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Places of
articulation

 • Labial
Bilabial
Labial-velar
Labial-alveolar
Labiodental

 • Bidental

 • Coronal
Linguolabial
Interdental
Dental
Denti-alveolar
Alveolar
Apical
Laminal
Postalveolar
Alveolo-palatal
Retroflex

 • Dorsal
Palatal
Labial-palatal
Velar
Uvular
Uvular-epiglottal

 • Radical
Pharyngeal
Epiglotto-pharyngeal
Epiglottal

 • Glottal

This page contains phonetic information in IPA, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]

Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth). Consonants with the tip of the tongue curled back against the palate are called retroflex.

The most common type of palatal consonant is the extremely common approximant [j], which ranks as overall, among the ten most common sounds in the world's languages. The nasal ɲ is also common, occurring in around 35 percent of the world's languages[1], in most of which its equivalent obstruent is not the plosive c, but the affricate . Only a few languages in northern Eurasia, the Americas and central Africa contrast palatal plosives with postalveolar affricates - as in Hungarian, Czech, Slovak and Albanian.

Consonants with other primary articulations may be palatalised, that is, accompanied by the raising of the tongue surface towards the hard palate. For example, English [ʃ] (spelled sh) has such a palatal component, although its primary articulation involves the tip of the tongue and the upper gum (this type of articulation is called palatoalveolar).

In phonology, alveolo-palatal, palatoalveolar and palatovelar consonants are commonly grouped as palatals, since these categories rarely contrast with true palatals. Sometimes palatalized alveolars or dentals can be analyzed in this manner as well.

The palatal consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
Xsampa-J.png palatal nasal French agneau [aɲo] lamb
Xsampa-c.png voiceless palatal plosive Hungarian hattyú [hɒuː] swan
Xsampa-Jslash.png voiced palatal plosive Latvian ģimene [ɟimene] family
Xsampa-C2.png voiceless palatal fricative German nicht [nɪçt] not
Xsampa-jslash2.png voiced palatal fricative Spanish yema [ʝema] egg yolk
Xsampa-j2.png palatal approximant English yes [jɛs] yes
Xsampa-L2.png palatal lateral approximant Italian gli [ʎi] the (masculine plural)
Xsampa-Jslash lessthan.png voiced palatal implosive Swahili hujambo [huʄambo] hello

Notes

  1. ^ Ian Maddieson (with a chapter contributed by Sandra Ferrari Disner); Patterns of sounds; Cambridge University Press, 1984. ISBN 0-521-26536-3

References

See also

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