Learning isiZulu

Earlier we wrote about Melusi Tshabalala’s new book, and how Melusi and his colleagues are working on an app that will allow readers to scan words in his book in order to hear an audio file with the correct pronunciation of the various words. While isiZulu may be one of the more phonetic languages, this is still a very helpful tool for someone who’s learning isiZulu at home. Google currently offers this service for all English words (just click on the little speaker next to the word you’ve looked up and you’ll hear a very proper voice reading the word to you!), but sadly this service isn’t offered for all languages.

So we thought that while we waited for Melusi’s app to be developed (which apparently won’t be limited to just isiZulu), we’d go looking for some other websites that offer audio pronunciations for isiZulu. Unfortunately there’s aren’t any websites that offer a comprehensive service for isiZulu in the same way that Google does for English, but there are the beginnings of this idea with Omniglot providing a list of useful Zulu sayings, the likes of “How are you?” and “What’s your name?”. Isizulu.net also provide audio pronunciations of isiZulu words that they’ve collated from other sites, but the list is quite limited, so hopefully we’ll see some more development in the not too distant future.

And if you can’t wait that long there’s always the option of enrolling in an isiZulu course – the Alliance Francaise in Durban offers beginner courses for those wanting to learning isiZulu, as does the Durban Language Centre and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Image courtesy of ukznextendedlearning.com

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