|Angola, Namibia, and Botswana|
|Linguistic classification:||One of the world's primary language families
(traditionally considered Khoisan)
The Kx'a languages, also called Ju–ǂHoan, are a recently established family linking the ǂ’Amkoe (ǂHoan) language with the ǃKung (Juu) dialect cluster, a relationship that had been suspected for a decade. Along with the Tuu languages, they are one of two language families indigenous to southern Africa, which are typologically similar due to areal effects.
- ǂ’Amkoe (two dialects, ǂHȍȁn and Sàsí. Ca. 100 speakers, Botswana. Moribund.)
- ǃKung (also ǃXun or Ju, formerly Northern Khoisan) is a single dialect cluster. (≈50,000 speakers.)
Heine & Honken (2010) coined the term Kx'a for the family as a replacement for the rather inaccessible compound Ju–ǂHoan (easily confused with the Juǀʼhoan language), after the word [kxʼà] 'earth, ground', which is shared by the two branches of the family, though also by neighboring languages such as Kwadi.
Heine & Honken (2010) reconstruct six click families for Kx'a: the five that occur in the most conservative dialects of ǃKung, plus the bilabial clicks of ǂHoan. Bilabial clicks became dental in ǃXun; retroflex clicks became lateral in ǂHoan and northern ǃXun, alveolar in southern ǃXun, and remained retroflex only in central ǃXun. However, Starostin (2003) argues that the bilabial clicks are a secondary development in ǂHoan. He cites the ǂHoan words for 'one' and 'two', /ŋ͡ʘũ/ and /ʘoa/, where no other Khoisan language has a labial consonant of any kind in its words for these numerals. This would of course also be explained by their loss of labial articulation in ǃXun; Heine & Honken report they could find no way to avoid postulating a series of labial clicks for the protolanguage.
- Heine, B. and Honken, H. 2010. "The Kx'a Family: A New Khoisan Genealogy". Journal of Asian and African Studies (Tokyo), 79, p. 5–36.
- Starostin G. (2003) A lexicostatistical approach towards reconstructing Proto-Khoisan, page 22. Mother Tongue, vol. VIII.