Katrina Esau, Queen of the Western Nǁnǂe (ǂKhomani) San, resides in the suburbs of Upington, in South Africa’s Northern Cape. When she dies, she may leave behind not just herself but a whole world. This isn’t simply because she’s a queen; she also speaks the N|uu, one of the final language linkages to the early humans. N|uu has 45 clicks and 114 unique spoken sounds (phonemes). The astonishingly uncommon bilabial “kiss click,” which sounds disturbingly like an air smooch and is found in only two of the world’s 7,000 or so languages, is the star of the N|uu click arsenal.
The Crossroads of Special Operations