Glottal stops in American English


Manage episode 338055677 series 2931064
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If you close your vocal cords, you stop the flow of air. In linguistics, this is called a glottal stop. Listen:

Uh, oh. Uh, oh. Uh, oh. Hear the break in the sound after “Uh”? That’s a glottal stop. Repeat it with me some more and pay attention to how it sounds and how it feels.

Uh, oh. Uh, oh. Uh, oh, Uh, oh. Uh, oh. Uh, oh.

Uh, oh. You spilled your milk.

Uh, oh. I think the police are coming. Let’s get out of here!

Here are two words commonly pronounced with a glottal stop:

Mountain, fountain, mountain, fountain.

The stop replaces the “t” sound. Here’s how it sounds with the T pronounced:

Mountain, fountain, mountain, fountain.

And here they are with the stop, which is how it is usually pronounced:

Mountain, fountain, mountain, fountain.

Let’s practice:

I climbed a mountain and found a fountain at the top.

The expression “to cut and run” means to leave quickly.

The robber told the lookout: “Tell us if you see the police coming, and we’ll cut and run.”

“Eaten” is usually pronounced with a stop:

Eaten, eaten.

Have you eaten?

Have you eaten anything today?

It’s no wonder you’re hungry. You should have eaten breakfast.

“Rotten” has a stop:

Rotten, rotten.

Don’t eat that apple—it’s rotten!

Here’s an expression: “rotten to the core” which means rotten all the way through.

That apple was rotten to the core.

You can also use “rotten” about people. “He’s a truly rotten person.”

Here are some other words similar to rotten:






My kitten was playing with the button on a cotton mitten.

He eats way too much: he’s a glutton.

She keeps trying to learn Hungarian which is one of the hardest languages in the world. She’s a real glutton for punishment. (She likes to suffer.)

Finally, we often use stops with “can’t”, “won’t”, “don’t” and “doesn’t”. Listen carefully:

I can’t speak Russian. Instead of the ’t’ sound, there’s a glottal stop.

I won’t speak Russian.

I don’t speak Russian.

He doesn’t speak Russian.

It feels like the ’t’ sound is there, but it isn’t.

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