Glottal stops

john at john at
Sat Oct 30 19:39:03 UTC 2010

I meant glottalized sounds, not simple glottal stops--the glottalized sounds
essentially have glottal stops as secondary articulations. In relation to
frequency of occurrence--and since you said you've done frequency counts--
I should say that I remember having the impression when I was looking at Mayan
languages that--aside from the fact that highland languages almost always have
the uvular glottal stop while lowland languages almost never do--the general
frequency of glottal stops was much higher in highland languages like Quiche
than lowland languages like Yucatec. I was doing text analyses of word order
variation, not frequency of occurrence of different phonemes, but I remember
having this impression very clearly. Would you happen to have done any
studies of any of these languages?
Best wishes,

Quoting Yuri Tambovtsev <yutamb at>:

> Dear John, if you mean glottal stops as clicks, then indeed they are used in
> Caucasian languages. However, if you count their frequency of occurrence,
> then you see that they are quite seldom among other speech sounds in the
> sound speech chain. I should guess it is because they require too much effort
> of the articulartory apparatus. I have studied them in 256 world languages.
> They are not common to the Human Language. It is interesting enough, but what
> is more interesting it is why some languages use some sort of speech sounds
> more frequently than the others. I wonder who is working in this direction of
> research? Why does brain commands to use this sound more frequently in one
> language and the same Human Brain (or different?) commands to use the same
> sound in some other language less frequently? Linguistics assumes that Human
> Brains are the same all over the world. It is also assumed that the Human
> speech production apparatus is also the same. Nevertheless, the sound
> pictures of different languages are different. I have checked it on 256 world
> languages. Is it not an enigma? Be well, Yuri Tambovtsev, yutamb at

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