The acquisition of clicks by Xhosa-speaking children

  • Sandile Gxilishe


The article deals with the order of emergence of click consonants and the nature of click inventory. It reveals the course of development and differentiation of a phonological repertoire of a type different from those studied in depth to date. The sample consists of 10 children, three males and seven females between 1:0 and 3 years old. The study shows ample evidence of the extensive use of question and prompting routines directed at these Xhosa-speaking children and explains why these children learn these clicks so early despite how marked they are. Results describe the order of acquisition; the appearance of all basic clicks; the tempo between 1:7 and 2:0 years; the period of occurrence of a spurt; and the development of voiceless to voiced and nasalized clicks.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Sandile Gxilishe
Sandile Gxilishe is at present an Associate Professor in the School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa.  His chief interests are Acquisition Research in both First and Second Language.  He is currently conducting research on the Acquisition of Xhosa by monolingual children in order to establish normative data for Xhosa.  Email: