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ǁXegwi language

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RegionSouth Africa
Extinct1988, with the death of Jopi Mabinda[1]
  • ǃKwi
    • ǁXegwi
Language codes
ISO 639-3xeg
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ǁXegwi, also known as Batwa, is an extinct ǃKwi language spoken at Lake Chrissie in South Africa, near the Swazi border. The last known speaker, Jopi Mabinda, was murdered in 1988.[2] However, a reporter for the South African newspaper Mail & Guardian reports that ǁXegwi may still be spoken in the Chrissiesmeer district.[3]

The ǁXegwi name for their language has been spelled giǁkwi꞉gwi or kiǁkwi꞉gwi. Their name for themselves has been transcribed tlou tle or kxlou-kxle, presumably [k͡ʟ̝̊ouk͡ʟ̝̊e]. The Nguni (Zulu and Swazi) called them (a)batwa, amaNkqeshe, amaNgqwigqwi; the Sotho called them Baroa/Barwa.[4]


ǁXegwi lost the abrupt clicks (the various manners of ǂ and ǃ) found in its relatives. It reacquired ǃ from Nguni Bantu languages, but clicks remained relatively infrequent, compared to other Tuu languages. It also had a series of uvular plosives not found in other Tuu languages.[5]

Pulmonic consonants Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
central lateral central lateral
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiced b d ɟ ɡ ɢ
tenuis t k q ʔ
aspirated k͡ʟ̝̊ʰ
Affricate voiceless ts
kx k͡ʟ̝̊
voiced dz
Fricative voiceless s ɬ ʃ x h
voiced β z ɮ ɦ
Sonorant r l j w
Glottalic consonants Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular
central lateral
Plosive kʷʼ
Affricate tsʼ tʃʼ kxʼ k͡ʟ̝̊ʼ
Lingual consonants Labial Dental Alveolar
central lateral
Nasal modal ᵑʘ ᵑǀ ᵑǃ ᵑǁ
glottalized ᵑǀˀ ᵑǁˀ
murmured ᵑǀʱ ᵑǁʱ
Plosive voiced ᶢǀ ᶢǃ ᶢǁ
tenuis ᵏʘ ᵏǀ ᵏǃ ᵏǁ
Affricate ᵏʘx ᵏǀx ᵏǃx ᵏǁx


  1. ^ ǁXegwi at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Traill, A. "The Khoesan languages", in Mesthrie, Rajend Language in South Africa, Cambridge U.P., 2004
  3. ^ Davie, Kevin. "The secret pool of surviving Bushmen at Chrissiesmeer". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  4. ^ Yvonne Treis, 1998, "Names of Khoisan Languages and their Variants"
  5. ^ Anthony Traill, 1999. Extinct South African Khoisan Languages.

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ǁXegwi language
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