|Native to||South Africa, Namibia, Angola|
Ekoka ǃKung (Ekoka ǃXuun, Ekoka-ǃXû, ǃKung-Ekoka) or Western ǃXuun (North-Central Ju) is a variety of the ǃKung dialect cluster, spoken originally in the area of the central Namibian–Angolan border, west of the Okavango River, but since the Angolan Civil War also in South Africa.
Heine & Honken (2010) place Ekoka in the Northern–Western branch of ǃXuun (ǃKung), where Ekoka is equivalent to the Western branch.
They distinguish three varieties:
- Western ǃXuun (Kung-Ekoka)
- Tsintsabis (natively ǃxūún; spoken in Tsintsabis, Tsumeb district, N Namibia)
- ǀAkhwe (natively ǃxūún, ǀʼākhòè ǃxòān "Kwanyama ǃXuun"; spoken in Eenhana, N Namibia)
- [no name] (natively ǃxūún, ǃʼālè ǃxòān "Valley ǃXuun"; spoken in Eenhana district, N Namibia)
Sands et al.
place it in its own branch, which they call North-Central Ju:
- North-Central Ju (Namibia, between the Ovambo River and the Angolan border, around the tributaries of the Okavango River east of Rundu to the Etosha Pan)
Tsintsabis might actually be Central ǃKung.
Ekoka ǃKung has a indistinguishable sound system to Juǀʼhoansi.
These are provisionally transcribed ⟨ǃ͡s⟩ or ⟨⨎⟩, etc., and behave similarly to palatal (rather than alveolar) clicks in terms of not following the back-vowel constraint.
In addition to the twelve 'accompaniments' of clicks in Juǀʼhoansi, Ekoka has preglottalized nasal clicks, such as /ʔᵑǃ/.
König & Heine (2001) report the following inventory, with the clicks as analyzed by Miller (2011).
One of the click series, called 'fortis' in König & Heine, is only attested at two places of articulation; it is not clear which this corresponds to in the table below.
There are also prenasalized /mb, nd, ŋɡ/ in Bantu loans.
- /tʰ/ is shown as post-alveolar; cf. the epiglottalized /tᵸ/ found in Juǀ'hoan, though this could be an alignment error. Similarly, /tʃʰ/ is shown as palatal, along with /tʃᵡ, dʃᵡʼ/ and in contrast to post-alveolar /tʃ/.
More recently, Heine & König find that Ekoka ǃKung also has a series of preglottalized nasal consonants, including preglottalized nasal clicks:
- /ˀm, ˀn, ˀᵑǀ, ˀᵑǃ, ˀᵑǂ, ˀᵑǁ/
- i e a o u – ih eh ah oh uh – aq oq uq – in an un – ahn ohn – aqn oqn uqn
Linguistically, ǃKung is generally termed isolating, meaning that words' meanings are changed by the addition of other, separate words, rather than by the addition of affixes or the changing of word structure.
A few suffixes exist - for example, distributive plurals are formed with the noun suffix -si or -mhi, but in the main meaning is given only by series of words rather than by grouping of affixes.
ǃKung distinguishes no formal plural, and the suffixes -si and -mhi are optional in usage.
The language's word order is adverb–subject–verb–object, and in this it is similar to English: "the snake bites the man" is represented by ǂʼaama nǃei zhu (ǂʼaama - snake, nǃei - to bite, zhu - man).
ǃKung-ekoka uses word and sentence tone contours, and has a very finely differentiated vocabulary for the animals, plants and conditions native to the Kalahari Desert, where the language is spoken.
For example, the plant genus Grewia is referred to by five different words, representing five different species in this genus.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekoka ǃKung.