Glottal stops

Lise Menn lise.menn at Colorado.EDU
Sat Oct 30 19:47:22 UTC 2010

this sort of question is exactly what the on-line World Atlas of  
Linguistic Structures is intended to help with.  In about a minute, I  
got to the page for the distribution of glottalized consonants of  
various types:

Paste this link into your browser to go to the Google map WALS  
generated for me.

On Oct 30, 2010, at 1:39 PM, john at wrote:

> 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,
> John
> 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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Lise Menn                      Home Office: 303-444-4274
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