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Places of articulation
Labial
Bilabial
Labial-velar
Labial-alveolar
Labiodental
Bidental
Coronal
Linguolabial
Interdental
Dental
Alveolar
Apical
Laminal
Postalveolar
Alveolo-palatal
Retroflex
Dorsal
Palatal
Labial-palatal
Velar
Uvular
Uvular-epiglottal
Radical
Pharyngeal
Epiglotto-pharyngeal
Epiglottal
Glottal

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[edit | edit source]

Glottal consonants in the International Phonetic Alphabet:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
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

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

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.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Ladefoged, Peter (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages, Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.


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