[2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

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[2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby DonRetrasado » Tue May 08, 2012 8:11 am

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2604

Obviously I wouldn't bother commenting on this if I didn't feel like I could add some information. The comic ignores the fact that, while there does exist a "standard british" and "standard american" dialect, no one actually speaks it; it's just what you'd find in a dictionary or a textbook. The reality is that in both Britain and America (and, of course, in every country for every language) there is a whole spectrum of dialects. Not every dialect would be better analyzed with a glottal stop; some people might say "rat trap" with a geminate consonant, or "elephant gun" with a nasal stop, or as a series of two stops. Within my city of Toronto I've heard people pronounce the same word differently, with or without a glottal stop. The other problem is with the whole definition of "glottal stop". A glottal stop can't be performed with the tongue, or else it wouldn't be glottal (that is, produced in the glottis or vocal tract). You're also making a glottal stop pretty much all the damn time. Every language uses the glottal stop or else your glottis would just keep vibrating for-fucking-ever. That's being a bit pedantic (I really only said it 'cause I thought it was funny) but truthfully a glottal stop consonant is just whenever you stop your glottis, and you're using it as a consonant. Which is extremely common, you use one at the end of every sentence.

What's next, are you going to point out that when people say "latter", it sounds like a Spanish "R"?

For a much more obvious glottal stop, try saying "uh-uh" (as in "no"); your glottis starts moving before the first "uh", stops between the two, starts again and then stops at the end of the utterance. Or, try holding your breath; that's a glottal stop.

EDIT: In for-realz, complicated phonetic work, you wouldn't transcribe glottal stops, rather you'd transcribe glottal states and how it's changing; is it voiceless or breathy or voiced or creaky or closed or whatever else. English has three phonemic glottal states, voiceless, voiced and closed. Breathy and creaky are also used in English but not in a phonemic capacity. When I studied Dinka there were phonemic breathy vowels and I could not hear them in the least. Anyway, that's my story!
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby NR22 » Tue May 08, 2012 9:42 am

Was the purpose of the comic to make people pronounce internet porn in the library?

if so, worked on me.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby DonRetrasado » Tue May 08, 2012 9:58 am

It's not exactly new ground.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby Mill » Tue May 08, 2012 10:45 am

In some American dialects it would be "in'erne' porn". I'm from Liverpool and the glottal stop has just started seeping into our dialect over the last 20 years or so. Where we used to say 'glottal', 'bottle' and so on in very harsh, solid consonants (our accent and dialect being derived from Lancastrian and Irish roots) we're now seeing a bit of cockney creep in, and the younger generation of Liverpudlians, myself included, now say 'glo'al' and 'boh'le'.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby Linguist » Tue May 08, 2012 12:35 pm

Whoa, totally wrong on the science in the first sentence. A glottal stop is not made by "halting airflow with your tongue" -- it's made by halting airflow with your GLOTTIS, hence the name GLOTTAL STOP. Way to make linguists angry.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby GUTCHUCKER » Tue May 08, 2012 12:38 pm

I associate that tongue shit with poorly taught brass players. The sound doesn't come out clearly if you do it, and it's worth learning to control the impulse and stop your breath instead.
Last edited by GUTCHUCKER on Tue May 08, 2012 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby Edminster » Tue May 08, 2012 12:39 pm

Linguist wrote:Whoa, totally wrong on the science in the first sentence. A glottal stop is not made by "halting airflow with your tongue" -- it's made by halting airflow with your GLOTTIS, hence the name GLOTTAL STOP. Way to make linguists angry.

What's it like, never reading past the first sentence of things?
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby TimMc » Tue May 08, 2012 12:46 pm

Ugh, none of those are glottal stops. The standard example I learned in college linguistics is "mountain", or "moun'en". It's even odds which way I say it.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby kevang » Tue May 08, 2012 12:49 pm

DonRetrasado wrote:The other problem is with the whole definition of "glottal stop". A glottal stop can't be performed with the tongue, or else it wouldn't be glottal (that is, produced in the glottis or vocal tract). You're also making a glottal stop pretty much all the damn time. Every language uses the glottal stop or else your glottis would just keep vibrating for-fucking-ever. That's being a bit pedantic (I really only said it 'cause I thought it was funny) but truthfully a glottal stop consonant is just whenever you stop your glottis, and you're using it as a consonant. Which is extremely common, you use one at the end of every sentence.


I think when people say glottal stop, they usually mean, more specifically, a glottal plosive, i.e. a stop with a burst of air after the occlusion.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby GUTCHUCKER » Tue May 08, 2012 12:50 pm

Wait, why does anyone give a shit about this? This is less relevant than, for an arbitrary example, toe jam. I think you should all go write fanfiction or some shit instead. Just sayin'.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby kevang » Tue May 08, 2012 12:51 pm

Edminster wrote:What's it like, never reading past the first sentence of things?


Hm. The comic says explicitly it's not educational. But it fails to mention it contains false information. So Linguist does have a point.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby Edminster » Tue May 08, 2012 12:58 pm

I was talking about this thread, actually. DR explicitly mentions the exact point this 'linguist' character was attempting to pass off as novel insight into the world of linguistics.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby Unclevertitle » Tue May 08, 2012 1:11 pm

"Go ahead. Try. Pretty much any time T is followed by a consonant, you're pressing the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth."
Not at all. In all of those words I naturally use the tip of my tongue, not the back. I just don't often use the follow through of a T. In fact, I tried to say "Elephant Gun" in the way described and found it really hard to say. It ended up with something close to elephang' gun. In fact it's hard for me to imagine that happening in natural speech.

Using an actual glottal stop and then following with a consonant is hard. It's like putting a period in the middle of the word "Batman" at least in terms of how much of an interrupt that is to my speech.

Now, following a vowel and preceding another vowel (at least phonetically) with a glottal stop is easy. I could say bo'le, glo'al, and li'le all the day, I could. No problem a' all.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby Guest1 » Tue May 08, 2012 1:25 pm

NR22 wrote:Was the purpose of the comic to make people pronounce internet porn in the library?

It's funny because you said porn.
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Re: [2012-May-08] Glottal Stops.

Postby Kaharz » Tue May 08, 2012 2:43 pm

I don't do this, but I had a teacher when I was 7 or 8 that was obsessive about students pronouncing their Ts properly. I unfortunately do add an R sound after a long A (warsh instead of wash, warter instead of water)* and use a long O when when I shouldn't. When traveling, people have occasionally pegged me as being from Baltimore after only a few sentences and I have a very mild Baltimore accent. Which I'm thankful for, because a heavy Baltimore accent is one of the most ignorant sounding accents I have ever come across.
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