Clicks in Eastern Khoe languages: The case of Tsua

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Andy Chebanne


This paper discusses clicks in Tsua, an endangered Khoisan language spoken in the south-western parts of the Central District of Botswana. Tsua is situated in the Eastern Kalahari Khoe zone where languages show a systematic attrition of clicks in their phonology albeit Tsua presents an elaborate consonant system made up of non-click and click inventory. The paper seeks to respond to the question, ‘What is the nature of the phonology of Tsua? ‘The paper goes on to account for the phonological characteristics of this language. The discussion seeks to demonstrate that while clicks in this language remain fully phonemic as in other related languages, they are fewer and have less complex accompaniments when compared to those of related languages to the west. The paper further gives an account of the retention of preferred clicks. Furthermore, the paper gives an account of the phonetic mechanisms involved in the replacement and loss of clicks. The paper is an important contribution to the sub- fields of Khoisan phonology and typology. In addition, the paper contributes to the dynamics of language endangerment and loss. It shows that language loss processes may be observed among the Eastern Kalahari Khoe languages to which Tsua belongs and argues that this is what sets these languages apart from the Western Kalahari Khoe languages

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