|Voiced palatal click|
|Palatal nasal click|
The palatal or palato-alveolar clicks are a family of click consonants found, as components of words, only in southern Africa. The tongue is nearly flat, and is pulled back rather than down as in the postalveolar clicks, making a sharper sound than those consonants. ('Sharper' meaning that the energy is concentrated at higher frequencies.) The tongue makes an extremely broad contact across the roof of the mouth, making correlation with the places of articulation of non-clicks difficult, but Ladefoged & Traill (1984:18) find that the primary place of articulation is the palate, and say that "there is no doubt that [ǂ] should be described as a palatal sound".
The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the place of articulation of these sounds is ⟨ǂ⟩, a double-barred vertical bar. An older variant, the double-barred esh, ⟨⟩ (⨎), is sometimes seen. This base letter is combined with a second element to indicate the manner of articulation, though that is commonly omitted for tenuis clicks.
In official IPA transcription, the click letter is combined with a ⟨k ɡ ŋ q ɢ ɴ⟩ via a tie bar, though ⟨k⟩ is frequently omitted. Many authors instead use a superscript ⟨k ɡ ŋ q ɢ ɴ⟩ without the tie bar, again often neglecting the ⟨k⟩. Either letter, whether baseline or superscript, is usually placed before the click letter, but may come after when the release of the velar or uvular occlusion is audible. A third convention is the click letter with diacritics for voicelessness, voicing and nasalization; it does not distinguish velar from uvular palatal clicks:
|Trans. I||Trans. II||Trans. III||Description|
|⟨k͜ǂ⟩||⟨ᵏǂ⟩||⟨ǂ⟩||tenuis palatal click|
|⟨k͜ǂʰ⟩||⟨ᵏǂʰ⟩||⟨ǂʰ⟩||aspirated palatal click|
|⟨ɡ͜ǂ⟩||⟨ᶢǂ⟩||⟨ǂ̬⟩||voiced palatal click|
|⟨ŋ͜ǂ⟩||⟨ᵑǂ⟩||⟨ǂ̃⟩||palatal nasal click|
|⟨ŋ͜ǂ̥ʰʰ⟩||⟨ᵑǂ̥ʰʰ⟩||⟨ǂ̥̃ʰʰ⟩||aspirated palatal nasal click|
|⟨ŋ͜ǂˀ⟩||⟨ᵑǂˀ⟩||⟨ǂ̃ˀ⟩||glottalized palatal nasal click|
|⟨q͜ǂ⟩||⟨ǂ⟩||tenuis palatal click|
|⟨q͜ǂʰ⟩||⟨ǂʰ⟩||aspirated palatal click|
|⟨ɢ͜ǂ⟩||⟨ǂ⟩||voiced palatal click|
|⟨ɴ͜ǂ⟩||⟨ᶰǂ⟩||palatal nasal click|
|⟨ɴ͜ǂ̥ʰʰ⟩||⟨ᶰǂ̥ʰʰ⟩||aspirated palatal nasal click|
|⟨ɴ͜ǂˀ⟩||⟨ᶰǂˀ⟩||glottalized palatal nasal click|
In the orthographies of individual languages, palatal clicks may be written either with digraphs based on the vertical-bar letter of the IPA, or using the Latin alphabet. Khoekhoee and most Bushman languages use the former. Orthographies using the latter include multigraphs based on ⟨ç⟩ in Juǀʼhoansi (1987 orthography) and originally in Naro, the latter since changed to ⟨tc⟩, and on ⟨qc⟩. In the 19th century, ⟨v⟩ was sometimes used (see click letters); this might be the source of the Doke letter for the voiceless palatal click, ⟨ↆ⟩, apparently a v over-struck with a vertical bar.
Features of palato-alveolar clicks:
- The basic articulation may be voiced, nasal, aspirated, glottalized, etc.
- The forward place of articulation is broad, with the tongue flat against the roof of the mouth from the alveolar ridge to the palate. The release is a sharp, plosive sound.
- Clicks may be oral or nasal, which means that the airflow is either restricted to the mouth, or passes through the nose as well.
- They are central consonants, which means they are produced by releasing the airstream at the center of the tongue, rather than at the sides.
- 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.
|Taa||ǂnûm||[ᵑǂûm] = [ǂ̃ûm]||two|
|[ǂʰáó̯kχʼam]||to be disappointed|
|Yeyi||[kuǂʔapara]||to smash up|
Fricated palatal clicks
|Fricated palatal click|
Ekoka !Kung has a series of laminal postalveolar-to-palatal clicks with a noisy, fricated release which derive historically from more prototypical palatal clicks. These have been variously described as fricated alveolar clicks and (inaccurately) as retroflex clicks. Unlike typical palatal clicks, which have a sharp, abrupt release, these have a slow, turbulent anterior release that sounds much like a short inhaled [ʃ]; they also have a domed tongue rather than a flat tongue like a typical palatal click. The release has also been described as lateral. Like the clicks they derive from, they do not have the retracted tongue root and back-vowel constraint typical of alveolar clicks. A provisional transcription for the tenuis click is ⟨ǃ͡s⟩, though this misleadingly suggests that the clicks are affricates. Another proposal is to resurrect the old ʃ-like letter for palatal clicks, ⟨⨎⟩.
- Alveolar click
- Bilabial click
- Dental click
- Lateral click
- Retroflex click
- Index of phonetics articles
- Heine and König (2010)
- Miller (2010) Phonological patterns involving new types of complex and contour segments in endangered Khoesan languages, CUNY Conference on the Phonology of Endangered Languages
- Miller, Holliday, Howcroft, Phillips, Smith, Tsui, & Scott. 2011. "The Phonetics of the Modern-day reflexes of the Proto-palatal click in Juu languages". In A concise dictionary of northwestern ǃXun (2008), König & Heine transcribe them ⟨‼⟩, which is elsewhere used for the retroflex clicks.
- List of languages with [ǂ] on PHOIBLE