Nasal retroflex click

The retroflex nasal click is a rare click consonant. There is no symbol for it in the International Phonetic Alphabet. The Beach convention is ᵑ‼, and this is used in practical orthography.

Retroflex nasal click


Features of the retroflex 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.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.


Retroflex nasal clicks are only attested from two languages, Central !Kung and Damin.


Glottalized alveolar nasal click

alveolar nasal click

All Khoisan languages 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.

Central !Kung


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