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131858Re: "Tracheal" consonants: a curiosity?

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  • william drewery
    Jun 6, 2005


      Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...> wrote:

      Joseph Bridwell skrev:
      >>Allegedly some dialects of the Caucasian language
      >>Agul contrast pharyngeal and epiglottal (and perhaps
      >>glottal). Certainly a glottal/epiglottal contrast
      >>would be possible, since it is a variant of
      >>glottal/pharyngeal.

      Both Arabic and Oriental Hebrew contrast all three. The difference between epiglottal and pharangeal consonants is akin to the difference between trilled r's as in Spanish and retroflex glide r's as in American English. To pronounce a pharangeal fricative, the aryetenoid cartilidges pull up and around the base of the epiglottis, pushing it back some while the pharangeal cavity is tensed and slightly constricted. There is nearly always tounge root retraction. Epiglottals are essentially exagerated pharangeals. The aryetenoids pull all the way around the base of the epiglottis, pushing it into contact with the back of the throat, then the aryetenoids trill against its base as air flows laterally around the epiglottis. The sound is more constricted than a pharangeal, and is accompanied by a throaty rattle (think of Grover off Sesame Street, or Fats Domino). "Voiceless" epiglottal fricatives nearly always occur with a breathy-voice phonation as the vocal chords vibrate passiv! ely due to the energy of the aryetenoids. That's how epiglottal phonation works, as in !Xoo. The sound resembles breathy-voice with tounge-root retraction or pharangealization, and there's that rattle again. Nothing like creaky-voice. In fact, that rattle in Garth Brooks voice when he sings Shameless, or that vocal roll that a lot of Jazz singers do, are all examples of epiglottal ficatives.

       Epiglottal stops are the same as ejective pharangeal stops. The glottis closes completely, while the tounge root retracts so far as to completely seal around the epilottis. The sound is similar to a forcefull glottal stop with a pharangeal offglide. In most of spoken Arabic, there's the ordinary glottal stop, the voiceless pharangeal fricative, a voiced pharangeal approximate for the single @ayn, and a full epiglottal stop for doubled @ayn. Doubled Haa' (voiceless pharangeal fricative) often has aryetenoid trilling, as well. The Oriental dialects of Hebrew follow a similar pattern. Agul is the only language i know of contrasting voiceless pharangeals with voiceless epiglottals. But !Xoo contrast pharangealized vowels, epiglottalized vowels, and creaky vowels, and also has the glottal stop as a consonant.
      William Drewery


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