Monday, May 22, 2006

Voiceless Alveolar Lateral Fricative

   On a flight to Dallas last night (yes, I am indeed back in Oklahoma), I had the fortune of sitting next to a chatty lady who, among other things, is a speaker Tswana, an African tribal language primairly spoken in Botswana and parts of South Africa. I am very interested in language, and am always up to learn something new, so I managed to convince her to teach me a little bit of Tswana.
   Tswana has only one click (think Starvin' Marvin), but even the one makes it a lot harder to speak. I practiced some simple phrases (hello, I want water, etc.) and it took a while to train my mouth to make the click sound (Wikipedia calles it the "voiceless alveolar lateral fricative") without disrupting the flow of words. Now when Andrea and I are on the Amazing Race, we will be good to go if we go to the Bantu region of Southern Africa!


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