Radical consonant

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Tongue shape

Radical consonants are those consonants articulated with the root (base) of the tongue in the throat. This includes the pharyngeal, epiglottal, and epiglotto-pharyngeal places of articulation, though technically epiglottal consonants take place in the larynx.

The term radical was coined to help disambiguate pharyngeal, which had come to mean any consonant articulated in the throat, whether the articulator was the back of the tongue ("high" pharyngeals) or the epiglottis ("low" pharyngeals). However, the term pharyngeal is still commonly used in the broader sense, and authors such as Miller (2005) prefer guttural, which may include glottal consonants as well.

See also[edit]


  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8. 
  • Miller, Amanda (2005), "Guttural vowels and guttural co-articulation in Ju|’hoansi". Journal of Phonetics, vol. 35, Issue 1, January 2007, pp 56–84.