LINGUIST List 11.93

Tue Jan 18 2000

Disc: Phonetics/Ejectives/Laryngealization

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>


  1. Dr. John E. McLaughlin, Phonetics/Ejectives/Laryngealization

Message 1: Phonetics/Ejectives/Laryngealization

Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 14:00:18 -0700
From: Dr. John E. McLaughlin <>
Subject: Phonetics/Ejectives/Laryngealization

In a recent posting, David Beck notes that certain Central American
languages differentiate between laryngealization in vowels and ejectives in
fricatives as a counterexample to the generalization that laryngealization
and ejectives are never distinctive (assuming that's what he means by "this
last generalization;" his comment doesn't really relate to the very last
generalization in the posting he was responding to--"Unlike ejectives,
laryngealized consonants may be voiced"). His Totonac and Tepehua examples
show no exception to the virtually universal generalization that ejectives
are voiceless obstruents, and laryngealized/stiff/slack/creaky segments are
sonorants or voiced obstruents. Even in languages where the linguistic
transcription has written w', n', and l', alongside p', t', k', etc.
(Lushootseed and Heiltsuk, for example), when one reads the phonetic
descriptions of these phones it is clear that the sonorants are
laryngealized or preglottalized and not ejective, while the voiceless
obstruents are ejective and not laryngealized.

John E. McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Program Director
Utah State University On-Line Linguistics

English Department
3200 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-3200

(435) 797-2738 (voice)
(435) 797-3797 (fax)
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