Re: !Kung pronunciation??

Robert G. Schmertz (
6 Nov 1996 05:44:02 GMT

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal ( wrote:
: (Christian P Richard) wrote:

: >How is the word "!Kung" exactly pronounced?

: >What International Phonetic Associations symbols are used? Does the
: >presence of the click mean two syllables? Is the "u" like the "u" of
: >"cut", or is that only the Anglicised pronunciation?

: The more correct name for this language is !Xu~, which is also the
: correct IPA notation (/!xu~/ or /k!xu~/). There is just one syllable,
: and two sounds:

: /k!x/ unvoiced apical postalveolar central click with velar aspiration
: /u~/ nasalized /u/

: If you know how to pronounce it now, you're ahead of me. I can't.

: Clicks are made by closing the airflow in the velar region with the back
: of the tongue (as in English /k/ or /g/), and simultaneously making a
: closure more forward in the mouth (with the lips or the front part of
: the tongue). Then, the forward closure is released (while maintaining
: the /k/ closure), and air rushes in the mouth, producing the sound
: ("ingressive", as opposed to normal "egressive", where the air flows
: outwards). The forward closure can be:

: symbol:

: bilabial ("kissy, kissy") (.) [bull's eye]
: dental ("tsk, tsk") |
: (post)alveolar:
: apical (cork/bottle) !
: laminal (cork/bottle) =/=
: lateral ("come on horsey!") ||

: Most of these sounds are used in English. The problem is learning how
: to use them in connected speech, as simple consonants.

: In !Xu~, the problem is further compounded by lots of secondary
: articulations. The apical postalveolar click !, for instance, has 11
: variants, notated:

: velar laryng.
: plain aspir. aspir.
: unvoiced ! !x !h
: ,, glott. !? !x? !?h

: voiced g! g!G g!h
: ,, glott. g!G? g!?h

: The name of the language itself contains the unvoiced unglottalized
: variant with velar aspiration (/x/ is the sound in Scottish "loch").

: Compared to that, the pronunciation of /u~/ is pretty straightforward.
: English "oo" with nasalization (i.e. part of the air flows out of the
: nose). French, for instance, has nasalized vowels (although it does not
: have /u~/). Portuguese has /u~/.

: In 10 easy steps:

: 1. push the back of the tongue against the soft palate, as for /k/.
: 2. put the tip of the tongue against the teeth ridge, as for /t/.
: 3. release the tip of the tongue, let the air flow in (!).
: 4. release the back of the tongue, but keep it close to the soft palate.
: 5. while doing 4, let some air flow out, with velar friction (x).
: 6. lower the soft palate so that the nasal cavity is opened.
: 7. protrude the lips and put the tongue in position for /u/.
: 8. start vibrating those vocal chords.
: 9. let the air flow out of mouth and nose (u~).
: 10. stop the vocal chords, relax, and try again from 1.

: It hasn't worked for me yet, but maybe you'll have better luck!

: ==
: Miguel Carrasquer Vidal ~ ~
: Amsterdam _____________ ~ ~
: |_____________|||

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