This page glottal fricative /h/ alternates between calling it a glottal fricative and a laryngeal fricative.

Is the reason for it that laryngeally the only option to phonate is to exercise the glottis?

1 Answer 1


In this case, it is probably random writing practice (perhaps involving multiple authors). The corresponding article on Dutch uses the term "glottal" exclusively, and the Frisian article uses "glottal" only in the first two instances. However, current understandings of the larynx (Esling et al) are that the larynx is a bigger structure which includes the vocal folds (the glottis being the hole between the folds), and there can be multiple kinds of laryngeal fricatives, thus laryngeal and glottal are not interchangeable. Nevertheless, the presumed interchangeability of "glottal" and "laryngeal" will persist in linguistics and language studies for a long time.

  • Are there examples of "multiple kinds of laryngeal fricatives"?
    – PCH
    Aug 4, 2022 at 15:54
  • Yes, most of the Salishan languages (and other languages in the Northwest Sprachbund) have two or more velar fricatives, distinguished potentially as front (velar) vs back (uvular), rounded vs unrounded. Some languages may distinguish pharyngealized fricatives from plain ones, though Lushootseed has only 4 post-palatal fricatives: /xʷ, x̞, x̞ʷ, h/. The ones with dots are uvular; there is no /x/.
    – jlawler
    Aug 4, 2022 at 17:42

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