Tenuis alveolar click

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tenuis alveolar velar click
IPA Number178
Entity (decimal)ǃ​ʗ
Unicode (hex)U+01C3 U+0297
Braille⠯ (braille pattern dots-12346)⠞ (braille pattern dots-2345)
Unicode character name for ǃ is LATIN LETTER RETROFLEX CLICK
Audio sample
Tenuis alveolar uvular click

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⟩.[1][2][3]


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.


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
Hadza laqo [laǃo] = [laʗo] 'to trip'
Khoekhoe ǃgabe [ǃȁwé] = [ʗȁwé] 'to speak a Khoisan language'
Sesotho ho qoqa [hʊǃɔǃɑ] = [hʊʗɔʗɑ] 'to chat'
Xhosa iqanda [iǃanda] = [iʗanda] 'egg'
Zulu iqaqa [íːǃaːǃá] = [íːʗaːʗá] 'polecat'


  1. ^ Doke, Clement M. (1925). "An outline of the phonetics of the language of the ʗhũ: Bushman of the North-West Kalahari". Bantu Studies. 2: 129–166. doi:10.1080/02561751.1923.9676181.
  2. ^ Doke, Clement M. (1969) [1926]. The phonetics of the Zulu language. Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand Press.
  3. ^ Beach, Douglas Martyn (1938). The phonetics of the Hottentot language. London: W. Heffer & Sons.