The University of KwaZulu-Natal has made history by publishing a first ever Glossary of Law terms in the isiZulu language.

The Law Glossary will allow legal studies to be more accessible to isiZulu speakers. This forms part of an initiative to develop isiZulu as an academic language.

Through its language policy, UKZN has taken the initiative to develop isiZulu as a vehicle of knowledge production and knowledge dissemination. The Glossary will assist with the inclusion of isiZulu in the learning and teaching of legal studies.

Glossary co-author, Khulekani Zondo, says they have discovered that some students have language barriers.

“What we discover is that most of the students have actual certain linguistic barriers and the grasp being concepted that is being taught to them. So we decided to actually create a glossary which will aid them to actually understand a little bit better during the course of learning and teaching.”

The institution says the Glossary will offer isiZulu first language speakers an opportunity to better understand legal terms translated from the English language. Professor Langa Khumalo says that they want practitioners to embrace the terminologies.

“We really want the practitioners and the language speakers of isiZulu to embrace the terminologies and use it in the practice of their varied disciplines. And in this case, in the practice of law so that the terminologies can be part and parcel of the legal discourse in the country and so that language can be accessed very easily by the speakers of both English and isiZulu.”

Law students are excited about the Glossary.

“This will not only be beneficial to the litigants only, it will also be beneficial to law students themselves because we have law students who are using isiZulu as home language so they will be comfortable to represent their clients using their indigenous language.”

In a move to make isiZulu more accessible, the university had four years ago introduced a compulsory isiZulu module for communication for all undergraduates who are not first speakers of the language.

One of the stated aims of the university is for isiZulu to eventually achieve the same institutional and academic status as English.