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Glottal stops vs. nasals

From:Edward Heil <edheil@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 17, 1999, 4:33
>From: "some Cook, Himes, or Concepcion" <dennis@...> > When I wrote that I meant a nasal which is related to the glottal
>in the same way that the velar nasal is related to the velar stop,
>when I pronounce it carefully it seems that the point of articulation
>not be quite that far back. It's definitely farther back than a velar, >though. It sure sounds like a nasal version of a glottal stop.
A glottal stop means closing off the airstream with the glottis -- i.e. the vocal cords. A nasal means the vocal cords are open and air is flowing through the nasal cavity rather than the mouth. So you can't do both at the same time! Velar stops are different from glottal stops because the velum is not where the sound is produced, and also because in terms of airflow the velum is *after* the nasal port, so if you close at the velum the air can keep flowing through the nasal port, and if you like you can still produce voice. If there is still air flowing, there's no glottal stop happening. I'm not sure off the top of my head what the technical term is for a stop farther back than a velar, but I'm pretty sure that "glottal" is not what you're looking for. What you can do with the glottis is: produce voice, produce whisper (a glottal fricative, or "h"), produce clear air flow, produce breathy voice, produce creak, or stop the flow completely. That's it, I believe. A *really* good book on this stuff is _A Practical Introduction to Phonetics_. You can order it from my web site,, in association with (And I'll get like a dime or something if you order it!) It's got how-to exercises on how to produce basically any known speech sound. Want clear instructions on how to produce a velar ejective stop? A voiced dental implosive? Creaky voice? It's all there. Ed Get Your Private, Free Email at