Glottal consonant

Glottal consonants are consonants using the glottis as their primary articulation. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the glottal fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have, while some do not consider them to be consonants at all. However, glottal consonants behave as typical consonants in many languages. For example, in Literary 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/.

Here are glottal consonants in the International Phonetic Alphabet:

IPA2 Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
ʔ glottal stop Hawaiian okina [ʔo.ˈ] ʻOkina
ɦ breathy-voiced glottal "fricative" Czech Praha [ˈpra.ɦa] Prague
h voiceless glottal "fricative" English hat [ˈhæt] hat


In many languages, 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, and may behave as approximants. [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 (in careful pronunciation; often omitted in practice). The Hawaiian language writes the glottal stop as the ‘okina , which resembles a single open quotation mark. 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, in Maltese, the letter ⟨q⟩ is used, and in many indigenous languages of the Caucasus, the letter commonly referred to as heng ⟨Ꜧ ꜧ⟩ is used.

Because the glottis is necessarily closed for the glottal stop, it cannot be voiced. So-called voiced glottal stops are not full stops, but rather creaky voiced glottal approximants that may be transcribed [ʔ̞]. They occur as the intervocalic allophone of glottal stop in many languages. Gimi contrasts /ʔ/ and /ʔ̞/, corresponding to /k/ and /ɡ/ in related languages.

See also


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

Aleph (or alef or alif) is the first letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician 'Ālep 𐤀, Hebrew 'Ālef א, Aramaic Ālap 𐡀, Syriac ʾĀlap̄ ܐ, and Arabic Alif ا. It also appears as South Arabian 𐩱, and Ge'ez ʾÄlef አ.

These letters are believed to have derived from an Egyptian hieroglyph depicting an ox's head. The Phoenician variant gave rise to the Greek Alpha (Α), being re-interpreted to express not the glottal consonant but the accompanying vowel, and hence the Latin A and Cyrillic А.

In phonetics, aleph originally represented the onset of a vowel at the glottis. In Semitic languages, this functions as a weak consonant allowing roots with only two true consonants to be conjugated in the manner of a standard three consonant Semitic root. In most Hebrew dialects as well as Syriac, the glottal onset represented by Aleph is an absence of a true consonant although a glottal stop ([ʔ]), which is a true consonant, typically occurs as an allophone. In Arabic, the Alif has the glottal stop pronunciation when occurring initially. In text with diacritical marks, the pronunciation as a glottal stop is usually indicated by a special marking, hamza in Arabic and mappiq in Tiberian Hebrew. (Although once thought to be the original pronunciation of Aleph in all cases where it behaves as a consonant, a consistent glottal stop appears to have been absent in ancient Semitic languages such as Akkadian and Ugaritic besides being absent in Syriac and Hebrew.) Occasionally, the Aleph was also used to indicate an initial unstressed vowel before certain consonant clusters, without functioning as a consonant itself, the prosthetic (or prothetic) aleph. In later Semitic languages, Aleph could sometimes function as a mater lectionis indicating the presence of a vowel elsewhere (usually long). The period at which use as a mater lectionis began is the subject of some controversy, though it had become well established by the late stage of Old Aramaic (ca. 200 BCE). Aleph is often transliterated as U+02BE ʾ , based on the Greek spiritus lenis ʼ, for example, in the transliteration of the letter name itself, ʾāleph.

Chippewa language

Chippewa (also known as Southwestern Ojibwa, Ojibwe, Ojibway, or Ojibwemowin) is an Algonquian language spoken from upper Michigan westward to North Dakota in the United States. It represents the southern component of the Ojibwe language. Its ISO-3 designation is "ciw".

Chippewa is part of the Algonquian language family and an indigenous language of North America. Chippewa is part of the dialect continuum of Ojibwe (including Chippewa, Ottawa, Algonquin, and Oji-Cree), which is closely related to Potawatomi. It is spoken on the southern shores of Lake Superior and in the areas toward the south and west of Lake Superior in Michigan and Southern Ontario. The speakers of this language generally call it Anishinaabemowin (the Anishinaabe language) or more specifically, Ojibwemowin (the Ojibwa language). There is a large amount of variation in the language. Some of the variations are caused by ethnic or geographic heritage, while other variations occur from person to person. There is no single standardization of the language as it exists as a dialect continuum, according to Nichols: "It exists as a chain of interconnected local varieties, conventionally called dialects." Some varieties differ greatly and can be so diverse that speakers of two different varieties cannot understand each other. In the southern range of are where the language is spoken, it is mostly spoken by the older generations of the Anishinaabe people, and many of its speakers also speak English. The language is classified as severely endangered by UNESCO


Debuccalization is a sound change in which an oral consonant loses its original place of articulation and moves it to the glottis (usually [h], [ɦ], or [ʔ]). The pronunciation of a consonant as [h] is sometimes called aspiration but in phonetics, aspiration is the burst of air accompanying a stop. The word comes from Latin bucca, meaning "cheek" or "mouth".

Debuccalization is usually seen as a sub-type of lenition, often defined as a consonant mutation involving the weakening of a consonant by progressive shifts in pronunciation.

Debuccalization processes occur in many different types of environments such as the following:

word-initially, as in Kannada

word-finally, as in Burmese

intervocalically, as in a number of English varieties (e.g. litter [ˈlɪʔə])

Enggano language

The Enggano language, or Engganese, is a language of debated linguistic affiliation spoken on Enggano Island off the southwestern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It has variously been classified as either an Austronesian language or a language isolate. Roger Blench (2014) considers Enggano to be a language isolate with Austronesian loanwords, while Owen Edwards (2015) classifies Enggano as an Austronesian language with a non-Austronesian substratum. Either way, the general scholarly consensus is that Enggano is an aberrant language that has both Austronesian and non-Austronesian origins.

When first contacted by Europeans, the Enggano people had more cultural commonalities with indigenous peoples of the Nicobar Islands than those of with Austronesian Sumatra. For instance, beehive houses were typical of both Enggano Island and the Nicobar Islands. However, there are no apparent linguistic connections with Nicobarese or other Austroasiatic languages.


Glottal can mean:

related to the glottis

related to the vocal folds

glottal consonant

related to glottalization

Gǀui dialect

Gǀui or Gǀwi (pronounced in English, and also spelled ǀGwi, Dcui, Gcwi, or Cgui) is a Khoe dialect of Botswana with 2,500 speakers (2004 Cook). It is part of the Gǁana dialect cluster, and is closely related to Naro. It has a number of loan words from ǂʼAmkoe. Gǀui, ǂʼAmkoe, and Taa form the core of the Kalahari Basin sprachbund, and share a number of characteristic features, including extremely large consonant inventories.

Hawaiian phonology

The phonological system of the Hawaiian language is based on documentation from those who developed the Hawaiian alphabet during the 1820s as well as scholarly research conducted by lexicographers and linguists from 1949 to present.

Hawaiian has only eight consonant phonemes: /p, k ⁓ t, ʔ, h, m, n, l ⁓ ɾ, w ⁓ v/. There is allophonic variation of [k] with [t], [w] with [v], and [l] with [ɾ]. The [t]–[k] variation is highly unusual among the world's languages.

Hawaiian has either 5 or 25 vowel phonemes, depending on how long vowels and diphthongs are analyzed. If the long vowels and diphthongs are treated as two-phoneme sequences, the total of vowel phonemes is five. However, if the long vowels and diphthongs are treated as separate, unit phonemes, there are 25 vowel phonemes. The short vowel phonemes are /u, i, o, e, a/. If long vowels are counted separately, they are /uː, iː, oː, eː, aː/. If diphthongs are counted separately, they are /iu, ou, oi, eu, ei, au, ai, ao, ae, oːu, eːi, aːu, aːi, aːo, aːe/. There is some allophonic variation of the vowels, but it is much less dramatic than that of the consonants.

Hawaiian syllable structure is (C)V(V) where C is any consonant and V is any vowel. Double vowels (VV) may be long vowels or diphthongs. All CV(V) syllables occur except for wū, but wu occurs only in two words borrowed from English. Word stress is predictable in words of one to four syllables but not in words of five or more syllables. Phonological processes in Hawaiian include palatalization and deletion of consonants and the raising, diphthongization, deletion, and compensatory lengthening of vowels. Phonological reduction (or "decay") of consonant phonemes during the historical development of Hawaiian has resulted in the phonemic glottal stop. The ultimate loss (deletion) of intervocalic consonant phonemes has resulted in long vowels and diphthongs.

Kanawha River

The Kanawha River ( kə-NAW-ə) is a tributary of the Ohio River, approximately 97 mi (156 km) long, in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The largest inland waterway in West Virginia, its valley has been a significant industrial region of the state since early in the 19th century.

It is formed at the town of Gauley Bridge in northwestern Fayette County, approximately 35 mi (56 km) SE of Charleston, by the confluence of the New and Gauley rivers. It flows generally northwest, in a winding course on the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau, through Fayette, Kanawha, Putnam, and Mason counties, past the cities of Charleston and St. Albans, and numerous smaller communities. It joins the Ohio at Point Pleasant.

Paleo-Indians, the earliest indigenous peoples, lived in the valley and the heights by 10,000 BC as evidenced by archaeological artifacts such as Clovis points. A succession of prehistoric cultures developed, with the Adena culture beginning the construction of numerous skilled earthwork mounds and enclosures more than 2000 years ago. Some of the villages of the Fort Ancient culture survived into the times of European contact.

The area was a place of competition among historical American Indian nations. Invading from their base in present-day New York, the Iroquois drove out or conquered Fort Ancient culture peoples, as well as such tribes as the Huron and Conoy. By right of conquest, the Iroquois, Lenape (Delaware), and Shawnee reserved the area as a hunting ground. They resisted European-American settlement during the colonial years.

The river valley contains significant deposits of coal and natural gas. In colonial times, the wildly fluctuating level of the river prevented its use for transportation. The removal of boulders and snags on the lower river in the 1840s allowed navigation, which was extended upriver after the construction of locks and dams starting in 1875. The river is now navigable to Deepwater, an unincorporated community about 20 miles (32 km) upriver from Charleston. A thriving chemical industry along its banks provides a significant part of the local economy.

Kensiu language

Kensiu (Kensiw) is an Austro-Asiatic language of the Jahaic (Northern Aslian) subbranch. It is spoken by a small community of 300 in Yala Province in southern Thailand and also reportedly by a community of approximately 300 speakers in Western Malaysia in Perak and Kedah States. Speakers of this language are Negritos who are known as the Mani people or Maniq of Thailand.


In linguistics, lenition is a kind of sound change that alters consonants, making them more sonorous. The word lenition itself means "softening" or "weakening" (from Latin lenis "weak"). Lenition can happen both synchronically (i.e. within a language at a particular point in time) and diachronically (i.e. as a language changes over time). Lenition can involve such changes as making a consonant more sonorous, causing a consonant to lose its place of articulation (a phenomenon called debuccalization, which turns a consonant into a glottal consonant like [h] or [ʔ]), or even causing a consonant to disappear entirely.

An example of synchronic lenition in American English is found in flapping in some dialects: the /t/ of a word like wait [weɪt] becomes the more sonorous [ɾ] in the related form waiting [ˈweɪɾɪŋ]. Some dialects of Spanish show debuccalization of /s/ to [h] at the end of a syllable, so that a word like estamos "we are" is pronounced [ehˈtamoh]. An example of diachronic lenition can be found in the Romance languages, where the /t/ of Latin patrem ("father", accusative) becomes [d] in Italian padre and [ð̞] in Spanish padre, while in Catalan pare, French père and Portuguese pai it has disappeared completely. Along with assimilation, lenition is one of the primary sources of phonological change of languages.

In some languages, lenition has been grammaticalized into a consonant mutation, which means it is no longer triggered by its phonological environment but is now governed by its syntactic or morphological environment. For example, in Welsh, the word cath "cat" begins with the sound /k/, but after the definite article y, the /k/ changes to [ɡ]: "the cat" in Welsh is y gath. This was historically due to intervocalic lenition, but in the plural, lenition does not happen, so "the cats" is y cathod, not *y gathod. The change of /k/ to [ɡ] in y gath is thus caused by the syntax of the phrase, not by the phonological position of the consonant /k/.

The opposite of lenition, fortition, a sound change that makes a consonant "stronger", is less common.

Locative case

The locative case (abbreviated LOC) is a grammatical case which indicates a location. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", "at", and "by". The locative case belongs to the general local cases together with the lative and separative case.

The locative case exists in many language groups.

Modern Hebrew

Modern Hebrew or Israeli Hebrew (עברית חדשה, ʿivrít ḥadašá[h], [ivˈʁit χadaˈʃa] – "Modern Hebrew" or "New Hebrew"), generally referred to by speakers simply as Hebrew (עברית Ivrit), is the standard form of the Hebrew language spoken today. Spoken in ancient times, Hebrew, a member of the Canaanite branch of the Semitic language family, was supplanted as the Jewish vernacular by the western dialect of Aramaic beginning in the third century BCE, though it continued to be used as a liturgical and literary language. It was revived as a spoken language in the 19th and 20th centuries and is the official language of Israel.

Modern Hebrew is spoken by about nine million people, counting native, fluent, and non-fluent speakers. Most speakers are citizens of Israel: about five million are Israelis who speak Modern Hebrew as their native language, 1.5 million are immigrants to Israel, 1.5 million are Arab citizens of Israel, whose first language is usually Arabic, and half a million are expatriate Israelis or diaspora Jews living outside Israel.

The organization that officially directs the development of the Modern Hebrew language, under the law of the State of Israel, is the Academy of the Hebrew Language.

Modern Hebrew phonology

Modern Hebrew is phonetically simpler than Biblical Hebrew and has fewer phonemes, but it is phonologically more complex. It has 25 to 27 consonants and 5 to 10 vowels, depending on the speaker and the analysis.

Hebrew has been used primarily for liturgical, literary, and scholarly purposes for most of the past two millennia. As a consequence, its pronunciation was strongly influenced by the vernacular of individual Jewish communities. With the revival of Hebrew as a native language, and especially with the establishment of Israel, the pronunciation of the modern language rapidly coalesced.

The two main accents of modern Hebrew are Oriental and Non-Oriental. Oriental Hebrew was chosen as the preferred accent for Israel by the Academy of the Hebrew Language, but has since declined in popularity. The description in this article follows the language as it is pronounced by native Israeli speakers of the younger generations.


Nafaanra (sometimes written Nafaara, pronounced [nafãːra]) is a Senufo language spoken in northwest Ghana, along the border with Ivory Coast, east of Bondoukou. It is spoken by approximately 61,000 people. Its speakers call themselves Nafana, but others call them Banda or Mfantera. Like other Senufo languages, Nafaanra is a tonal language. It is somewhat of an outlier in the Senufo language group, with the geographically-closest relatives, the Southern Senufo Tagwana–Djimini languages, approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) to the west, on the other side of Comoé National Park.

The basic word order is subject–object–verb, like Latin and Japanese. Like other Niger–Congo languages, it has a noun class system, with nouns classified according to five different classes, which also affects pronouns, adjectives and copulas. The phonology features a distinction between the length of vowels and whether they are oral or nasal (as in French or Portuguese). There are also three distinct tones, a feature shared with the other Senufo languages. Nafaanra grammar features both tense and aspect which are marked with particles. Numbers are mainly formed by adding cardinal numbers to the number 5 and by multiplying the numbers 10, 20 and 100.

Pahang Malay

Pahang Malay (Standard Malay: Bahasa Melayu Pahang; Jawi: بهاس ملايو ڤهڠ) is a dialect of Malay language spoken in the Malaysian state of Pahang. It is regarded as the dominant Malay dialect spoken along the vast riverine systems of Pahang, but co-exists with other Malay dialects traditionally spoken in the state. Along the coastline of Pahang, Terengganu Malay is spoken in a narrow strip of sometimes discontiguous fishermen villages and towns. Another dialect spoken in Tioman island is a distinct Malay variant and most closely related to Riau Archipelago Malay subdialect spoken in Natuna and Anambas islands in the South China Sea, together forming a dialect continuum between the Bornean Malay with the Mainland Peninsular/Sumatran Malay.

Nonetheless, the essential unity of Pahang and Terengganu Malay is demonstrated by the number of shared lexical, synctatic, and phonetics innovations. Both varieties along with Kelantan Malay, have been classified under the subgroup of the East Coast dialect of Malay peninsula, due to their possible common origin.Pahang Malay is known for its sharp rise and fall of tone and quick flowing accent. It exhibits a number of differences from the Standard Malay, particularly in phonology and vocabulary. Even though it also shares a lot of similarities with standard Malay, the dialect in its purest form remains unintelligible to standard Malay speakers. There are a number of sub-dialects of Pahang Malay identified by linguists, but the form spoken in the vicinity of Pahang's royal capital, Pekan, is considered as its 'standard sub-dialect'.The dialect is traditionally written in Jawi script, but its role as the main writing language has been replaced with Standard Malay written in Rumi. A local radio station, Pahang FM, broadcasts in this dialect.

Tübatulabal language

Tübatulabal is an extinct Uto-Aztecan language, traditionally spoken in Kern County, California, United States. It is the traditional language of the Tübatulabal, who have now shifted to English. The language originally had three main dialects: Bakalanchi, Pakanapul and Palegawan.

In English, the name Tübatulabal refers to both the Tübatulabal people and their language. However, in the language itself, the term Tübatulabal refers only to the Tübatulabal people. Its origin is unclear, but it may be related to the noun stem tɨba- "pine nuts". The Tübatulabal term for the Tübatulabal language is pakaːnil.

Wintu language

Wintu is an almost extinct Wintuan language spoken by the Wintu people of Northern California.

It is the northernmost member of the Wintun family of languages.

The Wintuan family of languages was spoken in the Sacramento River Valley and in adjacent areas up to the Carquinez Strait of San Francisco Bay.

Wintun is a branch of the hypothetical Penutian language phylum or stock of languages of western North America, more closely related to four other families of Penutian languages spoken in California: Maiduan, Miwokan, Yokuts, and Costanoan.The Wintu were in contact also with adjacent speakers of Hokan languages such as Southeastern, Eastern, and Northeastern Pomo; Athabaskan languages such as Wailaki and Hupa; Yukian languages such as Yuki and Wappo; and other Penutian languages such as Miwok, Maidu, Yokuts, and Saclan.

Besides these contiguous languages surrounding the Wintun area wider contacts with speakers of Russian, Spanish, and English.

As of 2011, Headman Marc Franco of the Winnemem Wintu has been working with the Indigenous Language Institute on revitalization of the Winnemem Wintu language.

IPA topics

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