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Query Details

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Query Subject:   Paralinguistic clicks
Author:   Mark Jones
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   DEAR LINGUISTS,

IT'S COMMON IN THE PHONETIC LITERATURE (E.G. JOHN LAVER (1994) "PRINCIPLES OF PHONETICS": 175, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS) TO SEE CLICK CONSONANTS (VELARIC INGRESSIVE SOUNDS) DESCRIBED AS RARE AS CONTRASTIVE UNITS, BUT COMMON PARALINGUISTICALLY. I'M AWARE OF THEIR PHONOLOGICAL DISTRIBUTION, BUT I DON'T KNOW OF ANY DETAILED SURVEY OF PARALINGUISTIC USAGE.

IN (BRITISH) ENGLISH WE HAVE TWO PARALINGUISTIC CLICKS: THE DENTAL CLICK ([/]), WRITTEN AS EITHER "TUT" OR "TSK", AND THE LATERAL CLICK ([//]), WHICH AS FAR AS I'M AWARE HAS NO WRITTEN FORM. THE DENTAL "TUT/TSK" USUALLY OCCURS DOUBLED, I.E. AS "TUT TUT" OR "TSK TSK" TO INDICATE DISAPPROVAL. THE LATERAL CLICK (ALSO DOUBLED) IS THE SOUND MADE TO ENCOURAGE A HORSE TO MOVE. THERE IS, OF COURSE, ALSO THE BILABIAL CLICK ([0]) WHICH IS A KISS. I DON'T INCLUDE THIS AS PARALINGUISTIC, BECAUSE IT IS WHAT IT SYMBOLISES.

I'D LIKE TO CCONDUCT AS WIDE A CROSS-LINGUISTIC SURVEY AS POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE:

1) WHETHER CLICKS ARE WIDELY USED PARALINGUISTICALLY;
2) WHICH CLICKS ARE USED PARALINGUISTICALLY;
3) WHAT THE CLICK SOUNDS SYMBOLISE;
4) WHETHER 'DOUBLING' OF THE CLICK IS COMMON, E.G. AS IN ENGLISH "TUT TUT".

I'D ALSO LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT WRITING CONVENTIONS FOR THE PARALINGUISTIC CLICKS. DOES ENGLISH HAVE A PREFERENCE FOR "TUT" OR "TSK", DOES [//] HAVE A WRITTEN FORM? WHAT DO OTHER LANGUAGES DO?

I'D BE VERY GRATEFUL IF LIST USERS WOULD CONTRIBUTE ANY INFORMATION ON THEIR NATIVE OR NEAR-NATIVE LANGUAGES TO ME AT THE FOLLOWING MAIL ADDRESS (SET UP TO KEEP MY UNIVERSITY MAIL VOLUME DOWN):

PARALINGUISTIC_CLICKS@HOTMAIL.COM

I'LL POST A SUMMARY, BUT I'D LIKE TO GIVE USERS A FEW WEEKS TO RESPOND.

MANY THANKS!

MARK JONES
DEPARTMENT OF LINGUISTICS
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
MJJ13@CAM.AC.UK
LL Issue: 14.762
Date posted: 17-Mar-2003