What is the difference between the velar stop [kʰ] and the ejective [k̛ ]? And how are they pronounced?

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    Note that these are both velar stops, so the contrast here isn't velar vs. ejective; it's aspirated/pulmonic vs. ejective. Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 13:03
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    An ejective velar stop is pronounced by simultaneously producing a velar stop [k] at the velum, and a glottal stop [ʔ] at the glottis. While both places are stopped, raise the glottis slightly to compress the air trapped between them. Then release, velar stop first. The compressed air pops out and colors the /k/ sound. Same process works for all ejectives. The labial ones are harder because there's so much more air trapped between the lips and the glottis that it's hard to compress it adequately by raising the glottis alone. The aspirate is described below.
    – jlawler
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


The aspirate [kʰ] is a pulmonic consonant and the ejective [k'] is a, well, ejective consonant. You might want to check another question here related to ejective consonants and their pronunciation. If you speak English reasonably well (i.e. as either a L1 speaker or a moderately long-time learner) you'll find that the words <skid> and <kid> are, respectively, [skɪd] and [kʰɪd]. You can extrapolate on that for other consonants then.

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    What's the relevance of aspirated and non-aspirated stops here? Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 9:05
  • If the asker understands the acoustic difference between aspirated and unaspirated stops, he'll be able to produce them. He asked how they are pronounced and I provided what I think was the best answer
    – Darkgamma
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 13:05
  • But the question asks about aspirated (pulmonic) velar stop and ejective velar stop, there's no mention of unaspirated velar stop. Or am I misunderstanding something here? Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 12:35
  • While it does ask about the aspirated stop, it also asks how they're pronounced. The unaspirated velar stop is there to provide acoustic contrast and draw attention to the aspiration.
    – Darkgamma
    Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 15:19

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