Talk:Aspirated consonant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Linguistics / Phonetics   
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Linguistics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Linguistics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the Phonetics Task Force.


Aspiration for certain words is a lie. It depends on the air demand through speaking, and the speaker's preference—at least, on mine. lysdexia 12:39, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sorry, but anyone who has ever studied the phonetics of English in even the most cursory detail will learn that aspiration is an essential part of the voiceless stop series in English. Nohat 20:11, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I agree with Lysdexia that there is some variation in whether or not a stop in a certain position in aspirated. I don't know about initial stops in stressed syllables; as far as I can tell, they are nearly always aspirated by native English speakers. But stops in other positions can be aspirated or not depending on a number of factors. Most noticeably I think is whether the speaker is speaking naturally, or consciously articulating for clarity, as is often done in singing, acting, delivering a speech, or speaking on the radio. For example, speak
To be or not to be; that is the question.
carefully putting emphasis on not and that. Many speakers (myself included) will articulate the t at the end of each of those words, even though those stops are in positions where they are usually not aspirated. CyborgTosser (Only half the battle) 03:30, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Aspiration is merely a function of voice onset time. If a stop is released before voicing or closure for another consonant, then there will be aspiration. This is what happens when you articulate words in citation form. The particular rules for the aspiration of [p], [t], and [k] in English, are found on voiceless bilabial plosive, voiceless alveolar plosive, and voiceless velar plosive, respectively. Lysdexia's assertion, on the other hand, that aspiration has anything to do with "speaker's preference" is not based any evidence or linguistic theory that I've ever encountered. Nohat 04:06, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps this is a question of strict definition, then - is the puff of air after the carefully enunciated "not" and "that" in the quote considered an aspiration? I note that when I try the example "top" vs. "stop", I do indeed aspirate the 't' only with the first word, but I also aspirate the final 'p' of either word - unless I consciously speak with an American-style accent and suppress the puff of air, sounding as many people I know would (but I would not in normal speech).
Voice onset time is the easiest way of measuring aspiration, but it's not the same thing! It is possible to articulate consonants with a lot of air pressure – so that voice onset time is necessarily much delayed – but without aspiration. Aspiration is not a strong release, it is a release into [h]. When there's nothing going on in the glottis, there's no aspiration.
What the above name- and dateless comment means by "suppressing the puff of air" is something yet again different: unreleased consonants – no audible release at all.
David Marjanović | | 00:46 CEST | 2006/5/5
As for the second point, agreed. As for the first, I'm not sure I follow. Nothing much does go on with the glottis during aspiration. If you release a consonant, and voicing is delayed, then you have a period where the airstream is passing through the glottis without voicing. That is pretty much an [h], and therefore is aspiration. If there is no airflow, then you might have a glottal stop - you see this with some click consonants. That should perhaps be clarified. I can't think of another way you'd get that effect within a phonological word. kwami 01:35, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree that aspiration is NOT strong release. Although the 'blowing out a cadle' does reliably show aspiration, this notion is standardly defined by the classics (Wells, Roach), as well as other phonetic references, in terms of VOT - it is the period of no voicing between the consonant ad the following vowel. I am of course open to correction, but I strongly feel the author should either furnish references, or edit this fragment of the entry. Ariosto 21:38, 15 May 2006 (UTC)


This article doesn't flow well at all and is very poorly organized. I might try and clean it up a bit later, but I'd like to get some input on how to do so first. --Lesouris 15:04, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I'd suggest organizing it into sections for starters. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:50, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

2 jokes ?[edit]

There are 2 sources of pleasure in this article, imnsho.

  • Aspiration means more or less "in-breath" or "in-blow": the so-called aspiration phenomenon may be renamed expiration instead.
  • Try the candle test mentioned in the article: you will probably see the flame dance in both cases, as the 's' of store produces an air blow (expiration) as well.
from wiktionary
to aspirate (third-person singular simple present aspirates,
present participle aspirating, simple past and past participle aspirated)
  1. (transitive, linguistics) To follow a consonant with an audible puff of breath.
  2. (transitive) To remove gas by means of suction.
  3. (intransitive) To inhale; to draw into one's lungs.

--Denispir (talk) 14:47, 20 October 2008 (UTC)


I don't really know much about linguistics....however it is very unnerving and makes utterly no sense, when I'm looking for a description of what aspiration is, together with examples in English that illustrate what aspiration is, and how English speakers aspirate their consonants, to find that the article mentions everything about unaspirated consonants. the words pen, ken and ten do not help, which consonants are aspirated? maybe these should be highlighted?! and they all rhyme, maybe a more varied and wide range of examples in English should be given. This is not clear at all. I would suggest that the paragraph be rewritten, by an individual who understands the subject. Dannyza1981 (talk) 17:29, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

The lead paragraph had the sharp English examples of "ore" and "st⁼ore". I agree that the article explains more what aspirated consonants aren't than what they are. Like You Never Did See (talk) 17:41, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Whispering in English[edit]

Are whispered d, g, and b in English unaspirated? It seems to me that they are still distinguishable from t, k, and p, but it can't be voicing that distinguishes them as all whispered sounds are unvoiced. If they are, this could be another useful example for the article. DAF (talk) 04:35, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, they are unaspirated. -- (talk) 20:01, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Does this sentence make not sense ?[edit]

"In addition to Eastern Armenian, many languages, such as Korean, Thai, Indo-Aryan languages, Dravidian languages, Icelandic, Ancient Greek, and the dialects of Chinese [p˭ t˭ k˭] etc. and [pʰ tʰ kʰ] etc. are different phonemes altogether."

…which i decode as "many languages are different phonemes altogether". Am i missing something ? Perhaps an "in many languages, such as…" would fix it ?

--Jerome Potts (talk) 21:48, 16 August 2013 (UTC)