Is there any difference between IPA ‘ and ʰ?

I've seen /kʰ/ also written as /k’/.

Is there any fundamental difference between letter‘ and letterʰ?

1 Answer 1


The letter <’> is used in IPA to indicate an ejective consonant, which is quite distinct from <ʰ> which represents aspiration. The use of <’> to mark aspiration is not IPA usage (please note that IPA is just one of many traditions for phonetic transcription). Presumably you are looking at an older source, or a more language-specific source that isn't aimed at phoneticians.

Vowels and Consonants provides sound files for Quechua, which John Lawler mentioned. Zulu and Xhosa also have aspirates vs. ejectives, but the ejectives are much weaker. The UCLA archive of Zulu has some examples, in the second wordlist, starting around 2:30 of this sound file.

  • Also, this YouTube video provides with an example of how ejective consonants differ from aspirated ones. May 31, 2016 at 17:42
  • 1
    Quechua has phonemically distinct series of plain, ejective, and aspirated stops. Using IPA symbols, that would be /q/, /q̓/, and /qʰ/.
    – jlawler
    May 31, 2016 at 21:44

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