Palatal clicks

Palatal clicks

The palato-alveolar clicks are a family of click consonants found only in Africa. They are commonly called palatal clicks.

The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the forward articulation of these sounds is IPA|ǂ. This must be combined with a symbol for the rear articulation to represent an actual speech sound. Attested palato-alveolar clicks include:
* or IPA| [ǂ͡k] "voiceless velar palato-alveolar click" (may also be aspirated, ejective, affricated, "etc.")
* or IPA| [ǂ͡ɡ] "voiced velar palato-alveolar click" (may also be breathy voiced, affricated, "etc.")
* or IPA| [ǂ͡ŋ] "nasal velar palato-alveolar click" (may also be voiceless, aspirated, "etc.")
* or IPA| [ǂ͡q] "voiceless uvular palato-alveolar click"
* or IPA| [ǂ͡ɢ] "voiced uvular palato-alveolar click" (commonly prenasalized)
* or IPA| [ǂ͡ɴ] "nasal uvular palato-alveolar click"
* "glottalized palato-alveolar click"The last is what is heard in the sound sample at right, as non-native speakers tend to glottalize clicks to avoid nasalizing them.

Features

Features of palato-alveolar clicks:

* The manner of articulation is a sharp, plosive-like release. :The rear closure may be voiced, nasal, ejective, or affricate, and have any of several phonations.
* The forward place of articulation is palato-alveolar, which means it is postalveolar and laminal: that is, it is articulated with the blade of the tongue against the roof of the mouth behind the alveolar ridge. The rear place of articulation may be either velar or uvular. The rear closure may be a plosive, nasal, ejective, or affricate, and have any of several phonations.
* Palato-alveolar clicks may be either oral or nasal, which means air is allowed to escape either through the mouth or the nose.
* They are central consonants, which means they are produced by allowing the airstream to flow over the middle of the tongue, rather than the sides.
* The airstream mechanism is velaric ingressive (AKA "lingual ingressive"), which means the pocket of air trapped between the two closures is rarefied by a "sucking" action of the tongue, rather than by the glottis or the lungs. The release of the forward closure produces the 'click' sound.

ee also

* List of phonetics topics


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