The alveolar or postalveolar clicks are a family of click consonants found only in Africa and in the Damin ritual jargon of Australia. The tongue is more or less concave (depending on the language), and is pulled down rather than back as in the palatal clicks, making a hollower sound than those consonants.
|IPA Number||178, 202|
|Unicode (hex)||U+01C3 U+0297|
source · help
|Voiced alveolar click|
|Alveolar nasal click|
source · help
The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the place of articulation of these sounds is ⟨ǃ⟩. The symbol is not an exclamation mark in origin, but rather a vertical bar with a subscript dot, the dot being the old diacritic for retroflex consonants. Prior to 1989, ⟨ʗ⟩ (stretched c) was the IPA letter for the alveolar clicks, and this is still preferred by some phoneticians. The tail of ⟨ʗ⟩ may be the tail of retroflex consonants in the IPA, and thus analogous to the underdot of ⟨ǃ⟩. Either letter may be combined with a second letter to indicate the manner of articulation, though this 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 alveolar clicks. Common alveolar clicks are:
|Trans. I||Trans. II||Trans. III||Description|
|⟨k͜ǃ⟩||⟨ᵏǃ⟩||⟨ǃ⟩||tenuis alveolar click|
|⟨k͜ǃʰ⟩||⟨ᵏǃʰ⟩||⟨ǃʰ⟩||aspirated alveolar click|
|⟨ɡ͜ǃ⟩||⟨ᶢǃ⟩||⟨ǃ̬⟩||voiced alveolar click|
|⟨ŋ͜ǃ⟩||⟨ᵑǃ⟩||⟨ǃ̃⟩||alveolar nasal click|
|⟨ŋ͜ǃ̥̥ʰʰ⟩||⟨ᵑǃ̥ʰʰ⟩||⟨ǃ̥̃ʰʰ⟩||aspirated alveolar nasal click|
|⟨ŋ͜ǃˀ⟩||⟨ᵑǃˀ⟩||⟨ǃ̃ˀ⟩||glottalized alveolar nasal click|
|⟨q͜ǃ⟩||⟨ǃ⟩||tenuis alveolar click|
|⟨q͜ǃʰ⟩||⟨ǃʰ⟩||aspirated alveolar click|
|⟨ɢ͜ǃ⟩||⟨ǃ⟩||voiced alveolar click|
|⟨ɴ͜ǃ⟩||⟨ᶰǃ⟩||alveolar nasal click|
|⟨ɴ͜ǃ̥ʰʰ⟩||⟨ᶰǃ̥ʰʰ⟩||aspirated alveolar nasal click|
|⟨ɴ͜ǃˀ⟩||⟨ᶰǃˀ⟩||glottalized alveolar nasal click|
The last can be heard in the sound sample at right; non-native speakers tend to glottalize clicks to avoid nasalizing them. The nasal click may also be heard at the right.
In the orthographies of individual languages, the letters and digraphs for alveolar clicks may be based on either the vertical bar symbol of the IPA, ⟨ǃ⟩, or on the Latin ⟨q⟩ of Bantu convention. Khoekhoe and most Bushman languages use the former; Naro, Sandawe, and Zulu use the latter.
Features of postalveolar clicks:
|!Kung||nǃan||[ᵑǃáŋ] = [ʗ̃áŋ]||'inside'|
|Hadza||laqo||[laǃo] = [laʗo]||'to trip'|
|keqhena||[keǃʰena] = [keʗʰena]||'to be slow'|
|henqee||[ɦeᵑǃeʔe] = [ɦeʗ̃eʔe]||'dead leopard'|
|teqqe||[teᵑǃˀe] = [teʗ̃ˀe]||'to carry'|
|Sandawe||gqokomi||[ǃ̬okomi] = [ʗ̬okomi]||'greater kudu'||may have a slapped release: [ǃ̬͡¡okomi] = [ʗ̬͡¡okomi]|
|Sotho||ho qoqa||[hoǃɔǃɑ] = [hoʗɔʗɑ]||'to chat/converse'||Contrasts with murmured, aspirated, and alveolar nasal clicks. See Sotho phonology|
|Xhosa||iqanda||[iǃanda] = [iʗanda]||'egg'||Contrasts with murmured, aspirated, and alveolar nasal clicks|
|ǃXóõ||ǃqhàà||[ǃ͡qʰɑ̀ː] = [ʗ͡qʰɑ̀ː]||'water'||An aspirated linguo-pulmonic stop|
|Zulu||iqaqa||[iːǃáːǃa] = [iːʗáːʗa]||'polecat'||Contrasts with murmured, aspirated, and alveolar nasal clicks.|
|Percussive alveolar click|
In Sandawe, alveolar clicks commonly have a ballistic release, with the underside of the tip of the tongue subsequently striking the floor of the mouth. This allophone has been called "flapped" and "slapped". Sometimes the percussive slap is louder than the release, resulting in a sound that has been characterized as a "cluck". The symbol for the sublingual percussive component is ⟨¡⟩ in the extensions to the IPA; a slapped click is therefore transcribed ⟨ǃ͡¡⟩ or ⟨ǃꜞ⟩ (or ⟨ʗ͡¡, ʗꜞ⟩). The percussive allophones of the five Sandawe alveolar clicks are [ǃ͡¡, ǃ͡¡ʰ, ᶢǃ͡¡, ᵑǃ͡¡, ᵑǃ͡¡ˀ] (or [ʗꜞ ʗꜞʰ ʗ̬ꜞ ʗ̃ꜞ ʗ̃ꜞˀ]).
Nasal clicks that fit this description are used by speakers of Gan Chinese (from Ningdu county) and of Mandarin (from Beijing and Jilin), and presumably people from other parts of the country, with varying degrees of competence in nursery rhymes for the words for 'goose' and 'duck', both of which begin with /ŋ/ in Gan and until recently began with /ŋ/ in Mandarin as well. In Gan, the nursery rhyme is (disregarding tone),
where the /ŋ/ onsets are all pronounced [ǃ̃¡].