Explosive Consonant

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Explosive Consonant


a type of stop whose articulation includes all three phases of occlusive consonant formation: closure, hold, and release. Explosive consonants are the counterparts of implosive consonants, whose articulation lacks a release. In most languages, including Russian, explosive consonants occur before vowels; implosive consonants occur before consonants and at the end of a word. For example, in the Russian word tot (“that”) the initial t is an explosive consonant and the final t is an implosive consonant.

In reference to languages that have special implosive consonantal phonemes, such as the Fulani and Ibo languages of West Africa, the term “explosive consonant” denotes a consonant that normally has egressive air flow; that is, the air is forced forward on release of the stop. By contrast, the release of implosives is accompanied by ingressive air flow caused by a sharp lowering of the larynx and an expansion of the supraglottal cavity.

The term “explosive consonant” is often used as a synonym for “plosive consonant.”


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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