AskDefine | Define guttural

Dictionary Definition

guttural adj
1 like the sounds of frogs and crows; "a guttural voice"; "acres of guttural frogs" [syn: croaking, croaky]
2 relating to or articulated in the throat; "the glottal stop and uvular `r' and `ch' in German `Bach' are guttural sounds" n : a consonant articulated in the back of the mouth or throat [syn: guttural consonant]

User Contributed Dictionary



Latin guttur "throat"


  1. Sounding harsh and throaty.
    German is considered a very guttural language, with many harsh consonants.


Extensive Definition

Guttural is a term used to describe any of several consonantal speech sounds whose primary place of articulation is near the back of the oral cavity, and include some velar consonants, uvular consonants, and pharyngeal consonants.

Guttural consonants

The word guttural is derived from the French and Latin denoting a sound coming from the throat.
The concept of gutturality is not entirely objective, but a guttural sound is generally considered to be one which is pronounced with the dorsum of the tongue and/or at any point behind the hard palate, including the soft palate, the uvula or the pharynx. In scientific discourse, the more precise terms indicating place of articulation, such as uvular consonant, are generally preferred.
Some phonologists use the term guttural to mean either radical or glottal.

Popular attitudes towards guttural consonants

While the modern spoken English language contains several velar consonants, guttural consonants pronounced further back in the mouth and throat like the ones found in Arabic, Somali or Hebrew are often perceived as very alien. Some English speakers, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, found those sounds to be very hard on the ear, an attitude not commonly shared by native speakers of Arabic.
Hebrew also traditionally has guttural consonants, but except for the guttural R, these pronunciations were not found in most European varieties of Hebrew, and in modern Israel, guttural pronunciations were stigmatized by the Ashkenazi cultural elite for decades. Today, the most common pronunciation of Israeli Hebrew has no guttural consonants except for its realizations of /r/ and sometimes the presence of /χ/ and /ħ/, but traditional Mizrahi Jewish pronunciations (including a full range of guttural consonants not including R) are still used in music and poetry.
A guttural style of singing is very popular within extreme metal (Black, Death, Doom & sometimes Thrash Metal) music, as its aggressive sound arguably complements the music.

So-called guttural languages

In the popular consciousness, some languages are considered to be guttural languages, as opposed to just possessing some sounds which are pronounced at the back of the oral cavity. Often, this is just a result of the beliefs of Anglophones or of non-speakers of those languages. Some languages which have fallen under the popular meaning of "guttural", as opposed to the technical meaning, are German, Ubykh, and Arabic.
French, Arabic, Welsh language Welsh Armenian, Hebrew, Scots, and also partly German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Portuguese,Somali, Yiddish all contain sounds that come from the back of the throat as well as some Northern English dialects. Sometimes whether a language is considered guttural or not could depend on differences within regions and countries. In French, the only truly guttural sound is a uvular trill; Arabic and Hebrew both contain rather more gutturals, including velar, uvular and pharyngeal fricatives.


guttural in German: Gutturaler Laut
guttural in Dutch: Gutturaal
guttural in Swedish: Guttural

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accented, allophone, alveolar, apical, apico-alveolar, apico-dental, articulated, articulation, aspiration, assimilated, assimilation, back, barytone, bilabial, blurred, brassy, brazen, breathy, broad, cacuminal, central, cerebral, check, checked, choked, choking, close, coarse, consonant, consonantal, continuant, cracked, croaking, croaky, dental, diphthong, dissimilated, dissimilation, dorsal, drawling, drawly, dry, dysphonic, epenthetic vowel, explosive, flat, front, glide, glossal, glottal, glottalization, gruff, hard, harsh, harsh-sounding, hawking, heavy, high, hoarse, husky, inarticulate, indistinct, intonated, labial, labialization, labiodental, labiovelar, laryngeal, lateral, lax, light, lingual, liquid, lisping, low, manner of articulation, metallic, mid, mispronounced, modification, monophthong, monophthongal, morphophoneme, mute, muted, muzzy, narrow, nasal, nasalized, occlusive, open, oxytone, palatal, palatalized, parasitic vowel, peak, pharyngeal, pharyngealization, pharyngealized, phone, phoneme, phonemic, phonetic, phonic, pitch, pitched, plosive, posttonic, prothetic vowel, quavering, ragged, raucid, raucous, retroflex, rough, rounded, roupy, rude, segmental phoneme, semivowel, shaking, shaky, snuffling, soft, sonant, sonority, speech sound, squawking, squawky, stertorous, stifled, stop, stopped, strangled, stressed, strong, surd, syllabic, syllabic nucleus, syllabic peak, syllable, tense, thick, throaty, tinny, tonal, tonic, transition sound, tremulous, triphthong, twangy, unaccented, unrounded, unstressed, velar, vocable, vocalic, vocoid, voice, voiced, voiced sound, voiceless, voiceless sound, voicing, vowel, vowellike, weak, wide
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1