Some differences between clicks and labio-velars

  • WG Bennett


Click consonants and labio-velar consonants are commonly grouped together, as complex segments – consonants having two simultaneous articulations in different places. While this grouping makes intuitive sense, it is not adequately supported. Complex segments appear to be unattested except for clicks and labio-velars; they are not an independently motivated class of sounds. A careful review of the facts reported in previous work reveals that the phonetic and phonological similarities between clicks and labio-velars are less significant than is commonly assumed. The conclusion of this paper is that unifying clicks and labio-velars as a natural class of complex stops is not empirically justified, and does not help explain the properties of either one.

South African Journal of African Languages 2014, 34(2): 115–126

Author Biography

WG Bennett
Department of English Language and Linguistics, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117