Nasal retroflex click

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Retroflex nasal click)
Nasal retroflex velar click
ŋ͡𝼊   ŋ͡‼
ᵑ𝼊   ᵑ‼
𝼊̃   ‼̃
Nasal retroflex uvular click
ɴ͡𝼊   ɴ͡‼
ᶰ𝼊   ᶰ‼

The retroflex nasal click is a rare click consonant. In practical orthography, an ad hoc symbol is used for the retroflex clicks; a nasal click with a velar rear articulation is ŋ͡‼ or ŋ͜‼, commonly abbreviated to ŋ‼, ᵑ‼ or ‼̃. The implicit symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet is ŋ͡𝼊 or ŋ͜𝼊, abbreviated ŋ𝼊, ᵑ𝼊 or 𝼊̃.[1] Linguists who prefer the old IPA letters use the analogous Doke convention[2] of ŋ͡ψ or ŋ͜ψ, abbreviated ŋψ, ᵑψ or ψ̃. For a click with a uvular rear articulation, the equivalents are ɴ͡‼, ɴ͜‼, ɴ‼, ᶰ‼, ɴ͡𝼊, ɴ͜𝼊, ɴ𝼊, ᶰ𝼊 and ɴ͡ψ, ɴ͜ψ, ɴψ, ᶰψ. Sometimes the accompanying letter comes after the click letter, e.g. 𝼊ŋ or 𝼊ᵑ; this may be a simple orthographic choice, or it may imply a difference in the relative timing of the releases.[3]


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 place of articulation is retroflex, which prototypically means it is articulated subapical (with the tip of the tongue curled up), but more generally, it means that it is postalveolar without being palatalized. That is, besides the prototypical subapical articulation, the tongue contact can be apical (pointed) or laminal (flat).
  • 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[4] and Damin.[citation needed]

Language Word IPA Meaning
Damin rn!ii [ŋ͜𝼊iː = ᵑψiː]

Glottalized alveolar nasal click[edit]

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.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Central !Kung[4] [example needed]


  1. ^ Kirk Miller; Bonny Sands (1 July 2020). "Unicode proposal L2/20-115R: Unicode request for additional phonetic click letters" (PDF).
  2. ^ Doke, Clement M. (1925). "An outline of the phonetics of the language of the ʗhũ: Bushman of the North-West Kalahari". Bantu Studies. 2: 129–166. doi:10.1080/02561751.1923.9676181.
  3. ^ Afrika und Übersee. D. Reimer. 2005. pp. 93–94.
  4. ^ a b Scott, Abigail; Miller, Amanda; Namaseb, Levi; Sands, Bonny; Shah, Sheena (June 2, 2010). "Retroflex Clicks in Two Dialects of ǃXung". University of Botswana, Department of African Languages.