This paper describes a group of sounds that stand outside of the basic phonemic and/or lexical inventory of Wolof (Niger-Congo) but are a core part of the language's communicative system. Such sounds are often found in exclamations, animal calls, and borrowed words and may be considered as constituting a secondary phonemic system, as noted by Harris (1951). The inventory of verbal gestures in Senegalese Wolof includes a number of clicks (velar, lateral, dental, and dental bilabial), a hissing sound, and a whistle. Some of these verbal gestures substitute for regular lexical items, while others have more discourse functions. Although outside the phonemic and grammatical systems, they are nevertheless a crucial component of linguistic communication, warranting further cross-linguistic study.
Selected Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference on African Linguistics
edited by Ruth Kramer, Elizabeth C. Zsiga, and One Tlale Boyer
Table of contents