Zulu 12 - Counting

Bala means to count.

I still don’t know how to count in Hindi, in spite of screening films such as Aankhen and Roop Rahungi.  Counting in Zulu is based on your hands.

ZULU
ENGLISH
HAND MOVEMENTS
kunye
one
One finger in your first hand.
kubili
two
Two fingers in your first hand.
kuthathu
three
Three fingers in your first hand.
kune
four
Four fingers in your first hand.
kuhlanu
five
Five fingers in your first hand.
isithupha
six
The thumb in your second hand.
is’khombisa
seven
This is the pointing finger to point is ‘khomba’ in Zulu.
isishiya galombili
eight
There are two fingers left in your second hand.
isishiya galolunye
nine
There is one finger left in your second hand.
ishumi
ten
Both hands are full.  We even clap both hands to say ten.

SAMPLE CONVERSATION
I wonder if day-care centres still have the nursery rhyme about counting.  Start your own.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness the novel.

 

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