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It has recently been estimated [36] that the total number of people speaking JU dialects across Angola, Namibia and Botswana is around 16, Remaining speakers of Taa are believed to be about 2, To the north of Namibia in south-eastern Angola, Khoisan languages once found included various!

Just under 4, speakers of! Xun were relocated to South Africa following the end of the liberation struggles in the region, along with speakers of Khwe dialects. Hoan now more often referred to as?

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Gana- Gui 2, , Shua and Tshwa 4, , and Khwe-? Ani 8, Most of the Tjwa people now speak Ndebele or Kalanga. Of the Khoisan languages once spoken in South Africa, the only one still moderately viable though fragile is Nama. Brenzinger reports [41] that the number of speakers remaining may now be less than , where most are older than fifty. As for the Khoekhoe language we are concerned with in this book, namely Kora, there were at the time of writing only two known speakers left, and virtually all the present day descendants of the Korana people now speak Afrikaans, English, Sotho or Tswana.

The last remaining member of the! Ui group is N uu, as noted earlier, where the number of elders who still speak it is dwindling with each year that passes, so that at the time of writing there were only three left. Members of the? Khomani San community for the most part now speak Nama and Afrikaans or Tswana. Xun JU dialects have recently come to be resident in South Africa, as noted earlier, the languages in question are not indigenous to the country.

As we have already mentioned, the Khoisan language families of southern Africa other than KHOE have a number of broad typological properties in common. Ui-Taa groups have systems of noun-classification that are reflected in a set of multiple grammatical genders, where these are similar to those of most Niger-Congo languages. They do not make reference to any semantic category of natural gender such as masculine or feminine, but are based rather on properties such as animacy, edibility, utility, or shape.

Ui languages differ from those of the Taa and JU groups in having only two genders, as was first noted by Wilhelm Bleek. Ui genders seem to be based on features primarily of animacy and inanimacy. Xoon language Taa group. The isolate Eastern? Hoan now often referred to as? The genders in both families are not indexed by any overt morphology, but are mostly visible only in the selection of pronouns.

Even so, languages of the! Ui and Taa groups nevertheless make some limited use of gender-indexical noun suffixes, while both JU and TUU groups have varieties where a few nouns still carry prefixes. Xoon which is a TUU language. Languages of both the JU and TUU families also favour a verb-second sentence pattern, which places the verb after the subject and before any object, to give the pattern Subject-Verb-Object or SVO, although different orderings may occur in subordinate clauses.

Languages belonging to both families use a few basic morphemes plus a range of verbal auxiliaries to express some types of negation; as well as tense, aspect and modality; and to impart directional implications. Another feature common to the languages of both groups is the use of suppletion. This means that an entirely different morpheme —not merely an inflected form— is introduced to complete certain parts of a paradigm. This feature is perhaps most widely seen in languages of the JU family, where it may be manifested in the use of two different words to form the singular and plural forms of a given referring expression, as well as the use of different words to express the same predicate, depending on whether the subject is singular or plural, and whether the verb in question is used transitively.

The syntax of the various JU languages has been fairly thoroughly described in a number of works over the past few decades. The syntactic structures of the! Ui and Taa languages, on the other hand, are only just beginning to be described in detail, and it is possible that further commonalities will be discovered as this work proceeds. With regard to their phonetic inventories, languages of both the JU and TUU families reflect a greater range of contrastive vowel colourations than the KHOE languages — that is, in addition to the use of semantically significant nasalisation, which is a feature common to all Khoisan languages.

The additional vowel qualities, which may also combine with one another, include pharyngealisation, breathy-voicing and glottalisation, although the! Ui languages seem to have featured only pharyngealisation. Much like the systems of Afroasiatic and Indo-European languages, the KHOE system divides nouns into categories that line up with the distinction between masculine and feminine in the case of animate referents.


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A third category is available for neutral or indeterminate reference. In languages of the Khoekhoe branch, these grammatical genders are overtly indexed by means of suffixes that mark the nouns as masculine or feminine. It is often noted that the KHOE languages are also distinguished typologically by a general preference for a verb-final order SOV in the sentence, where the verb is placed after the subject S and any object O.

While this is true in principle, overall ordering of constituents in the KHOE languages is in reality highly flexible, and seems to be driven primarily by pragmatic considerations of focus and topic. As is typically the case in languages that place the verb after the subject and any object, the adpositions in KHOE languages pattern in a parallel way, and are placed after the noun.

For this reason, they are frequently referred to as postpositions rather than prepositions. The differences between the languages belonging to the Kalahari and Khoekhoe branches of the KHOE family are not entirely well-defined. The western sub-groups constituted by varieties of Khwe [47] , Naro and? Gana [48] may differ from one another in various aspects of their morphology and syntax, particularly in the expression of tense and aspect.

These western varieties differ in turn from eastern subgroups such as varieties of Shua [49] and Tshwa in a number of respects, with the latter being distinguished amongst other things by the reduced number of clicks in their consonant inventories —and in particular the rarity of post alveolar! The following are some of the specific respects in which the Kalahari varieties differ from Khoekhoe. Interestingly, Kora has preserved a number of features that are absent from Nama, yet which occur in the Kalahari languages.

Examples include the occurrence in Kora of an ejective affricate both as a phoneme and in some dialects as a click accompaniment, [51] a few aspects of its morphology, such as the use of an accompanitive verb extension - xoa, and various items of vocabulary. The Namibian varieties of Khoekhoe include Nama, which is spoken in the south of Namibia, and various dialects spoken in the north of the country by the Damara people [52] and the Hai? The differences between the varieties are mainly phonetic in character, although some minor differences in morphology and vocabulary are also found.

The original South African varieties of Khoekhoe, insofar as we have records of them, can be divided very broadly into two groups, consisting of:. The early West Coast varieties were spoken by communities such as the Chariguriqua which may have meant the Little Guriqua , the Grigriqua perhaps Garigurikua or Gurigurikua, later Griqua or Griekwa , and the Amaqua! These dialects seem to have had close affinities with the varieties of Nama spoken in the northern reaches of the West Coast or Little Namaqualand , and in the southern parts of the country known today as Namibia formerly Great Namaqualand.

While occasional deadly outbreaks of smallpox at the Cape are known to have had a particularly devastating impact on the vulnerable local populations, the Khoi were certainly not entirely wiped out by the disease. In some cases, small groups accepted employment on their farms of the slowly advancing settlers, for example as herders of livestock and wagon drivers, where they rapidly began to acquire Cape Dutch.

Many others moved away from the shifting frontiers of the Cape, while from the earlys onwards, some made the choice to settle permanently in the vicinity of mission stations, both in Namaqualand in the far north-western sector of the Cape and in the interior of South Africa.

Here they typically became bilingual — learning to speak, read and write Dutch and in some cases, English in addition to sustaining their own Khoekhoe variety, even if the latter was perhaps increasingly used only in the private setting of the home. Those Khoi of the West Coast who moved inland to mission stations such as Klaarwater originally! Although traditional matjieshuis structures could still occasionally be seen among more conventional modern buildings as recently as the early s, the Nama language by this time was in decline, having been widely replaced by Afrikaans.

We have very few records for the older varieties of the West Coast, but it turns out that some members of the Links family interviewed by Lucy Lloyd in were Griqua rather than Korana. In particular, the small amount of material obtained from Siela Cela is recognisably different from Kora, and seems to represent a variety of Giri. While the speech of Piet Links himself featured a number of unmistakeable Kora characteristics, including the presence of the ejective affricate, there are various instances in the narratives he dictated where a more western and Giri-like influence occasionally manifests itself, not only in the morphology and lexis, but also in the syntax.

By the s and 30s, there were very few speakers of Giri left. The phonetician Douglas Beach who worked in the field at this time was able to provide only a short paragraph of general observations concerning phonetic characteristics of the Griqua variety, [58] although Meinhof contributed a short illustrative vocabulary, [59] having obtained some limited information from two or three speakers who visited the mission station at Pniel where he was staying in Perhaps the most lasting record of the dialects of the early clans of the West Coast and Northern Cape is to be found in local place names, such as Garies, Komaggas and Nababeep, to mention only a few.

A number of sources have been suggested for the name Garies, [60] including! It may simply arise, however, from! Some of the elderly N uu speakers among the? Khomani San, who have a high proportion of Khoekhoe words in their speech, initially gave the word g! Many more place names of the present day West Coast and Northern Cape are recognisably Khoekhoe, even though it is often difficult to work out what the exact forms of the originals were, or what their meanings would have been.

The nomadic Khoi also distinguished and named various types of terrain, climatic region and geological substrate —probably because of the different vegetation types and animals associated with them— while many more place names directly incorporate the names of plants or animals. Travellers like these last two encountered the dispersed clans not only in the interior and along the middle and upper stretches of the Gariep, but even beyond the Gariep and the Vaal. It is difficult to form an accurate estimate of the original numbers of the Khoi at the Cape, particularly since most of the clans seem to have visited Table Bay and the surrounding areas only at certain times of the year.

The direct link between the Cape Khoi who regularly visited Table Bay and the Korana is attested in the first place by historical records, but is also confirmed by linguistic evidence —fragmentary and inevitably imprecise as this may be. A comprehensive list of the early records of Cape Khoekhoe has been compiled by Gideon Nienaber, [69] whose indispensable reference work also contains a near exhaustive collation of comparative sources for each instance of an old Khoekhoe word encountered in the early documents, indexed by its Afrikaans translation equivalent.

Some of these sources are described in more detail in the following chapter. For the eastern varieties of Cape Khoekhoe, only a few brief records have come down to us from people who travelled during the late 18th century to the outer regions of the slowly expanding settlement, along both coasts and as far afield as the Gariep in the north and the Great Fish River in the east.

These travellers include two Swedish naturalists — Anders Sparrman, who travelled in the Cape between and , and Carl Peter Thunberg, who travelled independently of Sparrman, between and Ultimately, and much as in the case of the western clans, perhaps the most enduring aspect of the eastern Khoi legacy is to be found in local place names. When all of this early lexical evidence is collated and compared, it is clear that Kora was close to Cape Khoekhoe, and that it was far more so than Giri or Nama.

Just as in the case of any other language, the entity we are referring to as Kora consisted of a number of different dialects. Another way of interpreting this data might be in terms of the dispersed groups of the former West Coast clans on one hand, and the clans of Table Bay and the interior on the other.

A Beginner's Guide Khoisan: Africa's Clicking Languages

Engelbrecht [81] in turn compared aspects of the Khoekhoe dialects spoken by the Lukas people and the Karoshebbers or Karosdraers on one hand, as against varieties spoken on the other by the Links, Kats [82] and Kraalshoek people. He similarly concluded that the varieties spoken by the first group were closer to Nama. The existence of what may have been a further minor dialect within Kora, not previously recognised as such but suggested by records made independently by Lichtenstein, [83] Burchell [84] and Wuras, [85] has come to light during the course of the present study.

The most salient feature of this variety was a more frequent use of —m as opposed to —b for the masculine singular suffix. These cases seem to have occurred in words that contained a nasalised vowel, and probably developed out of an assimilation involving the intrusive nasal segment that could appear after such a vowel in certain varieties of Kora, and the masculine suffix. The same process was probably responsible for the variant form Tsuni?

The original nasalisation of the vowel occasionally seems to have disappeared subsequently, as seen in some of the examples below. The remaining sections of this chapter, which are found in the electronic version, will provide brief discussion of a range of theories and conjectures about relationships between the KHOE languages and various other African languages, beginning with an account of longstanding proposals for a connection between the KHOE languages or in some cases just the Khoekhoe branch of the family and one or another language or language family from further north or in the east of Africa.

Hypotheses concerning relationships between languages of the KHOE family and various other languages of Africa. In terms of this framework, and drawing on the very scant sources of information then available for Nama, he proposed a connection between the Khoekhoe language Nama, and not only various languages such as Ancient Egyptian and Galla that would be classified today as part of Afroasiatic, but also Indo-European languages, which at the time were referred to as Indo-Germanic.

This idea, insofar as it suggested a connection between Nama as the stand-in for Khoekhoe languages and other languages of north-eastern Africa, was further developed by later scholars, and finally found its way in a modified form, and minus the proposed link with Indo-European into the Hamitic hypothesis of Meinhof, which appeared in When Otto Dempwolff a few years later in published his extensive study [88] which includes texts of a newly-found click language of East Africa, Sandawe, he suggested that it too belonged to the supposed Hamitic group, [89] and even offered a short comparative list of words for Nama and Sandawe, where he claimed various vague and semantically only tenuously connected similarities.

It has recently been proposed by two linguists working independently of one another that, given the right combination of co-articulatory events, clicks have the potential to emerge, [90] while a recent case of click emergence in exactly the predicted environment has even been documented. There is another click language spoken in the country now known as Tanzania, namely Hadza. The location of Sandawe and Hadza is shown in Figure 1.


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  4. As hardly needs stating, the mere fact that the language contains clicks is not enough to point to an actual relationship with any other languages that make use of similar sounds; while the fact that its speakers have no doubt through force of social circumstance largely preserved a form of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle once common to all humanity —not only throughout Africa but the entire world— is entirely irrelevant. Is the scenario of a north-eastern connection for the KHOE languages plausible? We will leave it to readers to make up their own minds, but would point out that the linguistic evidence for a higher-level common ancestor Khoe-Kwadi is not compelling, since no-one has been able to present a systematic and comprehensive set of arrays showing regularly repeated phonetic correspondences across shared words with plausible semantic linkages, as opposed to merely a few isolated instances of similar-looking words.

    It is possible that Kwadi was simply a kind of auxiliary code or inner language, given that it was spoken only among themselves by a closed and very small circle of older men within a community whose members otherwise spoke an ordinary Kwanyama-like BANTU language known as Kwanyoka.

    Khoekhoe (Khoekhoegowab)

    There is similarly no conclusive linguistic evidence to support the idea of a familial connection between Sandawe and the KHOE languages. The location of the Hadza and Sandawe languages in Tanzania, and of Kwadi in the south-west of Angola. Is the scenario of local areal influence plausible? It is undeniably true that there must have been significant and sustained contact between speakers of KHOE languages, and speakers of other Khoisan languages in southern Africa.

    We have already noted, however, that the linguistic evidence does not support the idea of any great age for either of the JU or TUU language families, at least when they are considered separately as two distinct and unrelated entities, while the social circumstances mentioned earlier in this chapter would probably not have been conducive to a shift in the proposed direction.

    In the overwhelming majority of cases —where the few exceptions are languages of the Kalahari region— it is clear that the direction of any influence has been from KHOE sources into the other languages. In light of what we know now, it has become increasingly doubtful that there are any properties of either Kalahari or Khoekhoe KHOE languages so strikingly anomalous as to warrant special explanation in terms of diffusion. While this kind of structural borrowing is by no means unheard of, it is certainly less common than lexical borrowing.

    Khoekhoe languages

    In the case of the! Ui-Taa or TUU languages, borrowings are sometimes localised and present in only one or two varieties, so that they probably reflect the relatively recent kinds of contact that occurred, for example, when surviving members of San groups were taken in by Khoi communities.

    In other cases, though, and more significantly, loanwords from a Khoekhoe source are so widely and systematically present throughout all the known varieties that the borrowing must have occurred at an early stage, prior to any dispersal of the speakers and the dialectal diversification of the family. While the presence of Khoekhoe loanwords in Xam has been noted in the past, [] the pervasive presence of such loanwords throughout the! Ui languages becomes even more apparent when the vocabulary of Kora and Cape Khoekhoe is taken into account. Indeed, most of the Khoekhoe loanwords in both Xam and N uu varieties appear to have come quite specifically from Kora rather than Giri or Nama, as is apparent from certain distinctive phonetic properties of the words in question.

    There is something about this overall picture of wholesale borrowing that seems a little unusual, and the topic might be a fruitful area of research for future scholars willing to investigate the subject from a fresh perspective of relative social status and power relations, rather than race. The apparent influence of Khoisan languages on the Nguni languages of South Africa has long been the subject of discussion, and was the subject of a detailed study by Meinhof, [] who attributed not only the clicks but also certain other sounds in Xhosa such as the ejective affricate to a Khoekhoe source, since they were not the expected reflexes for Xhosa of the sounds reconstructed for Proto-BANTU.

    The dental clicks found in the tekela Nguni language Swati may also have been obtained indirectly. The details and mechanisms of this borrowing are not generally spelled out, while the specifically responsible Khoisan languages are never identified. There are many respects in which the general scenario of Khoisan influence on the Nguni languages is ultimately unsatisfactory.

    The sound itself certainly occurs in many Khoisan languages, including Kora. Apart from the lack of strong evidence for any widespread and sustained borrowing from Khoisan languages into the Nguni languages, there are also indications that there must have been some influence in the reverse direction.

    There are numerous click words in the Nguni languages, for example, that have long been known to be intrinsically BANTU, in the sense that they have obvious non-click cognates in other related languages, and can even be mapped from Proto-Bantu. While this root has regular reflexes in several Bantu languages, a click form of it turns up in Zulu as —g?

    The word has also been borrowed into other Khoisan languages. Another topic that might repay further investigation is a set of ambivalences associated with the palato-alveolar clicks represented by the symbol?. For one thing, it has long been noted that these clicks with their diverse accompaniments alternate to varying degrees with affricated non-click equivalents in various languages of the eastern sub-groups of Kalahari KHOE. It is less often appreciated that the non-click forms of these words in many cases bear a striking resemblance to semantically linked counterparts in various BANTU languages, particularly those belonging to the Sotho-Tswana group, where the Sotho-Tswana equivalents can be mapped unproblematically from Proto-Bantu, and where the various affrications the result of palatalising and alveolarising processes are associated with the well-known influence of the Class 5 prefix.

    On a different note, it was observed by Walther Bourquin [] that, where it is possible to find click words with a shared occurrence in both a Khoekhoe language and one of the Nguni languages, the palato-alveolar clicks? It would be worth investigating whether there is any kind of patterned correlation between these two internal sets and the distributions noted by Bourquin. A number of BANTU languages spoken in the Okavango region also contain click words, although except in the case of Yeyi this is generally on a very much smaller scale than occurs in the Nguni languages, most often involving fewer than a hundred words, where only one click is used, typically with only a limited range of elaborations.

    These cases will not be discussed here, partly because they do not directly involve Kora, and partly because the local dynamics of their emergence may have been slightly different. While the pioneering Dutch scholar Hans den Besten considered it likely that some process of early pidginisation and creolisation at the Cape would have played a part, [] and that local Khoekhoe dialects may have contributed an actual structural influence, other scholars have doubted that there is strong if any evidence for either the creolisation or any associated structural influences.

    This is an intriguing area of ongoing investigation, and it may benefit researchers to include a consideration of the Kora material in future studies, given the continuity between Cape Khoekhoe and Kora, and the once widespread distribution of the language throughout much of central South Africa. Ernst O. Voeltz Bloomington: Indiana University Publications, : 3— There is, however, no fixed rate of change that we know of, which means that it is difficult to assign an absolute age to any language family that has no records. It may again be necessary to emphasise what should really be an obvious point, namely that the age of languages generally cannot —in the absence of actual and directly correlatable language records— be established by recourse to genetics, archaeology or anthropology.

    Isolated occurrences of very similar words are likely to be accidental or simply a reflection of borrowing. First, the vocal cords completely close so that for a brief moment no air escapes from the lungs and air is compressed in the throat pharynx. If the closed glottis is raised to push the air up and outward, an ejective consonant is produced. The air is forced into the vocal tract and there manipulated by the organs of speech.

    Compare glottalized vs.

    Khoekhoe alphabet and pronunciation

    Ejectives are found in the languages of the Caucasus mountains, among many Native American languages, and among the Afroasiatic languages of north Africa Hausa, Amharic. If the closed glottis is lowered to create a small vacuum in the mouth, an implosive consonant is produced. The lowering glottis acts like the downward movement of a piston to create a brief rarification of the air in the vocal tract. When the stricture in the mouth is released air moves into the mouth.

    Implosives occur mostly in languages of east Africa, in several Amerindian languages and in some IE languages of northern India. Compare the difference between implosives, using the glottalic airstream mechanism, and ingressives, which use inhaled air. The third and final airstream mechanism used by human language is confined to certain languages of southwest Africa. It is called the velaric airstream mechanism. There is regular oral articulation, while the back of tongue seals off air from the lungs and creates a relative vacuum.

    Air in the mouth is rarified by backward and downward movement of the tongue. When the stricture is released the air rushes in, creating a click. Some Khoisan languages have over a dozen clicks. One Khoisan language! Xung has 48 different click sounds. A few of the Bantu languages of South Africa, such as Zulu, have clicks; presumably, these sounds were borrowed from the San Bushmen and Khoikhoi Hottentot peoples who originally lived throughout all southern Africa.

    Zulu and the other Bantu languages that use clicks spell them with the letters c, x, q. Notice that clicks stop up the air only in the oral cavity; pulmonic air continues through the nose one can produce a nasal hum while producing clicks. For the sake of completeness, it should be said that at least one other airstream mechanism could possibly be used for producing sounds in human language. A puff of air could be trapped in either cheek, then released to be manipulated by the speech organs. This is the airstream mechanism employed by the Walt Disney character Donand Duck and could be called the buccal airstream mechanism.

    So far as we know, Donald Duck is unique in using it. And no language uses a gastric airstream mechanism , which would be modifying air burped up from the stomach. The vocal cords can be in one of several positions during the production of a sound. The muscles of the vocal cords in the glottis can behave in various ways that affect the sound.

    Khoisan click language

    The effect of this series of vocal cord states is called the phonation process. Vocal cords can be narrowed along their entire length so that they vibrate as the air passes through them. All English vowels are voiced. Voiceless vowels also occur but are far rarer than voiceless consonants are much more common than voiceless vowels. Voiceless vowels usually occur between voiceless consonants, as in Japanese. No language has only voiceless vowels; a language has either only voiced vowels or voiced and a few voiceless vowels.

    There are also several other vocal cord states that are used to modify sound in the world's languages.

    bolskingchannide.gq None is used as a regular feature of English. The posterior artenoid portion of the vocal cords can be closed to produce a laryngealized or creaky sound. This doesn't play a meaningful role in English phonology, althoght we might use a creaky voice to imitate an old witch when reading fairy tales. The anterior ligamental portion of the vocal cords can be closed, with the vocal cords vibrating. This produces murmured or breathy sounds. Murmured or breathy vowels occur in some languages of Southeast Asia. We make murmured sounds to imitate the Darth Vader voice.

    A similar vocal cord state is used to produce the whisper. The vocal chords are narrowed but not vibrated, narrowing is more complete at the anterior end , less so at the posterior end. Whispered sounds do not contrast with non-whispered sounds to produce differences of meaning in any known language, but the whispered voice is common as a speech variant across languages. There is no IPA symbol for a whispered sound.

    Regardless of which airstream mechanism is used, speech sounds are produced when the moving air is somehow obstructed within the vocal tract. The surfaces and boundaries of these cavities are known as the organs of speech. What happens to the air within these cavities is known as the oro-nasal process. Let's talk first about the oro-nasal process in the articulation, or production, of consonants. The place of articulation is defined in terms of two articulators These may be: lips, teeth, alveolar ridge, tongue tip apex , tongue blade laminus , or back of the tongue dorsum , hard palate, soft palate velum , uvula, glottis, pharynx, glottis the "voice box," or cartilaginous structure where the vocal cords are housed.

    A-ha, bottle , Cockney English 'ave. Now let's look at the ways that moving air can be blocked and modified by various speech organs. There are several methods of modifying air when producing a consonant, and these methods are called manners of articulation. We have already examined where the air is blocked. Now let's look at how the air can be blocked. Another word for plosive is stop nasals are also stops, however, since the air is stopped in the oral cavity during their production. Approximants are those sounds that do not show the same high degree of constriction as fricatives but are more constricted than are vowels.

    During the production of an approximant, the air flow is smooth rather than turbulent. There are four types of approximants. If the constriction is between the two lips, a labiovelar glide is produced. The glides [j] and [w] are also called semivowels , since they are close to vowels in degree of blockage. Laterals, or lateral approximants, are the various l-sounds that occur in language.

    Am Engl ladder ; British Engl. Flaps can even be labio-dental, as in one African language, Margi, spoken in Northern Nigeria. If the air flow is set into turbulence several times in quick succession, a trill is produced. In discussing manner of articulation, it is also relevant to classify consonants according to the total degree of blockage.