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The language !Xóõ (also known as Ta'a; formerly called "southern Khoisan") is spoken by a small community of around 3,000 semi-nomadic people in southern Botswana and eastern Namibia. It has a total of 130 consonants (plus 28 vowels and three tones to give a total segment inventory of 161). Standard English, by comparison, has only 27 consonant sounds (plus 13 vowel sounds to give a total segment inventory of 40). The vast array of consonant sounds include many "click" consonants, which are a common feature of languages in southern Africa – these are expressive noises akin to the "tsk" or "tut" sounds people make when they disapprove of something, or the "clop" sound made by children imitating the footfalls of a horse.
The exact number of consonants in !Xóõ is the subject of ongoing debate among linguists, with figures varying from 88 to 130 (with 130 being the most widely accepted) depending on the method of phoneme classification used. However, even the minimum generally accepted figure for !Xóõ's consonant inventory puts it ahead of its rivals.
In linguistics a "segment" is a discrete sound that can be identified from a stream of speech. This usually means a phoneme (what English speakers would recognize as the sound associated with a letter or letter pair), but it can also refer to signs in a sign language or morphemes in grammar.