|IPA Number||178, 202|
|Unicode (hex)||U+01C3 U+0297|
|Voiced alveolar click|
The alveolar or postalveolar clicks are a family of click consonants found only in Africa and in the Damin ritual jargon of Australia. The tongue is more or less concave (depending on the language), and is pulled down rather than back as in the palatal clicks, making a hollower sound than those consonants.
The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the place of articulation of these sounds is ⟨?⟩. The symbol is not an exclamation mark in origin, but rather a vertical bar with a subscript dot, the dot being the old diacritic for retroflex consonants. Prior to 1989, ⟨?⟩ (stretched c) was the IPA letter for the alveolar clicks, and this is still preferred by some phoneticians. The tail of ⟨?⟩ may be the tail of retroflex consonants in the IPA, and thus analogous to the underdot of ⟨?⟩. Either letter may be combined with a second letter to indicate the manner of articulation, though this is commonly omitted for tenuis clicks, and increasingly a diacritic is used instead.
Common alveolar clicks are:
|Trans. I||Trans. II||Trans. III||Description|
|⟨k⟩||⟨⟩||⟨?⟩||tenuis alveolar click|
|⟨k⟩||⟨⟩||⟨⟩||aspirated alveolar click|
|⟨⟩||⟨⟩||⟨⟩||voiced alveolar click|
|⟨⟩||⟨⟩||⟨⟩||alveolar nasal click|
|⟨⟩||⟨?⟩||⟨?⟩||aspirated alveolar nasal click|
|⟨?⟩||⟨⟩||⟨⟩||glottalized alveolar nasal click|
|⟨q⟩||⟨q?⟩||tenuis alveolar click|
|⟨q⟩||⟨q⟩||aspirated alveolar click|
|⟨⟩||⟨??⟩||voiced alveolar click|
|⟨⟩||⟨⟩||alveolar nasal click|
|⟨⟩||⟨?⟩||aspirated alveolar nasal click|
|⟨?⟩||⟨⟩||glottalized alveolar nasal click|
The last can be heard in the sound sample at right; non-native speakers tend to glottalize clicks to avoid nasalizing them. The nasal click may also be heard at the right.
In the orthographies of individual languages, the letters and digraphs for alveolar clicks may be based on either the vertical bar symbol of the IPA, ⟨?⟩, or on the Latin ⟨q⟩ of Bantu convention. Nama and most Saan languages use the former; Naro, Sandawe, and Zulu use the latter.
Features of postalveolar clicks:
English does not have an alveolar click (or any click consonant, for that matter) as a phoneme, but a plain alveolar click does occur in mimesis, as a sound children use to imitate a horse trotting.
|!Kung||n?an||[á?] = [á?]||'inside'|
|Hadza||laqo||[la?o] = [la?o]||'to trip'|
|keqhena||[keena] = [keena]||'to be slow'|
|henqee||[?ee?e] = [?ee?e]||'dead leopard'|
|teqqe||[tee] = [tee]||'to carry'|
|Sandawe||gqokomi||[okomi] = [okomi]||'greater kudu'||may have a slapped release: [¡okomi] = [¡okomi]|
|Sotho||ho qoqa||[ho?] = [ho?]||'to chat/converse'||Contrasts with murmured, aspirated, and alveolar nasal clicks. See Sotho phonology|
|Xhosa||iqanda||[i?anda] = [i?anda]||'egg'||Contrasts with murmured, aspirated, and alveolar nasal clicks|
|?Xóõ||?qhàà||[q:] = [q:]||'water'||An aspirated linguo-pulmonic stop|
|Zulu||iqaqa||[i:?á:?a] = [i:?á:?a]||'polecat'||Contrasts with murmured, aspirated, and alveolar nasal clicks.|
|Percussive alveolar click|
In Sandawe, alveolar clicks commonly have a ballistic release, with the underside of the tip of the tongue subsequently striking the floor of the mouth. This allophone has been called "flapped" and "slapped". Sometimes the percussive slap is louder than the release, resulting in a sound that has been characterized as a "cluck". The symbol for the sublingual percussive component is ⟨¡⟩ in the extensions to the IPA; a slapped click is therefore transcribed ⟨¡⟩ or ⟨⟩ (or ⟨¡, ⟩). The percussive allophones of the five Sandawe alveolar clicks are [¡, ¡?, ¡, ¡, ¡?] (or [ ?]).
Nasal clicks that fit this description are used by speakers of Gan Chinese (from Ningdu county) and of Mandarin (from Beijing and Jilin), and presumably people from other parts of the country, with varying degrees of competence in nursery rhymes for the words for 'goose' and 'duck', both of which begin with /?/ in Gan and until recently began with /?/ in Mandarin as well. In Gan, the nursery rhyme is (disregarding tone),
where the /?/ onsets are all pronounced [¡].