ǃKung languages

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Not to be confused with Ju language (Chadic) or Kung language (Cameroon). ǃKung languages_sentence_0

ǃKung languages_table_infobox_0

ǃKungǃKung languages_header_cell_0_0_0
Native toǃKung languages_header_cell_0_1_0 Namibia, Angola, Botswana, South AfricaǃKung languages_cell_0_1_1
EthnicityǃKung languages_header_cell_0_2_0 ǃKungǃKung languages_cell_0_2_1
Native speakersǃKung languages_header_cell_0_3_0 16,000 ± 2,000 (2011)ǃKung languages_cell_0_3_1
Language familyǃKung languages_header_cell_0_4_0 KxʼaǃKung languages_cell_0_4_1
DialectsǃKung languages_header_cell_0_5_0 ǃKung languages_cell_0_5_1
Language codesǃKung languages_header_cell_0_6_0
ISO 639-3ǃKung languages_header_cell_0_7_0 Variously:

 – Northern ǃKung  – Ekoka ǃKung  – Southern ǃKungǃKung languages_cell_0_7_1

GlottologǃKung languages_header_cell_0_8_0 ǃKung languages_cell_0_8_1

ǃKung /ˈkʊŋ/ (ǃXun), also known as Ju, is a dialect continuum (language complex) spoken in Namibia, Botswana, and Angola by the ǃKung people, constituting two or three languages. ǃKung languages_sentence_1

Together with the ǂʼAmkoe language, ǃKung forms the Kxʼa language family. ǃKung languages_sentence_2

ǃKung constituted one of the branches of the putative Khoisan language family, and was called Northern Khoisan in that scenario, but the unity of Khoisan has never been demonstrated and is now regarded as spurious. ǃKung languages_sentence_3

Nonetheless, the anthropological term "Khoisan" has been retained as an umbrella term for click languages in general. ǃKung languages_sentence_4

ǃKung is famous for its many clicks, such as the ǃ in its name, and has some of the most complex inventories of both consonants and vowels in the world. ǃKung languages_sentence_5

It also has tone. ǃKung languages_sentence_6

For a description, see Juǀʼhoan. ǃKung languages_sentence_7

To pronounce ǃXuun (pronounced [ǃ͡χũː˦˥ in Western ǃKung/ǃXuun) one makes a click sound before the x sound (which is like a Scottish or German ch), followed by a long nasal u vowel with a high rising tone. ǃKung languages_sentence_8

Names ǃKung languages_section_0

The term ǃKung, or variants thereof, is typically used when considering the dialects to constitute a single language; Ju tends to be used when considering them as a small language family. ǃKung languages_sentence_9

ǃKung is also sometimes used for the northern/northwestern dialects, as opposed to the well documented Juǀʼhoan dialects in the south(east); however speakers of nearly all dialects call themselves ǃKung. ǃKung languages_sentence_10

The spellings ǃXun and ǃXuun seen in recent literature are related to the Juǀʼhoan form spelled ǃXʼu(u)n in the 1975 orthography, or ǃKu(u)n in current orthography. ǃKung languages_sentence_11

Additional spellings are ǃHu, ǃKhung, ǃKu, Kung, Qxü, ǃung, ǃXo, Xû, ǃXû, Xun, ǃXung, ǃXũũ, ǃXun, ʗhũ:, and additional spellings of Ju are Dzu, Juu, Zhu. ǃKung languages_sentence_12

Speakers ǃKung languages_section_1

If the ǃKung dialects are counted together, they would make the third-most-populous click language after Khoekhoe and Sandawe. ǃKung languages_sentence_13

The most populous ǃKung variety, Juǀʼhoan, is perhaps tied for third place with Naro. ǃKung languages_sentence_14

Estimates vary, but there are probably around 15,000 speakers. ǃKung languages_sentence_15

Counting is difficult because speakers are scattered on farms, interspersed with speakers of other languages, but counts 9,000 in Namibia, 2,000 in Botswana, 3,700 in South Africa and 1,000 in Angola (down from perhaps 8,000 in 1975). ǃKung languages_sentence_16

Until the mid–late twentieth century, the northern dialects were widespread in southern and central Angola. ǃKung languages_sentence_17

However, most ǃKung fled the Angolan Civil War to Namibia (primarily to the Caprivi Strip), where they were recruited into the South African Defence Force special forces against the Angolan Army and SWAPO. ǃKung languages_sentence_18

At the end of the Border War, more than one thousand fighters and their families were relocated to Schmidtsdrift in South Africa amid uncertainty over their future in Namibia. ǃKung languages_sentence_19

After more than a decade living in precarious conditions, the post-Apartheid government bought and donated land for a permanent settlement at Platfontein, near Schmidtsdrift. ǃKung languages_sentence_20

Only Juǀʼhoan is written, and it is not sufficiently intelligible with the Northwestern dialects for the same literature to be used for both. ǃKung languages_sentence_21

Varieties ǃKung languages_section_2

The better-known ǃKung dialects are Tsumkwe Juǀʼhoan, Ekoka ǃKung, ǃʼOǃKung, and ǂKxʼauǁʼein. ǃKung languages_sentence_22

Scholars distinguish between eleven and fifteen dialects, but the boundaries are unclear. ǃKung languages_sentence_23

There is a clear distinction between North/Northwest vs South/Southeast, but also a diverse Central group that is poorly attested. ǃKung languages_sentence_24

Heine & Honken (2010) ǃKung languages_section_3

classify the 11 traditionally numbered dialects into three branches of what they consider a single language: ǃKung languages_sentence_25

ǃKung languages_unordered_list_0

  • Northern–Western ǃXunǃKung languages_item_0_0

ǃKung languages_description_list_1

  • ǃKung languages_item_1_1
    • Northern ǃXunǃKung languages_item_1_2
      • (N1) Maligo (ǃxuun, kúándò ǃxuun "Kwando ǃXuun"; SE Angola)ǃKung languages_item_1_3
      • (N2) ǃʼOǃKung (ǃʼo ǃuŋ "Forest ǃXuun"; eastern C Angola)ǃKung languages_item_1_4
    • Western ǃXunǃKung languages_item_1_5
      • (W1) — (ǃxūún, ǃʼālè ǃxòān "Valley ǃXuun"; Eenhana district, N Namibia)ǃKung languages_item_1_6
      • (W2) ǀʼAkhwe (ǃxūún, ǀʼākhòè ǃxòān "Kwanyama ǃXuun"; Eenhana, N Namibia)ǃKung languages_item_1_7
      • (W3) Tsintsabis (ǃxūún; Tsintsabis, Tsumeb district, N Namibia)ǃKung languages_item_1_8
    • (K) Kavango ǃXuun (ǃxūún, known as dom ǃxūún "River ǃXuun" in Ekoka; Western Rundu district, N Namibia, & Angola adjacent)ǃKung languages_item_1_9

ǃKung languages_unordered_list_2

ǃKung languages_description_list_3

  • ǃKung languages_item_3_11
    • (C1) Gaub (Tsumeb district, N Namibia)ǃKung languages_item_3_12
    • (C2) Neitsas (Grootfontein district, N Namibia)ǃKung languages_item_3_13
    • tentatively also the Tsintsabis, Leeunes and Mangetti (different from Mangetti Dune) dialectsǃKung languages_item_3_14

ǃKung languages_unordered_list_4

ǃKung languages_description_list_5

  • ǃKung languages_item_5_16
    • (E1) Juǀʼhoan (ju-ǀʼhoan(-si); Tsumkwe district, N Namibia, & Bots adjacent)ǃKung languages_item_5_17
    • (E2) Dikundu (ǃxun, ju-ǀʼhoa(si); Dikundu, W Caprivi)ǃKung languages_item_5_18
    • (E3) ǂKxʼauǁʼein (ju-ǀʼhoan(-si), ǃxun, ǂxʼāōǁʼàèn "Northern people"; Gobabis district, E Namibia)ǃKung languages_item_5_19

, p. 324) state that speakers of all Northwestern dialects "understand one another to quite some extent" but that they do not understand any of the Southeastern dialects. ǃKung languages_sentence_26

Sands (2010) ǃKung languages_section_4

classifies ǃKung dialects into four clusters, with the first two being quite close: ǃKung languages_sentence_27

ǃKung languages_unordered_list_6

  • Northern ǃKung: Southern Angola, around the Cunene, Cubango, Cuito, and Cuando rivers, but with many refugees now in Namibia:ǃKung languages_item_6_20

ǃKung languages_description_list_7

  • ǃKung languages_item_7_21
    • ǃʼOǃKungǃKung languages_item_7_22
    • MaligoǃKung languages_item_7_23

ǃKung languages_unordered_list_8

  • North-Central ǃKung: Namibia, between the Ovambo River and the Angolan border, around the tributaries of the Okavango River east of Rundu to the Etosha Pan:ǃKung languages_item_8_24

ǃKung languages_description_list_9

  • ǃKung languages_item_9_25
    • TsintsabisǃKung languages_item_9_26
    • OkongoǃKung languages_item_9_27
    • OvamboǃKung languages_item_9_28
    • MpunguvleiǃKung languages_item_9_29
    • ǀʼAkhwe (Ekoka)ǃKung languages_item_9_30

ǃKung languages_unordered_list_10

ǃKung languages_description_list_11

  • ǃKung languages_item_11_33
    • TsumkweǃKung languages_item_11_34
    • OmatakoǃKung languages_item_11_35
    • KameeldoringǃKung languages_item_11_36
    • Epukiro.ǃKung languages_item_11_37

ǂKxʼauǁʼein was too poorly attested to classify at the time. ǃKung languages_sentence_28

Snyman (1997) ǃKung languages_section_5

A preliminary classification of the !Xũũ and Žuǀ'hõasi dialects by Snyman (1997): ǃKung languages_sentence_29

ǃKung languages_unordered_list_12

  • Southern (Žuǀʼhõansi)ǃKung languages_item_12_38
    • Epukiro Žuǀʼhõansi is bounded by the Omuramba Otjozondjou, stretching along the Omuramba Epukiro and north of the Sandfontein Omuramba up to Ghanzi in Botswana.ǃKung languages_item_12_39
    • Tsumkwe Žuǀʼhõansi is spoken east of 20° longitude from the Omuramba Otjozondjou up to the Kaudom Omuramba and extending to Samagaigai in the west and 22° longitude in Botswana.ǃKung languages_item_12_40
    • Rundu Žuǀʼhõansi presumably occurs south of the Okavango river from Rupara south-eastward to Ncaute and then north of the Omuramba Kaudom.ǃKung languages_item_12_41
    • Omatako Žuǀʼhõansi consists of a northern dialect probably stretching from Ncaute southwards up to ca. 100km South of Karakuwisa, and a southern dialect extending southwards to include the tributaries of the Omatako, viz. the Omambonde, Klein Omatako and Gunib. The dialects are probably spoken in an area about 40 km wide along the river. According to the map in Westhpal (1956), the upper reaches of the Gunib Omuramba as well as the Omuramba Otjozondjou, i.e. the area between Okozonduzu Omazera and Blignaut, was Haillom territory. This area roughly lies on the watershed between the Omatako and the Otjozondjou which served as a natural boundary between the Epukiro and Omatako Žuǀʼhõansi.ǃKung languages_item_12_42
  • Central (!Xũũ)ǃKung languages_item_12_43
    • Grootfontein !Xũũ is found in the district to the north-east, east and south-east of the town of Grootfontein.ǃKung languages_item_12_44
    • Tsintsabis !Xũũ is restricted to the North-eastern part of the Tsumeb district and adjacent areas in the western and eastern Mangetti.ǃKung languages_item_12_45
    • Okongo !Xũũ is found in the Okongo, Olokula, Ekoka and Otyolo area of Northeastern Owambo.ǃKung languages_item_12_46
  • Northern (!Xũũ)ǃKung languages_item_12_47
    • Mpungu !Xũũ occurs in the Tondoro and Mpungu area of the north-western Kavango and presumably in adjacent areas in Angola. This dialect clearly forms a transition from Okongo !Xũũ to the other dialects of the Northern dialect cluster. Cuando/Quito !Xũũ presumably belonged in the area between these rivers.ǃKung languages_item_12_48
    • Quilo/Cubango !Xũũ presumably belonged in the area between these rivers.ǃKung languages_item_12_49
    • Cubango/Cunene !Xũũ presumably belonged in the area between these rivers.ǃKung languages_item_12_50

Proto-language ǃKung languages_section_6

ǃKung languages_table_infobox_1

Proto-ǃKungǃKung languages_header_cell_1_0_0
Reconstruction ofǃKung languages_header_cell_1_1_0 ǃKung languagesǃKung languages_cell_1_1_1

The ancestral language, Proto-Juu or Proto-ǃXuun, had five places of click articulation: Dental, alveolar, palatal, alveolar lateral, and retroflex (*‼). ǃKung languages_sentence_30

The retroflex clicks have dropped out of Southeastern dialects such as Juǀʼhoan, but remain in Central ǃKung. ǃKung languages_sentence_31

In ǀʼAkhwe (Ekoka), the palatal click has become a fricated alveolar. ǃKung languages_sentence_32

ǃKung languages_table_general_2

Proto-JuuǃKung languages_header_cell_2_0_0 *ǃ 'belly'ǃKung languages_header_cell_2_0_1 *‼ 'water'ǃKung languages_header_cell_2_0_2 ǃKung languages_header_cell_2_0_3
SE (Tsumkwe)ǃKung languages_header_cell_2_1_0 ᶢǃűǃKung languages_cell_2_1_1 ᶢǃűǃKung languages_cell_2_1_2 ǂǃKung languages_cell_2_1_3
N (Okongo/ǀʼAkhwe)ǃKung languages_header_cell_2_2_0 ᶢǃűǃKung languages_cell_2_2_1 ᶢǁűǃKung languages_cell_2_2_2 ǃKung languages_cell_2_2_3
NW (Mangetti Dune)ǃKung languages_header_cell_2_3_0 ᶢǃűǃKung languages_cell_2_3_1 ᶢǁűǃKung languages_cell_2_3_2 ǂǃKung languages_cell_2_3_3
C (Neitsas/Nurugas)ǃKung languages_header_cell_2_4_0 ᶢǃúǃKung languages_cell_2_4_1 ᶢ‼úǃKung languages_cell_2_4_2 ǂǃKung languages_cell_2_4_3


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ǃKung languages.