AskDefine | Define ingression

Extensive Definition

otheruses ingress In human speech, ingressive sounds are those in which the airstream is inward through the mouth or nose. The three types of ingressive sounds are lingual ingressive, glottalic ingressive, and pulmonic ingressive (inhaled). The opposite of an ingressive sound is an egressive sound.

Lingual ingressive

Lingual ingressive, or velaric ingressive, describes an airstream mechanism whereby a sound is produced by closing the vocal tract at two places of articulation in the mouth, rarifying the air in the enclosed space by lowering the tongue, and then releasing both closures. The sounds made this way are called clicks.

Glottalic ingressive

This term is generally applied to the implosive consonants, which actually use a mixed glottalic ingressive–pulmonic egressive airstream. True pulmonic ingressives, called voiceless implosives or reverse ejectives, are quite rare. (See implosive consonant.)

Pulmonic ingressive

Pulmonic ingressive sounds are those ingressive sounds in which the airstream is created by the lungs. Pulmonic ingressive sounds are generally paralinguistic, and may be found as phonemes, words, and entire phrases on all continents and in genetically unrelated languages, most frequently in sounds for agreement and backchanneling.
Pulmonic ingressive sounds are extremely rare outside of paralinguistic phenomena. A pulmonic ingressive phoneme was found in the apparently constructed ritual language Damin, the last speaker of which died in the 1990s. The ǃXóõ language of Botswana has a series of nasalized click consonants in which the nasal airstream is pulmonic ingressive. Ladefoged (SOWL p 268) states that "This ǃXóõ click is probably unique among the sounds of the world's languages that, even in the middle of a sentence, it may have ingressive pulmonic airflow."


Speech technologist Robert Eklund ( has found reports of ingressive speech in around 50 languages worldwide, dating as far back as Cranz's (1765) "Historie von Grönland, enthaltend… " where it is mentioned in female affirmations among the Eskimo.

Inhaled Affirmative "Yeah"

Several languages include an affirmative "yeah", "yah", "yuh" or "yes" made with inhaled breath which sounds something like a gasp. This is an example of a pulmonic ingressive. This feature is found in:
  • Dialects of English spoken in the state of Maine. The word is often transcribed as "ayup" and people attempting to imitate Maine dialect rarely use the ingressive form. It is missing in most Maine-dialect TV and Hollywood productions.
  • Hiberno-English, typically used to express agreement and show attentiveness in a phone conversation, for example.
  • In Faroese entire phrases are sometimes produced ingressively, as is also the case inIcelandic language, while in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish words like "ja" (yes), "no" (nei) etc. are often pronounced with inhaled breath which can be confusing to foreigners. The main function of inhaled speech seems to be paralinguistic, showing e.g., agreement with a statement and to encourage a speaker to continue on. It is consequently also typical of dialog.
  • In Khalkha Mongolian the words тийм [tiim] ("yes") and үгүй [ugui] ("no") are often pronounced in daily conversation with pulmonic ingressive airflow.
  • In Ewe and other Togolese languages.

Sound files

Two sound files of Swedish ja can be downloaded from Spectrograms are also found there.


More information about pulmonic ingressive speech is found at Robert Eklund's ingressive speech website:
ingression in Hebrew: מנגנון וילוני מפונם
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