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Epiglottal consonant

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An epiglottal consonant is a consonant that is articulated with the aryepiglottic folds (see larynx) against the epiglottis. They are occasionally called aryepiglottal consonants.

Places of articulation

 • Labial

 • Bidental

 • Coronal

 • Dorsal

 • Radical

 • Glottal

The epiglottal consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
epiglottal plosive voiceless epiglottal plosive Agul jaʡ center
voiced epiglottal fricative or approximant voiced epiglottal fricative or approximant Arabic تَعَشَّى tɑʢɑʃʃæ to have supper
voiceless epiglottal fricative voiceless epiglottal fricative Agul mɛʜ whey
  • A voiced epiglottal plosive may not be possible. When one becomes voiced intervocalically in Dahalo, for example, it becomes a tap.
  • Although traditionally placed in the fricative row of the IPA chart, [ʢ] is usually an approximant. The IPA symbol itself is ambiguous, but no language has a distinct fricative and approximant at this place of articulation. Sometimes the lowering diacritic is used to specify that the manner is approximant: [ʢ̞].
  • Epiglottal trills are quite common (for epiglottals, that is), but this can usually be considered a phonemic plosive or a fricative, with the trill being phonetic detail. The IPA has no symbol for this, though [я] is sometimes seen in the literature.

Epiglottals are not known from many languages. However, this may partially be an effect of the difficulty European language-speaking linguists have in recognizing them. On several occasions, when supposedly pharyngeal consonants were actually measured, they turned out to be epiglottals. This was the case for Dahalo, for example.

Epiglottals are primarily known from the Mideast (in the Semitic languages) and from British Columbia ("pharyngeal trills" in northern Haida), but may occur elsewhere. It is likely that several of the Salish or Wakashan languages of British Columbia reported to have "pharyngeals" actually have epiglottals, and the same may be true of some of the languages of the Caucasus.

Recently, a possible new place of articulation, epiglotto-pharyngeal, was reported.

See also





This table contains phonetic information in IPA, which may not display correctly in some browsers.
Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a voiced consonant. Shaded areas denote pulmonic articulations judged to be impossible.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiglottal_consonant

Published - November 2008

Information from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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