Monday, May 16, 2011

Zulu words to opening verse of "Circle of Life," Lion King song


Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba[Here comes a lion, Father]
Sithi uhm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Ingonyama
Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]
Ingonyama
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [A lion and a leopard come to this open place]
---

The opening lyrics of “The Circle of Life” are lines translated into and sung in A REAL LANGUAGE; one that is spoken by over 10 million people, including 95% of South Africa. The opening of “The Circle of Life” is in Zulu, the language of the Zulu people.

The verse above contains the actual words, along with the English translation.

112 comments:

  1. Hahaha you guys are stupid and naive to think that 95% of south Africans speak Zulu, we have 11 official languages in south africa, Zulu 23%.

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    1. I'm stupid, but still think your stupid, so imagine how stupid you must be, imagine that, and more!

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    2. Actually, the Wikipedia article on isiZulu was just misquoted here - it says that 95% of the +10 million people who speak Zulu are South African. Anyway, you can't expect people outside of South Africa to know the finer details of the demographics of our country; especially when most of them think we all live in the veld and only know we even exist because of Apartheid and vuvuzelas.

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    3. arguing on the internet is like running in the special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded xD (qoute from... someone)

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    4. 23% of your 11 languages are Zulu? so that's like ~2½ of the official languages

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    5. 23% of the people in South Africa speak Zulu. There are 11 official languages of South Africa. You are extremely stupid.

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    6. wikipida is untrusted because anyone can edit

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    7. Likewise, anyone can check, revert or modify those edits. It's far from a free-for-all, and I suggest you research how wikis work before you make such naive statements.

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    8. Arguing with myself.

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    9. Just because they got the facts wrong doesn't mean they are stupid. They were just misinformed

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    10. No one should ever truly believe wiki. As a high school student, our teachers even tell us not to rely on that when doing research. People can change the information I've seen it myself. Let's be smart please. If someone who is actually from Africa tells you about their country, it's way more reliable. Instead of disagreeing you should take the info and add it to your knowledge.

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    11. Legitimate wiki articles are sited at the bottom. Use the Wiki, but quote the sited article. Problem solved.

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    12. you guys our dum theres no such plase as south africa its one big continent just called africa

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    13. That made me die on the inside. Just a bit.

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    14. There's absolutely no hope for you!! (talking about AnonymousApril 22, 2014 at 8:36 PM).

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    15. you guys realize you're arguing over a disney song right?

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    16. It is not nice to call someone stupid.

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    17. I am reading these comments in an Michael Blacksons voice lol

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  2. I think they meant southern Africa as opposed to South Africa the country. Just saying.

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    1. Southern Africa (the area) is called the Sub-Sahara

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    2. Sub-Saharan Africa isn't the same as Southern Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa includes West and East Africa as well. But you're right, the writer was talking about Southern Africa (either Zulu, dialects or related languages). Though not even 95% of the Eastern Cape speak it.

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    3. Nobody in the Eastern Cape talks Zulu, they talk Xhosa, which is related!

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  3. Doesnt matter what percent speak it, only matters that people know it's not jibberish or made up nonsense words. Why do men always seem to want to fight?

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    1. Fuck you, sexist asshole.

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    2. Fuck you for not knowing that the will to fight is a genetic trait passed to most men, men start wars, over religion and pride, more often then not men kill for the same reasons outside of battle. Men are the more violent of the species by genetic default, when confrontation arises you 1 of 2 instincts fight or flight, no one runs away on the Internet because we all for some reason think we're right. That why men argue online that's why women argue online, but that's mostly why stupid men start fights over really stupid shot like this, because they have no real fight to go be in. Whether they are to weak or to stupid, they need something to scratch that itch. Notice how women don't really argue like men do either they throw out fact

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    3. They throw out fact for hurtful lies, till they need facts to back what they are spitting. Men use all the facts up at the beginning then use loud and robust vocals while repeating their argument in as many different ways as possible till one side gives up.

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    4. What? Please gather your thoughts and form a cogent argument before responding to the trolls. And I think I speak for all women when I say please stop defending me.

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    5. it was still a great movie

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  4. I would like to know what are the African words at the very beginning, not only the voices from the back.

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    1. are you an idiot? that is the entire translation...

      The only parts not translated are repeats of things already translated.

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    2. No, there is more at the beginning. Watch the bloody movie again. The yelling part when the sun rises.

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    3. That's what this is a translation of...there is no other zulu part. The rest of the background bit is just a repeat of the last line over and over.

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    4. It's that you need to know how africans chant their lines: very often they tend to glow together pieces of different words just to let flow the harmony.
      If you want to sing (more appropriately, chant) the first line you should go like this:

      Naaaaa ntsingonya mabagi thiBaba (Sithi)
      uhmmmm ingooonyama

      So you simply misunderstood that what is written in the post it's effectively the correct text of the chant, only, sang different from western kind of singing.
      Regards

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    5. This helped a lot. lol

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  5. It's beautiful. And it's wonderful that everyone here was interested in this amazing work of art. So, peace out friends.

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  6. Actually, it is Swahili not Zulu.

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    1. The CD Rhythm of the Pridelands states that the music is Swahili. Actually, all the words come from the Swahili language in the movie. Watch the behind the scenes on the DVDs. It will tell you there too.

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    2. At least there one smart person in here. And he/she has proof

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    3. It's Zulu, I should know. Even though there is Swahili in the movie, (Simba=lion Rafiki=friend Hakuna Matata=No worries) the song itself is in Zulu with and exception of a few phrases in Swahili. ^_^

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    4. I'm afraid he's right, I speak Swahili and these lyrics are not from Swahili. The languages aren't too dissimilar, and 'baba' also means 'father' in Swahili. But these lyrics were written by the South African lebo M, and are most likely written in Zulu.
      The CD will say that because Swahili is the east African language and culture and the majority of the soundtrack is influenced by traditional east African music. The chant in Circle of Life however is in Zulu (not sure why with little Zulu spoken anywhere in east Africa).
      Either way, this song and the entire show is a piece of musical and theatrical genius!!
      Another interesting piece of Swahili used in the films which not many people know about is 'Pumbaa' which translates to 'simpleton' or 'thoughtless', which suits the character I think :p

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    5. Thats so cool u speak that...

      When i was little i would sing: "Allabenya lalabeeshya lalaba!"

      Haha. Always wanted 2 know what the real words were... DREAM COME TRUE!!! Sometimes i get so weird i even freak myself out...

      (:From another anonymous person who looked up the words from lion king:)

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    6. This is amazing ↑

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    7. yes, most are right here, the kizulu word for "lion" is ingoyama, and most of us here know that the kiswahili word for "lion" is Simba (hence the name of the main character. you can bet your boots if you type these words into google translator, it'll tell you that the language is zulu. another fun face: the song rafiki sings is "asante sana, squashed banana, wenwe nugu, mimi napana!" which translated as; thank you very much, squashed banana, you're a baboon (and) i'm not!

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    8. I always sang "pink pajamas penguins on the bottom" haha.

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    9. its Zulu . I take Zulu as a 2nd language along with pedi , swazi , english , vanda and xhosa.believe me its zulu . and for those who want to know thew real word when the lady shouts is " Glory , Glory to the Lion ... Th king "

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    10. In response:
      "Thats so cool u speak that...

      When i was little i would sing: "Allabenya lalabeeshya lalaba!"

      Haha. Always wanted 2 know what the real words were... DREAM COME TRUE!!! Sometimes i get so weird i even freak myself out...

      (:From another anonymous person who looked up the words from lion king:)"

      TRUTH.
      I definitely sang:
      "AAAAHHH SEBETNYA DADABEESEEDABABA"

      Actually knowing it is surreal.
      THANKS

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  7. haha! you're right!

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  8. what a beautiful translation...and i love the lion and leopard come to this open place line.

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  9. what would you do if you saw a swallow swallowing a swallow in one swallow...

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    1. I'd wonder what the world has come to as I shake my head sadly.

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    2. Get ready to do the Heimlich maneuver on a bird.

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  10. One interesting ting from the above fight over the Swahili or Zulu renditions of the song is that I've learnt how similar African languages are to Hindi (Indian). Baba means Father in Hindi too and Simba actually means Lion (Simha: derived from Sanskrit- the mother of all Indian languages). Thus irrespective of the language, the essence of the song remains wonderful to all. Enjoy it folks.

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    1. Baba means father in arabic too :)

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    2. Actually, the baba/mama thing is pretty universal among all languages. (another example: mandarin chinese and english mom) Presumably, it is derived from the baby gibberish that eventually seeped into the languages.

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  11. very nice, but how is it pronounced? it sounds different in the song.
    i don"t understand the last bit though, with the leopard.

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    1. i had a hard time with the pronunciation too, i'm not an expert, but i thing the "ingo" in "ingoyama" is pronounced like "win" sounds wierd, but if you listen to the song, it makes sense

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  12. Best Disney work ever to be thought of and produced. It shouldn't matter the language used. Only thing is that it is, without a doubt, a great song

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  13. I am so happy I finally know what this song is singing. Those definitely were not the words I used when I was younger though. And I think the song sounds so much better in the language they use. The translation is kind of lame. But the language is beautiful.

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  14. NAAAAAAA TSIBENYAAAAAAA BABABITHIBABAAA..... I always sung it like this haha O_o

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  15. Really ppl who cares. It's a beautiful movie... Get over yourselves...

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    1. What a stupid comment. Obviously everybody cares except you. People should know (if they didn't already) that it's a real language. And many people want to learn to sing it correctly because they like to sing Disney songs and this is a particularly cool part of a song. It's a beautiful song in a beautiful language in a beautiful movie. With names that have meanings in other languages. Get out of your US box a little! Other cultures, languages and some knowledge and awareness wont bite you, I promise!

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  16. I honestly don't care if it's swahili or zulu i just wanted the translation XD

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  17. At the risk of sounding argumentative as so many here have been...

    BASIC ENGLISH:

    Your - Possession, belonging to you
    You're - Contraction for you are

    It's not your cool or your not...the people in question do not possess cool or not. You're cool - you are cool or you are not.

    If you say your right, then maybe you mean something like the 2nd amendment - your right to bear arms? If you say you're right - then you are saying the person is correct.

    Again, basic English.

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    1. Grammar Nazi much. Your ridiculous ;D

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    2. YOU'RE ridiculous

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    3. Hahahahahahaha... Awesome. Seriously people, basic English... Ignoring the fundamental elements of your first language is the first huge step toward societal regression... I mean, I know it's the internet, but can't you try just a little?

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  18. Black people are from Africa

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    1. Get your life together. Not all black people are from Africa. Everyone came from Africa If your speaking of the first humans, then yes. That's like saying all white people are from Ireland or all Asians are from China.

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    2. its more like saying all Asians are from Asia, and whites are from Europe since when he says Black I'm assuming he's using Black as a general term.

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    3. Ancestrally, though, black people do come from Africa... You can't equate it to saying whites are from Ireland or Asians from China because those are countries, not continents. "Black" and "White" are informal names for ethnicities, while many ethnicities are represented in the general term "Asian" as a continental idendification.

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    4. All orange people are from pink peoples' yellow peoples' green red spot on the blue black dot. Rainbow people reign supreme. All other people of any single color deserve to fall from a cliff in slow motion when Scar retracts his claws.

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  19. I've always wanted to know the words, and I'm glad that this site could give them to me in a way that everybody can understand.
    Thank you so much!

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  20. First-language Zulu-speaker here. A few corrections:

    -- It's "bakithi" not "bagiti".

    -- "Ingonyama nengw' enamabala" means "a lion and a leopard that has spots", not "a lion and leopard come to this open place". I see how you might have made this error though: "amabala" are spots, while "ibala" is an open (typically earthen) yard. The singular present participle of the verb "to have", "ukuba na-" (i.e. "to be with -"), is "ena-" (i.e. "that has -"). When prefixed to "amabala", you get "enamabala" (i.e. "that has spots" or "that is spotted").

    -- The repeated phrase under the English lyric is "ingonyama; ingw' enamabala" (the conjugation "and" drops away, leaving the repeated chant, "lion; spotted leopard".

    -- "-Ngonyama" is the chief traditional title of the (male) Zulu monarch, and distinguishes the idiomatic, honourific use of "[The] Lion", from "-bhubesi", the common word for "lion". To a Zulu speaker, the difference (though playful) is key, and inflects the lyric with an entirely different semantic quality to that which I imagine English speakers receive upon hearing the introduction.

    You're welcome.

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    1. Thank you for the detailed explanation. I am an American learner of the Zulu language. I recognized the lyric as Zulu right away, but I still struggle with the complex noun-verb class system. And I did not know about the other connotation of the word lion. That's important. Can you elaborate? Again, thank you very much.

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    2. So, in the context of the movie, was the lyrical use of "Ingonyama" in the song meant to be a subtle double meaning? As in meaning both "here comes a lion" and "Here comes the King"? Because in this case, the king IS a lion..... If it does, that was a very clever lyrical twist. well played Lebo M.....

      Is there any cultural context to the leopard as it pertains to this song?

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    3. Finally somebody who really talks Zulu;)
      Nami ngiyasikhuluma.
      The writer above is right, it doesn't mean Leopard in open spaces, it's Leopard with spots.

      People should listen to Zulu speakers and the author here should change the lyrics on top!

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  21. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1j68JW5yao

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  22. Well that escalated quickly?

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  23. I had to sing this as a choir piece. Straight from disney. These are the correct lyrics. These are ALL the lyrics that are not english in The Circle Of Life.

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  24. Wow. I stumbled across this because my 8 yr old was singing it as "aye virginia... konichiwa". And I felt the need to find the correct words for her. I found much more than that here. :-)

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    1. Oh my goodness that sounds like something I would have sung!!! Too funny! :)

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  25. does anybody know if the intro comes from an orginal zulu chant? I mean did the composers just invented it?

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  26. I am from East Africa and speak Swahili and couldn't help but smile when I read a word from one of the replies that is an actual word in my tribal language "Bagiti" which translates to a "packet" (of something) :-)

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    1. OMG!! Me too!! (kikuyu) ;)

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  27. lion king was my childhood agh omg :'( sniff sniff

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  28. "asante sana, squashed banana, wenwe nugu, mimi napana!" which translated as; thank you very much, squashed banana, you're a baboon (and) i'm not!

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  29. THE CIRCLE OF LIFE IS RUBBING MY ASS RAW!

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  30. -=-In my search for lyrics and pronunciation, I found this to be useful:-=-
    "Here is the memorable Zulu piece which is featured at the beginning of the Lion King movie in the song Circle of Life."
    (COLORS CAN BE SEEN ON ACTUAL SOURCE SITE GIVEN AT BOTTOM OF THIS COMMENT)
    "-The ORANGE text signifies the lyrics as they are written in the native language.
    -The GREEN signifies the pronunciation that I gathered from watching and re-watching the movie with the lyric text in front of me.
    -The BOLD signifies the parts which the lead singer sings. The text in (unbolded parentheses) indicates the parts sung by the background chorus. In these cases I have put one beneath the other for faithful chronological timing.
    -Some letters appear in [brackets]. This is because some of the pronunciation seems to be a hard-to-decipher mix between two sounds. Also, some sounds seem barely present, but present enough so to recognize it.
    -In many places the background chorus parts overlay the lead-singers parts.
    -Yes, I realize that the word ingonyama is pronounced different ways at different points in the song, but hey, that's what I heard when they sung it each time. I'm sure there's some reason why they altered the pronunciation different times.

    Without further ado:

    Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
    Naaaants een-ven-yaaaaaaa ma ba-gee-tee ba-va

    (Sithi uhhmm ingonyama)
    see-tee ohhmm wven-yan-o-way
    ...........................................o-wyay-o-when-yamaaaaa

    Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
    Naaaants een-ven-yah ma-ba-va-gee-tee ba-vooooooo

    .............................................................................. (Sithi uhhmm)
    ..............................................................................(see-tee ohhmm)

    ingonyama
    een-wven-ya-maaa

    ........................Ingonyama
    ........................(een-vohn-yaa)

    (???)
    Hi-yol-va

    ........................Ingonyama
    ........................(whven-ya-maaa)

    Siyo Nqoba
    See-yo-m[n]oke-a-vie

    ........................ Ingonyama
    ........................ (whven-ya-maaaaaa)

    Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (x9)
    een-wven-ya-ma [p]ang-wan amuh-ba-la (x9)

    -----

    I'd suggest you watch the movie yourself with this guide in front of you to see how it goes exactly (different intonations, volume, tempo, etc.). "

    (source: http://izn.fr.yuku.com/topic/54#.UrCFb7B3vwo)

    (I am no expert, nor do I speak the language, nor am I the author of this information, but it was just helpful for me to get an idea of the pronunciation and placement of this (beautiful, to me) language. I just hope sharing this is helpful here, and not something for others to criticize, nit pick at, tear apart or be negative about. AGAIN, please see the actual source regarding the "colors" and "bolding" info above.Thank you and have a nice day. :) )

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  31. So many arguments :) I was just looking for the translation. Thank you by the way!

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  32. Lol! Finally, I can act out Mufasa in my play! I have to sing this!

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  33. Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
    Sithi uhm ingonyama
    Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
    Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
    Ingonyama
    Siyo Nqoba
    Ingonyama
    Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (very fucking loud) !!! So shut the heck up and stop arguing. Acuna matta?.

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  34. Blaaahhhh bl-blah blah... blah-blah-blah... blah-blah-blah.... blah blah blah blaaaah....

    Pretty sure it translates to, "In... a-few-years... people-will fight-about... this in a blog...

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  35. what the hell is going on in the comments

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  36. I thought they was saying Noyama..

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    1. That is because you don't Zulu!

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  37. The viral video of the Lion King Australia cast brought me here. Thanks for the lyrics! There is one line that one of the female Australian singers sang that I don't see here or on any of the lyric sites I've come across. It sounds like "ka za ree ba oh, tecky aka lay ka" and it comes right before another singer saying "woosh" then the iconic "naaaants ingonyama bagithi baba" line.

    Any clue what that line is? Thanks!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgSLxl1oAwA

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  38. Wah-mah meh hane ya
    Wah mah meh niche e ya

    that's what my son (then 8) sang as he held his new kitten up to the world

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  39. YAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  40. Yeah cuz wikipedi is god and knows everything

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  41. The translation is on Disney's Official Lyric Video, so if its wrong contact Disney.

    We Hail the Lion

    The Royal Lion
    Wears his leopard spots

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtN8_9Jc1I8

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