Nasal bilabial click

The bilabial nasal click is a click consonant found in some of the languages of southern Africa. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʘ̃ or ᵑʘ.

Bilabial nasal click
ʘ̃
ᵑʘ

Features

Features of the bilabial nasal 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 voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is a nasal consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the nose, either exclusively (nasal stops) or in addition to through the mouth.

Occurrence

Bilabial nasal clicks only occur in the Tuu and Kx'a families of southern Africa, in the Australian ritual language Damin, and for /mw/ in some of the languages neighboring Shona, such as at least for some speakers of Ndau and Tonga.

LanguageWordIPAMeaning
Daminm!ii[ʘ̃iː]'vegetable'
Tongakumwa[kʼuʘ̃wa]'to drink'
Ndaumwana[ʘ̃wana]'child'

Glottalized bilabial nasal click

Glottalized
bilabial nasal click
ʘ̃ˀ
ʘ̃͜ʔ
ᵑʘˀ
ᵑ̊ʘˀ

The Tuu and Kx'a languages also have glottalized nasal clicks. These are formed by closing the glottis so that the click is pronounced in silence; however, any preceding vowel will be nasalized.

LanguageWordIPAMeaning

Notes

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