Alternate names::Taa language


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Alternate names The various dialects and social groups of the Taa, their many names, the unreliability of transcriptions found in the literature, and the fact that names may be shared between languages and that dialects have been classified, has resulted in a great deal of confusion. Traill (1974), for example, spent two chapters of his Compleat Guide to the Koon [sic] disentangling names and dialects.<ref name=Treis>Yvonne Treis, 1998, "Names of Khoisan Languages and their Variants"</ref>

The name ǃXoon (more precisely ǃXóõ) is only used at Aminius Reserve in Namibia, around Lone Tree where Traill primarily worked, and at Dzutshwa (Botswana). It is, however, used by the !Xoon for all Taa speakers. It has been variously spelled ǃxō, ǃkɔ̃ː, ǃko/ǃkõ, Khong, and the fully anglicized Koon.

Bleek's Nǀuǁʼen dialect<ref>Distinguish ǁNg ǃ’e, a form of Nǁng, and ǁŨǁ’e, which is related to Seroa.</ref> has been spelled ǀNuǁen, ǀNuǁe:n, Ngǀuǁen, Nguen, Nǀhuǁéi, ŋǀuǁẽin, ŋǀuǁẽi, ŋǀuǁen, ǀuǁen. It has also been called by the ambiguous Khoekhoe term Nǀusan (Nǀu-san, Nǀūsā, Nǀuusaa, Nǀhusi), sometimes rendered Nusan or Noosan, which has been used for other languages in the area. A subgroup was known as Koon [kɔ̃ː]. This dialect is apparently extinct.

Bleek recorded another now-extinct variety at the town of Khakhea, and it is known in the literature as Kakia. Names with a tee: Katia, Kattea, Khatia, and Xatia, are apparently spelling variants of Kakia, though this is not certain. Vaalpens, ǀKusi, and ǀEikusi evidently refer to the same variety as Xatia.

Westphal studied a variety rendered ǀŋamani, ǀnamani, Ngǀamani, ǀŋamasa. This dialect is apparently also now extinct.

Westphal also studied ǂHuan (ǂhũa) dialect (or ǂHũa-ʘwani), and used this name for the entire language. However, the term is ambiguous between Taa (Western ǂHũa) and ǂ’Amkoe (Eastern ǂHũa), and for this reason Traill chose to call the language ǃXóõ.

Tsaasi dialect is quite similar to ǂHuan, and like ǂHuan, the name is used ambiguously for a dialect of ǂ’Amkoe. This is a Tswana name, variously rendered Tshasi, Tshase, Tʃase, Tsase, and Sase.

The Tswana term for Bushmen, Masarwa, is frequently encountered. More specific to the Taa are Magon (Magong) and the Tshasi mentioned above.

The Taa distinguish themselves along at least some of the groups above. Like many San peoples, they also distinguish themselves by the environment they live in (plain people, river people, etc.), and also by direction. Traill reports the following:<ref name="Treis" />

ǃama ʘʔâni "westerners"
ǂhūã ʘʔâni "southerners"
ʘqhōa ʘʔâni "in-betweeners"
tùu ʔʘnāhnsā̂ "pure people"

Heinz reports that ǃxóõ in an exonym given by other Bushmen, and that the Taa call themselves ǃxoia.

The Taa refer to their language as tâa ǂâã "people's language". Westphal (1971) adopted the word tâa "person" as the name for the Southern Khoisan language family, which is now called Tuu.<ref name="Treis" />

Taa language sections
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Alternate names
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