ǀXam language

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ǀXam language_table_infobox_0

ǀXamǀXam language_header_cell_0_0_0
RegionǀXam language_header_cell_0_1_0 South Africa, LesothoǀXam language_cell_0_1_1
ExtinctǀXam language_header_cell_0_2_0 1910sǀXam language_cell_0_2_1
Language familyǀXam language_header_cell_0_3_0 TuuǀXam language_cell_0_3_1
Language codesǀXam language_header_cell_0_4_0
ISO 639-3ǀXam language_header_cell_0_5_0 ǀXam language_cell_0_5_1
GlottologǀXam language_header_cell_0_6_0 ǀXam language_cell_0_6_1

ǀXam (or kzam or kaam, )pronounced [ǀ͡xam (listen), in English /ˈkɑːm/) is considered an extinct language of South Africa formerly spoken by the ǀXam-ka ǃʼē of South Africa. ǀXam language_sentence_0

It is part of the ǃUi branch of the Tuu languages and closely related to the moribund Nǁng language. ǀXam language_sentence_1

Much of the scholarly work on ǀXam was performed by Wilhelm Bleek, a German linguist of the 19th century, who studied a variety of ǀXam spoken at Achterveld, and (with Lucy Lloyd) another spoken at Strandberg and Katkop while working with ǁKábbo, Diaǃkwāin, ǀAǃkúṅta, ǃKwéite̥n ta ǁKēn, ǀHaṅǂkassʼō and other speakers. ǀXam language_sentence_2

The surviving corpus of ǀXam comes from the stories told by and vocabulary recorded from these individuals in the Bleek and Lloyd Collection. ǀXam language_sentence_3

Name ǀXam language_section_0

The pipe at the beginning of the name "ǀXam" represents a dental click, like the English interjection tsk, tsk! ǀXam language_sentence_4

used to express pity or shame. ǀXam language_sentence_5

The ⟨x⟩ denotes a voiceless velar fricative click accompaniment. ǀXam language_sentence_6

Compared to other Khoisan languages, there is little variation in rendering the name though it is sometimes seen with the simple orthographic variant ǀKham, as well as a different grammatical form, ǀKhuai. ǀXam language_sentence_7

Phonology ǀXam language_section_1

Consonants ǀXam language_section_2

Compared to other Tuu languages like Taa, ǀXam has a more restricted inventory of consonants particularly the clicks, where there are only 8 series of click accompaniments, far fewer than East ǃXoon Taa's 18. ǀXam language_sentence_8

A preliminary consonant inventory of ǀXam, including egressive stops, fricatives, and affricates as well as ingressive clicks, is listed below. ǀXam language_sentence_9

Speech of mythological characters ǀXam language_section_3

See also: ǀKaggen and ǂKá̦gára ǀXam language_sentence_10

Bleek notes that particular animal figures in ǀXam mythology have distinctive speech patterns. ǀXam language_sentence_11

For example, Tortoise substitutes clicks with labial non-clicks, Mongoose replaces clicks with ts, tsy, ty, dy etc., and Jackal makes use of a "strange" labial click, "which bears to the ordinary labial click ʘ, a relation in sound similar to that which the palatal click ǂ bears to the cerebral click ǃ". ǀXam language_sentence_12

The Moon, and perhaps Hare and Anteater, even use "a most unpronounceable" click in place of all clicks save the bilabial. ǀXam language_sentence_13

Other changes noted include the Blue Crane's speech, who ends the first syllable of almost every word with a /t/. ǀXam language_sentence_14

Motto of South Africa ǀXam language_section_4

ǀXam was used for the South African motto on the coat of arms adopted on 27 April 2000: ǀXam language_sentence_15

ǀXam language_description_list_0

  • ǃke e꞉ ǀxarra ǁkeǀXam language_item_0_0

The intended meaning is Diverse people unite or, on a collective scale, Unity in Diversity. ǀXam language_sentence_16

The word-for-word translation is people who are different meet. ǀXam language_sentence_17

However, it is not known if that phrase would have been idiomatic in ǀXam. ǀXam language_sentence_18

Because it is extinct, ǀXam is not one of the eleven official languages of South Africa. ǀXam language_sentence_19

Its last speakers died in the 1910s. ǀXam language_sentence_20


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