HOME

TheInfoList




In
phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lang ...

phonetics
, a plosive, also known as an
occlusive In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical pr ...
or simply a stop, is a
pulmonic consonant A pulmonic consonant is a consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongu ...
in which the vocal tract is
blocked
blocked
so that all
airflow Airflow, or air flow, is the movement of air. The primary cause of airflow is the existence of air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that t ...
ceases. The occlusion may be made with the tongue tip or blade (, ), tongue body (, ), lips (, ), or glottis (). Plosives contrast with nasals, where the vocal tract is blocked but airflow continues through the nose, as in and , and with
fricatives Fricatives are consonants manner of articulation, produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two Place of articulation, articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the bac ...
, where partial occlusion impedes but does not block airflow in the vocal tract.


Terminology

The terms ''stop, occlusive,'' and ''plosive'' are often used interchangeably. Linguists who distinguish them may not agree on the distinction being made. The terms refer to different features of the consonant. "Stop" refers to the airflow that is stopped. "Occlusive" refers to the articulation, which occludes (blocks) the vocal tract. "Plosive" refers to the release burst (plosion) of the consonant. Some object to the use of "plosive" for inaudibly released stops, which may then instead be called "applosives". The
International Phonetic Association The International Phonetic Association (IPA; French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a ...

International Phonetic Association
and the
International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics AssociationThe International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association (ICPLA) is an international scholarly association dedicated to the study of speech disorders and language disorders. It was founded in 1991. The Association sponsors a biennial confe ...
use the term "plosive". Either "occlusive" or "stop" may be used as a general term covering the other together with nasals. That is, 'occlusive' may be defined as
oral The word oral may refer to: Relating to the mouth * Relating to the mouth, the first portion of the alimentary canal that primarily receives food and liquid **Oral administration of medicines ** Oral examination (also known as an oral exam or oral ...
occlusive (plosives and
affricate An affricate is a consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pr ...
s) plus nasal occlusives (nasals such as , ), or 'stop' may be defined as oral stops (plosives) plus nasal stops (nasals). Ladefoged and Maddieson (1996) prefer to restrict 'stop' to oral non-affricated occlusives. They say, :''what we call simply nasals are called nasal stops by some linguists. We avoid this phrase, preferring to reserve the term 'stop' for sounds in which there is a complete interruption of airflow.'' In addition, they restrict "plosive" for a
pulmonic consonant A pulmonic consonant is a consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongu ...
s; "stops" in their usage include
ejective In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical p ...
and
implosive Implosive consonants are a group of stop consonants (and possibly also some affricates) with a mixed glottalic ingressive and pulmonic egressive airstream mechanism.''Phonetics for communication disorders.'' Martin J. Ball and Nicole Müller. Rout ...
consonants. If a term such as "plosive" is used for oral non-affricated obstruents, and nasals are not called nasal stops, then a ''stop'' may mean the
glottal stop
glottal stop
; "plosive" may even mean non-glottal stop. In other cases, however, it may be the word "plosive" that is restricted to the glottal stop. Note that, generally speaking, plosives do not have plosion (a release burst). In English, for example, there are plosives with
no audible release A stop with no audible release, also known as an unreleased stop or an applosive, is a stop consonant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, t ...
, such as the in ''apt''. However, English plosives do have plosion in other environments. In
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
, the term for plosive was (''áphōnon''), which means "unpronounceable", "voiceless", or "silent", because plosives could not be pronounced without a vowel. This term was
calque In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the me ...

calque
d into
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
as , and from there borrowed into English as ''mute''. ''Mute'' was sometimes used instead for voiceless consonants, whether plosives or fricatives, a usage that was later replaced with ''surd'', from Latin "deaf" or "silent", a term still occasionally seen in the literature. For more information on the Ancient Greek terms, see .


Articulation

A plosive is typically analysed as having up to three phases: *Approach, during which articulators come together *Hold (or "occlusion" or "closure"), during which the articulators are held and block the airstream *Release (or "burst" or "plosion"), when the articulators are separated, releasing the compressed air Only the hold phase is requisite. A plosive may lack an approach when it is preceded by a consonant that involves an occlusion at the same place of articulation, as in in ''end'' or ''old''. In many languages, such as
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
and
Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast Asia ** A citizen of Vietnam. See Demographics of Vietnam. * Vietnamese people, or Kinh people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group native to Vietnam ** Oversea ...

Vietnamese
, word-final plosives lack a release burst, even when followed by a vowel, or have a
nasal release In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical pr ...
. See
no audible release A stop with no audible release, also known as an unreleased stop or an applosive, is a stop consonant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, t ...
. Nasal occlusives are somewhat similar. In the catch and hold, airflow continues through the nose; in the release, there is no burst, and final nasals are typically unreleased across most languages. In
affricates An affricate is a consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pr ...
, the catch and hold are those of a plosive, but the release is that of a
fricative Fricatives are consonants manner of articulation, produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two Place of articulation, articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the bac ...
. That is, affricates are plosive–fricative contours.


Common plosives

All spoken natural languages in the world have plosives, and most have at least the voiceless plosives , , and . However, there are exceptions: Colloquial
Samoan Samoan may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean ** Something of, from, or related to Samoa, a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands ** Something of, from, o ...
lacks the
coronal Coronal may refer to: * a nuptial crown * anything relating to a Corona (disambiguation), corona * Coronal plane, an anatomical term of location * The Commonly used terms of relationship and comparison in dentistry, coronal direction on a tooth * Co ...
, and several North American languages, such as the northern
Iroquoian The Iroquoian languages are a language family of indigenous peoples of North America The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European colonization of the Americas, European settler ...
and southern
Iroquoian The Iroquoian languages are a language family of indigenous peoples of North America The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European colonization of the Americas, European settler ...
languages (i.e.,
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentr ...

Cherokee
), and
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
lack the labial . In fact, the labial is the least stable of the voiceless plosives in the languages of the world, as the unconditioned sound change → (→ → Ø) is quite common in unrelated languages, having occurred in the history of
Classical Japanese The classical Japanese language ( ''bungo'', "literary language"), also called "old writing" ( ''kobun''), sometimes simply called "Medieval Japanese" is the literary form A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be ...
,
Classical Arabic Classical Arabic ( ar, links=no, ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلْفُصْحَىٰ, al-ʿarabīyah al-fuṣḥā) or Quranic Arabic is the standardized literary form of the Arabic language Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, ...
, and
Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language In the tree model In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change ...
, for instance. Formal
Samoan Samoan may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean ** Something of, from, or related to Samoa, a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands ** Something of, from, o ...
has only one word with
velar Velars are consonants place of articulation, articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth (known also as the Soft palate, velum). Since the velar region of the roof of ...
; colloquial Samoan conflates and to . Ni‘ihau
Hawaiian Hawaiian may refer to: * Hawaii state residents, regardless of ancestry * Native Hawaiians, the current term for the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants * Hawaiian language Historic uses * things and people of the Kingdo ...
has for to a greater extent than Standard Hawaiian, but neither distinguish a from a . It may be more accurate to say that Hawaiian and colloquial Samoan do not distinguish velar and coronal plosives than to say they lack one or the other. See Common occlusives for the distribution of both plosives and nasals.


Classification


Voice

Voiced Voice or voicing is a term used in phonetics Phonetics is a branch of that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of s, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study th ...
plosives are pronounced with vibration of the
vocal cords In humans, vocal cords, also known as vocal chords, vocal folds or voice reeds, are folds of tissue in the throat that are key in creating sounds through vocalization. The size of vocal cords affects the pitch of voice. Open when breathing and ...
,
voiceless In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...

voiceless
plosives without. Plosives are commonly voiceless, and many languages, such as
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic languages, Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of the phonology of Standard Chinese. Because Mandarin ...
and
Hawaiian Hawaiian may refer to: * Hawaii state residents, regardless of ancestry * Native Hawaiians, the current term for the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants * Hawaiian language Historic uses * things and people of the Kingdo ...
, have only voiceless plosives. Others, such as most
Australian languages The Australian Aboriginal languages consist of around 290–363 languages belonging to an estimated 28 language families A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Si ...

Australian languages
, are indeterminate: plosives may vary between voiced and voiceless without distinction.


Aspiration

In aspirated plosives, the
vocal cords In humans, vocal cords, also known as vocal chords, vocal folds or voice reeds, are folds of tissue in the throat that are key in creating sounds through vocalization. The size of vocal cords affects the pitch of voice. Open when breathing and ...
(vocal folds) are abducted at the time of release. In a prevocalic aspirated plosive (a plosive followed by a vowel or sonorant), the time when the vocal cords begin to vibrate will be delayed until the vocal folds come together enough for voicing to begin, and will usually start with breathy voicing. The duration between the release of the plosive and the voice onset is called the ''
voice onset time In phonetics, voice onset time (VOT) is a feature of the production of stop consonants. It is defined as the length of time that passes between the release of a stop consonant and the onset of voiced consonant, voicing, the vibration of the vocal ...
'' (VOT) or the ''aspiration interval''. Highly aspirated plosives have a long period of aspiration, so that there is a long period of voiceless airflow (a phonetic ) before the onset of the vowel. In tenuis plosives, the vocal cords come together for voicing immediately following the release, and there is little or no aspiration (a voice onset time close to zero). In English, there may be a brief segment of breathy voice that identifies the plosive as voiceless and not voiced. In voiced plosives, the vocal folds are set for voice before the release, and often vibrate during the entire hold, and in English, the voicing after release is not breathy. A plosive is called "fully voiced" if it is voiced during the entire occlusion. In English, however, initial voiced plosives like or may have no voicing during the period of occlusion, or the voicing may start shortly before the release and continue after release, and word-final plosives tend to be fully devoiced: In most dialects of English, the final /b/, /d/ and /g/ in words like ''rib'', ''mad'' and ''dog'' are fully devoiced. Initial voiceless plosives, like the ''p'' in ''pie'', are aspirated, with a palpable puff of air upon release, whereas a plosive after an ''s'', as in ''spy'', is tenuis (unaspirated). When spoken near a candle flame, the flame will flicker more after the words ''par, tar,'' and ''car'' are articulated, compared with ''spar, star,'' and ''scar''. In the common pronunciation of ''papa'', the initial ''p'' is aspirated whereas the medial ''p'' is not.


Length

In a
geminate In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical p ...

geminate
or long consonant, the occlusion lasts longer than in simple consonants. In languages where plosives are only distinguished by length (e.g., Arabic, Ilwana, Icelandic), the long plosives may be held up to three times as long as the short plosives.
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
is well known for its geminate plosives, as the double ''t'' in the name ''Vittoria'' takes just as long to say as the ''ct'' does in English ''Victoria''.
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
also prominently features geminate consonants, such as in the minimal pair 来た ''kita'' 'came' and 切った ''kitta'' 'cut'. Note that there are many languages where the features voice, aspiration, and length reinforce each other, and in such cases it may be hard to determine which of these features predominates. In such cases, the terms fortis is sometimes used for aspiration or gemination, whereas
lenis In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
is used for single, tenuous, or voiced plosives. Be aware, however, that the terms ''fortis'' and ''lenis'' are poorly defined, and their meanings vary from source to source.


Nasalization

Simple nasals are differentiated from plosives only by a lowered velum that allows the air to escape through the nose during the occlusion. Nasals are acoustically
sonorant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical pro ...
s, as they have a non-turbulent airflow and are nearly always voiced, but they are articulatorily
obstruentAn obstruent () is a speech sound such as , , or that is formed by ''obstructing'' airflow. Obstruents contrast with sonorant In phonetics and phonology, a sonorant or resonant is a speech sound that is manner of articulation, produced with continuo ...
s, as there is complete blockage of the oral cavity. The term
occlusive In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical pr ...
may be used as a cover term for both nasals and plosives. A
prenasalized stop Prenasalized consonants are phonetic Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling ...
starts out with a lowered velum that raises during the occlusion. The closest examples in English are consonant clusters such as the
d
d
in ''candy'', but many languages have prenasalized stops that function phonologically as single consonants.
Swahili Swahili may refer to: * Swahili language, a Bantu language official in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and widely spoken in the African Great Lakes * Swahili people, an ethnic group in East Africa * Swahili culture, the culture of the Swahili people * Sw ...
is well known for having words beginning with prenasalized stops, as in ''ndege'' 'bird', and in many languages of the South Pacific, such as Fijian, these are even spelled with single letters: ''b''
b
b
''d''
d
d
A postnasalized plosive begins with a raised velum that lowers during the occlusion. This causes an audible nasal ''release'', as in English ''sudden''. This could also be compared to the /dn/ cluster found in
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
and other Slavic languages, which can be seen in the name of the
Dnieper River } The Dnieper or Dnipro () is one of the major rivers of Europe 400px, Main European drainage divides (red lines) separating catchments (green regions) This page lists the principal rivers of Europe Europe is a continent A co ...
. Note that the terms ''prenasalization'' and ''postnasalization'' are normally used only in languages where these sounds are phonemic: that is, not analyzed into sequences of plosive plus nasal.


Airstream mechanism

Stops may be made with more than one
airstream mechanism In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical pr ...
. The normal mechanism is
pulmonic egressive In human speech, egressive sounds are sounds in which the air stream upright=1.25, Different air masses which affect North America as well as other continents, tend to be separated by frontal boundaries In meteorology Meteorology is a bran ...
, that is, with air flowing outward from the lungs. All languages have pulmonic stops. Some languages have stops made with other mechanisms as well: ejective stops (
glottalic egressive In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical p ...
), implosive stops ( glottalic ingressive), or
click consonant Click consonants, or clicks, are speech sounds that occur as consonants In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , ...
s (
lingual ingressive Click consonants, or clicks, are speech sounds that occur as consonants in many languages of Southern Africa and in three languages of East Africa. Examples familiar to English-speakers are the ''Tut-tut'' (British spelling) or ''Tsk! Tsk!'' (Am ...
).


Tenseness

A fortis plosive is produced with more muscular tension than a
lenis In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
plosive. However, this is difficult to measure, and there is usually debate over the actual mechanism of alleged fortis or lenis consonants. There are a series of plosives in the
Korean language Korean ( , ''hangugeo''; , ''chosŏnmal'') is an East Asian language spoken by about 80 million people, mainly Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * K ...
, sometimes written with the IPA symbol for ejectives, which are produced using "
stiff voice The term stiff voice describes the pronunciation of consonants or vowels with a glottal opening narrower, and the vocal folds In humans, vocal cords, also known as vocal chords, vocal folds or voice reeds, are folds of tissue in the throat th ...
", meaning there is increased contraction of the glottis than for normal production of voiceless plosives. The indirect evidence for stiff voice is in the following vowels, which have a higher fundamental frequency than those following other plosives. The higher frequency is explained as a result of the glottis being tense. Other such
phonation The term phonation has slightly different meanings depending on the subfield of phonetics Phonetics is a branch of that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of s, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—lingu ...
types include
breathy voice Breathy voice (also called murmured voice, whispery voice, soughing and susurration) is a phonation The term phonation has slightly different meanings depending on the subfield of phonetics. Among some phoneticians, ''phonation'' is the p ...
, or murmur;
slack voice Slack voice (or lax voice) is the pronunciation of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced w ...
; and
creaky voice In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ph ...
.


Transcription

The following plosives have been given dedicated symbols in the
IPA IPA commonly refers to: * India pale ale, a style of beer * International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script Latin script, also ...
.


English


Variations

Many subclassifications of plosives are transcribed by adding a
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
or modifier letter to the IPA symbols above.


See also

*
Continuant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of ever ...
(the opposite of an stop) *
List of phonetics topics A * Acoustic phonetics Acoustic phonetics is a subfield of phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians— ...
*
Pop filter Image:Pop filter.jpg, A pop filter between microphone and singer in use during a recording session. A pop filter, pop shield or pop screen is a noise protection filter for microphones, typically used in a recording studio. It serves to reduce or ...

Pop filter
*
Nonexplosive stop In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical pro ...


References


Further reading

*Ian Maddieson, ''Patterns of Sounds'',
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (CUP) is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowled ...
, 1984.


External links

* Bibliotheca Phonetica, Karger, Basel, 1968 {{Articulation navbox Manner of articulation