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Tenuis lateral click

(Tenuis) lateral click
ǁ
ʖ
IPA Number180, 203
Encoding
Entity (decimal)ǁ​ʖ
Unicode (hex)U+01C1 U+0296
Braille⠯ (braille pattern dots-12346)⠇ (braille pattern dots-123)
Audio sample

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 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⟩.[1]

Features

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.

Occurrence

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 [ʔeǁekeke] = [ʔeʖekeke] 'to listen'
Khoekhoe ǂamǁgû [ᵑǂ͡ʔàm̀ǁṹṹ] = [ǂ̃ˀàm̀ʖṹṹ] 'to inadvertently bite a hard object'
Zulu xoxa [ǁɔːǁa] = [ʖɔːʖa] 'to converse'

References

  1. ^ 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.