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.

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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