> I'd rather talk of the null phoneme. I just fail to see what a null phone
> could be since all phones are recordable with machines.
My own terminological preference is for the "null/zero segment" (a
segment is something more abstract than a phone).
> Tagalog is a case in point. It has the null phoneme /Ø/, that is realized as
> the glottal stop when it fills the initial phonotactic position of a
> syllable (I call it the "anaclinon" in my own jargon); it has no realization
> when it fills the final phonotactic position of a syllable (which I call the
> e.g. /Øu 'lan/ > [?u 'lan] <ulán> "rain"; /Ø-um-u 'lan > [?u mu 'lan]
> <umulán> "to rain"
> /sa 'Øid/ > [sa '?id] <saíd> "consumed, exhausted"
> /ba 'tuØ/ > [ba 'to] <bató> "stone"
> German has the null phoneme at the initial of words apparently beginning
> with a vowel.
> /'Øar bait/ > [?ar bait] <Arbeit> "work"
It looks to me more like an underlyingly empty position that in the
right circumstances may be filled by default with a prothetic glide. Its
most common habitat is a syllable lacking a consonantal onset, and the
usual slot-filler is either a glide homorganic with whatever follows
(e.g. [j]/[w] before front/back vowels, or a glottal onset -- [h] or
[?]). It isn't really a phonological zero, since it has a predictable
> I think it is the same in English, but I once had a discussion with native
> speakers of English, and although they used it in their refutal, they
> asserted they was no glottal stop at the initial of art, ease, own, out,
> urge etc.
It can be used in English, but it's used for adding special emphasis to
a stressed syllable beginning with a vowel. It isn't just a customary
onset-filler in English, as opposed to German or Arabic.