Aspiration (definition)

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Aspiration is the puff of air that accompanies the production of some consonant sounds, normally stops. The presence of aspiration can be seen or felt by holding a tissue or your hand just in front of your lips as you produce the sound. Postaspiration is the most common kind of aspiration and occurs after the release required for plosives; preaspiration is less common (although notably manifested in Gaelic) and occurs before the closure necessary to articulate those consonants.

For a definition of the initial consonant mutation which is sometimes called 'aspiration' in Gaelic, see Lenition.

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Be very careful with wikipedia articles, they often contain inaccurate information


  • Crystal, D. (2008) Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. 6th Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.