Learn the American Accent! Nasal Plosion and the Glottal Stop

Feb 22, 2021

Learn the American Accent! Nasal Plosion and the Glottal Stop

2/22/2021

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If you look at the spelling of the words "eden" and "eaten", you would think their pronunciations would be completely different - but they're very similar! These words are "minimal pairs", which means they differ by one sound only. "Eden" has nasal plosion, and "eaten" has a glottal stop. But other than that, they sound the same! Learn the difference between nasal plosion and the glottal stop in words that are minimal pairs, and then perfect your American accent with word and sentence practice at the end of this video!

(Video Transcript)

 

Hi, I’m Julie with San Diego Voice and Accent, and in this video you’ll learn about the difference between nasal plosion and the glottal stop.

 

This video is a request from Hibbert, one of my subscribers who asked for help with pronouncing the words eden and eaten

 

Eden /ˈi.dn̩/

 

Eaten /ˈiʔ.n̩/

 

Yes, those words do sound alike! But one has nasal plosion, and one has a glottal stop. What a great video idea! Thanks Hibbert!

 

Let me quickly review both nasal plosion and the glottal stop, and if you need additional practice with these concepts, I recommend you watch my earlier videos of both of them.

(Nasal Plosion video; Glottal Stop video)

 

Nasal plosion

Nasal plosion is a unique sound that native speakers sometimes use in words that have a final unstressed D + N combination, like in the word:

 

Sudden /ˈsʌ.dn̩/ 

 

 Instead of saying “din” in the final syllable, 

 

Suh-din

 

native speakers may use an unreleased D, omit the vowel, and then move from the unreleased D to a syllabic N consonant. 

 

Sudden

 

You should feel a small burst of air come out of the nose as you say the nasal plosion - hence the name, nasal plosion. 

 

Sudden

 

Glottal stop /ʔ/

A glottal stop, on the other hand, is made with the vocal cords.  It’s this sound here - 

 

ah, ah, ah, ah, ah. 

 

Not the voiced part, but the part between the voiced parts. 

 

ah

ah 

ah

ah 

 

The vocal cords come together to stop the airflow - hence the name, glottal stop - it’s a stop of the airflow. The tongue does not participate in the glottal stop - it’s just the vocal cords.

 

In American English, the glottal stop can sometimes take the place of a T consonant. This happens often in words that have a final unstressed T + N combination, like in the word:

 

Kitten

 

Instead of saying “tin” in the final syllable, 

 

Kitten /ˈkɪʔ.n̩/

 

native speakers usually use a glottal stop (also called a Stop T), omit the vowel, and then move from the glottal stop to a syllabic N consonant.

 

Kitten




Nasal plosion and glottal stop: Word practice

So let’s jump right into the practice. I’m going to say two words, and they will be minimal pairs, which means they will differ by one sound only. One will have nasal plosion, and the other will have a glottal stop. I’m going to say the words back to back, three times in a row, and then you’ll have a chance to repeat. Both words will have very similar mouth positions, so you’ll need to listen closely to hear the difference



Eden

Eaten



Sudden

Sutton



Hidden

Hittin’



Widen

Whiten



Burden

Burton




Nasal plosion and glottal stop: Sentence practice

Now I’ll use the same words in a sentence. I’ll say each sentence three times, and then you’ll have a chance to repeat. 



Her name is Eden.

Her name is Eaten.



It was sudden - it happened so fast.

It was Sutton - it happened so fast.



The truth was hidden from me.

The truth was hittin’ me in the face.



You want to widen your house?

You want to whiten your house?



That was a huge burden.

His name is Tim Burton.




I hope this video helped you with your pronunciation of nasal plosion versus the glottal stop. Thanks for watching, and let me know how I can help you perfect your American accent!