Nasal lateral click

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Nasal lateral velar click
ŋ͡ǁ   ŋ͡ʖ
ᵑǁ   ᵑʖ
ǁ̃   ʖ̃
Nasal lateral uvular click
ɴ͡ǁ   ɴ͡ʖ
ᶰǁ   ᶰʖ

The lateral nasal click is a click consonant found primarily among the languages of southern Africa. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet for a nasal lateral click with a velar rear articulation is ŋ͡ǁ or ŋ͜ǁ, commonly abbreviated to ŋǁ, ᵑǁ or ǁ̃; a symbol abandoned by the IPA but still preferred by some linguists is ŋ͡ʖ or ŋ͜ʖ, abbreviated ŋʖ, ᵑʖ or ʖ̃. For a click with a uvular rear articulation, the equivalents are ɴ͡ǁ, ɴ͜ǁ, ɴǁ, ᶰǁ and ɴ͡ʖ, ɴ͜ʖ, ɴʖ, ᶰʖ. Sometimes the accompanying letter comes after the click letter, e.g. ǁŋ or ǁᵑ; this may be a simple orthographic choice, or it may imply a difference in the relative timing of the releases.[1]


Features of the lateral 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 lateral consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream over the sides of the tongue, rather than down the middle.


Lateral nasal clicks are found primarily in the various Khoisan language families of southern Africa and in some neighboring Bantu languages.[2][3]

Language Word IPA Meaning
ǃKung an [ᵑǁàŋ] = [ᵑʖàŋ] 'marama bean'
!Xóõ ǁnáã [ᵑǁɑ́ɑ̃] = [ᵑʖɑ́ɑ̃] 'grewia berry'
Hadza konxa [koᵑǁa] = [koᵑʖa] 'to be a pair'
Zulu inxeba [iᵑǁɛ́ːɓa] = [iᵑʖɛ́ːɓa] 'wound'

Glottalized lateral nasal click[edit]

lateral nasal click

All Khoisan languages, and a few Bantu 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.

Language Word IPA Meaning
Hadza slaxxa [ɬaᵑǁˀa] = [ɬaᵑʖˀa] 'a split'
Khoekhoe tsoatsoaǁaposa [tsȍàtsòȁᵑǁˀàpòsa̋] = [tsȍàtsòȁᵑʖˀàpòsa̋] 'principled'
Xhosa inkxumo [iᵑǁˀumo] = [iᵑʖˀumo] 'a support'


  1. ^ Afrika und Übersee. D. Reimer. 2005. pp. 93–94.
  2. ^ Bradfield, Julian (May 2014). "Clicks, concurrency and Khoisan*". Phonology. 31 (1): 1–49. doi:10.1017/S0952675714000025. hdl:20.500.11820/63d01bc8-a4db-4cda-a4b4-0ca84d088522. ISSN 0952-6757. S2CID 14896878.
  3. ^ Miller, Amanda L.; Brugman, Johanna; Sands, Bonny; Namaseb, Levi; Exter, Mats; Collins, Chris (August 2009). "Differences in airstream and posterior place of articulation among Nǀuu clicks". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 39 (2): 129–161. doi:10.1017/S0025100309003867. ISSN 1475-3502. S2CID 46194815.