Research studies



Prepared by the researcher : Muna Jumaa Ali  – College of Language , Baghdad University , Baghdad / Iraq

Democratic Arabic Center

Journal of cultural linguistic and artistic studies : Twenty-ninth Issue – September 2023

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
 ISSN  2625-8943

Journal of cultural linguistic and artistic studies

:To download the pdf version of the research papers, please visit the following link


This study provides account of the glottalization in English language. The glottalization is the complete or partial closure of the glottis during the articulation of another sound. 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.

In English language sometimes takes the place of /t/ as in ” water” for instance .So we can see the glottal stop is difficult in pronunciation and recognition for foreign learner of English language. Therefore, it is employed to conform several functions. The present study tries to explore these functions and the contexts in which it may show.

In addition to that it investigates the actual status of this voice , i.e. whether it is considered a phoneme or not in the English language. And this study tries to submitt a thorough description of the glottalization and other related phenomena in  English language


 The present study deals with all these significant issues and investigates the recent spread of this sound among speakers of English with its two related phenomena, namely, (glottal reinforcement and glottal replacement)in order to shed light on the points of difficulty during production and recognition of this sound for foreign learners of English.

This study is organized as follows: the first section provides some background issues related to glotalization about types and sociolinguistic and history of glottalization . Section two details the information glottal stop, its definitions, functions, contexts . Finally, results are given at the end of this research.

  1. The Problem of the Study

The explain this study stems from the actual difficulty inherent in recognizing and producing the glottalization by learners of English and lies in answering the following questions:

  • Identifying the status of the glottalization in English.
  • What are the functions and the phonetic contexts of the glottal stop in English (exploring the function of the glottal stop and its contexts)?
  1. The Hypothesis of the Study

 It is assumed that the glottal stop is used to match several functions and it is hard in pronunciation and recognition for most foreign learners of English who are specialized in English. And it happen in various phonetic contexts.

III. The Aim of the Study

         The study aims at:

  • Explain the concept of glottalization in English language.
  • Identify the contexts and functions of the glottal stop.
  1. The Limits of the Study

 This study is identify to the limitation of the glottal stop sound, and its functions, contexts and other related phenomena in English, specifically in British English and American English .

  1. The Procedures of the Study

To illustrated this study, the following steps will be followed:

  • Submitting a thorough theoretical background of the glottalization and some related concepts.
  • Clarifying a thorough description of the glottal stop and other related phenomena.
  1. The Value of the Study

The  study is useful for instructors of English and educators

at university level. It is also of value for researchers, foreign learners and all those who are interested ,specifically in English phonology.

 In fact it fills a lack in the literature.

1.1.The Concept of Glottalization

Glottalization : can be define as a general term for any articulation consisting a simultaneous glottal contraction, specially glottal stop .

Glottal stops in English language  are often used in this method to reinforce a voiceless plosive sound at the end of a word as in what ? {wDt?] (Crystal, 2003:187).

 This phenomenon indicate to the entire or partial closure of the glottis

through the articulation of another sound. There are two methods to represent

glottalization in international  phonetic Alphabet (IPA):

  • Like method as ejectives with an apostrophe ,
  • or with the under-tiled for creaky voice.

Glottalization of vowels and voice consonants is most often realized as creaky voice (partial closure) , and voiceless consonants usually consists of complete closure of glottis, another way to prescribe this phenomenon is to say that a glottal stop is occur simultaneously with another consonant.

In some cases, the glottal stop can even totally replace the consonant (vioceless) (wikipedia, 2009:1). There are other two important phenomena result from glottalization : glottal  reinforcement , and glottal replacement. Glottal stop is sometimes called glottal reinforcement or glottalisation

. Some accents, the glottal stop indeed replaces the voiceless alveolar plosive [ t ] as the realisation of the / t / phoneme when it follows a stressed vowel, so that (getting better) is pronounced this is found in many urban accents, in particular , Leeds, London (Cockney), Edinburgh ,Glasgow and others, and is increasingly accepted among young people who they have relatively highly-educated (Roach,2002:78).

From an articulatory point of view, glottalization refers strictly to the addition of an articulatory glottal stop (i.e., full and sustained vocal fold adduction or [P]). The addition of a glottal articulation to oral stops is also known as ‘glottal reinforcement’ (Higginbottom, 1964; Esling et al., 2005), especially for English. However, these sounds are also referred to simply as ‘glottalized.’ Other sounds can also have a secondary glottal articulation, including sonorants (Esling et al., 2005; Bird, Caldecott, Campbell, Gick & Shaw, 2008) and clicks (Miller, 2007). Strictly speaking, glottalization refers only to complete vocal fold adduction that may accompany a sound as a secondary articulation, and thus makes no reference to the phonation of voiced segments adjacent to the glottal stop, which are often laryngealized as the vocal folds prepare for glottal closure. However, such laryngealized phonation is also often called glottalization, especially when referring to its acoustic output (Huffman, 2005). Certain researchers have found it useful to have a term that covers phonetic effects seen for both glottal closure and laryngealized phonation, regardless of the target gesture for which the speaker aims (Henton, Ladefoged & Maddieson, 1992; Michaud, 2004; Brunelle, Nguy¹n & Nguy¹n, 2010). In this dissertation, I too use the term ‘glottalization’ when referring to the articulatory or acoustic effects on targets of either glottal stop or laryngealization.

1.2. Types of Glottalization

In some languages, such as Jalapa Mazatec, creaky voice has a phonemic statusthat mean the presence or absence of creaky voice can shift the meaning of a word. In the International Phonetic Alphabet(IPA) creaky voice of a phone is represented by a diacritical tilde U+0330  ̰ COMBINING TILDE BELOW, for instance [d̰]. The Danish prosodic property stød is an example of a shap of laryngealisation that has a phonemic function. There is a slight degree of laryngealisation,happen in some Korean language consonants for instance, is named (stiff voice).

There are three types of the glottalization :

  • Modal Voice

Modal voice is the vocal register employed most frequently in speech and singing in most languages.  Also it is the term used in linguistics for the most common phonation of vowels. The term {modal} indicates to the resonant mode of vocal cords ; that mean the optimal collection of airflow and glottal tension that yields maximum vibration.  In linguistics, modal voice is the only phonation found in the vowels and other sonorants consonants such as {M , N , L , and R } of most of the languages of the world, but a significant minority compares modal voice with other phonations. between obstructions ) consonants such as {g ,  k , d͡ʒ/j , t͡ʃ/ch , S , and Z }, it is very common for languages to contrast modal voice with voicelessness , but in English language, many supposedly-voiced obstructions do not normally have modal voice.

In utterance pathology, the example register is one of the four identifiable registers within the human sound. It is above the vocal fry register and overlapping the lower part of the falsetto register. And that view is adopted by many vocal pedagogists , but some vocal pedagogists may view vocal registration differently. In singing, the example register may also interfere part of the whistle register.

And  well trained singer or speaker can phonate two octaves or more within the modal register with consistent production, vocal freedom ,  beauty of tone, and dynamic variation. Begins the modal register and ends in different places within the human sound. The placement of the example register through the individual human voice is one of the key determining factors in identifying vocal kind.

  • Stiff Voice

It explains the pronunciation of consonants or vowels with a glottal opening narrower, and the vocal cords stiffer, than happen in modal voice. Even though there is no specific International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) diacritic for stiff sound, the voicing diacritic {a subscript wedge} may be employed in conjunction with the symbol for a voiced consonant ,for example  distinguished  the stiff-voiced vowels have tenseness in the glottis and pharynx without going so far as to be creaky voiced, whereas slack-voiced vowels are lax in the glottis without going so far as to be breathy voice. One language with stiff voice is Thai , Javanese differs stiff and slack voiced dental, bilabial, retroflex, and velar stops.

Mpi “Loloish” differs examples and stiff sound in its vowels. This is not register for each of the six Mpi tones , a word may have either a modal or stiff-voiced vowel for instance  low tone contrasts /sì̬/ seven  ,and /sì/  blood .

  • Creaky voice

Creaky voice also called (třepenل fonace in Czech) , is placed near the closed end of the phonation string. The terms creak or creaky voice are employed  with  slight  various  by  vary  authors.  Huber  (1988;  in Skarnitzl 2004a) employ the term creak for (sustained low F0 following by near-total damping of individual glottal pulses,) and creaky voice for “period-to-period  irregularity”,  which  corresponds  to  what  Redi  and Shattuck-Hufnagel  call  aperiodicity  (2001; in  Skarnitzl  2004a).

Gimson can be define creaky voice as one of the possible sound qualities that is produced by (an excessively slow rate of  vibration of  the vocal cords) (Gimson 2001, 277),then, he does not  consider its employ as an alternative for the pre-vocalic and pre-consonantal glottal stop . Creaky voice is also sometimes called “vocal fry” , “pressed” or “stiff phonation” (ex.  Gerratt and Kreiman 2001; in Skarnitzl 2004a).

Skarnitzl (2004a) found that Czech speakers in his example employed at the beginning of the conjunction a (and) different glottal gestures that did not completely correspond to the terminology already available, and he categorized them according to two factors: regularity and temporal arrangement. He defined continuous creaks with glottal  pulses “[lasting] throughout the complete  department ”;  creaks  with  hold  happen  by  a silent  stage  and barbell  creaks  happen  by  a silent stage  and  by  additional  (glottal pulses at the beginning … of the department) (62).

Each kind could then be labeled  as  irregular  or  (relatively)  regular,8  thus  arriving  at  six

categories. What distinction creaks with hold from canonical glottal stops, and barbel  creaks  from barbell  glottal  stops  in Skarnitzl’s  system,  is  the number of pulses that happen at each side of the hold stage. If there are more than two pulses,  the item is categorized such a creak.

Even though it appears questionable whether the number of pulses is a more important criterion for categorization than the presence of a hold stage which is the essential features of  a stop (Bortlيk 2009).

 An alternative interpretation, can to count creaks containing a hold stage between glottal  stops would impact the interpretation of  some tendencies in Skarnitzl’s  data  with  respect  to  acoustic  differences  with  segmental context . It is clear that among as variability, material can be found that will  be  hard  to  categorize.

Machač  and  Skarnitzl  (2009)  employ a vary,  simpler  two-categories system which, still, does not avoid particular terminological inconsistencies.

 Term  glottal  stop ,they  use in  a general  sense  of  pre-vocalic glottalization , and  then  redundantly  call  the  canonical  glottal  stop {plosive-like} (125), their second ategory is creaky glottal stop which is in fact not a genuine stop, becouse  it contains glottal pulses throughout the complete department (128).  As we have seen , interest of the concept is that it does not restrict the number of pulses in a glottal stop, since it would categorize  Skarnitzl’s  (2004a)  creaks  with  hold  as  glottal  stops  on account of the hold stage.

  • Breathy voice

Term used to a specific voice quality is “breathy voice”, which is named dyšnل fonace in Czech. It “is characterized by vocal cords that are fairly abducted … and have little longitudinal  tension [which] results in some turbulent airflow within the glottis and the auditory impression of (sound mixed in with breath) (Gordon and Ladefoged 2001,385). Hلla  illustrated  a similar  fact,  zněl‎  přيdech (voiced aspiration), such a form of laryngeal stricture that can show at a syllable boundary among vowels which isthen weaker than  rلz, i.e. the glottal  stop and equivalent  forms  of  glottalization  (1962,  281). It  is  described more in terms  of  breath intensity  rather  than of phonation  typology  and  its  occurrence  in  places  other  than  the intervocalic syllable boundary is not discussed. It is in fact like to the voiced allophone of English language /h/, which for some speakers can show in voiced contexts, normally among vowels and is articulated as (a kind of breathy vowel or {slightly} voiced glottal  fricative [ɦ]) (Gimson 2001, 191).

 Similarly,  Palkovل  distinction  dyšn‎  hlasov‎ začلtek { breathy voice onset} such an alternative to soft sound onset and to glottalization in word-initial vowels, which can in some languages, English language being one of them, serve such a voiceless variant of initial /h/ .

1.3. Glottal  Replacement

 When a phoneme is completely replaced by a glottal stop [?] , one talks of glottal replacement. For instance, very widespread in Cockney and Estuary English in these dialects , the glottal stop is an allophone of /p/, /t/, and /k/ word-finally and when precede by a stresses vowel and followed by unstressed vowel includes syllabic /l/ , /m/, and /n/ e.g. ‘city‘ [sɪ?ɪ], ‘bottle‘ [bo?təl] ‘Britain‘ [brɪ? ən] , ‘seniority‘ [si:niDrə?i] (Sullivan,1992:46).  In some languages glottal replacement is not completely a feature of sounds , but also of vowels sounds (Wikipedia,2009:2).

1.4.Glottal Reinforcement

  When a phoneme is attached either simultaneously or sequentially with [?], then one talks of glottal reinforcement or pre-glottalisation . This is extremely common in all accents of English language  , including RP  /t/ is the most influenced , but /p/, /k/ and even occasionally /t/ are influenced (Roach, 1973:10).

 In English language, the dialects exhibiting pre-glottalisation, the consonants in question are generally glottalized in the coda position, e.g., ‘what’ [wD?t], ‘fiction’ [fi/en], ‘milkman'[milkmen] , ‘opera’ [o?pre]. To some extent, there is a free variation in English language between glottal reinforcement and glottal replacement  (Sullivan,1992:46).

1.5.The Sociolinguistic and History of Glottalization

  In particular, while the glottal stop is spreading quickly in mainstream

English language, glottal reinforcement specially of /p/ and /k/ in intervocalic positions is probably recessive. It is distinction not only of Tyneside male utterance but also of rather conservative rural differences, such as those of Northern Ireland and  south-west Scotland. (Docherty et., al:306).

 Docherty et al(1997:307)  have  note that many sociolinguistic accounts

have shown a sharp distinguish between the social courses for glottal replacement as opposed to glottal reinforcement, which have usually been treated by phonologists as aspects of the same thing. It may therefore not always be suitable to treat the two phenomena as manifestations of one process or as points on a single continuum (supposedly along which speakers move within time). From the speaker’s opinion (as manifested by various patterns of speaker behaviour) they appear as autonomous phenomena. (ibid.).

        There are two types of glottal variant are clearly distinct in Newcastle English language , in addition of they are quite various sociolinguistic patterns. The replacing glottal stop  is differently replaced for non-initial pre-vocalic /t/ (e.g. in

set off, water) by younger speakers , specially middle-class females, and as such seems to be a non-local form entering Newcastle English language, while the pre-glottalized variants by contrast, are largely the preserve of older males (Docherty & Foulkes 1999: 54).

 The glottal stop or glottalization may have sociolinguistic functions. Kirk (1967) states that Protestants in Northern Ireland employed these sounds much frequently than Catholics. It clear that, “older males appear to be producing glottalised tokens

with a different articulatory co-ordination than other members of the speech

community: they have a greater tendency to time the oral gesture such that it

lags behind the accompanying glottal articulation” (Docherty &Foulkes,1999:61).

Kortlandt (1997:178) supports the view that the “reinforcing” glottal closure of [‘p], [‘t], [‘k] is old , even though the recent spread of the replacing glottal stop in mainstream English language. Thus, preglottalization is disappearing from the language while the replacing glottal stop is spreading in the speech of the younger generation . While the “increasing space given by phoneticians from about 1920

onwards to the treatment of the glottal stop” (Andrésen 1968: 34)

we can be explained by the phonemic feature of the glottal replacement, the earlier

preglottalization of /p/, /t/, /k/ went unnoticed because it was not distinctive. Glottalization is widespread  in pre-1930 audio recordings of people born in the

second half of the 19th century, even in formal delivery (Kortlandt, 1997:179). It follows that glottalization was well-established in upper-class English speech in the 19th century and must have been prevalent in the standard language of that period. The lack of attention to this phenomenon can be explained not only by the subphonemic figure of preglottalization , but also by its loss in pre-pausal position. Whereas “glottal variants are prevalent in different phonological contexts in Newcastle, they are almost definitely prohibited in pre-pausal position. Tokens before a pause are instead from an auditory perspective clearly “released” “voiceless alveolars” (Docherty & Foulkes 1999: 62). It seems that either the glottalization or the buccal characteristics could be lost in pre-pausal position. “In Derby glottal stops in pre-pausal position are far more prevalent, but in the self-conscious context of word-list readings most speakers produce what sound such “released” [t] s , just as in Newcastle”. This propositions that pre-pausal [t] is due to restoration and that the spread of the replacing glottal stop in mainstream English language may have started from pre-pausal positions (cited in Kortlandt,2009:5).

         This brings the original distribution of the English glottalization closer to

its Danish identical, the so-called (vestjysk stood) that is found directly before the plosives /p, t, k/ wherever these stand in an original medial position, following a voiced sound in a stressed syllable. The preglottalization of English language cannot detached from the preaspirated stops in northern Scandanavian languages (ibid:6).

A glottal stop generally refers to a stop made in the larynx by the abrupt and sustained closure of the vocal folds. The closure is called ‘sustained’ to distinguish the glottal stop gesture from the periodic closing of the vocal folds during phonation (see Section 2.2.3). In this dissertation, a glottal stop refers to an abstract articulatory target (either phonemic or allophonic). Glottal stops may be phonetically realized in different ways, as will be discussed in detail below, and so in this work a glottal stop does not represent a single articulation (i.e. a phone) but rather a set of articulations ranging from laryngealized phonation, to sustained

glottal closure (with or without additional supraglottal constriction). On the other hand, when referring to actual phones, I will make use of the following terms:

  • ‘Full glottal stop’ = a glottal stop produced with full, sustained vocal fold closure: [P]
  • ‘Incomplete glottal stop’ = a glottal stop realized with incomplete vocal fold closure(i.e., as laryngealized voice): [P]
  • ‘Laryngealization’ = either [P], or the kind of voice quality which involves increased vocal fold constriction usually (though not in this work) transcribed with [] (see Section 2.1.2)
  • ‘Creak’ = irregular voice quality that does not necessarily involve increased vocal fold constriction, such as phrase-final creak (Slifka, 2000, 2006): [ ]. Note that this definition differs from that given by Laver (1980) and Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), for whom ‘creak’ and laryngealization are largely synonymous, with both characterized by an increase in glottal closure (see Laver (1980, p. 126)).

Note that I make a distinction between two types of irregular voicing: laryngealization and creak. This is because they differ articulatorily (Slifka, 2006), and because incomplete glottal stops are expected to have voicing that is similar articulatorily and acoustically to laryngealization, but not necessarily to creak.

Section two

2.1. The Concept of Glottal Stop

The glottal stop is a speech voice made by closing and opening the glottis which in English sometimes takes the place of /t/ as in butter for example(Crystal,2004:178).

During the production of a complete glottal stop, the vocal cords are held together tightly for a brief moment, preventing simultaneous phonation. Then, a glottal stop should be silent by definition .In the acoustic wave-form of a complete glottal stop a quiet closure phase maybe distinct, and a short burst of noise may often be noted only before the following voice begins. Practically, it is often difficult to distinct among a glottal stop, very low-pitch voice, and creaky voice {glottalization or laryngealization}, because these are phonetically like and may happen next to each other in utterance.

 Ogden (2001:98) defines the glottal stop as one or more irregular glottal periods that happen through the same syllable. After that  a glottal stop may sometimes

be represented as a very short creaky phase in utterance , and a complete stop closure is not requested. By Ladefoged and Maddieson (1996:75), the whole closure will often be lacking from intervocalic glottal stops, and a whole glottal stop will consistently happen just in those languages and positions where the stop is doubled (cited in Byrd,1993:111).

A glottal stop, symbolized [?], is a “plosive” made at the glottis {made by the vocal cords}. The glottal stop is a catch in the throat, a voice that you make way down at the level of your vocal cords. Glottal stop a term technical indicates to  closing the “glottis” {the vocal cords } then a glottal stop is made by temporarily closing the vocal folds.

 In English language  the glottal stop sometimes employed as an allophones of /t/ and sometimes has other functions, but it is not used to distinct  one word from another .In the following  some of the environments where the glottal stop is heard in English language.(Applegate,2006:10):

  • Vowels may have a glottal stop even when there’s another word in front of them. It’s easy to hear the various among (the apple).
  • In this position pronounced with a glottal stop, and “the apple”

pronounced without.  It is found in (go away) and (you’re out.) -another position where glottal stop shows up in English language is among the vowels of exclamations as “oh oh” (representing apprehension or an error) or (uh-uh), (for “no”).

  • Speakers of American English language , /t/ becomes an glottal stop when it ocuurs right before particular other sounds, especially an /n/ in words as (kitten) or (lightning) or (got none), /t/ is also a glottal stop in a casual pronunciation of (wait nearby )or (let me see)(ibid.).

2.2. The Occurrence of Glottal Stops

 A glottal stop is a speech voice articulated by a momentary, whole closing of the glottis in the back of the throat. Glottal stop happen in several languages and normally pattern as consonants. But the question is that whether the glottal stop is considered as a phoneme or an allophone in English language?

        Points Roach (2002:75)  that: glottal stops are represent as consonant phonemes in some languages {ex. Arabic}.Glottal stops are represent in several accents of English language: sometimes a glottal stop is pronounced in front of a / p /, / t / or / k / ,if there is not a vowel  now following (ex. arctic , catkin ,captive); a like case is that of /t/ when following a stressed vowel {or when syllable-final}, as in “butcher”.

One of the functions of a closure of the vocal cords is to produce a consonant. In a true glottal stop there is whole impediment to the passage of air, and the result is a period of silence. The phonetic symbol for a glottal stop is [?]. In informal speech it often occurs that a speaker want to produce a whole glottal stop but instead makes a low-pitched creak-like voice.

 In several languages  as English where the glottal stop is not phonemic ,glottal stops and glottal approximants as well as their average variants tend to happen at the beginning of vowel-initial words and at intervocalic morpheme boundaries. This phenomenon may be called final or initial doubling.

when a whole glottal stop happen at the end boundary of a word where final or initial doubling is applicable, the glottal stop may respectively be longer in peroid,   it may be (doubled) similar any other consonant at a similar juncture (Itkonen

1975: 65).

  Even though it is able to list elements that increase the probability of a glottal stop in various languages, it is hard to predict exactly when a glottal stop will happen.

Generally, a glottal stop or a glottal approximant may in several languages involving English language  be employed for emphasizing the next word or a prosodic boundary. Word-initial vowels are more frequently glottalized {i.e., glottal stops ,or approximants are produced} at major prosodic boundaries (Pierrehumbert and Talkin 1992:112). Forms of British English language , the glottal stop is employed as a segmental different of /t/, or instead of word-final or intervocalic/k/ and /p/.

2.3   The Functions of the Glottal Stop

 Glottalization “glottal stop” often happen intermittently in normal speech, where it can key a communicative role, for example, in American English language glottalization “glottal stop” can serve as an allophones of voiceless stops

{especially syllable final /t/} ,and it often happen at the onset of vowel-initial words that begin a new intonation phrase or take a pitch accent (a phrase-level prominence) (Pierrehumbert, J. and Talkin, D,1992:113).

          English language glottal stop is sometimes employed as a type of  /t/voice, and sometimes has other functions:

  1. In particular positions [?] may be employed as an allophone of the phoneme /t/, as when pointless /’point les/ is pronounced /’poin? les/. This is called as glottalling or glottal replacement of /t/.It is condemned by some people; nevertheless, it is increasingly heard, particulally in British English language. Sometimes the glottal articulation accompanies a simultaneous alveolar articulation.
  2. [?] is found as an allophone of /t/ only

– end of a syllable, and

– sonorant

Provided these factors are satisfied, it is widely employed in both BrE and AmE

where the following voice is an obstruent.

football              ‘fʊt bɔ:l → ‘fʊ? bɔ:l

outside                aʊt ‘saɪd →  aʊ? ‘saɪd


atmospheric          وt məs “fer Ik → و? məs “fer Ik

button                      ‘bt n > ‘b? n

that name              وt ‘neɪm → و? ‘neɪm

Semivowel or non-syllabic /l/

quite well            kwaɪt “wel → kwaɪ? “wel

Gatwick            ‘gوt wɪk → ‘gو? wɪk.

brightly              ‘braɪt li → ‘braɪ? li

Some speakers of ( BrE) also employ it at the end of a word under other circumstances as well:

not only this         nD? əʊn li ‘ ɪs

but also that         bə? ɔ:l səʊ ‘و?.

Compare (AmE)   na:t oʊn li ‘ɪs, bət ɔ:l soʊ ‘ و t; in this position t is also heard

in formal (BrE).

  1. [?] is also optionally employed as a way of adding emphasis to a syllable that starts with a vowel sound . It can be employed to separate adjacent vowel sounds in successive syllables { in order to avoid hiatus}. In (BrE) this can be a way of avoiding ( r) (rliaision), as in one pronunciation of

           underexpose         nd ə ɪk ‘spəʊz (-ə?ɪk-).

  1. [?] also forms an essential part of certain interjections, ex.

       AmE  uh uh  ??  ‘?.

  1. A glottal stop is sometimes employed, especially in (BrE), to strengthen /t/ or /tr/

The end syllable, and also /p, t, k/ if followed by a consonant or at the end

of a word. This is called as glottal reinforcement.

teaching        ‘ti:t ɪŋ → ‘ti:? t ɪŋ

April             ‘eɪp rəl → ‘eɪ?p rəl.

right!             raɪt → raɪ?t

 Foreign learners of English should be aware not to apply glottal reinforcement

{contrary to glottal replacement} in words such as:

 pretty         ‘prɪt i,

jumping      ‘d3mp ɪŋ                               (Ohm, 2002:1-3)

2.4  The Phonetic Contexts of the Glottal Stop

       The glottal stop can seems word-medially or word finally , but never (at least not yet) word-initially. Sullivan ‘s book entitled “Sound Change in Progress a Study of Phonological Change and Lexical Diffusion, with reference to Glottalization ,and r-Loss in the utterance of  Some Exeter Schoolchildren”, this published in 1992, lists the various contexts in which glottalization {glottaling or pre-glottalization} can state. According to Sullivan the glottal stop is not a phoneme in English language , but a type of allophone of voiceless plosive, and it just shows in free variation, which means that, differ /l/ and its dark allophone, there is no exact rule to limited and anticipate where will show and where it will not.

Crystal (2004:165) state that in traditional phonological studies, “free variation” has been considered to be an field of little importance, but in recent sociolinguistics  studies, it is assumed that “free variants” need to be clarify, in terms of the frequency with which they happen, because of the selected of one variant rather than another may be made on sociological grounds, as when one “select” a “exactness” rather than a “formal” speech style.

 Then, only possible contexts, depend on researches and recordings of native English people, can be enumerated to limit where it can show. Glottalization can show in the following possible contexts as illustrated by Sullivan (1992:46):

Word Medially

  • when happen by a stressed vowel and followed by an inflectional

          morpheme, ex. ‘hat/s’ , ‘ bak/ed’ , hope/d’.

  • when happen by a stressed vowel and followed by a consonant, ex. ‘

         fiction’ , ‘opera’.

  • when happen by a stressed vowel and followed by a vowel or a syllabic,
  1. city, jacket, bottle, etc (glottalization in this context is not very common

        in RP or Estuary, but is quite frequent in Cockney).

  • when happen by a stressed vowel and followed by a syllabic nasal, ex. bottom, Britain, etc.
  • when happen by unstressed vowel and followed unstressed or secondary

        stressed vowel, ex.., visitor, seniority, etc.

Word Final

  • when happen by a vowel and followed by another word beginning with a

          consonant, e.g., put them , think so or flip through.

  • when happen by a vowel and followed by another word beginning with a

          vowel, ex. sort of , look into , or keen on.

  • when happen by a vowel and followed by a pause or nothing, ex. quite-

         um… or what?

  • when compound words, at the end of the first morpheme, ex. milk/man,

        light/weight.  (Sullivan,1992:46).

2.5. Glottal stop vs. zero

The difficulty in producing regular phonation phrase-initially, it is quite rare for languages to have a contrary among /P/ {which is likely to be required with irregular voicing} and ; in onsets. Languages in which /#PV/ contrary with /#V/ involved some Malayo-Polynesian languages, for example: Tahitian , Samoan and  Tongan , and Harris (2001) clarifies two other as languages, both also Malayo-Polynesian: Nga’da and Mungaba Rennellese. In addition this contrary is said to be marginal in some Mayan languages: e.g. see Lichtman, Chang, del Rio,  Hallett, Cramer, Huensch & Morales (2010) for Q’anjob’al. Therefore, many but not all languages allow for glottal stops to be inserted at the onset of vowel-initial words. The fact that glottal stop insertion before vowels is so widespread supposition that a common property of language or speech is responsible for its occurrence.

In Phonologically, glottal stop insertion can be motivated by the cross-linguistic tendency for a syllable to begin with an onset {for example, Lombardi (2002)}, within as accounts usually do not sample the optionality of glottal stop insertion.

2.6. Glottal stop vs. laryngealization

Phonemic laryngealized phonation is often concept to be derived historically from glottal stop lenition, in for instance in the Popolocan language Mazatec, spoken in Mexico (Silverman, 1995).

 examined syllables are those ending in a glottalized coda or a glottal stop  , and these often develop into glottalized phonation, such appears to have happned with the “tense” phonation in Yi languages (Kuang, 2011, 2012).

 White Hmong {Hmongic, East Asia} is known to have a lexical tone {the -m tone} that is variably described as examined or as creaky, which suppostions that its pronunciation may different among the two {see discussion by Ratliff, 1992, p. 12 and references therein}. Because laryngealization is often derived historically from glottal stops, it is rare for glottal stops to contrary synchronically with other forms of glottalization.

Exceptions are found obserable in the linguistic convergence areas of Mesoamerica, southwestern Africa , and mainland southeast Asia ,

 where glottal stops are licit codas and where some tones and/or vowels can be laryngealized. Some languages,  as Tlacolulita Zapotec and Yucatec Maya, a phonemically laryngealized vowel may even be followed by a glottal stop {ForTlacolulita Zapotec, see the UCLA Phonetics Lab Archive. For Yucatec Maya, see Frazier (2009)}.

Other languages with both laryngealized vowels and coda glottal stops do not agree the two to cooccur, for example, in the Mon-Khmer language Krathin (Last visited April 21, 2013).


Through described Glottalization in English language with consider it as complete or partial closure of the glottis during the articulation of another sound, that mean a glottal stop is made simultaneously with another consonant. In certain cases, the glottal stop can even wholly replace the voiceless consonant.

We can observe that  English language sometimes takes the place of /t/ as in ” water” for instance .And the glottal stop is difficult in pronunciation and recognition for foreign learner of English language. Therefore, it is employed to conform several functions. The present study tries to explore these functions and the contexts in which it may show and explain it according to assumptions. And also through the Sociolinguistic and History of Glottalization

In addition to that it investigates the actual status of this voice , i.e. whether it is considered a phoneme or not in the English language. And through the description of the glottalization and other related phenomena in  English language which discussed  in details.


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