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Central ǃKung (Central ǃXun), or Central Ju, is a language of the ǃKung dialect cluster, spoken in a small area of northern Namibia: Neitsas, in Grootfontein district, and Gaub, in Tsumeb district. It is frequently reported as Grootfontein ǃXuun, as most work has been done in Grootfontein. An identifying feature of Central ǃKung is a fifth series of clicks that are often retroflex. While Northern (Northwestern) and Southern (Southeastern) ǃKung are not mutually intelligible, it is not yet clear to what extent Central ǃKung is intermediate between them or intelligible with either.
Two dialects are identified as being Central ǃKung based on grammatical features:
In addition, the ǃKung dialects of Tsintsabis, Leeunes and Mangetti (different from Mangetti Dune) have retroflex clicks and so may belong here, though no grammatical information is available to classify them.
In Grootfontein ǃKung words which Doke (1926) and others have described as having retroflex clicks, Vedder (1910/1911) described a second series of lateral clicks in Gaub ǃKung.
Grootfontein ǃKung is unusual in having true retroflex clicks, which are subapical for some speakers and have lateral release, as in the word for 'water', [‼̬ˡú] (provisionally written g‼ú). There are thus five places of articulation in Grootfontein clicks, /ǃ ǀ ǁ ǂ ‼/. These come in eight series, here represented with the retroflex articulation:
Otherwise, the Grootfontein inventory is similar to that of Ekoka ǃKung, except that it lacks the (pre)voiced affricates dχ, dʒ, dʒʼ, dʃχʼ.
The Grootfontein ǃKung language has a relatively large phonological inventory:
|Plain + /χ/||tχ||tʃχ|
|Plain + /χʼ/||kχʼ|
|Plain + /χ/||ǀχ||ǃχ||‼χ||ǂχ||ǁχ|
|Plain + /χʼ/||ǀχʼ||ǃχʼ||‼χʼ||ǂχʼ||ǁχʼ|
|Voiced + /χʼ/||ᶢǀχʼ||ᶢǃχʼ||ᶢ‼χʼ||ᶢǂχʼ||ᶢǁχʼ|
Five vowel sounds in the ǃKung languages are realized as [i e a o u]. The sounds may be articulated with nasalisation [ĩ ẽ ã õ ũ], breathy voice [iʱ eʱ aʱ oʱ uʱ], or pharyngealisation [iˤ eˤ aˤ oˤ uˤ]. Some nasal vowels with diacritics may have combinations such as breathy + nasal [ãʱ õʱ], and pharyngeal + nasal [ãˤ õˤ ũˤ].
Following are sample sentences in Central ǃKung.