The glottal stop is a sound used in speech in many languages. It is a consonant
made by momentary closing the glottis
. As it is a momentary pause in the flow of sound, it is usually written using the apostrophe
( ' ).
The glottal stop is not part of the English language as it is taught and spoken in most of the world 1. However it is characteristic of the way that many of The English have come to speak English from the late 20th century onwards.
Many English people will soften or drop entirely the t at the end of words such as that, not, but, what, got. I tend to write this accent as wo' for what and so on.
The glottal stop is even more emphasised in some accents. Instead of t and th in the middle or at the end of a word. For instance, an east-end Londoner may say:
Wi' a li'il bi' of bu'er, no' a glo'al stop. ge' i'?
Here endith the objective, factual writeup. Now for opinion and GTKY stuff.
Note 1) That used to read: "The glottal stop is not officially part of the English language. However..." until a britnoder asked me to define official in this context. I have caved in and admitted that in these postmodern, decentered times that is not possible. Everyone has an accent. All an official pronounciation would be doing is arbitrarily promoting one accent over another, and that would be bad m'kay?
As Princess LouLou keeps saying to me, English is a living language. It evolves over time. There is no single right way to speak, no official correct pronounciation.
She also tells me that my accent has softened over the last few months since I arrived in London. This is good. Despite that, I try not to use glottal stops in my speech. Many of the britnoders do, and as I assimilate the local accent I'm trying to avoid doing so. I've gotten used to hearing it, I just don't want to hear myself say it. It just sounds ugly. You can take that as a value judgement if you so wish.