It doesn't sound like a consonant. Especially at the end of words. It sounds like a shortened vowel which it follows. English word "cat" for example [kʰæʔ]

  • It's called a "stop" because it stops the breath flow. That's what "shortens "the vowel preceding it. You experience the cessation. – jlawler Oct 14 '15 at 17:31
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    What do you mean by "explain glottal stop"? Are you asking how they are produced? Are you asking how they behave phonologically? Are you asking for an explanation for why you don't think they sound like consonant? – user6726 Oct 14 '15 at 18:23

It is a stop consonant, as it stops the airflow in the glottis.

The fact that you can't differentiate the sound doesn't mean it isn't a consonant - there are many, many, many consonants which sound indistinguishable if you don't have the right mother tongue. But they are distinguishable if you do speak the right language.

For example, semitic languages are languages in which the glottal stop is a consonant.

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    BTW, in the production of a vowel, airflow through the glottis also stops briefly, every cycle (though perhaps not in the case of breathy vowels). The concept of "stopping" transglottal airflow has to be relativized to some minimal time period, in the definition of "stop". It turns out that glottal "stop" frequently just introduces irregularities in transglottal airflow, without bringing airflow to a halt as you find with /p b/ etc. In fact, a characteristic of full voicing of /b/ as opposed to English-style b is that the vocal folds continue to vibrate. – user6726 Oct 15 '15 at 17:29
  • @user6726 really? What is an english-style b then? – user3329719 Oct 16 '15 at 10:17
  • it varies by speaker, but voicing dies early during the closure and it is a voiceless unaspirated stop thereafter. – user6726 Oct 16 '15 at 15:52

In some languages, glottal stop is associated with shortness of vowels, but so far as I know, this is not the case in English, except perhaps indirectly.

In English, vowels are shorter before a voiceless sound in the offset of a syllable, and also, the voiceless stops p t k are glottalized (said with glottal closure) in the offset of a syllable before a consonant. Then, in some circumstances, the glottalized p' t' k' lose their oral closure, leaving behind the glottal closure alone, which is a glottal stop. This loss of oral closure happens before a homorganic consonant (i.e., with the same place of articulation), or for t', before any consonant. These things happen only in some dialects.

So there is a relationship between the shortening of vowels and glottal stop (vowel is shortened before p t k, p t k are glottalized to p' t' k', which then turn into glottal stop), but it's coincidental.

In some other languages, glottal stop has more directly to do with vowel shortness. There is a language of Brazil, Shavante, which has "clipping" of word final vowels, which consists in shortening the vowels and appending glottal stop.

Some examples from Danish make it appear that glottal stop has something to do with vowel shortness: læser /ˈlɛːsʌ/ "reader", læser /ˈlɛˀsʌ/ "reads" are cited in the Wikipedia article on stød.

Although this is not so in English, in many languages, glottal stop is a phoneme -- just another consonant in the language's phonemic system. I'm not aware of any shortening of vowels in such cases.

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Well, it is a consonant.

It is produced by stopping the airflow in the same way as in producing [p],[k] or [t], it is just made in different place. While the aforementioned obstruents are articulated by stopping the airflow respectively between lips (bilabial stop), root of the tongue and velum (velar stop) and tip of the tongue and alveolar ridge (alveolar stop), glottal stop is produced by stopping the airflow with glottis.

In English glottal stop function merely as an allophone of /t/ word finally, and (in some dialects) intervocally. But there are languages where glottal stop is a distinct phoneme. The example would be the Semitic family where it is written with letter aleph.

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Let's use "uh-oh" as an example, right after you say the part "uh" and before you say the part "oh", that's a glottal stop.

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