Mudcat Café message #1136821 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67852   Message #1136821
Posted By: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
15-Mar-04 - 07:15 AM
Thread Name: Any glottal stops down your way?
Subject: RE: Any glottal stops down your way?
Beg to disagree with Mark's "Does American English have glottal stops? Uh-uh. No way."

There are plenty of glottal stops in American English, and in every other variant of English that I can think of, but not with the value of a separate consonant. They serve as a "grace note" on the following vowel, making it more distinct. Consequently they often pass unnoticed. I imagine most Americans would insert a glottal stop before the second "uh" of "uh-uh" without even realising they were doing it.

The glottal stop is a characteristic feature of German pronunciation too, but also only with this grace-note function. But because it occurs much more than in English, teachers of German tend to emphasise it when teaching English-speakers.

Arabic, incidentally, apart from the "cutting hamza", also has a consonant which as far as I can determine is a glottal fricative, but teachers and manuals don't seem to have hit on the idea of describing it in those terms. As a result, people trying to learn Arabic make a bigger thing of it than warranted and wrongly imagine they are incapable of pronouncing it at all.