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ZUG1008 – IsiZulu for beginners

Undergraduate – Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Business and Economics


South Africa

  • Second Semester 2017 (Day)

15 Credits


This unit will teach basic isiZulu linguistic structure (morphology); sounds (phonology); sentence construction (syntax); meaning (semantics); vocabulary and communication skills – to non-isiZulu speakers. The proposed unit will also teach the following communication skills: speaking; listening; reading and writing skills. However, writing and reading skills will be mainly used to enhance and or consolidate listening and speaking skills. The linguistic features and communication skills will be applied to the selected themes/topics and also to general sentences related to these themes. Furthermore, the selected themes will gradually introduce law related vocabulary and situations (as sub-themes).

*Students also have a choice regarding the second language to be included in the programme. IsiZulu for beginners OR SeSotho for beginners


  • Discuss the African language families of South Africa with a special focus on South African languages.
  • Define the linguistic fields of phonetics, phonology, semantics, morphology and syntax.
  • Explain the sentence structure of an IsiZulu sentence.
  • Explain the class system of the nouns in IsiZulu.
  • Form IsiZulu sentences orally and in writing at a basic level in controlled situations.
  • Understand short messages and take part in everyday conversational exchanges in controlled situations.
  • Correctly pronounce IsiZulu speech sounds, words and sentences, using the right intonation.
  • Discuss the morphology of the basic (Indicative) IsiZulu verb, present, immediate past, immediate past continues and future tense; positive and negative.
  • Write notes on the subject morphemes of the first, second person and noun classes – in singular and plural forms.
  • Form sentences in the a) subjunctive mood to convey polite requests, consecutive actions and b) participial mood used with the conjunctions ‘bese’ and ‘uma’ only. Including kuze kube and kwaze kwaba.
  • Construct questions using a) ‘ubani’ followed by nouns and also used with associative ‘na-’ prefixed; b) ‘kuphi’/‘-phi’; c) ‘-ngaki’; d) ‘kungani’; e) ‘–ni’ with verbs, associative ‘na-’ and instrumental ‘nga-’; f) intonation and/or na (ending the sentence). g) nini.
  • Make sentences using locative prefix ‘e-’.
  • Use possessive pronouns of the first person, second person, and third person in the singular and plural forms.
  • Apply the following rules to avoid vowels juxtaposition: a) insertion rules b) glide formation rules c) vowels assimilation rules.
  • Stative verbs with the conjunction ngoba.
  • Use a) conjugation /se-/ with Simple Present Tense, Immediate Past Tense, Future Tense, Immediate Past Continues Tense; b) conjugation /ka-/.


Within semester assessment: 65%
Examination: 35%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 150 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. Independent study may include associated readings, assessment and preparation for scheduled activities. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.