Friday 20 April 2012


(By Rosa Maté Ibáñez and Ana López Pozo)

It's the little things that make the difference.

In this song, Littlest Things by Lilly Allen (made popular by the viral power of the net), you can learn to identify and practice glottal stop, represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet as /ʔ/. This is produced by obstructing the airflow in the vocal tract. In certain positions  it may be used as an allophone of the phoneme / t/; This is known as glottalling or glottal replacement of 't'. See tutorial on glottal stop .
T Glottalisation is one of the features of Cockney English. See Cockney rhyming slang. The term Cockney has both geographical and linguistic associations. Geographically and culturally, it often refers to working class Londoners, particularly those in the East End. Linguistically, it refers to the form of English spoken by this group. It used to be looked down on by some people but today it is becoming more common and accepted. Due to the influence of  television series and some presenters, Cokney has spread. This has led to the adoption of a mock Cockney (Mockney) accent by some celebrities  looking for street credibility.
  • Listen to the song and do the gap-fill exercise while listening. Click on the clue button to get a phonetic transcription of the missing words. The clues in the gap-fill exercise for this song, Littlest Things, focus on the t glottlalisation

  • Can you find any more words containing glottal stop in the song apart from the gapped ones?


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