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glottal stop

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glottal stop

"Nearly everybody makes a glottal stop instead of at least part of the t in words such as button." (Peter Ladefoged, Vowels and Consonants, 2005)

Definition:

In phonetics, a stop sound made by rapidly closing the vocal cords.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "Glottalization is a general term for any articulation involving a simultaneous constriction, especially a glottal stop. In English, glottal stops are often used in this way to reinforce a voiceless plosive at the end of a word, as in what?"
    (David Crystal, A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. Blackwell, 1997)


  • "We often make this stop--it's the sound we make when we say 'uh-oh.' In some languages, this is a separate consonant sound, but in English we often use it with d, t, k, g, b or p when one of those sounds happens at the end of a word or syllable. . . . We close the vocal cords very sharply and make the air stop for just a moment. We don't let the air escape.

    "This glottal stop is the last sound of these words:
    • words: light . . . flight . . . put . . . take . . . make . . . trip . . . report
    • multisyllable words: stoplight . . . apartment . . . backseat . . . assortment . . . workload . . . upbeat
    • phrases: right now . . . talk back . . . cook the books . . . hate mail . . . fax machine . . . back-breaking
    You also hear it in words and syllables that end in t + a vowel + n. We don't say the vowel at all, so we say the t + n: button . . . cotton . . . kitten . . . Clinton . . . continent . . . forgotten . . . sentence."
    (Charlsie Childs, Improve Your American English Accent. McGraw Hill, 2004)


  • "Nowadays younger speakers of many forms of British English have glottal stops at the ends of words such as cap, cat, and back. A generation or so ago speakers of BBC English would have regarded such a pronunciation as improper, almost as bad as producing a glottal stop between vowels in the London Cockney pronunciation of butter . . .. In America nearly everybody has a glottal stop in button and bitten . . .."
    (Peter Ladefoged, Vowels and Consonants: An Introduction to the Sounds of Languages, Vol. 1, 2nd ed. Blackwell, 2005)
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