Ejective Consonant Sounds

Ejective sounds are sometimes found in English pronunciation at the end of syllables ending with voiceless plosives /p,t,k/, but they are never obligatory.

An ejective is made by trapping air above the glottis and releasing it without using any pressure from the lungs.

In this way ejective sounds form a different group from all the other sounds in English, which are pulmonic – they use air from the lungs.

Ejective Sound Examples

Ejectives only appear at the end of syllables:




There are always other possible pronunciations to use instead of an ejective, so they are not phonemic.

Aspiration [ʰ] is a more common pronunciation, and in the case of /t/ a glottal stop [ʔ] or affrication [ˢ] are also common depending to a large degree on the speaker’s accent.

Of the three sounds, ejective [k’] is the one most commonly heard in British English pronunciation.

Ejective Diacritic

The diacritic from the International Phonetic Alphabet for ejectives is an apostrophe: