Glottal stop

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Template:Short description Template:Infobox IPA

The glottal stop or glottal plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages, produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract or, more precisely, the glottis. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is Template:Angbr IPA.

As a result of the obstruction of the airflow in the glottis, the glottal vibration either stops or becomes irregular with a low rate and sudden drop in intensity.[1]


Features of the glottal stop:[citation needed]


  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibration of the vocal cords; necessarily so, because the vocal cords are held tightly together, preventing vibration.

Template:Oral Template:Central-lateral Template:Pulmonic


Road sign in British Columbia showing the use of 7 to represent Template:IPA in Squamish.

In the traditional Romanization of many languages, such as Arabic, the glottal stop is transcribed with an apostrophe, Template:Angbr, which is the source of the IPA character Template:Angbr IPA. In many Polynesian languages that use the Latin alphabet, however, the glottal stop is written with a reversed apostrophe, Template:Angbr (called ‘okina in Hawaiian and Samoan), which is used to transcribe the Arabic ayin as well and is the source of the IPA character for the voiced pharyngeal fricative Template:Angbr IPA. In Malay the glottal stop is represented by the letter Template:Angbr, in Võro and Maltese by Template:Angbr.

Other scripts also have letters used for representing the glottal stop, such as the Hebrew letter aleph Template:Angbr and the Cyrillic letter palochka Template:Angbr, used in several Caucasian languages. Modern Latin alphabets for various Indigenous Languages of the Caucasus use the letter heng ('Ꜧ ꜧ'). In Tundra Nenets, it is represented by the letters apostrophe Template:Angbr and double apostrophe Template:Angbr. In Japanese, glottal stops occur at the end of interjections of surprise or anger and are represented by the character Template:Angbr.

In the graphic representation of most Philippine languages, the glottal stop has no consistent symbolization. In most cases, however, a word that begins with a vowel-letter (e.g. Tagalog aso, "dog") is always pronounced with an unrepresented glottal stop before that vowel (as in Modern German and Hausa). Some orthographies use a hyphen instead of the reverse apostrophe if the glottal stop occurs in the middle of the word (e.g. Tagalog pag-ibig, "love"; or Visayan gabi-i, "night"). If it occurs in the end of a word, the last vowel is written with a circumflex accent (known as the pakupyâ) if both a stress and a glottal stop occur in the final vowel (e.g. basâ, "wet") or a grave accent (known as the paiwà) if the glottal stop occurs at the final vowel, but the stress occurs at the penultimate syllable (e.g. batà, "child").[2][3][4]

Some Canadian indigenous languages, especially some of the Salishan languages, have adopted the phonetic symbol ʔ itself as part of their orthographies. In some of them, it occurs as a pair of uppercase and lowercase characters, Ɂ and ɂ.[5] The numeral 7 or question mark is sometimes substituted for ʔ and is preferred in some languages such as Squamish.

In 2015, two women in the Northwest Territories challenged the territorial government over its refusal to permit them to use the ʔ character in their daughters' names: Sahaiʔa, a Chipewyan name, and Sakaeʔah, a Slavey name (the two names are actually cognates). The territory argued that territorial and federal identity documents were unable to accommodate the character. The women registered the names with hyphens instead of the ʔ, while continuing to challenge the policy.[6]

Use of the glottal stop is a distinct characteristic of the Southern Mainland Argyll dialects of Scottish Gaelic. In such a dialect, the standard Gaelic phrase Tha Gàidhlig agam ("I speak Gaelic"), would be rendered Tha Gàidhlig a'am.[citation needed]


In English, the glottal stop occurs as an open juncture (for example, between the vowel sounds in uh-oh!,[7]) and allophonically in t-glottalization. In British English, the glottal stop is most familiar in the Cockney pronunciation of "butter" as "bu'er". Additionally, there is the glottal stop as a null onset for English, in other words, it is the non-phonemic glottal stop occurring before isolated or initial vowels (for example, representing uh-oh!, Template:IPA and Template:IPA are phonemically identical to Template:IPA).

Often a glottal stop happens at the beginning of vowel phonation after a silence.[1]

Although this segment is not a phoneme in English, it occurs phonetically in nearly all dialects of English, as an allophone of Template:IPA in the syllable coda. Speakers of Cockney, Scottish English and several other British dialects also pronounce an intervocalic Template:IPA between vowels as in city. In Received Pronunciation, a glottal stop is inserted before a tautosyllabic voiceless stop: sto’p, tha’t, kno’ck, wa’tch, also lea’p, soa’k, hel’p, pin’ch.[8][9]

In many languages that do not allow a sequence of vowels, such as Persian, the glottal stop may be used to break up such a hiatus. There are intricate interactions between falling tone and the glottal stop in the histories of such languages as Danish (see stød), Chinese and Thai.[citation needed]

In many languages, the unstressed intervocalic allophone of the glottal stop is a creaky-voiced glottal approximant. It is known to be contrastive in only one language, Gimi, in which it is the voiced equivalent of the stop.[citation needed]

The table below demonstrates how widely the sound of glottal stop is found among the world's spoken languages. It is not intended to be a complete list. Any of these languages may have varieties not represented in the table.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz аи Template:IPA 'no' See Abkhaz phonology.
Adyghe Iэ Template:IPA 'arm/hand'
Arabic Modern Standard[10] أغاني Template:IPA 'songs' See Arabic phonology, Hamza.
Levantine and Egyptian[11] شقة Template:IPA 'apartment' Levantine and Egyptian dialects.[11] Corresponds to Template:IPAslink or Template:IPAslink in other dialects.
Fasi and Tlemcenian[12] قال Template:IPA 'he said' Fasi and Tlemcenian dialects. Corresponds to Template:IPAslink or Template:IPAslink in other dialects.
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic ܣܥܬ Template:IPA 'clock/watch'
Azeri ər [æʔɾ] 'husband'
Bikol ba-go Template:IPA 'new'
Bulgarian ъ-ъ Template:IPA 'nope' See Bulgarian phonology.
Burmese မြစ်များ Template:IPA 'rivers'
Cebuano tubò Template:IPA 'to grow'
Chamorro halu'u Template:IPA 'shark'
Chechen кхоъ / qo' Template:IPA 'three'
Chinese Cantonese /ngoi3 Template:IPA 'love' See Cantonese phonology.
Wu 一级了 Template:IPA 'superb'
Cook Islands Māori taʻi Template:IPA 'one'
Czech používat Template:IPA 'to use' See Czech phonology.
Dahalo ma'a [maʔa] 'water' see Dahalo phonology
Danish hånd Template:IPA 'hand' One of the possible realizations of stød. Depending on the dialect and style of speech, it can be instead realized as laryngealisation of the preceding sound. See Danish phonology.
Dutch[13] beamen Template:IPA 'to confirm' See Dutch phonology.
English RP uh-oh Template:IPA 'uh-oh'
American Template:Audio-IPA
Australian cat Template:IPA 'cat' Allophone of Template:IPA. See glottalization and English phonology.
Estuary Template:IPA
Cockney[14] Template:IPA
Scottish Template:IPA
Northern England the Template:IPA 'the'
RP[15] and GA button Template:Audio-IPA 'button'
Esperanto scii Template:IPA 'to know' See Esperanto phonology.
Finnish sadeaamu Template:IPA 'rainy morning' See Finnish phonology.[16]
German Northern Beamter Template:IPA 'civil servant' See Standard German phonology.
Guaraní avañe Template:IPA 'Guaraní' Occurs only between vowels.
Hawaiian[17] [[Hawaiian alphabet|Template:OkinaeleTemplate:Okinaele]] Template:IPA 'black' See Hawaiian phonology.
Hebrew מַאֲמָר Template:IPA 'article' Often elided in casual speech. See Modern Hebrew phonology.
Icelandic en Template:IPA 'but' Only used according to emphasis, never occurring in minimal pairs.
Iloko nalab-ay Template:IPA 'bland tasting' Hyphen when occurring within the word.
Indonesian bakso Template:IPA 'meatball' Allophone of Template:IPA or Template:IPA in the syllable coda.
Irish m'fháinne Template:IPA 'my ring' Occurs initially and medially, but never finally.
Japanese Kagoshima 学校 Template:IPA 'school'
Javanese[18] anak Template:IPA 'child' Allophone of Template:IPA in morpheme-final position.
Jedek[19] [wɛ̃ʔ] 'left side'
Kabardian Iэ Template:IPA 'arm/hand'
Kagayanen[20] saag Template:IPA 'floor'
Khasi lyoh Template:IPA 'cloud'
Korean Template:IPA 'one' In free variation with no glottal stop. Occurs only in initial position of a word.
Malay tidak Template:IPA 'no' Allophone of final Template:IPA in the syllable coda, pronounced before consonants or at end of word.
Maltese qattus Template:IPA 'cat'
Māori Taranaki, Whanganui wahine Template:IPA 'woman'
Minangkabau waang Template:IPA 'you' Sometimes written without an apostrophe.
Mutsun tawka'li Template:IPA 'black gooseberry' Ribes divaricatum
Mingrelian ჸოროფა Template:IPA 'love'
Nahuatl tahtli Template:Audio-IPA 'father' Often left unwritten.
Nez Perce yáakaʔ Template:IPA 'black bear'
Nheengatu[21] ai Template:IPA 'sloth' Transcription (or absence thereof) varies.
Okinawan Template:IPA 'sound'
Persian معنی Template:IPA 'meaning' See Persian phonology.
Polish Most often occurs as an anlaut of an initial vowel (Ala ‒> [Ɂala]). See Polish phonology#Glottal stop.
Pirahã baíxi Template:IPA 'parent'
Portuguese[22] Vernacular Brazilian ê-ê[23] Template:IPA 'yeah right'[24] Marginal sound. Does not occur after or before a consonant. In Brazilian casual speech, there is at least one Template:IPAvowel lengthpitch accent minimal pair (triply unusual, the ideophones short ih vs. long ih). See Portuguese phonology.
Some speakers à aula Template:IPA 'to the class'
Rotuman[25] ʻusu Template:IPA 'to box'
Samoan maʻi Template:IPA 'sickness/illness'
Sardinian[26] Some dialects of Barbagia unu pacu Template:IPA 'a little' Intervocalic allophone of Template:IPA.
Some dialects of Sarrabus sa luna Template:IPA 'the moon'
Serbo-Croatian[27] i onda Template:IPA 'and then' Optionally inserted between vowels across word boundaries.[27] See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Seri he Template:IPA 'I'
Spanish Nicaraguan[28] s alto Template:IPA 'higher' Marginal sound or allophone of Template:IPAslink between vowels in different words. Does not occur after or before a consonant. See Spanish phonology.
Yucateco[29] cuatro años Template:IPA 'four years'
Tagalog oo Template:IPA 'yes' See Tagalog phonology.
Tahitian puaTemplate:Okinaa Template:IPA 'pig'
Thai Template:IPA 'uncle/aunt' (father's younger sibling)
Tongan tuTemplate:Okinau Template:IPA 'stand'
Tundra Nenets выʼ Template:IPA 'tundra'
Vietnamese[30] oi Template:IPA 'sultry' In free variation with no glottal stop. See Vietnamese phonology.
Võro piniq Template:IPA 'dogs' "q" is Võro plural marker (maa, kala, "land", "fish"; maaq, kalaq, "lands", "fishes").
Wagiman jamh Template:IPA 'to eat' (perf.)
Welayta Template:IPA 'wet'
Wallisian maTemplate:Okinauli Template:IPA 'life'

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Umeda N., "Occurrence of glottal stops in fluent speech", J. Acoust. Soc. Am., vol. 64, no. 1, 1978, pp. 88-94.
  2. Paul Morrow (March 16, 2011). "The basics of Filipino pronunciation: Part 2 of 3 • accent marks". Pilipino Express. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  3. Ricardo M.D. Nolasco. Grammar notes on the national language (PDF). Template:Dead link
  4. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Citation/CS1/Suggestions' not found.
  5. "Proposal to add LATIN SMALL LETTER GLOTTAL STOP to the UCS" (PDF). 2005-08-10. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  6. Browne, Rachel (12 March 2015). "What's in a name? A Chipewyan's battle over her native tongue". Maclean's. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  7. Mastering Hebrew, 1988, Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css has no content.ISBN 0812039904, p. xxviii
  8. Brown, Gillian. 1977:27. Listening to spoken English. London: Longman.
  9. Kortlandt, Frederik (1993). "General Linguistics & Indo-European Reconstruction" (PDF). 
  10. Template:Harvcoltxt
  11. 11.0 11.1 Template:Harvcoltxt
  12. Dendane, Zoubir. (2013). THE STIGMATISATION OF THE GLOTTAL STOP IN TLEMCEN SPEECH COMMUNITY: AN INDICATOR OF DIALECT SHIFT. The International Journal of Linguistics and Literature. Volume 2. [1]
  13. Template:Harvcoltxt
  14. Template:Harvcoltxt
  15. Template:Harvcoltxt
  16. Collinder, Björn (1941). Lärobok i finska språket för krigsmakten. Ivar Häggström. p. 7. 
  17. Template:Harvcoltxt
  18. Template:Harvcoltxt
  19. Yager, Joanne; Burtenhult, Niclas (December 2017). "Jedek: A newly-discovered Aslian variety of Malaysia" (PDF). Linguistic Typology. 21 (3). doi:10.1515/lingty-2017-0012. hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-002E-7CD2-7 – via deGruyter. 
  20. Template:Harvcoltxt
  21. Fonologia e Gramática do Nheengatu – A língua geral falada pelos povos Baré, Warekena e Baniwa Template:Webarchive Template:In lang
  22. João Veloso & Pedro Tiago Martins (2013). O Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP: disponibilização on-line de um corpus dialetal do português Template:In lang
  23. Phonetic symbols for Portuguese phonetic transcription Template:Webarchive In European Portuguese, the "é é" interjection usually employs an epenthetic Template:IPA, being pronounced Template:IPA instead.
  24. It may be used mostly as a general call of attention for disapproval, disagreement or inconsistency, but also serves as a synonym of the multiuse expression "eu, hein!". Template:In lang How to say 'eu, hein' in English – Adir Ferreira Idiomas Template:Webarchive
  25. Template:Harvcoltxt
  26. Su sardu limba de Sardigna et limba de Europa, Lucia Grimaldi & Guido Mensching, 2004, CUEC, pp.110-111
  27. 27.0 27.1 Template:Harvcoltxt
  28. The hypo-hyperarticulation continuum in Nicaraguan Spanish
  29. Voiceless stop aspiration in Yucatán Spanish: a sociolinguistic analysis
  30. Template:Harvcoltxt


External links

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