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Gloˀ al stop - or whaˀ

by: Marilyn Owen (15 July 2014)

As a parent/guardian of a young child I am finding myself slightly irritated by her natural use of the glottal stop in everyday words. I have had to explain that this is not the correct way to pronounce words and that this is a lazy substitute for the not-very-difficult "t" sound. (Note that ˀ is the symbol to represent a glottal stop.)

When even her Thai mum has to correct her speech it is apparent that children do pick up lazy ways of saying their words very often from their peers.

It's not the glottal stop per se that can be mildly irritating, it's its mis-use. After all, it is a perfectly respectable phoneme in the English language and incorporated into Scottish and Cockney dialects.

As linguist Professor David Crystal explains: "Glottalization is a general term for any articulation involving a simultaneous constriction, especially a glottal stop. In English, glottal stops are often used in this way to reinforce a voiceless plosive at the end of a word, as in what?" (David Crystal, A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. Blackwell, 1997).

Many years ago, I remember my mumís amazement at the speech of the little girl living in the flat below. The sentence was barely intelligible: "Ah wiˀ 'ere." It was meant to be "I'll wait here", but my mother assumed the little girl was waiting for the lemonade delivery man from R Whites!

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Comments...

Ref: 91 Since this blog was first written using sources from Wikipedia, we have realised that not all the information may be correct regarding usage of the glottal stop. We have now done a little further research and have now included in the blog a professional explanation, concerning glottalisation and glottal stops, by Professor David Crystal.
Marilyn - 17:04 16-07-2014
Ref: 90 Sad though it is, we all do this to some extent. Otherwise we'd all sound like BBC announcers from the 1950s.
Garry - 13:19 16-07-2014

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