isiZulu.[9]

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