Language with the most sounds
161 segments people
Not Applicable ()

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 161 segments (sounds), including 130 consonants, 28 vowels and three different tones. Standard English, by comparison, has only 40 segments (13 vowel sounds and 27 consonant sounds). 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 segments in !Xóõ is the subject of ongoing debate among linguists, with figures varying from one study to another according to methods of phoneme classification used. However, even the minimum generally accepted figure for !Xóõ's segment 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 recognise 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.