"Emphatic consonant" is a somewhat imprecise term commonly used in Semiticlinguistics to describe pharyngealized or velarized, and ejectiveconsonants, or consonants that historically had one of these properties. It is also used, to a lesser extent, in describing the phonology of other Afro-Asiatic languages, notably Berber.
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There were five triads of homorganic consonants (pronounced in the same area of the mouth); each triad consisted of a voiced, voiceless, and emphaticconsonant.
The emphaticconsonants are characteristic of Semitic; in Proto-Semitic they were probably glottalized, that is, produced with a simultaneous closing of the glottis in the throat; this is how they are still pronounced in the Ethiopian Semitic languages.
The outcomes of the Proto-Semitic consonants in Akkadian, Ethiopic, Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic are illustrated in the table "Proto-Semitic Sound Correspondences".
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