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Canada College Xhosa Language and Clicks Discussion & Responses

Journal Topic

Watch this video of Trever Noah talking with his grandmother in Johannesburg, South Africa; they are speaking Xhosa. Then, reflect upon Xhosa, how it is similar to other languages that you know and how it is different. Do you think that clicks were possibly involved in the original languages of humans? Explain your answer.


I am familiar with Trevor Noah, mostly due to his comedy specials, but this was very interesting to watch. Although they don’t speak much of it on the video. Before taking this class, I had only heard in passing that an African uses clicks. But never had I heard the language being spoken before so to my ears the clicks stand out a lot. I don’t think Xhosa is similar to any language that I’ve been exposed to so I can’t quite compare it. I do think it is possible for some of the original human languages to contain clicks as they are other languages in the Bantu family that have them (I think the professor mentioned this in a lecture video, could be wrong). But I wonder how they were integrated into the language, to begin with? This is a topic I should investigate on my own. In addition to hearing the Xhosa language, I learned a bit more about apartheid from someone who experienced it. Also, his grandmother seems like a very fun person.


Do you think that clicks were possibly involved in the original languages of humans? Well, according to Professor Harmor,” Affricates they’re a double articulation, a combination of a stop followed by africative. English has only the two affricates, [t?] and [d?]”. So, click sounds, such as those found in some languages in Africa, make perfectly good consonants.

I noticed that the clicking sounds of the Xhosa are represented by the letters c, q, and x

But also, I noticed the grandma uses a lot of guttural sounds even when she is speaking English. Also she uses a lot the bilabial sounds, so that remembers to me the “ph” ” ch” sounds in English and ” f”” x” sounds in Spanish.

When Trevor arrived to his grandma’s house he says ” halo coco” that’s sounds to me like Spanish words ” hola coco” ( hello coconut).


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