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Slack voice: Wikis

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Glottal states
From open to closed:
Voiceless (full airstream)
Breathy voice (murmur)
Slack voice
Modal voice (maximum vibration)
Stiff voice
Creaky voice (restricted airstream)
Glottalized (blocked airstream)
Supra-glottal phonation
Faucalized voice ("hollow")
Harsh voice ("pressed")
Strident (harsh trilled)
Non-phonemic phonation

The term slack voice (or lax voice) describes the pronunciation of consonants with a glottal opening slightly wider than that occurring in modal voice. Such sounds are often referred to informally as lenis or half-voiced. In some Chinese languages, such as Wu, and in many Austronesian languages, the 'intermediate' phonation of slack stops confuses listeners of languages without these distinctions, so that different transcription systems may use /p/ or /b/ for the same consonant. Although the IPA has no dedicated diacritic for slack voice, the voiceless diacritic (the under-ring) may be used with a voiced consonant letter.[1]

The Shanghainese "muddy" consonants are slack voice, the primary effect of which is a slightly breathy quality of the following vowel [1]

Shanghainese form translation form translation form translation
slack voice [b̥ʌ̌ʔ] white [d̥ǐ] earth [ɡ̊ə̀ʔ] (possessive particle)
tenuis [pʌ́ʔ] hundred [tíʔ] (a grammatical particle) [kóʔ] corner
aspirated [pʰóʔ] to strike [tʰí] heaven [kʰʌ́ʔ] competence

Javanese contrasts slack and stiff voiced bilabial, dental, retroflex, and velar stops [1]

phonation IPA trans. IPA trans. IPA translation IPA trans. IPA trans.
stiff voice [b̬aku] nail [d̬amu] guest [d̬z̬ariʔ] sheet (of paper) [ɖ̬iɖ̬iʔ] little [ɡ̌ali] river
slack voice [b̥aku] standard [d̥amu] blow [d̥z̥arit] (type of women's clothing) [ɖ̥isiʔ] first [ɡ̊ali] to dig


  1. ^ a b c Ladefoged, Peter; Ian Maddieson (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.  

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