Glottal stop

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⟩. Using IPA, this sound is known as a glottal plosive.

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]

Glottal stop
IPA number113
Entity (decimal)ʔ
Unicode (hex)U+0294
Braille⠆ (braille pattern dots-23)
Glottal stop (vector)
source · help


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 centrallateral 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.


Bilingual road sign in squamish language 2
Road sign in British Columbia showing the use of 7 to represent /ʔ/ in Squamish.

In the traditional Romanization of many languages, such as Arabic, the glottal stop is transcribed with an apostrophe, ⟨’⟩, which 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, ⟨ʻ⟩ (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 fricativeʕ⟩. 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 ⟨⟩.

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 (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 (Tagalog pag-ibig, "love"; or Visayan gabi-i, "night"). If 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 occur in the final vowel (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 (batà, "child").[2][3][4]

Some Canadian indigenous 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 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.


In English, the (phonemic) 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!, [ˈʌʔoʊ] and [ˈʔʌʔoʊ] are phonemically identical to /ˈʌ.oʊ/).

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

Although this segment is not a written[8] phoneme in English, it occurs 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. 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.[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.

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.

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 [ʔaj] 'no' See Abkhaz phonology.
Adyghe Iэ [ʔa] 'arm/hand'
Arabic Modern Standard[10] أغاني [ʔaˈɣaːniː] 'songs' See Arabic phonology, Hamza.
Levantine and Egyptian[11] شقة [ˈʃæʔʔæ] 'apartment' Levantine and Egyptian dialects.[11] Corresponds to /q/ or /g/ in other dialects.
Fasi and Tlemcenian[12] قال [ˈʔaːl] 'he said' Fasi and Tlemcenian dialects. Corresponds to /q/ or /g/ in other dialects.
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic ܣܥܬ [sʔɐt] 'clock/watch'
Bikol ba-go [ˈbaːʔɡo] 'new'
Bulgarian ъ-ъ [ˈɤʔɤ] 'nope' See Bulgarian phonology.
Burmese မြစ်များ [mjiʔ mjà] 'rivers'
Cebuano tubò [ˈtuboʔ] 'to grow'
Chamorro halu'u [həluʔu] 'shark'
Chechen кхоъ / qo' [qoʔ] 'three'
Chinese Cantonese /oi3 [ʔɔːi˧] 'love' See Cantonese phonology.
Wu 一级了 [ʔiɪʔ.tɕiɪʔ.ʔləʔ] 'superb'
Czech používat [poʔuʒiːvat] 'to use' See Czech phonology.
Dahalo ma'a [maʔa] 'water' see Dahalo phonology
Danish hånd [ˈhʌ̹nʔ] '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 [bəʔˈaːmə(n)] 'to confirm' See Dutch phonology.
English Received Pronunciation uh-oh [ˈɐʔəʊ] 'uh-oh'
American [ˈʌʔoʊ]
Australian cat [kʰæʔ(t)] 'cat' Allophone of /t/. See glottalization and English phonology.
Estuary [kʰæʔ]
Cockney[14] [kʰɛ̝ʔ]
Scottish [kʰäʔ]
Northern the [ʔ] 'the'
RP[15] and GA button [ˈbɐʔn̩]  '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 Standard German phonology.
Guaraní avañe [ãʋ̃ãɲẽˈʔẽ] 'Guaraní' Occurs only between vowels.
Hawaiian[16] ʻeleʻele [ˈʔɛlɛˈʔɛlɛ] 'black' See Hawaiian phonology.
Hebrew מַאֲמָר [maʔămar] 'article' Often elided in casual speech. See Modern Hebrew phonology.
Icelandic en [ʔɛn] 'but' Only used according to emphasis, never occurring in minimal pairs.
Iloko nalab-ay [nalabˈʔaj] 'bland tasting' Hyphen when occurring within the word.
Indonesian bakso [ˌbäʔˈso] 'meatball' Allophone of /k/ or /ɡ/ in the syllable coda.
Japanese Kagoshima 学校 [gaʔkoː] 'school'
Javanese[17] anak [änäʔ] 'child' Allophone of /k/ in morpheme-final position.
Jedek[18] [wɛ̃ʔ] 'left side'
Kabardian Iэ [ʔa] 'arm/hand'
Kagayanen[19] saag [saˈʔaɡ] 'floor'
Khasi lyoh [lʔɔːʔ] 'cloud'
Korean [ʔil] 'one' In free variation with no glottal stop. Occurs only in initial position of a word.
Malay tidak [ˈtidäʔ] 'no' Allophone of final /k/ in the syllable coda, pronounced before consonants or at end of word.
Maltese qattus [ˈʔattus] 'cat'
Māori Cook Island taʻi [taʔi] 'one'
Mutsun tawka'li [tawkaʔli] 'black gooseberry' Ribes divaricatum
Mingrelian ჸოროფა [ʔɔrɔpʰɑ] 'love'
Nahuatl tahtli [taʔtɬi] 'father' Often left unwritten.
Nez Perce yáakaʔ [ˈjaːkaʔ] 'black bear'
Nheengatu[20] ai [aˈʔi] 'sloth' Transcription (or absence thereof) varies.
Okinawan [ʔutu] 'sound'
Persian معنی [maʔni] 'meaning' See Persian phonology.
Pirahã baíxi [ˈmàí̯ʔì] 'parent'
Portuguese[21] Vernacular Brazilian ê-ê[22] [ˌʔe̞ˈʔeː] 'yeah right'[23] Marginal sound. Does not occur after or before a consonant. In Brazilian casual speech, there is at least one [ʔ]vowel lengthpitch accent minimal pair (triply unusual, the ideophones short ih vs. long ih). See Portuguese phonology.
Some speakers à aula [ˈa ˈʔawlɐ] 'to the class'
Rotuman[24] ʻusu [ʔusu] 'to box'
Samoan maʻi [maʔi] 'sickness/illness'
Sardinian[25] Some dialects of Barbagia unu pacu [ˈuːnu paʔu] 'a little' Intervocalic allophone of /n, k, l/.
Some dialects of Sarrabus sa luna [sa ʔuʔa] 'the moon'
Serbo-Croatian[26] и онда / i onda [iː ʔô̞n̪d̪a̠] 'and then' Optionally inserted between vowels across word boundaries.[26] See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Seri he [ʔɛ] 'I'
Spanish Nicaraguan[27] s alto [ˈma ˈʔal̻t̻o̞] 'higher' Marginal sound or allophone of /s/ between vowels in different words. Does not occur after or before a consonant. See Spanish phonology.
Yucateco[28] cuatro años [ˈkwatɾo̞ ˈʔãɲo̞s] 'four years'
Tagalog oo [oʔo] 'yes' See Tagalog phonology.
Tahitian puaʻa [puaʔa] 'pig'
Thai อา [ʔaː] 'uncle/aunt' (father's younger sibling)
Tongan tuʻu [tuʔu] 'stand'
Tundra Nenets выʼ [wɨʔ] 'tundra'
Vietnamese[29] 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").
Wagiman jamh [t̠ʲʌmʔ] 'to eat' (perf.)
Welayta [ʔirʈa] 'wet'
Wallisian maʻuli [maʔuli] 'life'

See also


  1. ^ a b 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).
  4. ^ Joan Schoellner & Beverly D. Heinle, ed. (2007). Tagalog Reading Booklet (PDF). Simon & Schister's Pimsleur. pp. 5–6.
  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, ISBN 0812039904, p. xxviii
  8. ^ Kortlandt, Frederik (1993). "General Linguistics & Indo-European Reconstruction" (PDF).
  9. ^ Brown, Gillian. 1977:27. Listening to spoken English. London: Longman.
  10. ^ Thelwall (1990:37)
  11. ^ a b Watson (2002:17)
  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. ^ Gussenhoven (1992:45)
  14. ^ Sivertsen (1960:111)
  15. ^ Roach (2004:240)
  16. ^ Ladefoged (2005:139)
  17. ^ Clark, Yallop & Fletcher (2007:105)
  18. ^ Yager, Joanne; Burtenhult, Niclas (December 2017). "Jedek: A newly-discovered Aslian variety of Malaysia" (PDF). Linguistic Typology. 21. doi:10.1515/lingty-2017-0012 – via deGruyter.
  19. ^ Olson et al. (2010:206–207)
  20. ^ Fonologia e Gramática do Nheengatu – A língua geral falada pelos povos Baré, Warekena e Baniwa Archived 2014-03-07 at the Wayback Machine. (in Portuguese)
  21. ^ João Veloso & Pedro Tiago Martins (2013). O Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP: disponibilização on-line de um corpus dialetal do português (in Portuguese)
  22. ^ Phonetic symbols for Portuguese phonetic transcription In European Portuguese, the "é é" interjection usually employs an epenthetic /i/, being pronounced [e̞ˈje̞] instead.
  23. ^ 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!". (in Portuguese) How to say 'eu, hein' in English – Adir Ferreira Idiomas
  24. ^ Blevins (1994:492)
  25. ^ Su sardu limba de Sardigna et limba de Europa, Lucia Grimaldi & Guido Mensching, 2004, CUEC, pp.110-111
  26. ^ a b Landau et al. (1999:67)
  27. ^ The hypo-hyperarticulation continuum in Nicaraguan Spanish
  28. ^ Voiceless stop aspiration in Yucatán Spanish: a sociolinguistic analysis
  29. ^ 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
  • Landau, Ernestina; Lončarić, Mijo; Horga, Damir; Škarić, Ivo (1999), "Croatian", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 66–69, ISBN 0-521-65236-7
  • 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

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.

Arabic diacritics

The Arabic script has numerous diacritics, including i'jam ⟨إِعْجَام⟩ - i‘jām, consonant pointing and tashkil ⟨تَشْكِيل⟩ - tashkīl, supplementary diacritics. The latter include the ḥarakāt ⟨حَرَكَات⟩ vowel marks - singular: ḥarakah ⟨حَرَكَة⟩.

The Arabic script is an impure abjad, where short consonants and long vowels are represented by letters but short vowels and consonant length are not generally indicated in writing. Tashkīl is optional to represent missing vowels and consonant length. Modern Arabic is always written with the i‘jām - consonant pointing, but only religious texts, children's books and works for learners are written with the full tashkīl - vowel guides and consonant length.


Ayin (also ayn or ain; transliterated ⟨ʿ⟩) is the sixteenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician ʿayin , Hebrew ʿayin ע‬, Aramaic ʿē , Syriac ʿē ܥ, and Arabic ʿayn ع‎ (where it is sixteenth in abjadi order only).The letter represents or is used to represent a voiced pharyngeal fricative (/ʕ/) or a similarly articulated consonant. In some Semitic languages and dialects, the phonetic value of the letter has changed, or the phoneme has been lost altogether (thus, in Modern Hebrew it is reduced to a glottal stop or is omitted entirely).

The Phoenician letter is the origin of the Greek, Latin and Cyrillic letter O.

Creaky-voiced glottal approximant

The creaky-voiced glottal approximant is a consonant sound in some languages. In the IPA, it is transcribed as ⟨ʔ̞⟩ or ⟨ʔ̰⟩. It involves tension in the glottis and diminution of airflow, compared to surrounding vowels, but not full occlusion. It is an intervocalic allophone of a glottal stop in many languages. It is reported to be contrastive only in Gimi in which it is phonologically the voiced equivalent of the glottal stop /ʔ/.

Czech phonology

This article discusses the phonological system of the Czech language.

Glottal stop (letter)

The sign ⟨ʔ⟩ is called glottal stop and it is a letter in some extended Latin alphabets of several languages of Canada. It is not part of the basic Latin alphabet or Classical Latin alphabet. Several phonetic transcription schemes, such as the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), use versions of glottal stop.


Glottalization is the complete or partial closure of the glottis during the articulation of another sound. Glottalization of vowels and other sonorants is most often realized as creaky voice (partial closure). Glottalization of obstruent consonants usually involves complete closure of the glottis; another way to describe this phenomenon is to say that a glottal stop is made simultaneously with another consonant. In certain cases, the glottal stop can even wholly replace the voiceless consonant. The term 'glottalized' is also used for ejective and implosive consonants; see glottalic consonant for examples.

There are two other ways to represent glottalization of sonorants in the IPA: (a) the same way as ejectives, with an apostrophe; or (b) with the under-tilde for creaky voice. For example, the Yapese word for "sick" with a glottalized m could be transcribed as either [mʼaar] or [m̰aar]. (In some typefaces, the apostrophe will occur above the m.)


Hamza (Arabic: همزة‎, hamzah) (ء) is a letter in the Arabic alphabet, representing the glottal stop [ʔ]. Hamza is not one of the 28 "full" letters and owes its existence to historical inconsistencies in the standard writing system. It is derived from the Arabic letter ʿAyn. In the Phoenician and Aramaic alphabets, from which the Arabic alphabet is descended, the glottal stop was expressed by Alif (), continued by Alif ( ) in the Arabic alphabet. However, Alif was used to express both a glottal stop and a long vowel /aː/. To indicate that a glottal stop, and not a mere vowel, was intended, Hamza was added diacritically to Alif. In modern orthography, under certain circumstances, Hamza may also appear on the line, as if it were a full letter, independent of an Alif. In Unicode it is at the code point U+0621 and named ARABIC LETTER HAMZA.

Hawaiian Braille

Hawaiian Braille is the braille alphabet of the Hawaiian language. It is a subset of the basic braille alphabet,

supplemented by an additional letter ⠸ to mark long vowels:

(Māori Braille uses the same convention for long vowels.)Unlike print Hawaiian, which has a special letter ʻokina for the glottal stop, Hawaiian Braille uses the apostrophe ⠄, which behaves as punctuation rather than as a consonant:

⠄⠸⠁⠊⠝⠁ ʻāina

⠄⠠⠸⠁⠊⠝⠁ ʻĀinaThat is, the order to write ʻĀ is apostrophe, cap sign, length sign, A.

Punctuation is as in English Braille.

Hawaiian language

The Hawaiian language (Hawaiian: ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, pronounced [ʔoːˈlɛlo həˈvɐjʔi]) is a Polynesian language that takes its name from Hawaiʻi, the largest island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed. Hawaiian, along with English, is an official language of the State of Hawaii. King Kamehameha III established the first Hawaiian-language constitution in 1839 and 1840.

For various reasons, including territorial legislation establishing English as the official language in schools, the number of native speakers of Hawaiian gradually decreased during the period from the 1830s to the 1950s. Hawaiian was essentially displaced by English on six of seven inhabited islands. In 2001, native speakers of Hawaiian amounted to less than 0.1% of the statewide population. Linguists were unsure that Hawaiian and other endangered languages would survive.Nevertheless, from around 1949 to the present day, there has been a gradual increase in attention to and promotion of the language. Public Hawaiian-language immersion preschools called Pūnana Leo were established in 1984; other immersion schools followed soon after that. The first students to start in immersion preschool have now graduated from college and many are fluent Hawaiian speakers. The federal government has acknowledged this development. For example, the Hawaiian National Park Language Correction Act of 2000 changed the names of several national parks in Hawaiʻi, observing the Hawaiian spelling. However, the language is still classified as critically endangered by UNESCO.A creole language spoken in Hawaiʻi is Hawaiian Pidgin (or Hawaii Creole English, HCE). It should not be mistaken for the Hawaiian language nor for a dialect of English.

The Hawaiian alphabet has 13 letters: five vowels (each with a long pronunciation and a short one) and eight consonants, one of which is the glottal stop called ʻokina.

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.


Labialization is a secondary articulatory feature of sounds in some languages. Labialized sounds involve the lips while the remainder of the oral cavity produces another sound. The term is normally restricted to consonants. When vowels involve the lips, they are called rounded.

The most common labialized consonants are labialized velars. Most other labialized sounds also have simultaneous velarization, and the process may then be more precisely called labio-velarization.

In phonology, labialization may also refer to a type of assimilation process.

Navajo Braille

Navajo Braille is the braille alphabet of the Navajo language. It uses a subset of the letters of Unified English Braille, along with the punctuation and formatting of that standard. There are no contractions.

Additional letters, beyond those of English braille, are ⠹ for ł, ⠄ for ' (glottal stop and ejective consonants), the French vowels with grave accents for the Navajo vowels with acute accents (high tone), and ⠨ for ogonek on the following vowel (nasal vowels, e.g. ⠨⠁ for ą, ⠨⠷ for ą́). ⠋ is only used for the digit 6, as the letter 'f' does not exist in the Navajo alphabet.

In numerical order by decade, the letters are:

The alphabet was created by Carol Green and adopted by the Navajo Nation in 2015.

Polynesian languages

The Polynesian languages are a language family spoken in geographical Polynesia and on a patchwork of outliers from south central Micronesia to small islands off the northeast of the larger islands of the southeast Solomon Islands and sprinkled through Vanuatu. They are classified as a subgroup of the much larger and more developed Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanic branch of that family.There are approximately forty Polynesian languages. The most prominent of these are Tahitian, Samoan, Tongan, Māori and Hawaiian. As the Polynesian islands were settled relatively recently and because internal linguistic diversification only began around 2,000 years ago, their languages retain strong commonalities. There are still many cognate words across the different islands e.g. tapu, ariki, motu, kava), and tapa as well as Hawaiki, the mythical homeland for some of the cultures.

All Polynesian languages show strong similarity, particularly in vocabulary. The vowels are often stable in the descendant languages, nearly always a, e, i, o and u, and consonant sound changes tend to be quite regular. The legendary homeland of the Māori of New Zealand, where w is used instead of v, is called Hawaiki; in the Cook Islands, where h is replaced with the glottal stop, it is 'Avaiki; in the Hawaiian Islands, where w is used and k is replaced with the glottal stop, the largest island of the group is named Hawai'i; in Samoa, where s has not been replaced by h, v is used instead of w, and k is replaced with the glottal stop, the largest island is called Savai'i. In the Society Islands, k and ng are replaced by the glottal stop, so the name for the ancestral homeland is pronounced Havai'i.

Samoan Braille

Samoan Braille is the braille alphabet of the Samoan language. It is a subset of the basic braille alphabet,

supplemented by an additional letter ⠰ to mark long vowels:

Unlike print Samoan, which has a special letter ʻokina for the glottal stop, Samoan Braille uses the apostrophe ⠈, which behaves as punctuation rather than as a consonant. (See Hawaiian Braille, which has a similar setup.)

Samoan Braille has an unusual punctuation mark, a reduplication sign ⠙. This is used to indicate that a word is reduplicated, as in ⠎⠑⠛⠊⠙ segisegi "twilight".

Shha with descender

Shha with descender (Ԧ ԧ; italics: Ԧ ԧ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. Its form is derived from the Cyrillic letter Shha (Һ һ Һ һ) by the addition of a descender to the right leg.

Shha with descender is used in the alphabets of the Tati and Juhuri languages, where it represents the glottal stop /ʔ/.

Smooth breathing

The smooth breathing (Ancient Greek: ψιλὸν πνεῦμα, translit. psilòn pneûma; Greek: ψιλή psilí; Latin: spīritus lēnis) is a diacritical mark used in polytonic orthography. In ancient Greek, it marks the absence of the voiceless glottal fricative /h/ from the beginning of a word.

Some authorities have interpreted it as representing a glottal stop, but a final vowel at the end of a word is regularly elided (removed) when the following word starts with a vowel and elision would not happen if the second word began with a glottal stop (or any other form of stop consonant). In his Vox Graeca, W. Sidney Allen accordingly regards the glottal stop interpretation as "highly improbable".The smooth breathing ( ᾿ ) is written as on top of one initial vowel, on top of the second vowel of a diphthong or to the left of a capital and also, in certain editions, on the first of a pair of rhos. It did not occur on an initial upsilon, which always has rough breathing (thus the early name ὕ hy, rather than ὔ y).

The smooth breathing was kept in the traditional polytonic orthography even after the /h/ sound had disappeared from the language in Hellenistic times. It has been dropped in the modern monotonic orthography.

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