A Cultural Grammar for Beginners


Xhosa—A Cultural Grammar for Beginners presumes that a language cannot be fully understood apart from the culture and history of its people.

Extensively researched chapters give an historical overview of the amaXhosa and explore the roots of their language.
Topics include traditional dress, early agriculture and religion, the naming of seasons, towns, birds and animals as well as the role Christian missionaries played in developing an orthography. Beads and their cultural significance are described, and traditional poetry explained.

An explanation of the grammar is given against this background of culture and history.




Published by African Sun Press
ISBN 1 874915 03 2
208 pages
(Temporarily out of print)


“This is more than a grammar. It is also a compendium of Xhosa culture, traditions and nature lore. This book is a unique achievment in South African literature.”
~ Dr Jeff Peires
“Without understanding there can be no friendship. If one wishes to understand a people one must identify oneself with them. One mus study their language, customs and culture. To do this with the amaXhosa of today, one must know something of them as they were in the past and as one may yet meet them in their own territories.”
~ Joan Broster
“Xhosa—A Cultural Grammar for Beginners is an extraordinary resource. Not only does it give a thorough explanation and analysis of Xhosa grammar and syntax, but it places the language in context of Xhosa history and culture. In this way it makes the language far more accessible to second language learners. It was written during apartheid and presented a courageous and sympathetic depiction of a language generally ignored by the dominant society.”
~ Bridget Impey, Publishing Director, Jacana Media, 2010
“A generous, wide-thinking book.”
~ Jay Heale, Bookchat