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Consonant symbols and sounds in the International Phonetic Alphabet


Hear sound
The bilabial nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in almost all spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is m, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is m. The bilabial nasal occurs in English, and it is the sound represented by "m" in map and rum. It occurs nearly universally, and few languages (e.g., Mohawk) are known to lack this sound.


Hear sound
The voiceless bilabial plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is p, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is p. The voiceless bilabial plosive in English is spelled with 'p', as in pit or speed.

[p] is missing from about 10% of languages that have a [b]. (See voiced velar plosive for another such gap.) This is an areal feature of the "circum-Saharan zone" (Africa north of the equator, including the Arabian peninsula). It is not known how old this areal feature is, and whether it might be a recent phenomenon due to Arabic as a prestige language (Arabic lost its /p/ in prehistoric times), or whether Arabic was itself affected by a more ancient areal pattern. It is found in other areas as well; for example, in Europe, Proto-Celtic and Old Basque are both reconstructed as having [b] but no [p].

Nonetheless, the [p] sound is very common cross-linguistically. Most languages have at least a plain [p], and some distinguish more than one variety. Many Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindi, have a two-way contrast between the aspirated [p?] and the plain [p] (transcribed as [p?] in extensions to the IPA).


Hear sound
The voiced bilabial plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is b, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is b. The voiced bilabial plosive occurs in English, and it is the sound denoted by the letter ‹b› in boy. Many Indian languages, such as Hindi, have a two-way contrast between breathy voiced /b?/ and plain /b/.


Hear sound
The voiceless bilabial fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?.


Hear sound
The voiced bilabial fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ‹ß›, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ‹B›. The symbol ‹ß› is the Greek letter beta. This symbol is also sometimes used to represent the bilabial approximant, though that is more clearly written with the lowering diacritic, ‹ß?›. The bilabial fricative is diachronically unstable and is likely to shift to [v]. In the English language, this sound is not used, but can be made by approximating the normal "v" sound between the two lips.


Hear sound
The bilabial trill is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is Ê™, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is B\.

In many of the languages where the bilabial trill occurs, it only occurs as part of a prenasalised bilabial stop with trilled release, [mbʙ]. This developed historically from a prenasalized stop before a relatively high back vowel, such as [mbu]. In such instances, these sounds are usually still limited to the environment of a following [u]. There is also a very rare voiceless alveolar bilabially trilled affricate, [t̪͡ʙ̥] (occasionally written "tp") reported from Pirahã and from a few words in the Chapacuran languages, Wari’ and Oro Win. The sound also appears as an allophone of the labialized voiceless alveolar plosive /tʷ/ of Abkhaz and Ubykh, but in those languages it is more often realised by a doubly articulated stop [t͡p]. In the Chapacuran languages, [tʙ̥] is reported almost exclusively before rounded vowels such as [o] and [y].


Hear sound
The labiodental nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?. The IPA symbol is a lowercase letter m with a leftward hook protruding from the lower right of the letter. Occasionally it is instead transcribed as an with a dental diacritic: [m?].

It is pronounced very similarly to the bilabial nasal [m], except instead of the lips touching each other, the lower lip touches the upper teeth. The position of the lips and teeth is generally the same as for the production of the other labiodental consonants, like [f] and [v], though closure is obviously incomplete for the fricatives.

Although commonly appearing in languages, it is overwhelmingly present non-phonemically, largely restricted to appear before labiodental consonants like [f] and [v]. A phonemic /?/ has been reported for the Kukuya (Kukwa) dialect of Teke, where it contrasts with /m, mpf, mbv/ and is "accompanied by strong protrusion of both lips". It is [??] before /a/ and [?] before /i/ and /e/, perhaps because labialization is constrained by the spread front vowels; it does not occur before back (rounded) vowels. However, there is some doubt that a true stop can be made by this gesture due to gaps between the incisors, which for many speakers would allow air to flow during the occlusion; this is particularly pertinent considering that one of the words with this consonant, /?áá/, means a 'gap between filed incisors,' a practice of the Teke people.

Nevertheless, it is common phonetically, as it is a typical allophone of /m/ and /n/ before the labiodental fricatives [f] and [v], as in English comfort, circumvent, infinitive, or invent. In Angami, it occurs as an allophone of /m/ before /?/.


Hear sound
The voiceless labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is f, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is f.


Hear sound
The voiced labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is v, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is v.

Although this is a familiar sound to most European listeners, it is cross-linguistically a fairly uncommon sound, being only a quarter as frequent as [w]. The presence of [v] and absence of [w], along with the presence of otherwise unknown front rounded vowels [y, ø, œ], is a very distinctive areal feature of European languages and those of adjacent areas of Siberia and Central Asia. Speakers of East Asian languages which lack this sound like Mandarin tend to pronounce [v] as [p], Japanese as [b], and Cantonese as [w], thus failing to distinguish the English words "very" and "berry".


Hear sound
The labiodental approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is P or v\.


Hear sound
The labiodental flap is a speech sound found primarily in languages of Central Africa, such as Kera and Mangbetu. It has also been reported in the Austronesian language Sika. It is one of the few non-rhotic flaps. The sound begins with the lower lip placed behind the upper teeth. The lower lip is then flipped outward, striking the upper teeth in passing. The [?] glyph, which resembles izhitsa (?), is used to represent this sound in the International Phonetic Alphabet.


Hear sound
The alveolar nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in numerous spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar nasals is n, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is n. The vast majority of languages have either an alveolar or dental nasal. There are a few languages that lack either sound but have [m] (e.g., Samoan). There are some languages (e.g., Rotokas) that lack both m and n.


Hear sound
The voiceless alveolar plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar plosives is t, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is t. The dental version can be distinguished with the underbridge diacritic (t̪; see voiceless dental plosive), and the Extensions to the IPA have a double underline diacritic which can be used to explicitly specify an alveolar pronunciation (t͇). The [t] sound is a very common sound cross-linguistically; the most common consonant phonemes of the world's languages are [t], [k] and [p]. Most languages have at least a plain [t], and some distinguish more than one variety. Some languages without a [t] are Hawaiian (outside of Ni‘ihau; Hawaiian uses a voiceless velar plosive when adopting loanwords with [t]), colloquial Samoan (which also lacks an [n]), and Nǀu used in South Africa.


Hear sound
The voiced alveolar plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiced dental, alveolar, and postalveolar plosives is d (although the symbol d̪ can be used to distinguish the dental version, see voiceless dental plosive), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is d.


Hear sound
The voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. It is familiar to English speakers as the 'th' in thing. Though rather rare as a phoneme in the world's inventory of languages, it is encountered in some of the most widespread and influential (see below). The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is T. The IPA symbol is the Greek letter theta, which is used for this sound in Greek, and the sound is thus often referred to as "theta".

The dental fricatives are often called "interdental" because they are often produced with the tongue between the upper and lower teeth, and not just against the back of the teeth, as they are with other dental consonants. Among the more than 60 languages with over 10 million speakers, only English, Standard Arabic, Castilian Spanish (i.e., as spoken in Spain only), Burmese, and Greek have the voiceless dental fricative. Speakers of languages and dialects without the sound sometimes have difficulty producing or distinguishing it from similar sounds, especially if they have had no chance to acquire it in childhood, and typically replace it with a voiceless alveolar fricative, voiceless dental plosive, or a voiceless labiodental fricative (known respectively as th-alveolarization, th-stopping, and th-fronting.)

The sound is known to have disappeared from a number of languages, e.g. from most of the Germanic languages or dialects, where it is retained only in English and Icelandic.


Hear sound
The voiced dental non-sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound, eth, is ð, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is D. The symbol ð was taken from the Old English letter eth, which could stand for either a voiced or unvoiced interdental fricative. This symbol is also sometimes used to represent the dental approximant, a similar sound not known to contrast with a dental fricative in any language, though that is more clearly written with the lowering diacritic, ð?. The dental fricatives are often called "interdental" because they are often produced with the tongue between the upper and lower teeth, and not just against the back of the teeth, as they are with other dental consonants. It is familiar to English speakers as the th sound in then. This sound, and its unvoiced counterpart, are rare phonemes.The great majority of European and Asian languages, such as German, French, Persian, Japanese, and Chinese, lack this sound. Native speakers of those languages in which the sound is not present often have difficulty enunciating or distinguishing it, and replace it with a voiced alveolar fricative, a voiced dental plosive, or a voiced labiodental fricative (known respectively as th-alveolarization, th-stopping, and th-fronting). As for Europe, there seems to be a great arc where this sound (and/or the unvoiced variant) is present. Most of mainland Europe lacks the sound; however, the "periphery" languages of Welsh, Elfdalian, English, Danish, Arabic, some Italian dialects, Greek, and Albanian have this phoneme in their consonant inventories.

Within Turkic languages, Bashkir and Turkmen have both voiced and voiceless dental fricatives among their consonants.


Hear sound
The voiceless alveolar fricatives are consonantal sounds. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents these sounds depends on whether a sibilant or non-sibilant fricative is being described. The symbol for the alveolar sibilant is s, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is s. The IPA symbol [s] is not normally used for dental or postalveolar sibilants unless modified by a diacritic ([s?] and [s?] respectively). The IPA symbol for the alveolar non-sibilant fricative is derived by means of diacritics; it can be ?? or ??°, or it can be [??], using the alveolar diacritic from the Extended IPA


Hear sound
The voiced alveolar fricatives are consonantal sounds. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents these sounds depends on whether a sibilant or non-sibilant fricative is being described. The symbol for the alveolar sibilant is z, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is z. The IPA symbol [z] is not normally used for dental or postalveolar sibilants unless modified by a diacritic ([z?] and [z?] respectively). The IPA symbol for the alveolar non-sibilant fricative is derived by means of diacritics; it can be ð? or ??.


Hear sound
The voiceless palato-alveolar fricative or domed postalveolar fricative (IPA ?) is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The sound occurs in many languages, and, as in English, French and Italian, it may have simultaneous lip rounding (??), although this is rarely indicate


Hear sound
The voiced palato-alveolar fricative or domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ‹?›, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Z. An alternative symbol used in some older and American linguistic literature is ‹ž›, a z with a hácek. The sound occurs in many languages and, as in English and French, may have simultaneous lip rounding ([??]), although this is rarely indicated in transcription.


Hear sound
The alveolar approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents alveolar and postalveolar approximants is ‹?›, a lowercase letter r rotated 180 degrees; the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ‹r\›. For ease of typesetting, some phonemic transcriptions use the symbol ‹r› instead of ‹?›, even though the former symbol technically represents the alveolar trill.


Hear sound
The alveolar trill is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar trills is [r], and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r. It is commonly called the rolled R or rolling R. Quite often, /r/ is used in phonemic transcriptions (especially those found in dictionaries) of languages like English and German that have rhotic consonants that are not an alveolar trill. This is partly due to ease of typesetting and partly because r is often the symbol used for the orthographies of such languages. In the majority of Indo-European languages, this sound is at least occasionally allophonic with an alveolar tap [?], particularly in unstressed positions. Exceptions to this include Catalan, Spanish, and Albanian, which treat them as separate phonemes.


Hear sound
The alveolar flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar flaps is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is 4.


Hear sound
The voiceless alveolar lateral fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar fricatives is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is K. The symbol ? is called "belted l" and should not be confused with "l with tilde", [?], which corresponds to a different sound, the velarized alveolar lateral approximant. It should also be distinguished from a voiceless alveolar lateral approximant, although the fricative is sometimes incorrectly described as a "voiceless l", a description fitting only of the approximant. Although the sound is rare among European languages outside the Caucasus (being found notably in Welsh, where it is written "ll"), it is fairly common among Native American languages such as Navajo and Caucasian languages such as Avar, and is found in African languages like Zulu and Asian languages like Chukchi and Taishanese.


Hear sound
The voiced alveolar lateral fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiced dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral fricatives is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is K\.


Hear sound
The alveolar lateral approximant, also known as clear l, is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral approximants is l, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l.

As a sonorant, lateral approximants are nearly always voiced. Voiceless lateral approximants are common in Tibeto-Burman languages, but uncommon elsewhere. In such cases, voicing typically starts about halfway through the hold of the consonant.


Hear sound
The alveolar lateral flap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, a fusion of a rotated lowercase letter ‹r› with a letter ‹l›. Some languages which are described as having a lateral flap, such as Japanese, actually have a flap which is indeterminant as to centrality, and may surface as either central or lateral, either depending on surrounding vowels or in free variation.


Hear sound
The retroflex nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is n`. Like all the retroflex consonants, the IPA symbol is formed by adding a rightward pointing hook extending from the bottom of the symbol used for the equivalent alveolar consonant, in this case the alveolar nasal which has the symbol n. The IPA symbol is thus a lowercase letter n with a rightward tail protruding from the bottom of the right stem of the letter. Compare n and ?. The symbol ? should not be confused with ?, the symbol for the palatal nasal, which has a leftward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the left stem, or with ?, the symbol for the velar nasal, which has a leftward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem.


Hear sound
The palatal nasal is a type of consonant, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is J. The IPA symbol is a lowercase letter n with a leftward-pointing tail protruding from the bottom of the left stem of the letter. Compare n and ?. The symbol ? is similar to ?, the symbol for the retroflex nasal, which has a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem, and with ?, the symbol for the velar nasal, which has a leftward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem. Palatal nasals are more common than palatal stops [c] or [?]. In Spanish and languages whose writing systems are influenced by Spanish orthography, this sound is represented with the letter eñe (ñ).


Hear sound
The velar nasal is the sound of ng in English sing. It is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ‹?›, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is N.

As a phoneme, the velar nasal does not occur in many of the indigenous languages of the Americas, nor in a large number of European or Middle Eastern languages, though it is extremely common in Australian Aboriginal languages. While almost all languages have /m/ and /n/, /?/ is rarer. Only half of the 469 languages surveyed in Anderson (2008) had a velar nasal phoneme; as a further peculiarity, a large proportion of them disallow it from occurring word-initially.

As with the voiced velar plosive, the relative rarity of the velar nasal is because the small oral cavity used to produce velar consonants makes it more difficult for voicing to be sustained. It also makes it much more difficult to allow air to escape through the nose as is required for a nasal consonant.

In many languages that do not have the velar nasal as a phoneme, it occurs as an allophone of other nasals before velar consonants.


Hear sound
The uvular nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?. In many languages that do not have the velar nasal as a phoneme, it occurs as an allophone of other nasals before velar consonants.


Hear sound
The voiceless retroflex plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is t`. Like all the retroflex consonants, the IPA symbol is formed by adding a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the symbol used for the equivalent alveolar consonant, in this case the voiceless alveolar plosive which has the symbol t. If lowercase letter t in the font used already has a rightward-pointing hook, then ? is distinguished from t by extending the rightward-pointing hook below the baseline as a descender. Compare t and ?. In many languages that do not have the velar nasal as a phoneme, it occurs as an allophone of other nasals before velar consonants.


Hear sound
The voiced retroflex plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is d`. The IPA symbol is a lowercase letter d with a rightward-pointing tail protruding from the lower right of the letter. Like all the retroflex consonants, the IPA symbol is formed by adding a rightward pointing hook extending from the bottom of the symbol used for the equivalent alveolar consonant, in this case the voiced alveolar plosive which has the symbol d. Compare d and ?. Many Indian languages, such as Hindi, have a two-way contrast between aspirated and plain [?].


Hear sound
The voiceless palatal plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is c, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is c. It is similar to a voiceless postalveolar affricate [t?] (as in English chip), and because it is difficult to get the tongue to touch just the hard palate without also touching the back part of the alveolar ridge,[c] is less common than [t?]. It is common for the symbol ‹c› to represent [t?] or other similar affricates, for example in the Indic languages. This may be considered appropriate when the place of articulation needs to be specified, but the distinction between stop and affricate is not contrastive, and therefore of secondary importance.


Hear sound
The voiced palatal plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, a rotated lowercase letter ‹f›, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is J\.

The sound does not exist as a phoneme in English, but is perhaps most similar to a voiced postalveolar affricate [d?], as in English jump (although it is a stop, not an affricate; the most similar stop phoneme to this sound in English is [g], as in get), and because it is difficult to get the tongue to touch just the hard palate without also touching the back part of the alveolar ridge, [?] is a less common sound worldwide than [d?]. It is also common for the symbol /?/ to be used to represent a palatalized voiced velar plosive, or other similar affricates, for example in the Indic languages. This may be considered appropriate when the place of articulation needs to be specified and the distinction between stop and affricate is not contrastive, and therefore of secondary importance.


Hear sound
The voiceless velar plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is k, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is k.

The [k] sound is a very common sound cross-linguistically. Most languages have at least a plain [k], and some distinguish more than one variety. Many Indian languages, such as Hindi and Bengali, have a two-way contrast between aspirated and plain [k].


Hear sound
The voiced velar plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is g, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is g. Strictly, the IPA symbol is the so-called "opentail G" , though the "looptail G" is considered an acceptable alternative. The Unicode character "Latin small letter G" (U+0067) renders as either an opentail G or a looptail G depending on font, while the character "Latin small letter script G" (U+0261) is always an opentail G, but is generally available only in fonts with the IPA Extensions character block.

Of the six plosives that would be expected from the most common pattern world-wide—that is, three places of articulation plus voicing ([p b, t d, k g])—[p] and [g] are the most frequently missing, being absent in about 10% of languages that otherwise have this pattern. The former is an areal feature (see Voiceless bilabial plosive). Missing [g], on the other hand, is widely scattered around the world. (A few languages are missing both.[example needed]) It seems that [g] is somewhat more difficult to articulate than the other basic plosives. Ian Maddieson speculates that this may be due to a physical difficulty in voicing velars: Voicing requires that air flow into the mouth cavity, and the relatively small space allowed by the position of velar consonants means that it will fill up with air quickly, making voicing difficult to maintain in [g] for as long as it is in [d] or [b]. This could have two effects: [g] and [k] might become confused, and the distinction is lost, or perhaps a [g] never develops when a language first starts making voicing distinctions. (with uvulars, where there is even less space between the glottis and tongue for airflow, the imbalance is more extreme: Voiced [?] is much rarer than voiceless [q]). Many Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindustani, have a two-way contrast between aspirated and plain [g].


Hear sound
The voiceless uvular plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. It is pronounced like [k], except that the tongue makes contact not on the soft palate but on the uvula. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is q, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is q.


Hear sound
The voiced uvular plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is G\. [?] is a rare sound, even compared to other uvulars.


Hear sound
The voiceless retroflex fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is s`. Like all the retroflex consonants, the IPA symbol is formed by adding a rightward pointing hook extending from the bottom of the symbol used for the equivalent alveolar consonant, in this case the voiceless alveolar fricative which has the symbol s. The IPA symbol is thus a lowercase letter s with a rightward tail protruding from the lower left of the letter. Compare s and ?. Although a distinction can be made between laminal, apical, and sub-apical articulations, no language makes such a contrast.


Hear sound
The voiced retroflex fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is z`.Like all the retroflex consonants, the IPA symbol is formed by adding a rightward pointing hook extending from the bottom of the symbol used for the equivalent alveolar consonant, in this case the voiced alveolar fricative which has the symbol z. The IPA symbol is thus a lowercase letter z with a rightward tail protruding from the lower right of the letter. Compare z and ?.


Hear sound
The voiceless palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ç, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is C. The symbol ç is the letter c with a cedilla, as used to spell French words, such as façade, although the sound represented by the letter ç in French and English orthography is not a voiceless palatal fricative but /s/, the voiceless alveolar fricative.

Palatal fricatives are rare phonemes, and only 5% of the world's languages have /ç/ as a phoneme. However, it also tends to occur as an allophone of /x/ or /h/ in the vicinity of front vowels, and many English dialects are no exception.


Hear sound
The voiced palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ? (crossed-tail j), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is j\.

The voiced palatal fricative is a very rare sound, occurring in only seven of the 317 languages surveyed by the original UCLA Phonological Segment Inventory Database. In only three of the languages (Komi, Margi, Belgian Standard Dutch) this sound occurs along with its voiceless counterpart.


Hear sound
The palatal approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is j. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is j, or equivalently, i_^, and in the Americanist phonetic notation it is y. In the writing systems used for most of the languages of Central, Northern and Eastern Europe, the letter j denotes the palatal approximant, as in German Jahr 'year'; in other languages, the letters y or i may be used. In linguistics, the palatal approximant is sometimes called after the Semitic letter yod, as in the phonological history terms yod-dropping and yod-coalescence. In Ancient Greek grammar, the palatal approximant, which was lost early in the history of Greek, is sometimes written as ?? (iota with the inverted breve below, the non-syllabic diacritic or marker of a semivowel).


Hear sound
The retroflex approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\`. The IPA symbol is a turned lowercase letter r with a rightward hook protruding from the lower right of the letter.


Hear sound
The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The [x] sound was part of the consonant inventory of Old English and can still be found in some dialects of English, most notably in Scottish English. It is not to be confused with the voiceless uvular fricative (IPA ?, X-SAMPA X).


Hear sound
The voiced velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in various spoken languages. It is not found in English today, but did exist in Old English. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ? (a variant of the Greek letter ?, gamma, which is used for this sound in Modern Greek), also graphically similar to ?, the IPA symbol for a close-mid back unrounded vowel), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is G. The symbol ? is also sometimes used to represent the velar approximant, though that is more accurately written with the lowering diacritic: [??] or [??]. The IPA also provides a dedicated symbol for a velar approximant, [?], though there can be stylistic reasons to not use it in phonetic transcription.


Hear sound
The voiceless uvular fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is X. The sound is represented by x? (x with underdot) in Americanist phonetic notation. It is not to be confused with the voiceless velar fricative (IPA x, X-SAMPA x).


Hear sound
The voiced uvular fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, a rotated small uppercase letter ‹R›, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is R. This consonant is one of several collectively called guttural R when found in European languages. Because the IPA symbol stands for both the uvular fricative and the uvular approximant, the fricative nature of this sound may be specified by adding the uptack to the letter, [??]. (The approximant can be specified by adding the downtack, [??]


Hear sound
The uvular trill is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is [?], a small capital R. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is R\. This consonant is one of several collectively called guttural R.

Within Europe, the uvular trill seems to have originated in Standard French around the seventeenth century, spreading to standard varieties of German, Danish, as well as in parts of Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish; it is also present in other areas of Europe, but it's not all that clear if such pronunciations are due to French influence. In most cases, varieties have shifted this to a uvular fricative ([?]). See guttural R for more information.


Hear sound
The velar approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is M\. It is the semivocalic counterpart of the close back unrounded vowel [?]

The IPA symbol ‹?›, which otherwise signifies a voiced velar fricative, is sometimes used for the velar approximant as well (with a lowering diacritic ‹??› when specificity is required).


Hear sound
The retroflex flap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ‹?›, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ‹r`›. Toda has a retroflex trill, which is transcribed with the same IPA symbol.


Hear sound
The retroflex lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l`.


Hear sound
The palatal lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, a rotated lowercase letter ‹y› (not to be confused with lowercase lambda, ?), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is L.


Hear sound
The velar lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is L\.


Hear sound
The voiceless pharyngeal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is h-bar (h), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is X\.


Hear sound
The voiceless epiglottal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is H\.


Hear sound
The voiceless glottal transition, commonly called a "fricative", is a type of sound used in some spoken languages which often behaves like a fricative, but sometimes behaves more like an approximant or is indeterminate in its behavior. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is h, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is h. Although [h] has been described as a voiceless vowel, because in many languages it lacks the place and manner of articulation of a prototypical consonant, it also lacks the height and backness of a prototypical vowel:

[h and ?] have been described as voiceless or breathy voiced counterparts of the vowels that follow them [but] the shape of the vocal tract […] is often simply that of the surrounding sounds. […] Accordingly, in such cases it is more appropriate to regard h and ? as segments that have only a laryngeal specification, and are unmarked for all other features. There are other languages [such as Hebrew and Arabic] which show a more definite displacement of the formant frequencies for h, suggesting it has a [glottal] constriction associated with its production.


Hear sound
The breathy-voiced glottal transition, commonly called a voiced glottal fricative, is a type of sound used in some spoken languages which often behaves like a consonant, but sometimes behaves more like a vowel, or is indeterminate in its behavior. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is h\.

Although [?] has been described as a breathy-voiced counterpart of the following vowel because of its lack of place and manner of articulation in many languages, it may have glottal constriction in a number of languages (such as Finnish), making it a fricative.


Hear sound
The glottal stop, or more fully, the voiceless glottal plosive, is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English the feature is represented for example by the hyphen in uh-oh! and by the apostrophe or ?okina in Hawai?i among those using a preservative pronunciation of that name.

The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?. It is called the glottal stop because the technical term for the gap between the vocal folds, which is closed up in the production of this sound, is the glottis.


Hear sound
The voiced pharyngeal approximant/fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents it is ?, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ?\.

Although traditionally placed in the fricative row of the IPA chart, [?] is usually an approximant. The IPA symbol itself is ambiguous, but no language is known to have a distinct fricative and approximant at this place of articulation.


Hear sound
The voiced epiglottal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ?.

Although traditionally placed in the fricative row of the IPA chart, [?] is usually an approximant. The IPA symbol itself is ambiguous, but no language has a distinct fricative and approximant at this place of articulation. Sometimes the lowering diacritic is used to specify that the manner is approximant: [??].

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