Zulu Linguistic Analysis of Word Essay

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Therefore, the subordinate clause in Zulu can be understood as a unique order in the sentence but rather existing to modification various parts of speech in relation to noun class and verb agreement (Poulous, 2004; Wilkes, 2004).

5. Order of the main and auxiliary verbs

As previously noted, the Zulu verb consists of a class prefix and a verb stem. In Zulu, sentences with multiple verbs can be formed as conjunctions. Some conjunctions are followed by a particular mood only (Nyembezi, 1970):

Uma egula uza kuya esibhedlela (If he is ill, he will go to the hospital).

A variety of conjunctions can be followed by and my mood, especially the indicative:

Izinkomo ibolile, futhi ziyahlatshwa (Cattle are milked, then they are slaughtered.)

Beyond conjunction, sentences with axillary verbs can be formed by comparison. Yet, in Zulu there are no degrees of comparison. To express comparison an adverbial form is used with kuna.

Inja yakho inkulu kuneyami (Your dog is larger than mine.)

In addition, the axiomatic negative can be formed in Zulu. In the negative the noun as object without its initial vowel and without its object concord follows the predicate (Nyembezi, 1970):

Kabafuni lutho

6. Prepositions or postpositions? Or both?

Zulu is unique in that it has no prepositions like in English or other European languages. Instead, the same function is conveyed by the use of locatives. Some examples are eduze (near), emuva behind) and the prefix -- pha:Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Bahlexi phakathi kwendlu (They are seated inside the house).

Bakhe emva kwthu (Stand behind us)

Therefore "prepositions" in Zulu can exist either before or after the verb depending on the structure employed (Wilkes, 2004).

In addition, it is important to understand the use of the locative -- kwa, as in kwaZulu. This concord can be used with nounds of the u-/o- class to indicate "place" and can be used as a relative or possessive stem.

Essay on Zulu Linguistic Analysis of Word Assignment

7. Genitive Noun / / Noun Genitive (Possessor-Possessed / / Possessed-Possessor).

In Zulu, the genitive is formed when a possessive concord is prefixed to a noun. This means that the vowel of the possessive concord modifies the initial vowel of the noun (Wilkes, 2004):

Za with izinja becomes zezinja (of the dogs)

However, this structure does not apply to all noun classes. In the nouns of class -- u, the possessive concord consist of the subject concord plus -- ka:

Izimvu zikamalume (Uncle's sheep).

The structure is also different for nouns of class -- o, where the prefix is retained but the -- a- of the possessive concord is discarded:

Abantwana bomalume (Uncle and company's children).

Therefore the genitive can be understood as highly variable on class in determining word order.

8. Noun-Adjective / / Adjective-Noun

The adjective in Zulu consist of an adjective concord based on each noun's class and an adjective stem. The adjective stem together with its concord is a single word which qualifies a noun:

Amanzi amaningi (Much water).

In regards to sentence structure, the adjective can both follow or precede the noun:

Amaningi amanzi (Much water).

However, it is important to note that the adjective may be preceded by a locative -- ku, a possessive concord and secondary prefixes. This results in the possessive concord losing their final -- a- before the adjective concord:

Nesincane (with a small one) Or Ngabakhulu (with the big ones)

9. Relative Clauses - Precedent / / Precedent - Relative Clause

The relative in Zulu consist of a relative concord and a relative stem. The relative stem in contrast to the adjective stem options is much more expansive. These relative stems can be divided into primitive stems (e.g. ngcono (better)), nominal relative (e.g. -- makhaza (cold)), secondary derivations (e.g. njengalaba (like these)), locatives (e.g. -kubo (by them)) along with possessives, demonstratives, and verb stems (e.g. -- hambayo) (Poulos, 1999). The relative stem together with the relative concord form one single word which qualifies a noun:

Igazi elibomvu (red blood)

Relatives, like adjectives, can take secondary prefixes and qualify secondary derivation. Combinations of secondary derivations are also possible:

Yiya kwabasemsebenzini (Go to those who are at work).

In discussing relatives, it is important to note that any verb stem may be used as a relative stem. The concord, like that with other relative stems, is placed before the verb stem, and in certain cases, usually at the end of the clause, the suffix -- yo is included:

Ingane ekhalayo (A baby that cries)

Relative clauses can also be formed:

Umfana osebenazyo ulala ekhaya (The boy who works, sleeps at home).

10. Order of Name and Surname

Names and surnames exist within class 1a, therefore he common prefix to zuluize a name is -- u:


In general, surnames precede proper names, for example the King:

Uzulu kaCetshwayo

This is similar to the structure of place names, which often come from the locative form. For example South Africa becomes iNingizimu Afrika.

11. Suffixes or Prefixes

A verb stem can be understood to assume various shades of meaning by adopting different suffixes. Such suffixes can be seen as verb extensions. One such as extension is -- an- which expresses the English "one another." The extensions are suffixed to the root or the extended root of the verb:

-shayana (beat each other)

The reciprocal verb stem is used in two ways: a) with a plural object and b) with a subject which consists of two parties concerned with each other:

Abantwana nabafazi bayathandana (The children and women like ach other).

In a less complicated fashion, the suffix -ana can be used to express the diminutive:

Indodana (a son)

Similarly, -anyana can express the very small:

Injanyana (a very small dog).

Therefore, in Zulu the suffix can be seen as functioning much like a prefix does in English by modifying the part of speech in question. Its position in the sentence is less important than in English due to the agglutinative nature of Zulu.

12. Expression of Possession

The possessive expresses possession of an object. In Zulu, it consists of a possessive concord which refers to the noun which is the grammatical possession and a stem which expresses the grammatical possessor (Molteno, 1997):

Inja yami. (my dog), where inja is the noun, ya- possessive concord of inja and mi- the possessive stem which indicates who is the possessor.

In short, there is a possessive concord for each noun class, formed by the subject concord with the possessive stem. It is interesting to note that the possessor can be expressed by nearly any word that can act as a possessive stem, e.g. nouns, adverbs and a possessive pronominal stem (Dent and Nyemebezi, 1969):

Wa/umuntu becomes womuntu (a person's)

Za/ithu becomes zethu (our's)

These concords can be understood as the English "of" or possessive "s":

Isigqoko sami (My hat or the hat of mine).

12.1. To be / / To have

To express to be in Zulu can be a challenge as the structure does not exist in Zulu. Instead, the verb -- ba is used as a copulative auxiliary predicate. This -- ba is always used with a complement which is not a verb. Subject concords like with any other verb is also used with -- ba (Doke, 1958):

Ngiba (I am) or izinja zaba (the dogs were)

The compliment of -- ba is any stem that can be used as a relative stem:

Ngumfundisi (it is a teacher)

The verb -- ba expressed both to be and to become and can be used with infinitives.

12.2. Order of Possessor - Possession - Verb

When creating sentences in Zulu that suggest possession it is required that a possessive concord be prefixed to a noun. The possessive structure together forms a word group which may be used as subject or as an object of the sentence:

Imali yami ilahlekile (My money is lost).

Therefore, the word order is not critical as the identity of the possessor is clear from the concord (Doke, 1958; Wilkes, 2004).


In summary, Zulu is a complex language within the Bantu language group. Its key grammatical features are a constituent word order of subject-verb-object and an agglutinative morphology. Like other Bantu languages, it possesses a noun morphology stem of classes with different prefixes for singular and plural. This basic structure influences word order at various levels of complexity as parts of speech must agree with the subject noun. To properly appreciate the importance of Zulu it is critical that the situation of the Zulu people under apartheid be understood. Since the demise of apartheid in 1994, Zulu has been enjoying a significant revival, both among the Zulu people and South Africans at large. This transition as well as the demographic evolution within South Africa have resulted in significant evolution within the language. Standard Zulu as it is taught in schools and can be seen from this paper differs… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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