Perspectives on complex click consonants of Khoekhoegowab Towards a rethinking in the description of Khoekhoegowab click sounds

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Niklaas Fredericks
Felix Banda


The paper offers an alternative way of describing what is called complex click consonants in Khoesan languages. Using data obtained from key informants and focused groups from the Karas, Hardap and the Kunene regions of Namibia as well as relevant literature we argue that co-articulated clicks should be treated as one sound represented by one grapheme. We argue that plain clicks in Khoekhoegowab are not glotalised as perceived because the glotalisation comes from the accompanying vowel. Using articulatory, acoustic and auditory phonetics we also problematize the notion of ‘complexity’ in the click complexes by showing that these click consonants play the same morphophonological role as consonants found in non-click languages. Thereafter the implications of this for cluster and unitary analysis are also discussed.

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How to Cite
Fredericks, N., & Banda, F. (2023). Perspectives on complex click consonants of Khoekhoegowab: Towards a rethinking in the description of Khoekhoegowab click sounds. NAWA Journal of Language and Communication, 16(2), 1–5.
Author Biographies

Niklaas Fredericks, Namibia University of Science and Technology

Niklaas Fredericks (Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor and Head of Department in the Department of Communication and Languages at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. His research interests include sociolinguistics, multilingualism, interlinguistic variation, linguistics landscapes and the related. He has published numerous book chapters and articles in these areas and has supervised postgraduate students in that field. His email address is

Felix Banda, University of the Western Cape

Felix Banda (Ph.D) is a senior professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. His research interests are located at the intersection of social semiotics, multilingualism in society and education, cultural studies, linguistic/semiotic landscapes, language planning and policy, multimodal analysis, multimodal critical pedagogies, and comparative Bantu linguistics. He has published books, numerous articles and chapters in these areas. His email is:


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