Palatal nasal click

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Palatal nasal click
ǂ̃
ᵑǂ
Encoding
Kirshenbaum n^!
Main articles: Palatal clicks and nasal clicks

The palatal 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 ǂ̃ or ᵑǂ. (Variations of the latter include ŋǂ and ǂŋ.)

Features[edit]

Features of the palatal 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 palatal, which means it is articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised to the hard palate.
  • 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]

Palatal nasal clicks are only found in the various Khoisan languages families of southern Africa and in the neighboring Yeyi language.

Language Word IPA Meaning
Khoekhoe ǂnauǃhuiǂgui [ᵑǂə̀űᵑ̊ǃʰȕíǂȕí] = [ʄ̃ə̀űǃ̥̃ʰȕíʄ̬ȕí] to give s.o. a bloody nose
Naro ntcùú qhuri c’õa
(ùú qhuri c’õa)
[ᵑǂǔːǃʰūɾīŋǀˀõ̯ã] = [ʄ̃ǔːʗʰūɾīŋʇˀõ̯ã] the Milky Way
Taa ǂnûm [ᵑǂûm] = [ʄ̃ûm] two
Gǀui [ᵑǂâː] = [ʄ̃âː] to stare

Glottalized alveolar nasal click[edit]

Glottalized
palatal nasal click
ǂ̃ˀ
ᵑǂ͡ʔ
ᵑ̊ǂˀ
ᵑǂˀ
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 ǂamǁgû [ᵑǂ͡ʔàm̀ǁṹṹ] = [ǂ̃ˀàm̀ǁṹṹ] to inadvertently bite a hard object
Naro tc’úú-tc’ùù
(ç’úú-ç’ùù)
[ǂˀúːŋǂˀùː] to paint
Gǀui [ᵑǂ͡ʔáː] = [ǂ̃ˀáː] to hide (oneself)
Yeyi [makʰweᵑǂˀumu] sunrise

Notes[edit]