Sunday, 29 December 2013

more in the bu'et?

This a continuation of an earlier blog posting on the description of glottal stop usages.

Eugene Howard Babbitt in his 1896 publication on The English pronunciation of the lower classes in New York and vicinity mentions the usage of the glottal stop in the New York accent on p. 8:

Jespersen in his book Fonetik of 1897-1899 makes this comment on p. 299:

 Joseph Wright in his 1905 English Dialect Grammar briefly mentions the fact that in some Scottish dialect areas intervocalic /t/ is replaced by the glottal catch:

In his Modern English grammar, vol. 1 (1909), Otto Jespersen writes this:

Jespersen distinguishes between glottal reinforcement and glottal replacement. Besides /t/, the two other voiceless stops are mentioned as well.

In 1913 William Grant publishes his Pronunciation of English in Scotland. On p. 30 we find this observation:

Not only are glottal reinforcement and replacement to be heard in connection with /p, t, k/ but also with /n, ŋ/.

I wonder if Dobson has anything to say on this topic in his monumental English pronunciation.


  1. Thank you Peter, you've been busy. Still mostly Scotland, then northern England, I wonder if that's their focus, or maybe we're glimpsing a true distribution. And Grant's comment about cultured speakers' difficulty in eliminating it reveals an element of stigma.

    1. Nevertheless I'm worried. Did George Bernard Shaw get it wrong in Pygmalion?

  2. I quickly scanned through Dobson volume 2, looking at the index, the chapter headings, and the section "Consonants: Other Changes of Articulation". I didn't see anything about glottal stops.

  3. I found this while looking for something else: William Holden, 1669, Elements of Speech, where he he was quoted describing the production of the 'glottal catch'. His real interest was speech for the deaf, rather than language. Evidence that he knew of its existence, possibly evidence that he heard it around him.

    1. Sidney,
      thank you for this interesting reference. The author's last name is spelt Holder. I found one quotation on p. 60 of said book: "[...] not to speak now of one stop, which may be made in the Larynx, of Breath, before it comes to the Tongue and Palat". And there's a longer comment by Holder on pp. 72ff.

    2. Glad you found it despite my slip, sorry.