Numbers in Zulu

Learn numbers in Zulu

Knowing numbers in Zulu is probably one of the most useful things you can learn to say, write and understand in Zulu. Learning to count in Zulu may appeal to you just as a simple curiosity or be something you really need. Perhaps you have planned a trip to a country where Zulu is the most widely spoken language, and you want to be able to shop and even bargain with a good knowledge of numbers in Zulu.

It's also useful for guiding you through street numbers. You'll be able to better understand the directions to places and everything expressed in numbers, such as the times when public transportation leaves. Can you think of more reasons to learn numbers in Zulu?

The Zulu language (isiZulu) belongs to the Niger–Congo languages family, and more specifically to the Bantu branch. It is spoken in South Africa (where it is co-oficial with ten other languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, and Xhosa), but also in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The Zulu language counts about 10.3 million speakers.

List of numbers in Zulu

Here is a list of numbers in Zulu. We have made for you a list with all the numbers in Zulu from 1 to 20. We have also included the tens up to the number 100, so that you know how to count up to 100 in Zulu. We also close the list by showing you what the number 1000 looks like in Zulu.

  • 1) kunye
  • 2) kubili
  • 3) kuthathu
  • 4) kune
  • 5) kuhlanu
  • 6) isithupha
  • 7) isikhombisa
  • 8) isishiyagalombili
  • 9) isishiyagalolunye
  • 10) ishumi
  • 11) ishumi nanye
  • 12) ishumi nambili
  • 13) ishumi nantathu
  • 14) ishumi nane
  • 15) ishumi nanhlanu
  • 16) ishumi nesithupha
  • 17) ishumi nesikhombisa
  • 18) ishumi nesishiyagalombili
  • 19) ishumi nesishiyagalolunye
  • 20) amashumi amabili
  • 30) amashumi amathathu
  • 40) amashumi amane
  • 50) amashumi amahlanu
  • 60) amashumi ayisithupha
  • 70) amashumi ayisikhombisa
  • 80) amashumi ayisishiyagalombili
  • 90) amashumi ayisishiyagalolunye
  • 100) ikhulu
  • 1,000) inkulungwane
  • one million) isigidi

Numbers in Zulu: Zulu numbering rules

Each culture has specific peculiarities that are expressed in its language and its way of counting. The Zulu is no exception. If you want to learn numbers in Zulu you will have to learn a series of rules that we will explain below. If you apply these rules you will soon find that you will be able to count in Zulu with ease.

The way numbers are formed in Zulu is easy to understand if you follow the rules explained here. Surprise everyone by counting in Zulu. Also, learning how to number in Zulu yourself from these simple rules is very beneficial for your brain, as it forces it to work and stay in shape. Working with numbers and a foreign language like Zulu at the same time is one of the best ways to train our little gray cells, so let's see what rules you need to apply to number in Zulu

  • Digits from zero to nine are specific words, namely iqanda [0], kunye [1], kubili [2], kuthathu [3], kune [4], kuhlanu (or isihlanu) [5], isithupha [6], isikhombisa [7], isishiyagalombili [8], and isishiyagalolunye [9]. The one to five digits are actually roots prefixed with ku when used in general counting, such as the digits five (its second form) to nine, which are prefixed with isi.
  • When compound, the unit root is prefixed with either na, nam, nan or nes depending on its first letter. Thus the compound digits are: nanye [1], nambili [2], nantathu [3], nane [4], nanhlanu (or nesihlanu) [5], nesithupha [6], nesikhombisa [7], nesishiyagalombili [8], and nesishiyagalolunye [9].
  • The tens are formed by putting the word amashumi (plural form of ishumi, ten) before the multiplier digit separated with a space, except for ten itself: ishumi [10], amashumi amabili [20], amashumi amathathu [30], amashumi amane [40], amashumi amahlanu [50], amashumi ayisithupha [60], amashumi ayisikhombisa [70], amashumi ayisishiyagalombili [80], and amashumi ayisishiyagalolunye [90].
  • Compound numbers are formed by saying the ten, then the compound unit form, separated with a space (e.g.: ishumi nesikhombisa [17], amashumi amahlanu nesishiyagalolunye [59]).
  • The hundreds are built stating the word for hundred (ikhulu, and amakhulu in plural), then the multiplier digit root prefixed with either ama or ay depending on its first letter, separated with a space, except for one hundred itself: ikhulu [100], amakhulu amabili [200], amakhulu amathathu [300], amakhulu amane [400], amakhulu amahlanu [500], amakhulu ayisithupha [600], amakhulu ayisikhombisa [700], amakhulu ayisishiyagalombili [800], and amakhulu ayisishiyagalolunye [900].
  • The thousands follow the same structure, the word for thousand being inkulungwane (which plural is izinkulungwane), the unit prefix being either ezim or ezin: inkulungwane [1,000], izinkulungwane ezimbili [2,000], izinkulungwane ezintathu [3,000], izinkulungwane ezine [4,000], izinkulungwane ezinhlanu [5,000], izinkulungwane eziyisithupha [6,000], izinkulungwane eziyisikhombisa [7,000], izinkulungwane eziyisishiyagalombili [8,000], and izinkulungwane eziyisishiyagalolunye [9,000].
  • Higher scale numbers are: isigidi (106, million), which plural form is izigidi, then we have ibhiliyoni or isigidimbili (109, billion), ithriliyoni or isigidintathu (1012, trillion), ikhwadriliyoni (1015, quadrillion), and ikhwintiliyoni (1018, quintillion).
  • Multilingual mathematics dictionary grade R (pdf)
  • Numbers in different languages