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Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider them to be consonants at all. However, glottal consonants behave as typical consonants in many languages. For example, in Arabic, most words are formed from a root C-C-C consisting of three consonants, which are inserted into templates such as /CaːCiC/ or /maCCuːC/. The glottal consonants /h/ and /ʔ/ can occupy any of the three root consonant slots, just like "normal" consonants such as /k/ or /n/.
Glottal consonant in IPA
Glottal consonants in the International Phonetic Alphabet:
|File:Xsampa-questionmark.png||voiceless glottal stop||Hawaiian||‘okina||[ʔo.ˈki.na]||‘okina|
|File:Xsampa-hslash.png||breathy voiced glottal "fricative"||Czech||Praha||[ˈpra.ɦa]||Prague|
|File:Xsampa-h.png||voiceless glottal "fricative"||English||hat||[ˈhæt]||hat|
The "fricatives" are not true fricatives. This is a historical usage of the word. They instead represent transitional states of the glottis (phonation) without a specific place of articulation. [h] is a voiceless transition. [ɦ] is a breathy-voiced transition, and could be transcribed as [h̤].
The glottal stop occurs in many languages. Often all vocalic onsets are preceded by a glottal stop, for example in German. The Hawaiian language writes the glottal stop as an opening single quote ‘. Some alphabets use diacritics for the glottal stop, such as hamza <ء> in the Arabic alphabet; in many languages of Mesoamerica, the Latin letter <h> is used for glottal stop, while in Maltese, the letter
is used instead.
Because the glottis is necessarily closed for the glottal stop, it cannot be voiced.
- Ladefoged, Peter (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages, Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.
International Phonetic Alphabet
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