The glottal stop 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 〈ʔ〉.
In English, the glottal stop is represented, for example, by the hyphen in uh-oh!. For most English speakers, a glottal stop is used as an allophone of /t/ between a vowel and a syllabic "n", as in button or mountain, except when talking slowly.
Features of the glottal stop:
- Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a stop.
- 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.
- It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
- Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the central–lateral dichotomy does not apply.
- The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.
Although this segment is not a written1 phoneme in English, it is present phonetically in nearly all dialects of English as an allophone of /t/ in the syllable coda. Speakers of Cockney, Scottish English and several other British dialects also pronounce an intervocalic /t/ between vowels as in city. Standard English inserts a glottal stop before a tautosyllabic voiceless stop, e.g. sto’p, tha’t, kno’ck, wa’tch, also lea’p, soa’k, hel’p, pin’ch.2
In many languages that don't 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 (cf. stød), Chinese and Thai.citation needed
In the traditional Romanization of many languages, such as Arabic, the glottal stop is transcribed with an apostrophe, 〈’〉, and this is the source of the IPA character 〈ʔ〉. In many Polynesian languages that use the Latin alphabet, however, the glottal stop is written with a reversed apostrophe, 〈‘〉 (called ‘okina in Hawaiian and Samoan), which, confusingly, is also used to transcribe the Arabic ayin and is the source of the IPA character for the voiced pharyngeal fricative 〈ʕ〉. In Malay the glottal stop is represented by the letter 〈k〉, in Võro and Maltese by 〈q〉.
Other scripts also have letters used for representing the glottal stop, such as the Hebrew letter aleph 〈א〉, and the Cyrillic letter palochka 〈Ӏ〉 used in several Caucasian languages. In Tundra Nenets it is represented by the letters apostrophe 〈ʼ〉 and double apostrophe 〈ˮ〉. In Japanese, glottal stops occur at the end of interjections of surprise or anger, and are represented by the character 〈っ〉.
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 also in Modern German and Hausa). Some orthographies employ 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"). When it occurs in the end of a Tagalog word, the last vowel is written with a circumflex accent (known as the pakupyâ), if both a stress and a glottal stop occurs at 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").345
Use of the glottal stop is a distinct characteristic of the Southern Mainland Argyll dialects of Scottish Gaelic. In a such a dialect, the standard Gaelic phrase Tha Gàidhlig agam (I have Gaelic), would be rendered Tha Gàidhlig a'am.citation needed
|Abkhaz||аи||[ʔaj]||"no"||See Abkhaz phonology.|
|Arabic||Standard7||أغاني||[ʔaˈɣaːniː]||"songs"||See Arabic phonology, Hamza.|
|Metropolitan8||شقة||[ˈʃæʔʔæ]||"apartment"||Metropolitan dialects including Egyptian Arabic.8 Corresponds to /q/ in Literary Arabic.|
|Chechen||кхоъ / qo'||[qoʔ]||"three"|
|Chinese||Cantonese||愛 oi3||[ʔɔːi˧]||"love"||See Cantonese phonology.|
|Czech||používat||[poʔuʒiːvat]||"to use"||See Czech phonology.|
|Danish||hånd||[hɞnʔ]||"hand"||See Danish phonology.|
|Dutch9||beamen||[bəʔˈaːmə(n)]||"to confirm"||See Dutch phonology.|
|English||Australian||cat||[kʰæʔ(t)]||"cat"||Allophone of /t/. See glottalization and English phonology.|
|RP11 and GA||button||[ˈbɐʔn̩] (help·info)||"button"|
|Esperanto||scii||[ˈst͡si.ʔi]||"to know"||See Esperanto phonology.|
|Finnish||linja-auto||[ˈlinjɑʔˌɑuto]||"bus"||See Finnish phonology.|
|German||Northern||Beamter||[bəˈʔamtɐ]||"civil servant"||See German phonology.|
|Guaraní||avañe’ẽ||[ãʋ̃ãɲẽˈʔẽ]||"Guaraní"||Occurs only between vowels.|
|Hawaiian12||ʻeleʻele||[ˈʔɛlɛˈʔɛlɛ]||"black"||See Hawaiian phonology.|
|Hebrew||מאמר||[maʔămaʁ]||"article"||See Modern Hebrew phonology.|
|Javanese13||anak||[änäʔ]||"child"||Allophone of /k/ in morpheme-final position.|
|Indonesian||bakso||[ˌbäʔˈso]||"meatball"||Allophone of /k/ or /ɡ/ in the syllable coda.|
|Ilocano||nabaknang||[nabäʔˈnaŋ]||"rich"||Allophone of /k/ in the syllable coda.|
|Korean||일||[ʔil]||"one"||In free variation with no glottal stop. Occurs only in initial position of word.|
|Malay||tidak||[ˈtidäʔ]||"no"||Allophone of final /k/ in the syllable coda, pronounced before consonants or at end of word.|
|Nahuatl||tahtli||[taʔtɬi]||"father"||Often left unwritten.|
|Nez Perce||yáakaʔ||[ˈjaːkaʔ]||"black bear"|
|Persian||معنی||[maʔni]||"meaning"||See Persian phonology.|
|Portuguese||Vernacular Brazilian||ê-ê||[ˌʔe̞ˈʔeː]||ironic "yeah, right!"15||Marginal sound. Does not occur after or before a consonant. See Portuguese phonology.|
|Tagalog||iihi||[ˌʔiːˈʔiːhɛʔ]||"will urinate"||See Tagalog phonology.|
|Thai||อา||[ʔaː]||"uncle"/"aunt" (father's younger sibling)|
|Vietnamese17||oi||[ʔɔj˧]||"sultry"||In free variation with no glottal stop. See Vietnamese phonology.|
|Võro||piniq||[ˈpinʲiʔ]||"dogs"||"q" is Võro plural marker (maa, kala, "land", "fish"; maaq, kalaq, "lands", "fishes").|
- Stød in Danish
- Hamza in Arabic
- T-glottalization in English
- Vocal hiccup
- Index of phonetics articles
- Kortlandt, Frederik (1993). "General Linguistics & Indo-European Reconstruction" (PDF).
- Brown, Gillian. 1977:27. Listening to spoken English. London: Longman.
- Paul Morrow (March 16, 2011). "The basics of Filipino pronunciation: Part 2 of 3 • accent marks". Pilipino Express. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
- Ricardo M.D. Nolasco. Grammar notes on the national language.
- Joan Schoellner & Beverly D. Heinle, ed. (2007). Tagalog Reading Booklet. Simon & Schister's Pimsleur. p. 5–6.
- "Proposal to add LATIN SMALL LETTER GLOTTAL STOP to the UCS". 2005-08-10. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Thelwall (1990:37)
- Watson (2002:17)
- Gussenhoven (1992:45)
- Sivertsen (1960:111)
- Roach (2004:240)
- Ladefoged (2005:139)
- Clark, Yallop & Fletcher (2007:105)
- Olson et al. (2010:206–207)
- 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!". (Portuguese) How to say 'eu, hein' in English – Adir Ferreira Idiomas
- Blevins (1994:492)
- Thompson (1959:458–461)
- Blevins, Juliette (1994), "The Bimoraic Foot in Rotuman Phonology and Morphology", Oceanic Linguistics 33 (2): 491–516, doi:10.2307/3623138, JSTOR 3623138
- Clark, John Ellery; Yallop, Colin; Fletcher, Janet (2007), An introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, Wiley-Blackwell
- Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X
- Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-21411-9
- Olson, Kenneth; Mielke, Jeff; Sanicas-Daguman, Josephine; Pebley, Carol Jean; Paterson, Hugh J., III (2010), "The phonetic status of the (inter)dental approximant", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 40 (2): 199–215, doi:10.1017/S0025100309990296
- Roach, Peter (2004), "British English: Received Pronunciation", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 239–245, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001768
- Schane, Sanford A (1968), French Phonology and Morphology, Boston, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, ISBN 0-262-19040-0
- Sivertsen, Eva (1960), Cockney Phonology, Oslo: University of Oslo
- Thelwall, Robin (1990), "Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004266
- Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language 35 (3): 454–476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232
- Watson, Janet (2002), The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-824137-2