GLOTTAL STOP. In PHONETICS, a stop sound made by bringing the VOCAL CORDS tightly together, blocking off the airstream and sealing the GLOTTIS, then releasing them suddenly. It occurs widely in the world's languages, including: (1) As an Arabic consonant, represented in script by the letter alif (and also by the sign hamza), and in Roman transliteration by the lenis symbol (or the apostrophe): 'akala ate. (2) Comparably, as a consonant in Hawaiian: a'o to teach. (3) As a sharp ‘attack’ to an opening vowel in such languages as English and German, used by default when there is no consonant at the beginning of a syllable, as in forcefully saying Anne, come here! (4) In England and parts of Northern Ireland, as an accompaniment to the voiceless stops /p, t, k, tʃ/ in a stressed syllable. (5) Widely in BrE as an optional ‘catch’ between adjacent vowels, as in co-opt, re-educate. (6) As a substitute for post-vocalic /t/ in such accents as COCKNEY and GLASGOW, in words like better, butter, a process known technically as T-glottaling. In all but the last of the above functions, the glottal stop is socially neutral, but in the sixth it is stigmatized. Because many users of English know the term only in this sense, the concept of the glottal stop has long been associated in the English-speaking world with slovenly, SUBSTANDARD speech. In its stigmatized use, it has been shown orthographically in at least three ways: by means of an apostrophe (Glasgow, be'ur bu'ur better butter); in the 1950s by the Glasgow writer Cliff Hanley as a double colon (be::er bu ::er); and in 1980 by the London writers Robert Barltrop and Jim Wolveridge by an exclamation mark (be!er bu!er). The IPA symbol is ?.
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