A pharyngeal consonant
is a consonant
that is articulated
primarily in the pharynx
. Some phoneticians distinguish upper pharyngeal consonants, or "high" pharyngeals, pronounced by retracting the root of the tongue in the mid to upper pharynx, from (ary)epiglottal consonants, or "low" pharyngeals, which are articulated with the aryepiglottic folds
against the epiglottis
in the lower larynx, as well as from epiglotto-pharyngeal consonants, with both movements being combined.
Pharyngeal place of articulation
Stops and trills can be reliably produced only at the epiglottis, and fricatives can be reliably produced only in the upper pharynx. When they are treated as distinct places of articulation, the term radical consonant
may be used as a cover term, or the term guttural consonants
may be used instead.
In many languages, pharyngeal consonants trigger advancement of neighboring vowels. Pharyngeals thus differ from uvulars
, which nearly always trigger retraction. For example, in some dialects of Arabic
, the vowel /a/ is fronted
to [æ] next to pharyngeals, but it is retracted to [ɑ] next to uvulars, as in حال [ħæːl] 'condition', with a pharyngeal fricative and a fronted vowel, compared to خال [χɑːl] 'maternal uncle', with a uvular consonant and a retracted vowel.
Pharyngeal consonants in the IPA
*A voiced epiglottal stop may not be possible. When an epiglottal stop becomes voiced intervocalically in Dahalo
, for example, it becomes a tap
. Phonetically, however, voiceless vs voiced affricates or off-glides are attested: [ʡħ, ʡʕ] (Esling 2010: 695).
** Although traditionally placed in the fricative
row of the IPA
chart, [ʕ] is usually an approximant. Frication is difficult to produce or to distinguish because the voicing in the glottis and the constriction in the pharynx are so close to each other (Esling 2010: 695, after Laufer 1996). The IPA symbol is ambiguous, but no language distinguishes fricative and approximant at this place of articulation. For clarity, the lowering diacritic may used to specify that the manner is approximant ([ʕ̞]) and a raising diacritic to specify that the manner is fricative ([ʕ̝]).
The Hydaburg dialect of Haida
has a trilled epiglottal [ʜ] and a trilled epiglottal affricate [ʡʜ]~[ʡʢ]. (There is some voicing in all Haida affricates, but it is analyzed as an effect of the vowel.)
Place of articulation
The IPA first distinguished epiglottal consonants in 1989, with a contrast between pharyngeal and epiglottal fricatives, but advances in laryngoscopy
since then have caused specialists to re-evaluate their position. Since a trill can be made only in the pharynx with the aryepiglottic folds
(in the pharyngeal trill of the northern dialect of Haida
, for example), and incomplete constriction at the epiglottis, as would be required to produce epiglottal fricatives, generally results in trilling, there is no contrast between (upper) pharyngeal and epiglottal based solely on place of articulation. Esling (2010) thus restores a unitary pharyngeal place of articulation, with the consonants being described by the IPA as epiglottal fricatives differing from pharyngeal fricatives in their manner of articulation
rather than in their place:
The so-called "Epiglottal fricatives" are represented [here] as pharyngeal trills, [ʜ ʢ], since the place of articulation is identical to [ħ ʕ], but trilling of the aryepiglottic folds is more likely to occur in tighter settings of the laryngeal constrictor or with more forceful airflow. The same "epiglottal" symbols could represent pharyngeal fricatives that have a higher larynx position than [ħ ʕ], but a higher larynx position is also more likely to induce trilling than in a pharyngeal fricative with a lowered larynx position. Because [ʜ ʢ] and [ħ ʕ] occur at the same Pharyngeal/Epiglottal place of articulation (Esling, 1999), the logical phonetic distinction to make between them is in manner of articulation, trill versus fricative.
Edmondson et al. distinguish several subtypes of pharyngeal consonant.
Pharyngeal or epiglottal stops and trills are usually produced by contracting the aryepiglottic folds of the larynx against the epiglottis. That articulation has been distinguished as aryepiglottal
. In pharyngeal fricatives, the root of the tongue is retracted against the back wall of the pharynx. In a few languages, such as Achumawi
and perhaps some of the Salishan languages
, the two movements are combined, with the aryepiglottic folds and epiglottis brought together and retracted against the pharyngeal wall, an articulation that has been termed epiglotto-pharyngeal
. The IPA does not have diacritics to distinguish this articulation from standard aryepiglottals; Edmondson et al. use the ad hoc
, somewhat misleading, transcriptions ⟨ʕ͡ʡ⟩ and ⟨ʜ͡ħ⟩.
There are, however, several diacritics for subtypes of pharyngeal sound among the Voice Quality Symbols
The fricatives and trills (the pharyngeal and epiglottal fricatives) are frequently conflated with pharyngeal fricatives in literature. That was the case for Dahalo
and Northern Haida
, for example, and it is likely to be true for many other languages. The distinction between these sounds was recognized by IPA only in 1989, and it was little investigated until the 1990s.
- ^ Kodzasov, S. V. Pharyngeal Features in the Daghestan Languages. Proceedings of the Eleventh International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (Tallinn, Estonia, Aug 1-7 1987), pp. 142-144.
- ^ John Esling (2010) "Phonetic Notation", in Hardcastle, Laver & Gibbon (eds) The Handbook of Phonetic Sciences, 2nd ed., p 695.
The reference "Esling, 1999" is to "The iPA categories 'pharyngeal' and 'epiglottal': laryngoscopic observations of the pharyngeal articulations and larynx height." Language and Speech, 42, 349–372.
- ^ a b Edmondson, Jerold A., John H. Esling, Jimmy G. Harris, & Huang Tung-chiou (n.d.) "A laryngoscopic study of glottal and epiglottal/pharyngeal stop and continuant articulations in Amis—an Austronesian language of Taiwan"
- ^ Nevin, Bruce (1998). Aspects of Pit River Phonology (PDF) (Ph.D.). The University of Pennsylvania.
- ^ Video clips
Last edited on 3 May 2021, at 09:08
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