Pharyngeal consonant


Pharyngeal consonant

A pharyngeal consonant is a type of consonant which is articulated with the root of the tongue against the pharynx.

Pharyngeal consonants in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA):

* Pharyngeal plosives are thought to be impossible. Note that when they are posited, they are sometimes transcribed with a small capital Q, [Q] .
* Although traditionally placed in the fricative row of the IPA chart, IPA| [ʕ] is usually an approximant. The IPA symbol itself is ambiguous, but no language has a distinct fricative and approximant at this place of articulation. Sometimes the lowering diacritic is used to specify that the manner is approximant: IPA| [ʕ̞] .

Pharyngeals are known primarily from two areas of the world: in North-Africa/Mideast (in the Semitic, Berber, Cushitic, Circassian, and Dagestanian families) and in British Columbia (in the Wakashan and Salish families). There are scattered reports of pharyngeals elsewhere, such as in the Nilo-Saharan Tama language and in Nenets in Northern Russia. In Finnish, a weak pharyngeal fricative is the realization of /h/ next to the vowel /a/, but since this is mere allophony, it is transcribed as /h/. According to the laryngeal theory, the Proto-Indo-European language might also have contained pharyngeal consonants.

Note that reported pharyngeals frequently turn out to be epiglottals. Such was the case for Dahalo and northern Haida, for example, and is likely to be true for many if not most of the others. This is perhaps because 'epiglottal' was only recently recognized as a distinct place of articulation, rather than a variant of 'pharyngeal'. The only language known to have contrastive pharyngeals and epiglottals is Agul, a Lezgian language of Dagestan.

Recently, a possible new place of articulation, epiglotto-pharyngeal, was reported.

ee also

* Place of articulation
* Pharyngealization
* List of phonetics topics
* Ayin
* Heth

References

*SOWL


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • consonant — I (Roget s IV) n. Linguistic terms referring to consonant sounds include: voiceless, voiced; labial, bilabial, labiodental, apical, dental, alveolar, retroflex, frontal, alveopalatal, prepalatal, dorsal, palatal, velar, uvular, glottal,… …   English dictionary for students

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