Voiced dental click

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Voiced dental click

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The voiced dental 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 ⟨ǀ̬⟩ or ⟨ᶢǀ⟩; a symbol abandoned by the IPA but still preferred by some linguists is ⟨ʇ̬⟩ or ⟨ᶢʇ⟩.

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


Features of the voiced dental 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 dental, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the upper teeth, termed respectively apical and laminal. Note that most stops and liquids described as dental are actually denti-alveolar.
  • 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 central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.


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

Language Word IPA Meaning
Gciriku Dciriku [ᶢǀiriku] = [ʇ̬iriku] 'Gciriku'
Sandawe gcĩgcoo [ᶢǀĩ̌ːᶢǀóː] = [ʇ̬ĩ̌ːʇ̬óː] (species of bird)
Yeyi kuawa [kuᶢǀawa] = [kuʇ̬awa] to 'cut grass'