Voiced lateral click

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Voiced lateral click

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The voiced lateral 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 ⟨ǁ̬⟩ or ⟨ᶢǁ⟩; a symbol abandoned by the IPA but still preferred by some linguists is ⟨ʖ̬⟩ or ⟨ᶢʖ⟩.

In languages which use the Bantu letters for clicks, this is most commonly written ⟨gx⟩, but it is written ⟨dx⟩ in those languages that use ⟨g⟩ for the uvular fricative.


Features of the voiced lateral 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 phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a lateral consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream over the sides of the tongue, rather than down the middle.


Voiced lateral clicks are found primarily in the various Khoisan language families of southern Africa and in some neighboring Bantu languages.

Language Word IPA Meaning
Naro dxàí cgàa [ᶢǁàí ǀχàː] = [ʖ̬àí ʇχàː] 'cheek muscle'
Sandawe gxõgxe [ᶢǁṍːᶢǁê] = [ʖ̬ṍːʖ̬ê] 'male greater kudu'
Yeyi muawa [muᶢǁawa] = [muʖ̬awa] 'arrow'