At least in the region of Brazil where I come from (triângulo mineiro, Brazilian Texas I'd say.. we are considered the farmers of the Brazil also because of our accent ) people have a very weird way of saying 'no' to others. I discovered that it was weird after moving to the Netherlands where people are unaware of it. It's like that: we suck the air in our mouths so that when we release our tongues from the roof of our mouths we make a noise. We do that twice and a bit fast. And this is an informal way of saying 'no' to others. I'm very curious to know where this comes from. I don't even no the name of it and I think most people that use it are not aware of its weirdness.

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    I think this what in English is onomatopoeically written as tut-tut and called tut-tutting. Triplets - tut-tut-tut - are perhaps a little more common. It expresses disapproval, not denial or negation. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 9 '15 at 17:27
  • You might be right, the sound seems the same. If I were to record a scene showing disapproval, it would have someone pointing a finger and making the.. tut-tut-tut noise. So this sound is almost universally understood as disapproval even for my Dutch colleagues. But where I come from using it only twice really means negation. Both ways of tut-tutting probably have the same origin. I'm wondering where this started and how long ago it started meaning negation in Portuguese at least. – Yuri Borges Jul 9 '15 at 17:39
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    I've often seen it written, but I don't know what tut-tut sounds like. Is it like tsk-tsk? I think that is a rounded alveolar affricate click. The Wikipedia entry for "dental click" claims that "tut" is just the British spelling of "tsk", and it gives a Portugese spelling "tsc". (Nobody except me says it's rounded.) – Greg Lee Jul 9 '15 at 18:04
  • "Click consonant" seems to be the right name and it has more info than "dental click" on wikipedia – Yuri Borges Jul 9 '15 at 18:15
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    My guess would be that this tsk-tsk sound derives from a no-no / não-não / non-non / n...-n... (depending of the language in which it originates, provided that the "no" word starts with "n"), under the influence of natural laziness. – bli Jul 10 '15 at 7:33

It seems obvious to me that this style of negation is related to one used by Arabs but also by many other people living around the Mediterranean. It's the same sound, not necessarily repeated, but accompanied by a characteristic head movement. You can see it here as the first example.

  • Nice video! He explains really well that up north (he says America, but it's the same in the Netherlands where I'm from), clicking like that (but only once) is a really rude way of showing disapproval. Which makes me wonder: where is the border between disapproval and negation? – reinierpost Jul 14 '15 at 21:25
  • I guess there is no strict border. Just like a word can mean one thing at one end of a dialect continuum and something quite different at the other end, with no clear demarcation anywhere between. As you go north, the sound probably becomes rarer slowly and gradually, and at the same time that it slowly becomes something rather exceptional, it slowly and gradually begins to express and invoke stronger feelings. – user4938 Jul 15 '15 at 10:12
  • It might be related indeed. Although in Brazil we shake the head horizontally to both sides and not vertically and make the noise twice. Making the noise like in the video would mean dissatisfaction when used in a conversation. Making the noise like 5 five times in a row would mean disapproval but not very commonly used, more to mock someone about their 'wrongdoings'. That last gesture with the two fingers is also used in Brazil in the same context, also as mockery. – Yuri Borges Jul 15 '15 at 23:00

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