Sekele language

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Northern ǃKung
Native toNamibia, Angola
RegionOkavango and Ovamboland Territory
Language codes
ISO 639-3vaj – inclusive code
Individual code:
knw – Ekoka !Kung

Sekele is the northern variety of the !Kung dialect continuum. It was widespread in southern Angola before the civil war,[3] but those varieties are now spoken principally among a diaspora in northern Namibia. There are also a number of dialects spoken in Northernmost Namibia.

Sekele goes by a number of names. "Sekele" itself derives from Vasekele, the Angolan Bantu name. It is also known as Northern !Kung (or equivalently "Northern ǃXuun", "Northern Ju" and several other variants). Two of the Angolan varieties have gone by the outdated term ǃʼOǃKung (or ǃʼO ǃuŋ [ǃˀoːǃʰũ] "Forest ǃKung") and Maligo (short for "Sekele Maligo"). There are several Namibian dialects, of which the best known is Ekoka.


There is a division between the northernmost dialects, formerly known as Angolan !Kung and sometimes simply as Northern !Kung, the more southern dialects of northernmost Namibian, known as Western !Kung or North-Central !Kung, and Kavango !Kung to their east.

  • Angolan (Nothernmost) !Kung, originally of Southern Angola, around the Cunene, Cubango, Cuito, and Cuando rivers
(N1) Maligo (!xuun, kúándò !xuun "Kwando !Xuun"; SE Angola)
(N2) ǃʼOǃKung (!ʼo !uŋ "Forest !Xuun"; eastern C Angola)
  • Western (North-Central) !Kung, of northern Namibia, between the Ovambo River and the Angolan border, around the tributaries of the Okavango River east of Rundu to the Etosha Pan
(W1) — (!xūún, !ʼālè !xòān "Valley !Xuun"; Eenhana district, N Namibia)
(W2) ǀʼAkhwe (!xūún, ǀʼākhòè !xòān "Kwanyama !Xuun"; Eenhana, N Namibia)
(W3) Tsintsabis (!xūún; Tsintsabis, Tsumeb district, N Namibia)
  • (K) Kavango !Kung (!xūún, known as dom !xūún "River !Xuun" in Ekoka; Western Rundu district, N Namibia, & Angola adjacent)

The Okongo, Ovambo and Mpunguvlei dialects may duplicate (W1) and (K) or be additional forms.

A dialect of Angolan Sekele currently being investigated by linguists has been labeled Mangetti Dune !Kung, and is spoken by a resettled diaspora community of 500–1000 in Namibia and South Africa in the settlements of Mangetti Dune and Omtaku (Omatako?), east of Grootfontein, Namibia, halfway to the Botswana border; and in Schmidtsdrif, west of Kimberley, South Africa.


Angolan !Kung

Mangetti Dune !Kung has clicks with four places of articulation, /ǃ ǀ ǁ ǂ/. (A reported distinction between dental lateral and postalveolar lateral clicks has not been confirmed by further research.)

These come in the same eight series as in Grootfontein !Kung, here represented with the palatal articulation:

Lingual /ǂ ǂʰ ᶢǂ ᵑǂ ᵑ̊ǂʰ/
glottalized /ᵑ̊ǂˀ/
linguo-pulmonic /ǂχ/
linguo-glottalic /ǂ͡kxʼ/
Western (North-Central) !Kung


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Northern Ju". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "North-Central Ju". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Gordon Jr. & Grimes 2005


  • Snyman, Jan Winston (1980). "The Relationship Between Angolan ǃXu and Zuǀʼõasi". Bushman and Hottentot Linguistic Studies. Pretoria, South Africa: University of South Africa (UNISA): 1–58.
  • Miller, A.L.; Holliday, J.; Howcroft, D.M.; Phillips, S.; Smith, B.; Tsz-Hum, T.; Scott, A. (2011). "The Phonetics of the Modern-Day Reflexes of the Proto-Palatal Click in Juu Languages". Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Khoisan Languages and Linguistics.

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