I've done a bit of reading on t-glottalization, so I'm familiar with how it is used and its prevalence in English dialects.

Are other phonemes or sounds similarly commonplace or widely used in glottalization as /t/? I recently moved to western Massachusetts and I frequently hear 2 words with glottalization that I have not heard elsewhere:

  1. The affirmation "yup" (variation of "yes" and "yep") pronounced "yuh" ending in a glottal stop
  2. "Something" pronounced "suh-in" with a glottal stop between the two syllables
  • In practice I don't always "follow through" with the final plosive /p/ in Nope, so effectively I end that one with a glottal stop just the same as Yep. Prolly the same effect can occur with several other final consonants - to me, the glottal stop is just so much easier as a way to end an utterance when the final consonant is unnecessary. But unlike many Americans, I never introduce a glottal stop in, say, "Do you want something to ʔ eat?". To handle the transition between the two vowels there, I always use a /w/. Oct 9, 2014 at 16:31
  • @FumbleFingers: do people speaking RP ever use a glottal stop to transition between two vowels? Isn't it always a /w/, a /y/, or an /r/? Oct 9, 2014 at 16:50
  • @Peter: To be honest, RP has declined so much over my lifetime (accentuated by the fact that it's almost avoided by most media channels today) that probably most "superficially RP" speech I hear nowadays is actually from people to whom it's not even their "natural" mode. So maybe if I hear an inter-vowel glottal stop in RP, it's just a temporary lapse by someone "reverting to type". But if I imagine an RP speaker's "I'll go to the foot of the stairs" being enunciated as foo ʔ of, that doesn't seem "unusual" to me. Oct 9, 2014 at 17:33

4 Answers 4


Taking "glottalization" to mean "pronounced with closure of the glottis", the glottalization of the voiceless stops p/t/k before another consonant is quite general in midwestern English and some other dialects. This is not necessarily a conversion to glottal stop, though, since that requires also a loss of the oral closure. A glottalized t' can lose the alveolar closure to become just a glottal stop, in my midwestern speech, when at the end of a syllable and before another consonant other than "s". Glottalized p' and k' (and t') can lose their oral closure to become just a glottal stop before a following homorganic consonant (meaning a consonant at the same place of articulation). So, for instance, I have glottal stop in such phrases as "pick grapes" or "stop marinating", where the development is, first, "pick' grapes" by glottalization, then "pi? grapes" by loss of oral articulation. Evidently, the oral articulation is merely delayed in these cases.

I think there is a whole book about a similar phonological development in Britain, by Eleanor Higginbottom (sp?).

  • I was once called to task by a colleague for representing congratulations in IPA as [kɨŋ'ɡræʔtʃɨˌleⁱʃṇz], on the ground that there was no glottal stop there. I have one; do you? Jan 25, 2015 at 18:15
  • 1
    Yes, I have a glottal stop in congratulations, in one possible pronunciation, but [dʒ] is also possible. My theory (well, it's a little nebulous) is that the t is doubled at the end of the syllable, which might be like "Verschärfung", then one or both of the t's is glottalized, then the oral articulation is delayed, leaving behind the glottal stop.
    – Greg Lee
    Jan 25, 2015 at 18:45
  • Sounds not unreasonable. I can also voice the affricate and lose the glottal, as you say, and it does feel like a closed syllable encountering an initial stop. Jan 25, 2015 at 18:48

Black Americans often do a sort of glottal stop in the word children, so that it sounds something like CHI-ren.


In some dialects of British English, intervocalic /p/ and /k/ may be realised as a glottal stop. Cruttenden's Gimson's Pronunciation of English (6th edn, 2001.170) mentions Cockney, East Anglia, Bristol, Glaswegian and Tyneside.

  • Can you add some examples?
    – Mitch
    Dec 8, 2014 at 21:21

The middle /h/ in the sloppy words for no, "huh-uh" and "nuh-uh" (pronounced /huʔ-uh/) is a glottal stop, while the final /h/ sound trails off.

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