Wiktionary:About Zulu

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Zulu is a member of the Bantu languages and is one of the most spoken languages within that family. It is currently spoken by millions in South Africa.

Lemma forms[edit]

Many Zulu words inflect and can display a bewildering variety of prefixes and suffixes. Because of this, it is desirable to use a single common lemma form that the main entry of words is placed at, so that they can easily be found. The following guidelines are suggested:

  • Nouns: The form with the full noun prefix, such as umuntu.
  • Adjectives and relatives: The basic stem, such as khulu. Although this form is not actually a word in Zulu, it is the most sensible default and is used by most dictionaries and grammars.
  • Verbs: The basic stem, such as dla. This form is often, but not always, identical to the imperative. Zulu verbs do have an infinitive, but the stem is more frequently used and is more convenient.

In most dictionaries and grammars, the stem is preceded by a hyphen (-khulu, -dla) to indicate that it is not a full word. However, this complicates looking up such words; the online dictionary isizulu.net allows one to search for words without the hyphen. Therefore, the entry names of words that are entered as bare stems should not include the preceding hyphen. However, the displayed form of the word (with |head=, |alt= parameters and such) should include a hyphen, so such words should be linked like this: {{l|zu|dla|-dla}}. The Zulu-specific templates for verbs and adjectives will automatically add the hyphen, so you don't need to do it yourself.

Making such heavy use of prefixes, Zulu nouns are tricky to sort. They should be sorted by the base stem, rather than by the noun prefix that comes before it. The template {{zu-noun}} automatically applies this sorting as long as the noun class is provided, so it's not necessary to do this yourself.

Adjectives and relatives[edit]

Like in other Bantu languages, adjectives are a closed class in Zulu with only a limited number of basic words. Instead, Zulu has a different, separate kind of word called a "relative", which inflects differently from an adjective and behaves syntactically somewhat like a relative clause. As this difference is important for Zulu grammar, it should be maintained in Zulu entries on Wiktionary. The heading ===Adjective=== and the category Category:Zulu adjectives should be used only for words that are grammatically adjectives and that use the adjective concords. The heading ===Relative=== and the category Category:Zulu relatives should be used for most other modifying words, which use the relative concords.


Zulu uses these letters:

(Latin-script letters) A a, B b, C c, D d, E e, F f, G g, H h, I i, J j, K k, L l, M m, N n, O o, P p, Q q, R r, S s, T t, U u, V v, W w, X x, Y y, Z z