Tenuis palatal click

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Tenuis palatal velar click
k͡ǂ   k͡𝼋
ᵏǂ   ᵏ𝼋
ǂ   𝼋
IPA Number179
Entity (decimal)ǂ
Unicode (hex)U+01C2
Braille⠯ (braille pattern dots-12346)⠱ (braille pattern dots-156)
Tenuis palatal uvular click
q͡ǂ   q͡𝼋
𐞥ǂ   𐞥𝼋

The voiceless or more precisely tenuis palatal click is a click consonant found primarily among the languages of southern Africa. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet for a tenuis palatal click with a velar rear articulation is k͡ǂ or k͜ǂ, commonly abbreviated to , ᵏǂ or simply ǂ. Linguists who prefer the old IPA letters use the analogous Beach convention[2] of k͡𝼋 or k͜𝼋, abbreviated k𝼋, ᵏ𝼋 or just 𝼋. For a click with a uvular rear articulation, the equivalents are q͡ǂ, q͜ǂ, qǂ, 𐞥ǂ and q͡𝼋, q͜𝼋, q𝼋, 𐞥𝼋. Sometimes the accompanying letter comes after the click letter, e.g. ǂk or ǂᵏ; this may be a simple orthographic choice, or may imply a difference in the relative timing of the releases.[3]


Features of the tenuis palatal 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 palatal, which means it is articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised to the hard palate.
  • 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 palatal clicks are only found in the various Khoisan language families of southern Africa and in the neighboring Yeyi language.

Language Word IPA Meaning
ǂHaba ǂHaba [k͜ǂʰabá] = [ᵏ𝼋ʰabá] 'ǂHaba'
Khoekhoe ǂgā-amǃnâ [k͜ǂààʔám̀ŋ͜ǃã̀ã̀] = [ᵏ𝼋ààʔám̀ᵑʗã̀ã̀] 'to put in the mouth'
Naro Qhomatcã
[k͜ǃʰomak͜ǂã] = [ᵏʗʰomaᵏ𝼋ã] 'Qhomatca'
Yeyi shiǂa [ʃik͜ǂa] = [ʃiᵏ𝼋a] 'scarification'


  1. ^ Kirshenbaum assigns ⟨c!⟩ indifferently to both palatal and alveolar clicks.
  2. ^ Beach, Douglas Martyn (1938). The phonetics of the Hottentot language. London: W. Heffer & Sons.
  3. ^ Afrika und Übersee. D. Reimer. 2005. pp. 93–94.