A spectral moments analysis of Tsua and Ju|'hoan alveolar and palatal click consonants


  • Timothy Mathes AIS, Inc.
  • Alex de Voogt Drew University


Khoisan, click consonants, spectral moments, acoustic phonetics, click loss, statistical analysis


Tsua is a critically-endangered language of the Eastern Kalahari Khoe languages where the historical processes of click replacement and click loss are relatively common. An acoustic analysis of Tsua’s remaining alveolar and palatal click consonants that have not undergone click loss reveals that on three statistical spectral moments — center of gravity, skew and kurtosis — the Tsua alveolar and palatal click bursts do not markedly differ from each other. T-tests reveal that the differences are not statistically significant. Moreover, the click burst duration and intensity differences are not statistically significant either. In contrast, an analysis of the alveolar and palatal clicks in Juǀ’hoan, which does not exhibit click loss, shows that these clicks are significantly different on all the acoustic measures. These findings may help shed light on the diachronic process of click loss in Tsua.


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