Voiced Glottal Fricative
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Voiced Glottal Fricative
Voiced glottal fricative
IPA Number147
Entity (decimal)ɦ
Unicode (hex)U+0266
Braille? (braille pattern dots-236)? (braille pattern dots-125)
Audio sample

The voiced glottal fricative, sometimes called breathy-voiced glottal transition, is a type of sound used in some spoken languages which patterns like a fricative or approximant consonant phonologically, but often lacks the usual phonetic characteristics of a consonant. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨?⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is h\.

In many languages, [?] has no place or manner of articulation. Thus, it has been described as a breathy-voiced counterpart of the following vowel from a phonetic point of view. However, its characteristics are also influenced by the preceding vowels and whatever other sounds surround it. Therefore, it can be described as a segment whose only consistent feature is its breathy voice phonation in such languages.[1] It may have real glottal constriction in a number of languages (such as Finnish[2]), making it a fricative.

Lamé contrasts voiceless and voiced glottal fricatives.[3]


Features of the voiced glottal fricative:

  • Its phonation is breathy voiced, or murmured, which means the vocal cords are loosely vibrating, with more air escaping than in a modally voiced sound. It is sometimes referred to as a "voiced h". Strictly speaking this is incorrect, as there is no voicing.[4]
  • In some languages, it has the constricted manner of articulation of a fricative. However, in many if not most it is a transitional state of the glottis with no manner of articulation other than its phonation type. Because there is no other constriction to produce friction in the vocal tract, most phoneticians no longer consider [?] to be a fricative. True fricatives may have a murmured phonation in addition to producing friction elsewhere. However, the term "fricative" is generally retained for the historical reasons.
  • It may have a glottal place of articulation. However, it may have no fricative articulation, making the term glottal mean that it is articulated by the vocal folds, but this is the nature of its phonation rather than a separate articulation. All consonants except for the glottals, and all vowels, have an individual place of articulation in addition to the state of the glottis. As with all other consonants, surrounding vowels influence the pronunciation [?], and accordingly [?] has only the place of articulation of these surrounding vowels.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the central-lateral dichotomy does not apply.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Azeri Standard hk?m [moe:?cæm] 'solid'
Basque Northeastern dialects[5] hemen [?emen] 'here' Can be voiceless instead.
Chinese Wu /he hu [?] 'language'
Czech hlava ['?lava] 'head' See Czech phonology
Danish[3] Mon det har regnet? [- te? -] 'I wonder if it has rained.' Common allophone of /h/ between vowels.[3] See Danish phonology
Dutch[6] haat [?a:t] 'hate' See Dutch phonology
English Australian[7] behind [b?'e?nd] 'behind' Allophone of /h/ between voiced sounds.[7][8] See Australian English phonology and English phonology
Received Pronunciation[8] [b?'?and]
Broad South African hand ['n?t?] 'hand' Some speakers, only before a stressed vowel.
Estonian raha ['r] 'money' Allophone of /h/ between voiced sounds. See Estonian phonology and Finnish phonology
French Quebec[9] manger [mã?e] 'to eat' Limited to a minority of speakers. Can also be realized as a voiceless .
Hebrew 'fast' Occurs as an allophone of /h/ between voiced sounds. See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani / [:] 'am' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian Some speakers tehát [ta:t] 'so' Intervocalic allophone of /h/. Occurs as voiceless /h/ for other speakers. See Hungarian phonology
Kalabari[10] hóín [?ó] 'introduction'
Korean / yeohaeng [j?] 'travel' Occurs as an allophone of /h/ between voiced sounds. See Korean phonology
Limburgish Some dialects[11][12] hart [t] 'heart' Voiceless in other dialects. The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Lithuanian humoras ['m?r?s?] 'humour' Often pronounced instead of [?]. See Lithuanian phonology
Odia ??/ha?a [?] 'plough'
Nepali [l] 'solution' See Nepali phonology
Polish Podhale dialect hydrant ['d?rän?t?] 'fire hydrant' Contrasts with . Standard Polish possesses only /x/. See Polish phonology
Kresy dialect
Portuguese Many Brazilian dialects esse rapaz ['esi ?a'pajs] 'this youth' (m.) Allophone of /?/. [h, ?] are marginal sounds to many speakers, particularly out of Brazil. See Portuguese phonology and guttural R
Many speakers hashi ['?i] 'chopsticks'
Some Brazilian[13][14] dialects mesmo ['me?mu] 'same' Corresponds to either /s/ or /?/ (depending on dialect) in the syllable coda. Might also be deleted.
Cearense dialect[15] gente ['nti] 'people' Debuccalized from [?], [v] or [z].
Mineiro dialect dormir [do?'mi(h)] 'to sleep' Before other voiced consonants, otherwise realized as [h].
Punjabi / [?ä?:] 'air'
Romanian Transylvanian dialects[16] hain? ['?ajn?] 'coat' Corresponds to in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Silesian hangrys ['?ar?s] 'gooseberry'
Spanish Cuban virgen [bi?hen] 'virgin' See Spanish phonology
Slovak hora 'mountain' See Slovak phonology
Slovene Littoral dialects ['ra] This is a general feature of all Slovene dialects west of the ?kofja Loka-Planina line. Corresponds to [?] in other dialects. See Slovene phonology
Rovte dialects
Rosen Valley dialect
Sylheti [?u?ki] 'dried fish'
Ukrainian ?? ['los] 'voice' Also described as . See Ukrainian phonology
Zulu ihhashi [i:'?a:?i] 'horse'

See also


  1. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:325-326)
  2. ^ Laufer (1991:91)
  3. ^ a b c Grønnum (2005:125)
  4. ^ Ladefoged, Peter; Keith, Johnson (2011). A course in phonetics (Sixth ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Publishing. p. 149. ISBN 9781428231269. OCLC 613523782.
  5. ^ Hualde & Ortiz de Urbina (2003:24)
  6. ^ Gussenhoven (1992:45)
  7. ^ a b Cox & Fletcher (2017:159)
  8. ^ a b Roach (2004:241)
  9. ^ April (2007)
  10. ^ Harry (2003:113)
  11. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:155)
  12. ^ Verhoeven (2007:219)
  13. ^ (in Portuguese) Pará Federal University - The pronunciation of /s/ and its variations across Bragança municipality's Portuguese
  14. ^ (in Portuguese) Rio de Janeiro Federal University - The variation of post-vocallic /S/ in the speech of Petrópolis, Itaperuna and Paraty
  15. ^ "A NEUTRALIZAÇÃO DOS FONEMAS / v - z - Z / NO FALAR DE FORTALEZA" (PDF). profala.ufc.br. Retrieved 2012.
  16. ^ Pop (1938), p. 30.


External links

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