AskDefine | Define emphatic

Dictionary Definition

emphatic adj
1 spoken with emphasis; "an emphatic word" [syn: emphasized, emphasised]
2 sudden and strong; "an emphatic no" [syn: exclamatory]
3 forceful and definite in expression or action; "the document contained a particularly emphatic guarantee of religious liberty" [syn: forceful]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ɪmˈfætɪk/, /Im"f

Extensive Definition

Emphatic consonant is a term widely used in Semitic linguistics to describe one of a series of obstruent consonants which originally contrasted with series of both voiced and voiceless obstruents. In specific Semitic languages the members of this series may be realized as pharyngealized, velarized, ejective or plain voiced or voiceless consonants. It is also used, to a lesser extent, to describe cognate series in other Afro-Asiatic languages, where they are typically realized as either ejective or implosive consonants. In Semitic studies they are commonly transcribed using the convention of placing a dot under the closest plain obstruent consonant in the Latin alphabet. With respect to particular Semitic and Afro-Asiatic languages this term has come to be used more specifically to describe the particular phonetic feature which distinguishes these consonants from other consonants. Thus in Arabic emphasis is synonymous with a secondary articulation involving retraction of the dorsum or root of the tongue, which has variously been described as velarization, or pharyngealization depending on where the locus of the retraction is assumed to be. Within Arabic, the emphatic consonants have been reported as varying in phonetic realization from dialect to dialect, but are typically realized as pharyngealized consonants. In Ethiopian and Modern South Arabian languages, they are realized as ejective consonants. While these sounds do not necessarily share any particular phonetic properties in common, historically most derive from a common source.
Five such "emphatic" phonemes are reconstructed for Proto-Semitic:
  • a dental plosive (=[t’]), see Teth
  • an interdental fricative (=[θ’]), see Tsade,
  • an alveolar fricative or affricate (=[(t)s’]), see Tsade
  • a lateral fricative or affricate (=[(t)ɬ’]), see Tsade,
  • a velar or uvular plosive (=[k’]or [q’]), see Qoph


emphatic in Breton: Kensonenn stambouc'hus
emphatic in French: Consonne emphatique
emphatic in Indonesian: Konsonan emfatis
emphatic in Hebrew: עיצורים נחציים
emphatic in Malay (macrolanguage): Konsonan penegas
emphatic in Dutch: Emfatische medeklinker
emphatic in Polish: Spółgłoska emfatyczna

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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