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Native to Namibia, Botswana
Native speakers
5,000 (2003)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 aue (retired)
Glottolog kxau1241[2]

ǂKxʼao-ǁʼae[pronunciation?] (ǂKxʼauǁʼein[pronunciation?], Auen, Kaukau) is a southeastern variety of the !Xuun dialect continuum, spoken in Botswana (the settlements of Groote Laagte, East Hanahai, Kanagas and Ghanzi in Ghanzi District and on the commercial farms) and in Namibia (the city of Gobabis and settlements along the C22 road to Otjinene as far as Eiseb, Omaheke Region) by about 7,000 people. In Botswana, most speakers are bilingual in Naro or Tswana.[citation needed]

There are numerous spellings of the name, including ǁAuǁei, ǁX’auǁ’e, and Auen. Endonyms are Juǀʼhoan, ǃXuun in Namibia and ǂKx'ao||'ae (predominantly in Botswana) meaning "northern people" in Naro. It also goes by the names Gobabis ǃKung and Kaukau (which can take the noun class prefixes in Tswana to give Mokaukau for one person, Bakaukau for the group and Sekaukau for the language).

In Namibia, ǂKx'ao||'ae tends to refer literally to the !Xuun speakers to the north in the Caprivi area. With the exception of a few cultural traits, speakers of ǂKx'ao||'ae in Botswana and those of Ju|'hoan in Namibia argue that they are one and the same people, speaking one language, with some dialectal attributes.

The non-Latin characters used by the language predominantly refer to click consonants and follow the orthography by Patrick Dickens for Juǀ'hoan.

The limited data on these dialects is poorly transcribed, but as of 2015 fieldwork is in progress.


  1. ^ International Encyclopedia of Linguistics: AAVE-Esperanto. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. 2003. p. 363. ISBN 9780195139778. 
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kx'ao'ae". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Pratchett, Lee (2012) "A synchronic and historical analysis of devoicing in complex click clusters." Paper presented at Linguistisches Kolloquium, Berlin.
  • Pratchett, Lee (2014) "Towards an analysis of tense, aspect and modality in ǂKx’aoǁ’ae." Paper presented at Linguistisches Kolloquium, Berlin.

External links[edit]