Glottal stop

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox IPA The glottal stop or voiceless glottal plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ?. The glottal stop is the sound made when the vocal cords are pressed together, and is the sound in the middle of the interjection uh-oh.



Features of the glottal stop:

In English

There are few words in English that universally contain a glottal stop. The best known example is the interjection "uh-oh".

However, in many dialects of English, glottal stop is an allophone of /t/ in final position, such as the "t" in habit or pat. In some dialects (for example Cockney and many other non-standard varieties) the glottal stop is also an allophone of /t/ in medial position, such as in the word bottle or fatter. In many dialects, even those where a medial /t/ is not in general replaced by a glottal stop, a /t/ followed by a syllabic /n/ is often replaced by a glottal stop, for example button or fatten. Besides dialect variation, this may also depend on whether the speaker is speaking naturally or consciously articulating consonants for clarity.

Finally, there are loanwords into English, usually from languages where the glottal stop is a phoneme, where a glottal stop is part of the accepted pronunciation, e.g. Hawai‘ian ‘a‘a (a type of lava).

In other languages

In many languages, the glottal stop is a full phoneme. In languages using the Latin alphabet, it is often written as an opening single quote , as in Hawai`ian.

Some other languages, like English, have the glottal stop as a suprasegmental feature. An example is Danish.


In Arabic, the glottal stop is a full phoneme, represented by the letter ء (hamza).


Danish has the glottal stop as a suprasegmental feature, though it is seldom indicated by the orthography; only the consonant clusters 'nd' and 'ld' indicate glottal stop, for example compare Danish hund (dog) with hun (she) . The function of the glottal stop in Danish may be compared to the function of the two kinds of stress in Swedish and Norwegian.


In Dutch, the glottal stop is not phonemic, but it is inserted in multi-morphemic words before morphemes that begin with a vowel, for example beamen ("to endorse"), where the glottal stop is inserted after the prefix "be-".


In Finnish, the glottal stop typically separates vowels of different syllables or words; for example, anna omena [annaʔomena], linja-auto [linjaʔauto], vaa'alla [vaaʔalla]. In spelling, it may be indicated by a space (separate words), hyphen (identical vowels adjacent in compound words), or an apostrophe (identical vowels adjacent inside a single word due to consonant gradation), or with no notation at all. Short, stressed vowels may trigger the introduction of a glottal stop; arguably, there is a minimal pair for the word veronalainen between ['veronʔalainen] "under tax" and ['veronalainen] "inhabitant of Verona".


In German, like Dutch, the glottal stop is not phonemic, but it is inserted in multi-morphemic words, for example Beamter ("civil servant"). The glottal stop is also used in Standard German in words beginning with a vowel.


In Hawaiian, the glottal stop is a full phoneme. It is written as an opening single quote , which is called ‘okina. A glottal stop often occurs between repeated vowels (for example Hawai‘i), but as the example ‘okina indicates, this is not the only place where a glottal stop may occur.

Because the number of native speakers has declined recently, many Hawaiian words are more widely known from their adoption into English, or by English speakers that learn Hawaiian as a second language. Although a few English speakers may correctly pronounce the glottal stop in Hawaiian words, the vast majority do not. For example, in Hawai‘i, the glottal stop and final /i/ are often omitted.


In Hebrew, the glottal stop is a full phoneme. It is denoted by the letter א.


In Maltese, the glottal stop is a full phoneme. It is denoted by the letter q.


In Vro, the glottal stop is a full phoneme. It is denoted by the letter q.


Other examples of languages using a phonemic glottal stop are Nahuatl (and many other Native American languages), Samoan and the constructed Klingon language from the TV series Star Trek.

See also

Sounds of the world's languages
International Phonetic Alphabet
Consonants | Vowels
Places of articulation Manners of articulation

Bilabial | Labiodental | Labial-velar | Dental | Alveolar | Postalveolar | Alveolo-palatal | Retroflex | Palatal | Velar | Uvular | Pharyngeal | Epiglottal | Glottal

Nasals | Plosives | Fricatives | Affricates | Laterals | Approximants | Flaps/Taps | Trills | Ejectives | Implosives | Clicks

de:Stimmloser glottaler Plosiv

fr:Coup de glotte nl:Glottisslag pl:Zwarcie krtaniowe ru:Гортанная смычка fi:Glottaaliklusiili


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