Glottal stop

Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the sound. For the letter, see glottal stop (letter).
IPA – number 113
IPA – text ʔ
IPA – image {{{imagesize}}}
Entity ʔ
Kirshenbaum ?
Sound sample 

The glottal stop or voiceless glottal plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʔ. The glottal stop is the sound made when the vocal cords are pressed together to stop the flow of air and then released; for example, the break separating the syllables of the interjection uh-oh. While this segment is not a phoneme in English, it is present in nearly all dialects of English as an allophone of /t/. Some foreign language learning texts (e.g. Arabic) spend considerable space explaining this sound (in non-technical terms) to English speakers, although most English speakers make this consonant easily and daily.

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 letter <ʔ>. In many Polynesian languages which use the Latin alphabet, however, the glottal stop is written with a reversed apostrophe, <‘> (called ‘okina in Hawaiian), which, confusingly, is also used to transcribe the ayin Arabic and is the source of the IPA character for the voiced pharyngeal fricative <ʕ>.


Features of the glottal stop:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz аи [ʔaj] 'no' See Abkhaz phonology
Arabic Standard[1] ألله [ʔɑlˤˈlˤɑːh] 'God, 'Allah' See Arabic phonology
Metropolitan dialects[2] example needed -- -- Corresponds to /q/ in Standard Arabic.
Bikol ba-go [ˈbaːʔgo] 'new'
Burmese မ္ရစ္‌မ္ယား [mjiʔ mjà] 'rivers'
Cebuano bag-o [ˈbaːgʔo] 'new'
Chamorro halu'u [həluʔu] 'shark'
Chechen йоI / yoj [yoʔ] 'girl'
Czech používat [poʔuʒiːvat] 'to use' See Czech phonology
Danish hånd [hɞnʔ] 'hand' See Danish phonology
Dutch[3] beamen [bəʔamə] 'to confirm' See Dutch phonology
English Cockney[4] cat [kʰɛ̝ʔ] 'cat' Allophone of /t/. See glottalization and English phonology
GA [kʰæʔt]
RP[5] button [b̥ɐʔn̩] 'button'
Finnish linja-auto [ˈlinjɑʔˈɑuto] 'bus' See Finnish phonology
French[6] les hérissons [le ʔeʁisɔ̃]] 'the hedgehogs' Some dialects. May be [h] instead. See French phonology
German northern dialects Beamter [bəˈʔamtɐ] 'civil servant' See German phonology
Guaraní avañe [aʋaɲẽˈʔẽ] 'Guaraní' Occurs only between vowels
Hawaiian ʻeleʻele [ˈʔɛlɛˈʔɛlɛ] 'black' See Hawaiian phonology
Hebrew אָלֶף־בֵית [ʔalefbet] 'alphabet' See Hebrew phonology
Indonesian bakso [ˌbaʔˈso] 'meatball' Allophone of /k/ or /g/ in the syllable coda
Kabardian Iэ [ʔɛ] 'to tell'
Maltese qattus [ˈʔattus] 'cat'
Persian معني [maʔni] 'meaning' See Persian phonology
Pirahã baíxi [màíʔì] 'parent'
Rotuman[7] ʻusu [ʔusu] 'to box'
Seri he [ʔɛ] 'I'
Tagalog iihi [ˌʔiːˈʔiːhɛʔ] 'will urinate'
Tahitian puaʻa [puaʔa] 'pig'
Tongan tuʻu [tuʔu] 'stand'
Vietnamese a [ʔaʔ] 'by the way' See Vietnamese phonology
Võro piniq [ˈpinʲiʔ] 'dogs'
Welayta [ʔirʈa] 'wet'

See also



  • Blevins, Juliette (1994), "The Bimoraic Foot in Rotuman Phonology and Morphology", Oceanic Linguistics 33(2): 491-516
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22(2): 45-47
  • Roach, Peter (2004), "British English: Received Pronunciation", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34(2): 239-245
  • Schane, Sanford A (1968), French Phonology and Morphology, M.I.T. Press
  • 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
  • Watson, Janet (2002), The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic, New York: Oxford University Press


br:Kensonenn troc'h-avel dre serriñ ca:Oclusiva glotal sorda cs:Ráz da:Glottalt lukke de:Stimmloser glottaler Plosiv ko:성문 파열음 it:Occlusiva glottidale sorda nl:Glottisslag no:Glottal plosiv sk:Ráz fi:Glottaaliklusiili sv:Glottal klusil th:เสียงหยุด เส้นเสียง vls:Glottisslag