Stop consonant

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A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. Plosives are properly stops with airflow out of the mouth. Sometimes the term stop includes nasal stops, more commonly simply called nasals, in which airflow is stopped in the mouth, but released through the nose.



The terms plosive and stop are usually used interchangeably, but they are not perfect synonyms. Plosives are a subset of stops, oral stops with a pulmonic egressive airstream mechanism. That is, airflow is released outwards through the mouth. This contrasts with implosive consonants, where airflow is sucked in.

The term is also used to describe nasal (non-oral) stops (sounds like [n] and [m]). Many use the term nasal continuant rather than nasal stop to refer to sounds like [n] and [m]. This article treats these "nasal continuants" as nasal stops (usually simply nasal consonant), where airflow is stopped in the mouth, but proceeds out through the nose.

In Ancient Greek, stops were called áphōna (stoicheîa),[1], which was translated into Latin as mūtae or surdae (cōnsōnantēs).[2] Both mute and surd were used in English as synonyms of "stop".[3][4] Both the Latin and Greek terms sometimes referred to consonants in general, which ancient grammarians did not consider as pronounceable on their own without vowels.[5]

Common stops

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