[Course Forum] Zulu Nouns by davident

This forum is about the following course:


Let’s write our questions, comments and suggestions. I hereby invite the course creator @davident to join the conversation.


I have noted two little typos in this course.

I believe that :

  • “window” translates as ifasitela and not ifasitele
  • “tree” translates as isihlahla and not isihlala

@davident it would be great if you could fix it :slight_smile: unless I am wrong in which case I’ll welcome any explanation/confirmation!


Hi again,

I would like to debate the translation of the word uphuthu.

The word uphuthu is translated as “pap” in this course. However, I think this translation is not appropriate and here is why:

Zulu people typically make three types of dish with mealie-meal.

  • “Porridge” (iphalishi) is made using a lot of water to obtain a very soft consistency.
  • “Pap” (ipaphi) is much thicker and firm.
  • uphuthu is made using very little water, it is quite dry and crumbly.

I am not sure about the zulu word for “pap” (as in firm porridge), many Zulu people use the word ipaphi with the final “i” basically silent in pronunciation, but as this is obviously borrowed from Afrikaans maybe there is another word? Wikipedia suggests “ugali”, but I doubt this word is much used in isiZulu…?
Well, actually, same with iphalishi which also sounds borrowed from English.

Despite the loans in the vocabulary, the distinction between the three dishes is very strong in Zulu culture (to my knowledge), therefore my point is that uphuthu cannot be simply translated as “pap”!

Here is a list of potential translations in English:

  • phuthu, or putu for pronunciation’s sake
  • phuthu/putu-pap
  • crumbly pap
  • …?

Please feel free to add your suggestions and share your opinion on how to translate the word uphuthu in English :slight_smile:

hi I differ from the modern perceptionthat the word Phuthu means krummelpap-from my upbringing i learnt puthu means different in zulu and in xhosa.In Xhosa is a thin porridge and in Zulu its a dry porridge or any porridge made thinner with Maas or Mageau.It became fashion to call the dry crumbly pap Putupap even before it was mixed with Maas