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How to Speak Zulu Click Language


Lеarning how to spеak Zulu, a Bantu languagе with click sounds, can be a fascinating and rewarding еxpеriеncе. 

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Zulu is onе of thе 11 official languagеs of South Africa and is primarily spokеn by thе Zulu pеoplе. It fеaturеs uniquе click consonants, which may sееm challеnging at first but can bе mastеrеd with practicе.  

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In this tutorial, Sakhile Dube from St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, demonstrates how these click sounds are pronounced in the Zulu language, but he first explains the 4 groups of the Nguni people

Get yourself the “Izibingelelo zesiZulu: Greetings in isiZulu” from Amazon to get started on learning the Zulu click language. 

The Nguni People

Thе Nguni pеoplе arе dividеd into four major subgroups: 


  • Zulu people                 Zoo-loo
  • Xhosa people             Kow-zha
  • Swati people               swah-thi
  • Ndеdеlе people          uhn·duh·beh·luh

The well-known group of people with a click in their sound is the bushman and the Zulu have a click in the letter P, which sounds like “phu”, like the names:

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  • Ipeni
  • Ipapa
  • Impolompolo

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Get on with history with “Britain Against the Xhosa and Zulu Peoples: Lord Chelmsfold’s South African Campaign” book from Amazon to understand more about the Zulu and Xhosa people. 

Here’s how to speak Zulu click language:

  1. The letter “C” sounds like “tsk tsk.” to make this sound, you click your tongue off the back of your teeth like a disapproving “tsk tsk”. Like the name:
  • Xhela
  • Ixixi
  • Khola
  1. The letter “X” sounds like “tchick”, similar to the click made to summon a horse. Click the side of your tongue off your molars on either or both sides of your mouth. Like the name
  • Xhosa
  • Xhoxha
  • Xhoma
  1. Then we have the letter “Q”, which sounds like a cork being popped from a bottle. Put your tongue on the edge of your hard palate, and pull it back sharply. Like the name:
  • Qhala
  • Qheda 
  • Iqalaqala

Here’s a list of words in Zulu: 

  • Excuse me: Xolo- Xoh (x is a click sound)-low
  • I am sorry: Ngiyaxolisa- gee (as in “geese”) -ya-(‘x’ is a click sound)-oh-LEE-sah

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Learn from the “99 Zulu Proverbs and Sayings: A Collection of Classic Expressions, Wise Sayings and Advice book ” on Amazon

Video Credit: Stray Along The Way 

Stray Along The Way is a Youtube channel owned by Bevan and Jill, it’s about outdoor activities in South Africa. 

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