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Hausa glottalic consonants: a laryngographic study1

  • Geoffrey Lindsey (a1), Katrina Hayward (a2) and Andrew Haruna (a3)

The Chadic (Afroasiatic) language Hausa, spoken mainly in Nigeria and the Republic of Niger, has a series of ‘glottalic’ obstruents. This includes both ejectives ([k’], [s’] or [ts’]; orthographic κ, ts) and two other consonants which have often been described as ‘implosives’ and are represented by the IPA symbols for implosives in Hausa orthography (б, d). In addition, there is a ‘laryngealized’ palatal glide (orthographic ‘y). The description of orthographic б, d as implosive has been called into question, however. Ladefoged, in his well-known work on the phonetics of West African languages (Ladefoged (1964: 16)), suggested that, while these sounds may on occasion show the ingressive air flow characteristic of implosives, their most consistent characteristic is a distinctive mode of vocal fold vibration (phonation type) known as creaky voice or laryngealization; thus, Hausa б and d should be labelled ‘laryngealized stops’ rather than ‘implosives’. One implication of this change in descriptive label is that, at least from a phonetic point of view, б and d should be grouped with ‘y.

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Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • ISSN: 0041-977X
  • EISSN: 1474-0699
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
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