Studies from German-speaking Europe
On clicks in German
This paper attempts to give an overview over the non-phonemic use of clicks in German where these ingressive stop sounds can be found in perceptually rather salient forms as an interjection to express affectivity, as an imitative means and as an oral device in man-animal communication. In addition clicks can be used in singing as special forms of vocal percussion. “Weak clicks” as coarticulatory by-products were observed in certain consonant sequences as perceptually less salient forms of clicks in German. Clicks in (German) talk-in-interaction often show some connections to discourse structures and most of them can be analysed in combination with an apical speech preparation gesture and/or ingressive airstream mechanisms for in-breath before a prosodic phrase. It is shown that in German as a “non-click language” clicks are used in a large diversity of functions. Especially in interaction nearly all speakers in the investigated corpus use clicks.
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