glottal stop a phantasy?

From: William J Poser (
Date: Wed Nov 23 2005 - 23:05:14 CST

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    Here in Carrier country glottal stop is no phantasy. In fact, it is
    not hard to construct minimal pairs of sentences differing only
    in the presence or absence of a glottal stop. For instance:

            ligok 'uyi "A chicken is eating (something)".
            ligok uyi "Someone/something is eating a chicken."

    In this practical orthography as in many others glottal stop
    is represented by the apostrophe. In the first sentence the glottal
    stop is the unspecified object marker and fills the object position
    of the verb "to eat". ligok "chicken" is therefore interpreted
    as the subject. In the second sentence the verb has no object marker
    and therefore must have an overt noun phrase as object. The only
    NP available is ligok, so the subject must be covert.

    Glottal stop is indeed an odd sound in that it doesn't fit neatly
    into traditional categories, but I suggest that much of its oddness
    is due to the fact that though a stop it behaves in many (but not all)
    ways like a sonorant. This latter fact makes sense if sonorants are
    defined as those sounds produced in a configuration with low impedance
    looking forward from the glottis.

    Bill Poser

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