|Voiced palatal click|
|Palatal nasal click|
The palatal or palato-alveolar clicks are a family of click consonants found, as components of words, only in Africa. The tongue is nearly flat, and is pulled back rather than down as in the postalveolar clicks, making a sharper sound than those consonants. The tongue makes an extremely broad contact across the roof of the mouth, making a determination of their place of articulation difficult, but Ladefoged & Traill (1984:18) find that the primary place of articulation is the palate, and say that "there is no doubt that [?] should be described as a palatal sound".
The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the place of articulation of these sounds is ⟨?⟩, a double-barred vertical bar. An older variant, the double-barred esh, ⟨
? ⟩, is sometimes seen. This may be combined with a second letter or a diacritic to indicate the manner of articulation, though this is commonly omitted for tenuis clicks.
In the orthographies of individual languages, palatal clicks may be written either with digraphs based on the vertical-bar letter of the IPA, or using the Latin alphabet. Nama and most Saan languages use the former. Conventions for the latter include multigraphs based on ⟨ç⟩ in Ju?'hoansi (1987 orthography) and originally in Naro, the latter since changed to ⟨tc⟩, and on ⟨qc⟩. In the 19th century, ⟨v⟩ was sometimes used (see click letters); this might be the source of the Doke letter for the voiceless palatal click, ⟨?⟩, apparently a v over-struck with a vertical bar.
|IPA I||IPA II||Description|
|⟨?⟩||Tenuis palatal click|
|⟨⟩||aspirated palatal click|
|⟨⟩||⟨⟩||Voiced palatal click|
|⟨⟩||⟨⟩||Palatal nasal click|
|⟨?⟩||⟨?⟩||Aspirated palatal nasal click|
|⟨⟩||⟨⟩||Glottalized palatal nasal click|
Features of palato-alveolar clicks:
|Taa||?nûm||ûm = ûm||two|
|áó?k?'am||to be disappointed|
|Yeyi||kuapara||to smash up|
|Fricated palatal click|
Ekoka !Kung has a series of laminal postalveolar-to-palatal clicks with a noisy, fricated release which derive historically from more prototypical palatal clicks. These have been variously described as fricated alveolar clicks and (inaccurately) as retroflex clicks. Unlike typical palatal clicks, which have a sharp, abrupt release, these have a slow, turbulent anterior release that sounds much like a short inhaled ; they also have a domed tongue rather than a flat tongue like a typical palatal click. [also said to be lateral] Like the clicks they derive from, they do not have the retracted tongue root and back-vowel constraint typical of alveolar clicks. A provisional transcription for the tenuis click is ⟨s⟩, though this misleadingly suggests that the clicks are affricates. Another proposal is to resurrect the old ?-like letter for palatal clicks, ⟨?⟩.