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Zulu
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by: Sonja E Bosch, George Poulos

Zulu is a language spoken in the Republic of South Africa by approximately 8,34 million people (according to the 1991 census). Zulu belongs to the South-Eastern zone of the Bantu language family, a family of languages that occupies an area south of an ill-defined boundary that stretches from the Cameroon area on the west coast to more or less the lake Victoria area and Kenya on the east coast. Languages of this family are found as far south as the Cape area of the Republic of South Africa. Zulu is now recognized as one of the 11 official languages of the Republic of South Africa, with its major concentration of speakers found in KwaZulu/Natal province. It has traditionally been recognized as one of the languages of the so-called Nguni group, others being languages such as Xhosa, Swati, and Ndebele. In the grammatical sketch on Zulu an overview is given of the following linguistic aspects: The morphological structure of the Zulu language is provided with reference to the various word categories/parts of speech, e.g. attention is given to basic morphological characteristics such as noun class categorization and the ensuing system of concordial agreement, phenomena that permeate through all the languages of this family. Other important areas of linguistic research are also given attention, e.g. aspects relating to the phenomenon of grammaticalization, discourse pragmatics, and typological issues. An outline of the sound system of the language is also provided with reference to the phonetic qualities of the different consonants and vowels. Specific attention is given to the production of "unusual" sounds such as clicks. Reference is also made to basic tonal issues in the language. In addition, a phonemic inventory of the language is provided.
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Zulu
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