Para-Linguistic Usages of Clicks

by David Gil

5 Responses to “Para-Linguistic Usages of Clicks”

  1. Charles Riley Says:

    There’s nothing that I can see that connects this chapter to Ghotuo (iso639:aaa), from which it is referenced.

  2. Matthew Dryer Says:

    The chapters in WALS include the data. See

  3. Jimmy Jeunemaître Says:

    Hi, I’m a native French speaker from France, I’m not a linguistic pro so sorry by advance for imprecision and maybe misunderstanding about difference between affective/logical express. I’m ask the question if the category “Clicks may express logical meanings” imply also languages which contain both (affective + logical) ?

    If yes, you can add French language in it.
    If no, I report you the French language case were the para-linguistic usages of clicks are present and enter in both categories (deduction from what I read on chapter 142) : it may express affective or else express logical depending of the kind of click and the circumstances/environments.

    Here the cases which i can certified their existences, senses and usages in France and known/used by French locutors :
    I/ Bilabial clicks [ʘ] ([ʘwa] when exaggerated):
    1) It’s a represention of a kiss. (logical ?)
    1a) Use to communicate love, affection to interlocutor.
    example: Je t’aime ! ʘwa ! (I love you ! [click] !)
    1b) Use to communicate gratitude to interlocutor.
    example: – Merde ! J’ai oublié mon portable. (- Crap ! I forgot my cellphone.)
    - Je te prête le mien. (- I lend you mine.)
    - ʘ ! ([click] ! similar to “thanks / you’re a sweatheart”)
    1c) Express kiss at the sense of “bye, see you, see ya” when interrupt a communication (can be duplicate)
    example: Bon j’y vais maman je raccroche ʘʘ (I’m leaving now mummy I hang up [click-click] similar to “bye bye / kiss kiss”)
    1d) (Sarcastically) Use as provocation. Litteraly “me too I love you” but means “Je t’emmerde ; je t’encule” (I fuck you)
    example:- C’est quoi ton problème ? Tu cherches la bagarre ? (What’s your problem ? You looking for troubles ?)
    - ʘ ! ([click] ! similar to “I fuck you / go die”)

    II/ Dental clicks [ǀ] :
    1) Express exasperation or irritation when long and alone (clearly affective meanings). “Nttt…” = pfff…
    2) Meaning negative answer when quicly duplicate (clearly logical meaning). “Nt-t.” = no, not yet, disagree, oppose)
    3) Strong disapproving warning when repeted at least thrice and clearly. “Nt-t-t-t-t-t !” = stop!, don’t even try!, don’t do that!
    4) Express impatience when repeted lightly and continuously (clearly affective meanings). “Nt-t-t-t-t-t…” = distraction to pass the time

    III/ Alveolar clicks [ǃ] :
    1) A way to say “In your face” to deride someone after a bad things happen to him.
    example:- Tu ne devrais pas toucher ce câble, il est sous tension. (You shouldn’t touch this cable, it’s on tension.)
    - Laisse faire les pros, ok ?… Aïe ! (Let do the boss, ok ?… Ouch !)
    - Et [ǃ] ! Je te l’avais dit. (Et [click] ! I told you.)

    IV/ Lateral clicks [ǁ] :
    1) Meaning positive answer. (yes, it’s done, agree, support)

    I have a microphone, and I’m able to reproduce and record all that kind of clicks if you’re interested by illustrations. Just manifest you here and leave your mail or let me know how to contact you.

  4. Adele Says:


    I’m writing a paper on the paralinguistic use of clicks for my Topics in Phonology class. I was excited to see this article/chapter, but the link to map 142A does not seem to be working. Is there a way to access the map?

    Many thanks,

  5. Amrinder Singh Says:

    Are these clicks inherited from Africans ANCESTORS.

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