Fanagalo (Fanakalo)

Fanagalo is a Zulu-based Pidgin, which emerged during the 19th century in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. In addition to Zulu, it also has some vocabulary from English and Afrikaans. The number of speakers is uncertain, being estimated as several hundred thousand in 1975, according to Ethnologue.

Fanagalo is spoken mainly among miners of gold, diamonds, coal and copper in South Africa. It is also used to a lesser extent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. It is used as a lingua franca between people who come from various countries and have no other common language.

The name Fanagalo means something like "do it like this". It is also known as Pidgin Zulu, Fanakalo, Fanekolo, Isikula, Lololo, Isilololo, Piki, Isipiki or Silunguboi. In Zimbabwe it is known as Chilapalapa, and is influenced by Shona. In Zambia it is called Cikabanga, and has influences from Bemba.

Fanagalo alphabet

Fanagalo alphabet

Fanagalo pronunciation

Fanagalo pronunciation

Download an alphabet chart for Fanagalo (Excel)

Information about Fanagalo pronunciation compiled by Wolfram Siegel

Sample text in Fanagalo

Zonke nyoni pezulu yena khala kakhulu
Skat izwile yen' ifile inyoni Cocky Lobin
Skat izwile yen' ifile, skat izwile yen' ifile Cocky Lobin
Ubani bulalile Cocky Lobin? Mina kuluma lo sparrow
Indaba ka lo bow and arrow ka mina, mina bulalile Cocky Lobin.


All the birds above, they cry loudly/a lot
When they heard he was dead, the bird Cocky Lobin
When they heard he was dead, when they heard he was dead Cocky Lobin
Who killed Cocky Lobin? I said the sparrow
Because of the bow and arrow of mine, I killed Cocky Lobin

Sample text and translation provided by Philip Taylor

Sample video in Fanagalo

Information about Fanagalo | Numbers


Information about Fanagalo

Pidgins and Creoles

Betawi, Bislama, Cape Verdean Creole, Chavacano, Chinook Jargon, Dominican Creole French, Fanagalo, French Guianese Creole, Guadeloupean Creole, Guinea-Bissau Creole, Haitian Creole, Jamaican, Kituba, Manado Malay, Mauritian Creole, Nagamese, Ndyuka, Norfuk, Nubi, Palenquero, Papiamento, Pijin, Réunion Creole, Sango, Saramaccan, Seychelles Creole, Sierra Leonean Creole, Singlish, Sranan, Saint Lucian Creole, Tok Pisin, Torres-Strait Creole

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 23.04.21


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