Ndebele Pronounciation

The majority of isiNdebele is quite easy for English language speakers to pronounce. The alphabet is Roman, but there are some letters which are noticeably pronounced differently. These include "click" sounds such as:

  1. c which is a soft click so not as sharp as the q sound. It is pronounced with your mouth slightly open horizontally and when your tongue is on the roof of your mouth just behind your top front teeth and then you slide your tongue quickly backwards
  2. x which is pronounced with your mouth open in an O shape and your whole tongue is on the middle roof of your mouth and you drop your bottom jaw and tongue to produce a slightly wet sound which lasts longer than the sharp q click or the soft c click. Alternatively the side of your mouth can be open.
  3. q which is pronounced as a sharp click when your tongue is quickly hit or pulled from the roof of your mouth.
  • The q sounds perhaps like a sharp tap on a hard surface as opposed to 
  • the x sound which sounds like a something being pulled from a light suction e.g. the sound a shoe makes as it is freed from mud, or 
  • the c sound which perhaps sounds like the noise crickets (insects) make. 
I am just trying to describe the sounds the best I can there.
These are the main 3 click sounds in isiNdebele- the sharp Q, the soft wet X, and the medium, soft C, is how I like to think of it.

1 comment:

Comment lapha please