What does !Kung - sound like?
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!Kung


A woman speaking !Kung

Khoisan people from South Africa spoke the !Kung language. !Kung is a click language. It is probably the closest we can come to what the earliest languages sounded like. Of all the languages in the world, !Kung has the largest number of different kinds of sounds. Generally, the further you live from South Africa, the fewer different sounds there are in your language, as if people gradually simplified their sounds as they travelled further away. (Hawaiian has the smallest number.)

When Bantu people moved into South Africa, many people who spoke !Kung began to speak Bantu instead. And a lot of Bantu people began to mix !Kung words into their language, creating new languages called Xhosa and Zulu.

Xhosa
Swahili
Yoruba
African languages and literature
Ancient Africa
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Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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