Forthcoming 2024

Writing Click Languages

Authors: Sheena Shah & Matthias Brenzinger.

This volume is about click consonants in Southern and Eastern Africa and their representation in writing. It focuses on the various conventions for representing click consonants in the modern orthographies of click-using languages. Beginning with early attempts by travellers, missionaries, and others to capture click sounds in writing, the writing traditions employed in orthographies of click-using languages is reviewed.

Click speech sounds are genuine phonemes in less than 30 languages worldwide. Possible hypotheses on their origin and spread among the Indigenous Click languages, the Khoe languages and the click-using Bantu languages are examined. Based on an assessment of exonyms, endonyms, and terms to group and classify these languages and their speakers, the use of certain names is either promoted or discouraged. Considerable variation, often idiosyncratic in nature, exists in the transcription of click phonemes among linguists.

This eBook offers a thorough background to the writing of click consonants to those interested, be they language community members, language activists, NGOs, administrators, politicians, or linguists.