Tenuis dental click

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Tenuis dental velar click
k͡ǀ   k͡ʇ
ᵏǀ   ᵏʇ
ǀ   ʇ
IPA Number177
Entity (decimal)ǀ​ʇ
Unicode (hex)U+01C0 U+0287
Braille⠯ (braille pattern dots-12346)⠹ (braille pattern dots-1456)
Tenuis dental uvular click
q͡ǀ   q͡ʇ
𐞥ǀ   𐞥ʇ

The voiceless or more precisely tenuis dental click is a click consonant found primarily among the languages of southern Africa. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ǀ. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet for a tenuis dental click with a velar rear articulation is k͡ǀ or k͜ǀ, commonly abbreviated to , ᵏǀ or simply ǀ; a symbol abandoned by the IPA but still preferred by some linguists is k͡ʇ or k͜ʇ, abbreviated , ᵏʇ or just ʇ. For a click with a uvular rear articulation, the equivalents are q͡ǀ, q͜ǀ, qǀ, 𐞥ǀ and q͡ʇ, q͜ʇ, qʇ, 𐞥ʇ. Sometimes the accompanying letter comes after the click letter, e.g. ǀk or ǀᵏ; this may be a simple orthographic choice, or it may imply a difference in the relative timing of the releases.[1]


Features of the tenuis dental 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 dental, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the upper teeth, termed respectively apical and laminal. Note that most stops and liquids described as dental are actually denti-alveolar.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, unaspirated, and unglottalized, which means it is produced without vibration or constriction of the vocal cords, and any following vowel starts without significant delay.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • 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.


Tenuis dental clicks are found primarily in the various Khoisan language families of southern Africa and in some neighbouring Bantu languages.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Zulu icici [îːk͜ǀíːk͜ǀi] = [îːᵏʇíːᵏʇi] 'earring'
Hadza cinambo [k͜ǀinambo] = [ᵏʇinambo] 'firefly'
Khoekhoe ǀgurub [k͜ǀȕɾȕp] = [ᵏʇȕɾȕp] 'dry autumn leaves'


  1. ^ Afrika und Übersee. D. Reimer. 2005. pp. 93–94.