Voiceless glottal fricative

Voiceless glottal fricative

The voiceless glottal transition, commonly called a "fricative", is a type of sound used in some spoken languages which often behaves like a consonant, but sometimes behaves more like a vowel, or is indeterminate in its behavior. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is IPA|h, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is h.People lacking this sound in their native language often have difficulty trying to produce it - notably, speakers of French.

Although IPA| [h] has been described as a voiceless vowel because in many languages it lacks the place and manner of articulation of a prototypical consonant, it also lacks the height and backness of a prototypical vowel:

[IPA|h and IPA|ɦ] have been described as voiceless or breathy voiced counterparts of the vowels that follow them [but] the shape of the vocal tract […] is often simply that of the surrounding sounds. […] Accordingly, in such cases it is more appropriate to regard IPA|h and IPA|ɦ as segments that have only a laryngeal specification, and are unmarked for all other features. There are other languages [such as Hebrew and Arabic] which show a more definite displacement of the formant frequencies for IPA|h, suggesting it has a [glottal] constriction associated with its production. [Ladefoged, Peter & Ian Maddieson (1996). "The sounds of the world’s languages. Oxford: Blackwells. ISBN 0-631-19814-8]


Features of the "voiceless glottal fricative":

* Its phonation type is voiceless, which means that the air passes through the vocal cords without causing them to vibrate.
* In some languages, it has the constricted manner of articulation of a fricative. However, in many if not most it is a transitional state of the glottis, with no manner of articulation other than its phonation type. Because there is no other constriction to produce friction in the vocal tract in the languages they are familiar with, many phoneticians no longer consider IPA| [h] to be a fricative. However, the term "fricative" is generally retained for historical reasons.
* It may have a glottal place of articulation. However, it may have no fricative articulation, in which case the term 'glottal' only refers to the nature of its phonation, and does not describe the location of the stricture nor the turbulence. All consonants except for the glottals, and all vowels, have an individual place of articulation in addition to the state of the glottis. As with all other consonants, surrounding vowels influence the pronunciation IPA| [h] , and IPA| [h] has sometimes been presented as a voiceless vowel, having the place of articulation of these surrounding vowels.
* It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth.
* Because it is pronounced in the throat, without a component in the mouth, the central/lateral dichotomy does not apply.
* The airstream mechanism is pulmonic egressive, which means it is articulated by pushing air out of the lungs and through the vocal tract, rather than from the glottis or the mouth.


ee also

* List of phonetics topics



* Harvard reference
first=Plínio A.
first2=Eleonora C.
year= 2004
title=Brazilian Portuguese
journal=Journal of the International Phonetic Association

*Harvard reference
last = Kohler
first = Klaus
year= 1999
title=Handbook of the International Phonetic Association:A Guide to the Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet
publisher=Cambridge University Press

*Harvard reference
last = Laufer
first = Asher
year= 1991
title=Phonetic Representation: Glottal Fricatives
journal=Journal of the International Phonetic Association

*Harvard reference
last = Martínez-Celdrán
first= Eugenio
last2 = Fernández-Planas
first2= Ana Ma.
last3 = Carrera-Sabaté
first3 = Josefina
year= 2003
title=Castilian Spanish
journal=Journal of the International Phonetic Association

*Harvard reference
last = Shosted
first = Ryan K.
last2 = Vakhtang
first2 = Chikovani
year= 2006
title=Standard Georgian
journal=Journal of the International Phonetic Association

*Harvard reference
last = Thelwall
first= Robin
year= 1990
title= Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic
journal=Journal of the International Phonetic Association

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