Tenuis alveolar click

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(Tenuis) alveolar click
ǃ
ʗ
IPA number 178
Encoding
Entity (decimal) ǃ​ʗ
Unicode (hex) U+01C3 U+0297
Kirshenbaum c![1]
Unicode character name for ǃ is LATIN LETTER RETROFLEX CLICK
Sound
Main article: Alveolar clicks

The voiceless or more precisely tenuis (post)alveolar 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 ǃ. The Doke/Beach convention, adopted for a time by the IPA and still preferred by some linguists, is ʗ.

Features[edit]

Features of the tenuis (post)alveolar 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 voiceless, unaspirated, and unglottalized, which means it is produced without vibration or constriction of the vocal cords, and any following vowel starts without significant delay.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • 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]

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

Language Word IPA Meaning
Zulu iqaqa [iːǃáːǃa] = [iːʗáːʗa] polecat
Xhosa iqanda [iǃanda] = [iʗanda] egg
Sesotho ho qoqa [hoǃɔǃɑ] = [hoʗɔʗɑ] to examine
Hadza laqo [laǃo] = [laʗo] to trip
Khoekhoe ǃgabe [ǃȁwé] = [ʗȁwé] to speak a Saan language

Notes[edit]

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