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Re: 3 Phonetics-Related Q's

From:Joe <joe@...>
Date:Monday, August 16, 2004, 19:59
Ray Brown wrote:

> On Sunday, August 15, 2004, at 06:54 , Isaac A. Penzev wrote: > >> I. K. Peylough scripsit: >> >> >>>> AFAIK, nobody knows where clicks came from in languages that have >>>> them. >>>> No language with clicks is known to descend from a language without. >>> >>> >>> What about Xhosa? Isn't that a Bantu language? >> >> >> AFAIK, Xhosa, Zulu and other Southern Bantu languages borrowed clicks >> from >> their Koisan (Bushmen) neighbors. > > > Yep - Xhosa, Zulu, Swazi and Ndebele belong to the Nguni branch of the > Bantu languages. One of the distinguishing features of the Nguni group is > that they have click consonants. But AFAIK though the languages certainly > descend from earlier forms without clicks, the click consonants > (consonants produced by velaric ingressive airstream) have not developed > from consonants produced by pulmonary ingessive or egressive airstreams > (or from consonants produced by glottalic airstreams). They have arisen > from long association of the Nguni languages with the Koisan languages. > > How and why clicks developed in the Khoisan languages we simply do not > know. Indeed, the development of human language over many millennia is > simply unknown. It may well be that if we could go back far enough into > the past, a far greater use was made of velaric & glottalic airstreams in > speech, besides the pulmonic egressive sounds that we are so familiar > with > today. > > It may well we should ask why only Khoisan _retained_ clicks? I.e. it may > well be that the question is not what did clicks develop from but rather > what did clicks change into. Who knows? >
The question is - is it a coincidence that the Khoisan languages are so associated with the oldest and most diverse genetic stock on the planet? And that they are the only ones, besides Xhosa, Zulu, etc. with click consonants?