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The ‘glottal fricatives’

  • Asher Laufer (a1)

In the IPA chart which was the outcome of the IPA 1989 Kiel Convention, the glottal fricatives [h, ɦ] were included, as they were in previous charts. Unlike Kloster-Jensen (JIPA 1991: 42), I believe we were correct to leave [h, ɦ] as they were, in the space for glottal fricatives. In order to justify his belief that the [h] is not a glottal fricative, Kloster-Jensen recruits two good referees, Ladefoged (1962) and Brücke (1876). Other phoneticians also share the same belief, that the [h] is not a glottal fricative (for example, Pike 1943: 140, O'Connor 1973: 143–144), but many others do believe that [h] is really a glottal fricative. Here I want to give two good reasons why we should consider [h, ɦ] glottal fricatives, and leave them as they are in the IPA chart. The first reason is a general one, and is based on aerodynamic reasoning. The second is based on observations of productions of [h] in Hebrew, in Arabic and in Finnish.

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Brücke, E. W. (1876). Grundzüge der Physiologie und Systematik der Sprachlaute für Linguisten und Taubstummlehrer. Vienna: C. Gerold's Sohn.
Catford, J. C. (1977). Fundamental Problems in Phonetics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Catford, J. C. (1988). A Practical Introduction to Phonetics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Iivonen, A. (1977). On the phonetics and phonology of the Finnish /h/. Grazer Linguistische Studien, 5 (Frühjahr).
IPA (International Phonetic Association) (1989) Report on the 1989 Kiel convention. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 19, 6780.
Kloster-Jensen, M. (1991). Letter to the Editor. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 21, 42.
Ladefoged, P. (1962). Elements of Acoustic Phonetics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Laufer, A. and Condax, I. D. (1981). The function of the epiglottis in speech. Language and Speech, 24, 3962.
Laufer, A. and Baer, T. (1988). The emphatic and pharyngeal sounds in Hebrew and in Arabic. Language and Speech, 31, 181205.
O'Connor, J. D. (1973). Phonetics. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Pike, K. (1943). Phonetics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
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Journal of the International Phonetic Association
  • ISSN: 0025-1003
  • EISSN: 1475-3502
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-phonetic-association
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