Tenuis alveolar lateral click

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(Tenuis) alveolar lateral click
ǁ
ʖ
IPA number 180, 203
Encoding
Entity (decimal) ǁ​ʖ
Unicode (hex) U+01C1 U+0296
Kirshenbaum l![1]
Sound

The voiceless or more precisely tenuis alveolar lateral 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 ǁ. The Doke/Beach convention, adopted for a time by the IPA and still preferred by some linguists, is ʖ.[2]

Features[edit]

Features of the tenuis alveolar lateral 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 lateral consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream over the sides of the tongue, rather than down the middle.

Occurrence[edit]

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

Language Word IPA Meaning
Zulu xoxa [ǁɔ́ːǁa] = [ʖɔ́ːʖa] to converse
Hadza exekeke [ʔeǁekeke] = [ʔeʖekeke] to listen
Khoekhoe ǂamǁgû [ᵑǂ͡ʔàm̀ǁṹṹ] = [ǂ̃ˀàm̀ʖṹṹ] to inadvertently bite a hard object

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kirshenbaum, Evan. "FAQ: Representing IPA Phonetics in ASCII (Appendix D)". 
  2. ^ Styled as either a digit 5 with the top removed, or an inverted glottal stop ʔ. It perhaps derives from a cedilla written the size of a full letter.