We’ve heard that “no means no,” but no actually comes in evolving shapes, as we learn in Lessons in Expression and Physical Drill by Darien A. Straw, 1892.
With five distinct kinds of clicks, multiple tones and strident vowels — vocalized with a quick choking sound — the Taa language, spoken by a few thousand people in Botswana and Namibia, is believed by most linguists to have the largest sound inventory of any tongue in the world.
The exact count differs among scholars. Studies commonly cite more than 100 consonants, and some say there are as many as 164 consonants and 44 vowels. English, by comparison, has about 45 sounds at its disposal, total.
Taa, also known as !Xoon, is part of the Khoisan language group, spoken in the Kalahari Desert and hardly anywhere else. All Khoisan languages use click consonants, which were featured in the hit 1980 film “The Gods Must Be Crazy.”
It’s very interesting article.
My prof shared this. I though it looked really cool/ interesting.
How do our throats work to make different kinds of sounds? What different settings for our vocal folds do we have? In this week’s episode, we talk about phonation and glottal states: how air interacts with our anatomy to create waves, what settings we have besides voiced, voiceless, and closed completely, and how these other settings, breathy and creaky voice, are used across languages. And how they’re all totally fine and cool!
It’s always fun to talk about phonetics, and to wade into the creaky voice debate. Looking forward to hearing what people have to say. ^_^