Tenuis lateral click

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Tenuis lateral velar click
k͡ǁ   k͡ʖ
ᵏǁ   ᵏʖ
ǁ   ʖ
IPA Number180, 203
Entity (decimal)ǁ​ʖ
Unicode (hex)U+01C1 U+0296
Braille⠯ (braille pattern dots-12346)⠇ (braille pattern dots-123)
Tenuis lateral uvular click
q͡ǁ   q͡ʖ
𐞥ǁ   𐞥ʖ

The voiceless or more precisely tenuis lateral click is a click consonant found primarily among the languages of southern Africa. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet for a tenuis lateral click with a velar rear articulation is k͡ǁ or k͜ǁ, commonly abbreviated to , ᵏǁ or just ǁ; a symbol abandoned by the IPA but still preferred by some linguists is k͡ʖ or k͜ʖ, abbreviated , ᵏʖ or just ʖ. For a click with a uvular rear articulation, the equivalents are q͡ǁ, q͜ǁ, qǁ, 𐞥ǁ and q͡ʖ, q͜ʖ, qʖ, 𐞥ʖ. Sometimes the accompanying letter comes after the click letter, e.g. ǁk or ǁᵏ; this may be a simple orthographic choice, or it may imply a difference in the relative timing of the releases.[2]


Features of the tenuis 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 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.


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
Hadza exekeke [ʔek͜ǁekeke] = [ʔeᵏʖekeke] 'to listen'
Khoekhoe ǂamǁgû [ŋ͜ǂ͡ʔàm̀k͜ǁṹṹ] = [ᵑǂˀàm̀ᵏʖṹṹ] 'to inadvertently bite a hard object'
Xhosa inxeba [íŋk͜ǁeːɓa] = [íŋᵏʖeːɓa] 'wound' (noun)
Zulu xoxa [k͜ǁɔːk͜ǁa] = [ᵏʖɔːᵏʖa] 'to converse'


  1. ^ Kirshenbaum, Evan. "FAQ: Representing IPA Phonetics in ASCII (Appendix D)".
  2. ^ Afrika und Übersee. D. Reimer. 2005. pp. 93–94.