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October 2021

The IPA categories ''pharyngeal'' and ''epiglottal'': Laryngoscopic observations of pharyngeal articulations and larynx height

Journal/Book: Lang Speech. 1999; 42: 43 Derwent Rd, Whitton Twickenham, Middlesex, England Tw2 7HQ. Kingston Press Services Ltd. 349-372.

Abstract: The phonetic problem is to describe accurately the articulatory mechanism, or mechanisms, responsible for the production of a series of sounds that are presently labelled on the chart of the International Phonetic Association as either pharyngeal or epiglottal. The sounds on which these categories are based are found in the Semitic languages, in the languages of the Caucasus, and in the languages of the Pacific Northwest st coast of North America. In order to reconcile a variety of descriptive terms with a logical phonetic taxonomy, auditorily distinguishable parameters are deduced from a naturally occurring variety of sounds, isolated articulatorily, and observed with a fibreoptic laryngoscope to define a cardinal set of articulatory possibilities. Auditory comparisons with database illustrations of the sounds of various languages inform the production of cardinal values in the laryngoscopic study. Voiceless pharyngeals (fricatives) are identified by aryepiglottic fold constriction and a medial aperture. Voiced pharyngeals (approximants) are identified by aryepiglottic fold constriction and a covered glottis. Trilling can occur laterally along the aryepiglottic folds in either voiceless (fricative) or voiced (approximant) mode. A pharyngeal plosive is identified by full occlusion of the aryepiglottic sphincter. ''Epiglottal'' sounds, which have been described auditorily as ''deeper'' or ''more extreme'' than pharyngeals, are associated with either the trilled varieties of the simple fricative or approximant, or the default raised larynx posture of the aryepiglottic sphincter, with radical retraction of the tongue. They are therefore more severely constricted, but not physiologically ''deeper'' than simple [(h) over bar] or [sic]. Pharyngeal articulations may also be produced with larynx lowering. Voiceless pharyngeal [(h) over bar] may be accompanied by lowering of the larynx to distinguish it from a larynx-raised [H] variant. Larynx height variations are also found in ''tense/lax'' register distinctions.

Note: Article Esling JH, Univ Victoria, Dept Linguist, POB 3045, Victoria, BC V8W 3P4, CANADA

Keyword(s): aryepiglottic; epiglottal; laryngeal; laryngoscopic; larynx height; pharyngeal; VOICE QUALITY


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