Language name and location: Xiri, Western Cape, South Africa [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区希里 (吉里语 Giri), 南非共和国西开普省


1. ǀúí

2. ǀám

3. !nòná

4. hàká

5. kóro


Linguist providing data and dateː Mr. Mark Rosenfelder, The Author of the website "Numbers from 1 to 10 in over 5000 languages", Chicago, USA, October 7 2023.

提供资的语言: Mr. Mark Rosenfelder, 2023 年 10 月 7 日.


Other comments: Xiri or Giri, also known as Griqua (Afrikaans spelling) or Cape Hottentot is a Khoisan language of South Africa, originally spoken by a small group of Coloureds. It is an endangered language, and may even be extinct. Direct evidence for the current population of the Xiri speakers is lacking, but the language is thought to be used as a first language by the elderly only. Xiri has only recorded traditional numerals from 1 to 5 years ago. New data for numbers after five is required. 

Notes: The symbol 'ǀ' is a dental click, 'ǃ' a (post) alveolar lateral click and 'ǁ' an alveolar click.
Reports as to the number of Khoemana speakers are contradictory, but it is clear that it is nearly extinct. It was thought to be extinct until the discovery of four elderly speakers around Bloemfontein and Kimberley. A 2009 report by Don Killian of the University of Helsinki estimated that there were less than 30 speakers at the time. Matthias Brenzinger reported in 2012 that one possible speaker remained, but that she refused to speak the language. The discrepancies could be because the language has multiple dialects and goes by several names, with scholars not always referring to the same population.[5] Khoemana is listed as "critically endangered" in UNESCO's Language Atlas.[10] The loss of this endangered language would have a significant impact on the heritage and culture of Khoemana speakers.


"Khoemana" (from khoe 'person' + mana 'language') is more commonly known as either Korana /kɒˈrɑːnə/ (also ǃOrakobab, ǃOra, Kora, Koraqua) or Griqua (also Gri [xri], Xri, Xiri, Xirikwa).[3] The name 'Korana' reflects the endonym ǃOra IPA: [ǃoɾa] or ǃGora IPA: [gǃoɾa], referring to the ǃOra people. Sometimes ǃOra is also known as Cape Khoe or Cape Hottentot, though the latter has become considered derogatory. The various names are often treated as different languages (called South Khoekhoe when taken together), but they do not correspond to any actual dialect distinctions, and speakers may use "Korana" and "Griqua" interchangeably. Both names are also used more broadly, for example for the Griqua people. There exist (or existed) several dialects of Khoemana, but the details are unknown.


Khoemana is closely related to Khoekhoe, and the sound systems are broadly similar. The strongly aspirated Khoekhoe affricates are simply aspirated plosives [tʰ, kʰ] in Khoemana. However, Khoemana has an ejective velar affricate, /kxʼʔ/, which is not found in Khoekhoe, and a corresponding series of clicks/ǀ͡xʼ ǁ͡xʼ ǃ͡xʼ ǂ͡xʼ/. Beach (1938)reported that the Khoekhoe of the time had a velar lateral ejective affricate[k͡ʟ̝̊ʼ], a common realisation or allophone of /kxʼ/ in languages with clicks, and it might be expected that this is true for Khoemana as well. In addition, about half of all lexical words in Khoemana began with a click, compared to a quarter in Khoekhoe.

Khoemana vowels
  Front Central Back
oral nasal oral oral nasal
Close i ĩ   u ũ
Mid e   ə o õ
Open a ã      

In Korana, [oe] and [oa] can be pronounced as [we] and [wa].

Khoemana non-click consonants
  Labial Dental Alveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m n      
Plosive voiceless p t   k ʔ
voiced b d      
Affricate ejective   tsʼ   kxʼ  
Fricative     s x h
Trill     r    
  • The phoneme [k] can be realized as /c/ before [e] or [i].
  • An intervocalic [p] and [b] are sometimes realized as /β/.
  • [s] is stated to be alveolar-postalveolar when not followed by a close front vowel [i], [ĩ], or [e].
  • The aspirated phoneme [tʰ] is realized as an affricate sound /ts/ when followed by a close front vowel [i], [ĩ], or [e].
  • The aspirated sound [kʰ] can sometimes be realized as [kx]. Some Griqua speakers may pronounce [kʰ] as [kʼ].
  • The [tsʼ] sound only seldom occurs.
  • [m] and [n] can occur syllabically as [m̩] and [n̩].
  • The trilled [r] can also be realized as a flapped [ɾ] in some speech.
  • Voicing can be very weak in Khoemana in casual speech, so voiced plosives can be hard to distinguish from voiceless plosives.[5]
Khoemana clicks
  dental alveolar lateral palatal
plain (velar stop) ǀ(k) ǃ(k) ǁ(k) ǂ(k)
nasal ᵑǀ ᵑǃ ᵑǁ ᵑǂ
glottalized ǀˀ ǃˀ ǁˀ ǂˀ
aspirated ǀʰ ǃʰ ǁʰ ǂʰ
voiced ǀᶢ ǃᶢ ǁᶢ ǂᶢ
aspirated k ǀᵏʰ ǃᵏʰ ǁᵏʰ ǂᵏʰ
velar affricate ǀkx ǃkx ǁkx ǂkx
velar ejective
ǀkxʼ ǃkxʼ ǁkxʼ ǂkxʼ
velar fricative ǀx ǃx ǁx ǂx

There are four tones in Khoemana:

high- ́
rising- ̌
mid- ̄
falling- ̂


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