"Ballistic" syllables are a phonemic distinction in the Otomanguean languagesChinantec and Amuzgo. They have been described as characterized either with increased sub-glottal pressure (Mugele 1982) or with laryngeal abduction (Silverman 1994). The acoustic effect is a fortis release of the consonant, a gradual surge in the intensity of the vowel, followed by a rapid decay in intensity into post-vocalic aspiration. They may thus be a form of phonation.
Non-ballistic syllables are by contrast called "controlled".