Do British people usually insert a glottal stop before consonants like in the words sto’p, tha’t, a'bsolute, kno’ck, wa’tch? Is there a rule for this?

  • 4
    What makes you think we do so? In my experience, glottal stops replace the middle consonant in some words in some dialects. Feb 23 '20 at 8:34
  • It can happen, but only when that particular word is heavily emphasised, like telling a persistent child, "I said, stop."
    – Andrew Leach
    Feb 23 '20 at 10:22

Some British dialects glottalize word-final or syllable-final oral stops. That is, a glottal stop is articulated simultaneously with the stop. I suspect this is what you're hearing.

Some American dialects also do this, for example my own Midwestern dialect. When the oral closure is lost for some reason, what is left is just a glottal stop. Oral closure is lost for glottalized [t'] before a consonant and for [p' k'] before a homorganic stop. For example, I say [hɪʔmətaiz] for "hypnotize", where the [p] causes assimilation of the following [n] to [m], and the [p] glottalizes, then loses its oral closure because it is now before homorganic [m].

There is a book about this glottalization in British English by a British linguist who was visiting at OSU when I was a grad student there -- Eleanor Higginbottom [spelling?].

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