Strident vowel

Strident vowels (also called sphincteric vowels) are strongly pharyngealized vowels accompanied by an (ary)epiglottal trill, with the larynx being raised and the pharynx constricted.[1][2] Either the epiglottis or the arytenoid cartilages thus vibrate instead of the vocal cords. That is, the epiglottal trill is the voice source for such sounds.

Strident vowels are fairly common in Khoisan languages, which contrasts them with simple pharyngealized vowels. Stridency is used in onomatopoeia in Zulu and Lamba.[3][page needed] Stridency may be a type of phonation called harsh voice. A similar phonation, without the trill, is called ventricular voice; both have been called pressed voice.[citation needed] Bai, of southern China, has a register system that has allophonic strident and pressed vowels.

Subscript double tilde on the letter ⟨a⟩ (a᷽), to represent a strident vowel

There is no official symbol for stridency in the IPA, but a superscript ʢ (for a voiced epiglottal trill) is often used.[citation needed] In some literature, a subscript double tilde (≈) is sometimes used.[1]

It has been accepted into Unicode, at code point U+1DFD.


These languages use phonemic strident vowels:

See also


  1. ^ a b Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers. pp. 310–311. ISBN 0-631-19814-8. LCCN 94-49209.
  2. ^ Miller-Ockhuizen, Amanda (2003). The phonetics and phonology of gutturals: case study from Juǀʼhoansi. Outstanding dissertations in Linguistics. New York City, NY: Routledge. p. 99. doi:10.4324/9780203506400. ISBN 978-0-415-86141-0. LCCN 2003046887.
  3. ^ Doke, C. M. (1936). "An outline of ǂKhomani Bushman phonetics". Bantu Studies. 10 (1): 433–460. doi:10.1080/02561751.1936.9676037.