Talk:Ejective consonant

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Does Korean have ejectives ?[edit]

The Korean language page uses the IPA symbol ' but states that it is used differently, that is not as an distinctive mark for an ejective. If that page tells the truth, one should delete Korean from the list of languages with ejectives... which page is to be trusted?

18:27, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Korean does not have ejectives. It has stops with stiff voice. However, the use of ' to denote stiff voice stops in Korean is very common usage, even though it's technically not correct IPA. Nohat 20:02, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

If it's not correct IPA then someone ought to probably make a very clear disclaimer of that, or better yet use the correct IPA symbol and make note of the more common usage. — Jéioosh 09:55, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

small note: I have seen some authors use an asterisk [*] to represent this particular Korean consonant, as in [k*], [t*]. (The asterisk is part of IPA usage, although not on the charts: it represents any sound for which no IPA sanctioned symbol exists, i.e. it can mean anything.) Of course, the author always provides a description.
I have heard that some linguists who work on American languages that have ejectives (and many do!) are often surprised when they hear Caucasian languages for the first time. What are described as ejectives in the Caucasian literature sound very different from the Native American ejectives--so much so that they are perhaps somewhat reserved to use the same term. Native American ejectives are often very forceful.
Enjoy! Ish ishwar 04:10, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Can we get samples and examples of these? lysdexia 03:24, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I added this question & my answer in case it interests anyone. Ish ishwar 03:46, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

say, aren't all of the 'ejective' phone articles actually descriptions of 'voiced ingressive' phones? I thought ejectives were written as C + apostrophe, eg p', t', k'... ?? user:pgdudda
Hi. No, ejectives use a glottalic egressive airstream mechanism. The larynx with closed glottis is pushed upward by the throat muscles compressing the air the oral cavity. So, the air is pushed outward (i.e., egressive). You can check this in a mirror & with a hand in front of your mouth (in English, emphasized sentence/utterance-final words that end in a voiceless stop, esp. /k/, are pronounced as ejective stops, as in ’leak' /lik/.) I think it may be impossible to push air out with partially open vocal folds (i.e., voiced). (Ladefoged says, "unlikely".) Even if it is possible, it is definitely not common for ejectives to be voiced. (Of the few languages that are said to have them, Ladefoged says they are misnamed.)
Glottalic ingressive sounds are implosives. They may be voiced or voiceless, but voiceless implosives are hard to produce & are rather rare (it was thought impossible before, but there are voiceless implosives in Owerri Igbo, Uzere, Lendu, and Mayan languages). As you might have guessed in these sounds the larynx is lowered, causing a decrease in air pressure & sucking air inwards.
Cheers! Ish ishwar 16:03, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Oh, then the articles must've been fixed since the last time I looked. Because they were describing voiced ingressives instead of ejectives (which are, almost by definition, voiceless). Thanks! pgdudda 20:08, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Pronunciation files[edit]

I listed three types of ejective plosives with samples based on recordings I've heard of native speakers (Quechua). Hope they're helpful (and hopefully properly pronounced). Peter Isotalo 20:52, Apr 10, 2005 (UTC)

They sound appropriate to me, if a little bit forced. You're probably just not used to making them. I promise to add the fricatives and affricates that exist in Tlingit whenever I get down to the phonology lab to make recordings. — Jéioosh 20:07, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Sound files would be extremely useful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:12, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for the files. (Native speakers would have been better, but....) I took the liberty of moving them from the middle of the references &c, to the end of the article proper. (I didn't see them -- until I read the talk page!) — Solo Owl (talk) 17:23, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Ejective retroflex in a natural language?[edit]

According to this page at Chris Harvey's, Yokuts has an voiceless ejective retroflex stop, [ʈ’]. I'm not familiar with Penutian languages, so I don't know if any other languages in the family have it. LudwigVan 3 July 2005 16:37 (UTC)

Yes, it appears they do! Often the underdot represents 'alveolar' in Californian languages, since there is an areal dental-alveolar (or perhaps laminal-apical) distinction through much of the state, but Yokuts retroflexes (presumably apical postalveolar rather than 'true' subapical retroflexes) are confirmed in Mithun (though perhaps she uses the same sources as Harvey). Not just plosives, but also affricates. (The Yokuts 'alveolars' by the way are generally considered dental; they may be laminal denti-alveolar, which is what 'dentals' usually turn out to be.) Thanks! kwami 2005 July 3 21:42 (UTC)
If you're only concerned about retroflexion, ejectiv retroflex affricates aren't all that rare, occurring in eg. Abkhaz. I think I've seen an article around here about an Asian language with a retroflex ejectiv stop, but can't remember where... --Tropylium (talk) 13:40, 5 June 2008 (UTC)


The page claims Armenian has ejectives. Is this true? I know Armenian has consonants frequently transliterated {{IPA|[p‘ t‘ k‘]}, but I'm pretty sure these are aspirated, not ejective. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 13:24, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

You're right. Good catch. Daniels and Bright transcribe those consonants with aspiration in the IPA, and Ladefoged gives Eastern Armenian as an example of a language which distinguishes aspiration word-finally. kwami 19:49, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
Armenian (= Standard Modern Eastern Armenian) really does have ejectives - 5 stops and affricates. They are present in the Yerevan vernacular, which, de facto, is phonologically the basis of the standard literary norm of nowadays - SMEA. Eastern and many Western Armenian dialects, those which haven't undergone historical deglottalisation, use ejectives too. The five SMEA ejective consonants contrast with the five aspirated ones. A few dialects have even more ejectives: the uvular ejective and palatal ejective. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mahtrqerin (talkcontribs) 12:04, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Voiced ejectives?[edit]

This page claims that "Ejectives are voiceless consonants that ...". Are voiced ejectives deemed possible?
If not, can anyone please add a reason for this?
If they are possible, can it at least be stated that they are possible (and maybe then not attested for (I don't know, I'm not a linguist))?
--JorisvS 18:58, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

They're implausible. The glottis is held firmly shut in order to force the air column. If air were allowed through, it would pass the glottis in the opposite direction from normal voicing, which makes it pretty unlikely. kwami 06:19, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
The closest you can get are the curious "unitary clusters" of vcd stop + ejectiv found in !Xóõ, I suppose they're phonologically voiced ejectivs. --Tropylium (talk) 13:40, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Ok, I notice that now. I was thinking: by making an ejective go through the nose like a nasal, wouldn't it be possible to create a (voiceless) ejective nasal (with, as you've said, the glottis firmly shut)? --JorisvS 20:49, 2 June 2006 (UTC)::

Really rare ejective fricatives?[edit]

I've heard informally that Tlingit has a couple of ejective fricatives that are not attested in any other language, viz. [ɬ’] and [χ’]. These are phonemic, they are contrasted with similar ejective plosives and affricates. Does anyone know whether this is true and they are unique, or if it's just wishful thinking on the part of some ambitious phonologist? — Jéioosh 20:13, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

BTW I should clarify that I know they exist in Tlingit. I'm just curious whether they exist in any other language... — Jéioosh 20:14, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Not the same one, but modern Ethiopian Semitic languages (perhaps late Ge'ez as well?) have the ejective affricative [ʧʼ] (č', č̣) — a hard č (ch as in "church") sound. They're not fricatives, though. — ዮም (Yom) | contribsTalk 00:15, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Ubykh has the former at least. --Tropylium (talk) 13:40, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
...And Lakota apparently the latter, so no, they're not unique. --Tropylium (talk) 10:30, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Yapese has ejectives[edit]

The article says "[p’], on the other hand, is quite rare." However, the language of the island of Yap, which I worked on for about 20 years, certainly has what I referred to in my books on the language ("Yapese Reference Grammar" and "Yapese-English Dictionary" - John Thayer Jensen et al) as glottalised consonants, including p', t', k', also f' and th' (inter-dental slit fricative) - also glottalised nasals m', n' and ŋ' - but of course these are not ejectives. Yapese has non-glottalised ch (palatal affricate) and s, but these do not occur glottalised.

I call the stops and fricatives glottalised; they are certainly ejectives by the definition given in the article.

John Thayer Jensen 05:26, 15 September 2006 (UTC)


Shouldn't we mention about using underdot for ejectives in many traditions, including for American, Caucasian, Semitic and other languages? --Koryakov Yuri 15:34, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

In Semitic languages, underdot usually means "emphatic consonant", however emphatic consonants may be realized in a particular language or language group (not always as ejectives). In some cases, when transcribing early inscriptions or reconstructed proto-languages whose phonetics are not known, an underdot is deliberately phonetically ambiguous... AnonMoos 00:52, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Glottalized consonants[edit]

The term "glottalized" is used by differnt scholars with some differences, though always about the glottis and various air streams. However, the statement about "glottalized" consonants in the article links "glottalized" to a page that does not seem to agree with the usage of that paragraph. In fact, I am not clear what the author(s) meant to say. Pete unseth (talk) 12:29, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I cant say anything about what you've read as you dont say what you've read. But, you may be reading about a natural class of glottalized consonants which may consist of phonetically different airstream mechanisms. For example, a language may have an ejective k and an implosive b (e.g. Mam language). Here a phonologist may analyze this language as having glottalized stops and non-glottalized stops, that is, two phonologically contrasting classes. Another example would be a language that had sonorants with creaky voice (contrasting with modal sonorants) and ejective stops (contrasting with pulmonic stops) (e.g., Klallam language) — a linguist may choose to group the creaky voiced sonorants and the ejectives into a glottalized consonant class. So, a linguist may choose to group phonetically different consonants into a single phonological category for phonological reasons (the reasons could either be the same phonological processes effect involve all sounds in the category or for reasons of symmetry). Anyway, I've added a note to this effect here. – ishwar  (speak) 04:38, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

I've put merge tags for alveolar lateral ejective affricate and postalveolar ejective affricate. I'm not really sure what the criterion for inclusion for any particular ejective consonant is since any consonant (especially any stop consonant) can be ejective. A previous merger discussion regarding the ejective consonants that appear on the table at {{Consonants}} met with no consensus.

We can't just add all possible (or even existing) ejective consonants without making the table cumbersome so we need some sort of criterion for inclusion. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 04:54, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

A few thoughts.
  • I don't think cumbersomeness of a table can really be a consideration in denying an article's right to exist. Navigation-table design should be strictly in reaction to what articles are being navigated to. That does, of course, make it particularly important to determine whether articles not yet in the table are really going to continue to exist, before going to the trouble of redesigning the table to cope with them; I'm just saying it should be done in that order.
  • Is the number of attested ejective consonants really all that large? I find four ejectives that have articles but aren't in the table: the two affricates you're proposing to merge; and dental ejective and palatal ejective. It appears to me that in practice the ejectives are a row of the consonant table parallel to the plosives; the only exception I know of among existing articles is the alveolar ejective fricative, re which, see below.
  • We might consider giving ejective articles the benefit of the doubt (as in, let them continue to exist as independent articles) if they have examples of real languages where the sounds occur. That would suggest keeping alveolar lateral ejective affricate as a separate article, but losing all of: postalveolar ejective affricate, alveolar ejective fricative, and dental ejective. BTW, I'm really unsure whether or not this occurrence criterion would make sense for other sounds; here I am only suggesting it as a possible approach to dealing with ejectives.
Pi zero (talk) 19:38, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the known ejectives isn't limited to a row parallel to stops. The article points out [f’], [ʃ’], and [ɬ’] in Kabardian, [x’], and [χ’] in Tlingit, [ɸ’] in Yuchi, and [ʂ’] and [ɕ’] in Keresan languages. This doesn't even get into the ejective affricates.
If we're potentially going to incorporate all of these sounds, we shouldn't just have them shoved to the side of the navigation template. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 23:49, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Hm. Yes, counting from those mentioned in the article does produce a much larger number. However, this is a side issue; granted, I too was sucked in by it, but it really shouldn't have any impact on article-existence policy. If we really had to handle a huge influx of additional articles, we'd find a way to cope; I can think of at least one strategy off hand — but we're not there yet. For example, so far the policy seems to have been, more or less, to provide separate articles for just the most common ejectives, which was a possible policy that was mentioned in the earlier merger discussion. The article says that ejectives are mostly stops and affricates, and mentions four of each, which (with a little thought) we probably could fit into the right side of the template. How would you assess that possible policy? Pi zero (talk) 02:37, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Originally, the de facto policy was the ejective consonants listed as examples on the official IPA chart. If we are to use commonness as our measure of inclusion, then we need to find sources that state which are the most common (and not, by the way, use the IPA chart examples as an inference of this) and also the cutoff point of commonness. If it's just a handful like it is now, shoving them to the right can work, but after a certain point, I'm not sure where to put them. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 04:08, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I'll see if I can dig up a source (unless I'm beaten to it; I don't own references on this subject, and it may take a while for me to get to a sufficiently good library). Maybe we won't want to use commonness as our measure of inclusion, but it seems like good perspective to have when deciding, even if what we decide is not to use it.
I had construed the first paragraph on Types of Ejectives in the article, starting "The vast majority of ejective consonants noted in the world's languages consists of stops or affricates", as identifying what's common. Perhaps I misunderstood its intent. If I did understand it, and it's a good approximation of reality, then the examples in the IPA chart aren't all that good an approximation of reality. There are no citations in the paragraph, though; perhaps this article would be a good subject for a {{More footnotes}} tag?
Concerning where in the template to put a large number of additional ejectives... even though it's really premature to worry about it, I can't help puzzling over it, and I'm wondering if we could put each ejective below and in the same cell of the table as the corresponding voiceless pulmonic, similar to the way corresponding voiceless/voiced are put in the same cell. --Pi zero (talk) 12:21, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
We'd have to relable it from "pulmonic" to something else. If we do that, then we'd probably also want to move the affricates (the list of Affricates is getting pretty long). I'm horrible with editing that table, though. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 16:25, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
There are a limited number of ejectives. I don't see a problem with each having its own article. We have gone to rather silly lengths to list languages with the vowel /i/; if we can do that, we can profitably list languages with the consonant /tʃʼ/. Certainly that should be at least as interesting. — kwami (talk) 21:00, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Ejectives and Explosive consonants?[edit]

I've seen in some older texts the usage of the term "explosive consonants" to describe ejectives. Is there any particular reason why? --Daniel Blanchette 21:36, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Probably because the stronger burst of air that comes with it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:24, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Also to contrast with implosive consonant, perhaps. This use should be avoided, though, because explosive consonant is also an older term for plosive consonant, at least in German: Explosiv(laut). --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:56, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Ejectives in the Na'vi language[edit]

maybe we could mention that in the artificial na'vi language of the avatarmovie there are ejectives? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:42, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm somewhat resistant, but at the same time a lot of people have heard Na'vi speech and mentioning it in the occurrence section may help some readers out. What do other people think? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 22:35, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Makes sense to me considering the Na'vi language appears to be deem'd sufficiently notable to have a page of its own. (As an aside, this could justify noting the Klingon /qχ/ on the topic of affricates, too…) --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 23:12, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, your aside has hit on my resistance. How do we justify including Na'vi here without opening the floodgates to incorporate every fanboy conlang in Wikipedia's language articles? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 00:33, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Not "every fanboy conlang" will pass notability. Those that do, I do not see a particular reason to avoid mentioning at all, at least on the topic of their more notable features. I don't think it would be usable to include conlangs as examples for things like /n/ however (with the possible exception of Esperanto perhaps). --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 01:13, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay, but what's our criteria for notability? It shouldn't be just if there's a Wikipedia article on it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 03:41, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I have taken the liberty of relocating the "Na'vi" reference to a separate section headed "Reference in popular culture". The study of global occurence of ejectives (or any other phonological fact) in natural languages is science. The study of the use of ejectives in an artificial language created for use in a film belongs to art criticism. For example the presence of ejectives in Na'vi is a fact that would be important if we wanted to judge, say, how convincing the representation of an alien culture is in the film. I sympathise with Aeusoes1 on this and I think the article does not need this reference but given the lack of concensus I think the separate heading is a compromise. UnaDormienda (talk) 22:59, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
The problem with the "in popular culture" compromise is that such sections are deprecated. I don't have a problem with mentioning Na'vi as the article has since March of this year; my concern is more where the boundary lies between notable conlang and nonnotable one. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 00:03, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
The best reaason for listing Na'vi would be that many people have heard it -- it is more accessible. The average reader of English Wikipedia would have to travel to remote places to meet up with speakers of the languages listed in the article. You can sample Na'vi just by ordering a DVD and listening carefully. The criterion could be the likelihood, for the average English reader, to be exposed to the conlang or the ease of obtaining a "standard" sample. — Solo Owl (talk) 17:10, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Non-phonemic ejectives in English[edit]

Ejectives occur in English too, as an optional variant for (mainly) voiceless stops - See Gordeeva, Olga B. and Scobbie, James M (2011) Laryngeal Variation in the Scottish English Voice Contrast: Glottalisation, Ejectivisation and Aspiration. CASL Working Paper WP-19. QMU. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:30, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

How do ejectives usually evolve from non-ejective consonants?[edit] (talk) 07:20, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Me Too![edit]

Hi, I'm a long way from being a linguistics professional. I'm familiar with words like plosive, labial, voiced and unvoiced. I've learned some French, German, Spanish and Bahasa. But I can barely understand anything in this article. It's just too technical. Although I can click on the little audio things, that works.

It would be nice if I could understand something about what you're all talking about, without having to click on every link to read about all those other topics, which might be poorly explained, too. Like, say, something in the introduction. And, something concrete, about specific sounds, not trying to make generalizations to large numbers of sounds found in languages that 96% of people didn't know even existed. Something like this:

  • Start by saying the word "Kaput". Now instead of saying the "p", close off the back of your mouth with the back of your tongue, like you're saying a "k", but say the "p". It should sound louder softer, almost like you were saying "Cadette" in American english or "Nevets" in British english. that's the ejective P sound.

Something like that, changed to actually be right instead of the goofy stuff I wrote above. OsamaBinLogin (talk) 00:37, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

What you are asking for sounds more like a Wikibooks "How to pronounce the IPA" project than anything that should be in this article. Some topics will be technical, there's no way around that. But on the other hand, yes, starting the Description section with the stylohyoid muscle is a bit needlessly hardcore… --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 09:29, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
I have to reiterate OsamaBinLogin's request. The abstract and opening paragraph leave me with no idea whatsover what this thing sounds like. The beginning of an article needs to be useful to the interested but still-naïve visitor. Since this is English Wikipedia, giving a hint of an English-language example right up front is helpful. If examples are hard to come by, a hint could be like, "Rare in English, except some Scottish pronunciations of P." helps a lot. Thansks to anyone who Phytism (talk) 16:26, 2 October 2015 (UTC)