Alveolar nasal click

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Alveolar nasal click
ǃ̃
ᵑǃ
ʗ̃
ᵑʗ
Encoding
Kirshenbaum n.! (n^!)[1]
Main articles: Alveolar clicks and nasal clicks

The (post)alveolar nasal click is a click consonant found primarily among the languages of southern Africa. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ǃ̃ or ᵑǃ; a symbol abandoned by the IPA but still preferred by some linguists is ʗ̃ or ᵑʗ.

Features[edit]

Features of the (post)alveolar nasal click:

  • The airstream mechanism is lingual ingressive (also known as velaric ingressive), which means a pocket of air trapped between two closures is rarefied by a "sucking" action of the tongue, rather than being moved by the glottis or the lungs/diaphragm. The release of the forward closure produces the "click" sound. Voiced and nasal clicks have a simultaneous pulmonic egressive airstream.
  • Its place of articulation is alveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, termed respectively apical and laminal.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation. However, in some languages (like Swiss German) it can just mean that this consonant is pronounced shorter and weaker than its voiceless counterpart, while its voicedness or lack thereof is not relevant. In such cases it's more accurate to call such sounds lenis or lax.
  • It is a nasal consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the nose, either exclusively (nasal stops) or in addition to through the mouth.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.

Occurrence[edit]

Alveolar nasal clicks are found primarily in the various Khoisan language families of southern Africa and in some neighboring Bantu languages.

Language Word IPA Meaning
Khoekhoe xuruǃomǃnâ [xȕɾúᵑǃˀóm̀ᵑǃã̀ã̀] = [xȕɾúʗ̃ˀóm̀ʗ̃ã̀ã̀] to yank at s.t.
ǃKung an [ᵑǃáŋ] = [ʗ̃áŋ] inside
Zulu inqola [iᵑǃɔ́ːla] = [iʗ̃ɔ́ːla] cart
Hadza henqee [ɦeŋᵑǃeʔe] = [ɦeŋʗ̃eʔe] dead leopard
Damin n!2u [ᵑǃᵑǃu] = [ʗ̃ʗ̃u] water, liquid

Glottalized alveolar nasal click[edit]

Glottalized
alveolar nasal click
ǃ̃ˀ
ᵑǃ͡ʔ
ᵑ̊ǃˀ
ʗ̃͡ʔ
ᵑʗˀ
Main article: Glottalized clicks

All Khoisan languages, and a few Bantu languages, have glottalized nasal clicks. These are formed by closing the glottis so that the click is pronounced in silence; however, any preceding vowel will be nasalized.

Language Word IPA Meaning
Khoekhoe xuruǃomǃnâ [xȕɾúᵑǃˀóm̀ᵑǃã̀ã̀] = [xȕɾúʗ̃ˀóm̀ʗ̃ã̀ã̀] to yank at s.t.
Hadza teqqe [teᵑǃˀe] = [teʗ̃ˀe] to carry
Xhosa ukuqhankqalaza [ukʼuǃʰaᵑǃˀalaza] = [ukʼuʗʰaʗ̃ˀalaza] to struggle

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kirshembaum assigns n^! indifferently to both alveolar and palatal clicks.