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Ejective consonant

Ejective consonants are a class of consonants which may contrast with aspirated or unaspirated consonants in a language.

Ejectives are voiceless consonants which are pronounced with simultaneous glottal closure. They are often described as sounding like "spat" consonants, but ejectivity is often quite weak; in some contexts, and depending upon the language they appear in, they may even sound like unaspirated consonants.

Language families which utilise ejective consonants include the Northwest, Northeast and South Caucasian families; the Athabaskan family; the Salishan family; the Afro-Asiatic family (notably Hausa); the Khoisan family; and Korean.

The vast majority of ejective consonants noted in the world's languages are plosives or affricates. However, a very few languages utilise ejective fricatives as well; Ubykh (Northwest Caucasian) uses an ejective lateral fricative, the Upper Necaxa dialect of the Totonac language uses an ejective labiodental fricative, and Kabardian uses both of these in addition to ejective alveolopalatal and postalveolar fricatives.