Epiglottal flap

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Epiglottal flap

An epiglottal or pharyngeal flap is not known to exist as a phoneme in any language. However, it exists as the intervocalic voiced allophone of the otherwise voiceless epiglottal stop /ʡ/ of Dahalo[1] and perhaps of other languages. It may also exist in Iraqi Arabic, where the consonant 'ayn is too short to be an epiglottal stop, but has too much of a burst to be a fricative or approximant.[2]

There is no dedicated symbol for this sound in the IPA, but it can be transcribed by adding an "extra short" diacritic to the symbol for the stop, ⟨ʡ̮⟩. (The diacritic is here placed under rather than above the letter to avoid the ascender.)


Features of the voiceless epiglottal/pharyngeal flap


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dahalo[1] [nd̠oːʡ̮o] 'mud' Intervocallic allophone of the voiceless epiglottal stop /ʡ/, may be an approximant instead.[1]



  • Esling, John (2010), "Phonetic Notation", in Hardcastle, William J.; Laver, John; Gibbon, Fiona E. (eds.), The Handbook of Phonetic Sciences (2nd ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-1-4051-4590-9<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Maddieson, Ian; Spajić, Siniša; Sands, Bonny; Ladefoged, Peter (1993), "Phonetic structures of Dahalo", in Maddieson, Ian (ed.), UCLA working papers in phonetics: Fieldwork studies of targeted languages, 84, Los Angeles: The UCLA Phonetics Laboratory Group, pp. 25–65<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>