Voiceless alveolar fricative: Wikis


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IPA – number 132
IPA – text s
IPA – image {{{imagesize}}}
Entity s
Kirshenbaum s
About this sound Sound sample

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 ([s̪] and [s̠] respectively).
  • The IPA symbol for the alveolar non-sibilant fricative is derived by means of diacritics; it can be θ̠ or ɹ̝̊, or it can be [θ͇], using the alveolar diacritic from the Extended IPA.[1]
Coronal fricatives
Dental Alveolar Postalveolar
retroflex palato-
sibilant ʂ ʃ ɕ
non-sibilant θ θ̠/θ͇/ɹ̝̊ ɻ̝̊


Voiceless alveolar sibilant

The voiceless alveolar sibilant is one of the most common consonants. If a language has fricatives, it will most likely have an [s].[2] However, [s] is absent from Australian Aboriginal languages, where fricatives are rare, and the few Indigenous Australian languages that have developed fricatives do not have sibilants.


Features of the voiceless alveolar sibilant:


In the following transcriptions, diacritics may be used to distinguish between apical [s̺] and laminal [s̻].

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic Modern Standard[3] جلس [ˈdʒalisɐ] 'to sit' See Arabic phonology
Basque zu [s̻u] 'you'
su [s̺u] 'fire'
Burmese ? [sə sá bjì] 'I am eating now'
Catalan[4][5] sis [s̺is̺] 'six' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Mandarin 三/sān [sɑn˥] 'three' See Standard Mandarin
Czech svět [svjɛt] 'world' See Czech phonology
Danish sælge [ˈsɛljə] 'sell' See Danish phonology
Dutch[6] steen [sten] 'stone' See Dutch phonology
English sand [sænd] 'sand' See English phonology
Faroese sandur [sandʊɹ] 'sand'
Finnish sinä [sinæ] 'you (sg.) See Finnish phonology
French[7] façade [fasad] 'front' See French phonology
Galician tres [tɾes̺] 'three'
Georgian[8] ამი [ˈsɑmi] 'three'
German Biss [bɪs] 'bite' See German phonology
Greek Athens dialect[9] σαν [s̻an] 'as' See Modern Greek phonology
Hindi साल [saːl] 'year' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Hungarian sziget [siɡɛt] 'island' See Hungarian phonology
Italian[10] sali [ˈsali] 'you go up' See Italian phonology
Japanese[11] 複数形/fukusūkē [ɸɯkɯsɯːkeː] 'plural' See Japanese phonology
Korean 소/so [so] 'ox' See Korean phonology
Malay satu [satu] 'one'
Maltese iebes [eaˈbes] 'hard'
Norwegian sand [sɑn] 'sand' See Norwegian phonology
Occitan Gascon dos [dys̺] 'two'
Languedocien [dus̺]
Limousin maichent [mejˈsẽ] 'bad'
Polish[12] sum Pl-sum.ogg [s̪um] 'catfish' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[13] caço [ˈkasu] 'I hunt' See Portuguese phonology
Romanian[14] surd [s̪urd] 'deaf' See Romanian phonology.
Russian[15] волосы [ˈvoləsɨ] 'hair' Contrasts with palatalized form. See Russian phonology
Slovak svet [svɛt] 'world'
Spanish[16] Latin American saltador [s̻al̪t̪aˈð̞o̞ɾ] 'jumper' See Spanish phonology and seseo.
Peninsular [s̺al̪t̪aˈð̞o̞ɾ]
Toda[17] kɔs̪ 'money'
Turkish su [su] 'water' See Turkish phonology
Vietnamese se [sɛ] 'be almost dry' Variety: [ʂɛ]. See Vietnamese phonology

Voiceless alveolar non-sibilant fricative

The voiceless alveolar non-sibilant fricative (also known as "slit" fricatives) is a consonantal sound. As the International Phonetic Alphabet does not have separate symbols for the alveolar consonants (the same symbol is used for all coronal places of articulation that aren't palatalized), it can represent this sound as in a number of ways including <θ̠>, <θ͇> (retracted or alveolarized θ, respectively), or <ɹ̝̊> (constricted voiceless ɹ).


  • Its manner of articulation is simple fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence, but without the grooved tongue and directed airflow, or the high frequencies, of a sibilant.
  • Its place of articulation is alveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue against the alveolar ridge, termed respectively apical and laminal.
  • Its phonation type is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by allowing the airstream to flow over the middle of the tongue, rather than the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic egressive, which means it is articulated by pushing air out of the lungs and through the vocal tract, rather than from the glottis or the mouth.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English Scouse[18] attain [əˈθ̠eɪn] 'attain' Allophone of /t/ See English phonology
Hiberno-English[19] Italy [ˈɪθ̠ɪli] 'Italy'
Icelandic þakið [θ̠akið̠] 'roof' See Icelandic phonology

See also



  • Adams, Douglas Q. (1975), "The Distribution of Retracted Sibilants in Medieval Europe", Language 51 (2): 282–292  
  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1-2): 53–56  
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94  
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "Illustrations of the IPA:French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73–76  
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45–47  
  • Hickey, Raymond (1984), "Coronal Segments in Irish English", Journal of Linguistics 20 (2): 233–250  
  • Honeybone, P (2001), "Lenition inhibition in Liverpool English", English Language and Linguistics 5 (2): 213–249  
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103–107  
  • Jones, Daniel; Dennis, Ward (1969). The Phonetics of Russian. Cambridge University Press.  
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005). Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.). Blackwell.  
  • Maddieson, Ian (1984), Patterns of Sound, Camebridge University Press  
  • Marotta, Giovanna & Marlen Barth (2005), "Acoustic and sociolingustic aspects of lenition in Liverpool English", Studi Linguistici e Filologici Online 3 (2): 377-413
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259  
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Phonetic Representation:Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–97  
  • Pandeli, H; Eska, J; Ball, Martin; Rahilly, J, "Problems of phonetic transcription: the case of the Hiberno-English slit-t", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 27: 65–75  
  • Recasens, Daniel; Pallarès, Maria Dolores (2001), "Coarticulation, Assimilation and Blending in Catalan Consonant Clusters", Journal of Phonetics 29 (3): 273–301  
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117–121  
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Vakhtang, Chikovani (2006), "Standard Georgian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (2): 255–264  
  • Thelwall, Robin (1990), "Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41  
  • Torreblanca, Máximo (1988), "Latín Basium, Castellano Beso, Catalán Bes, Portugués Beijo", Hispanic Review 56 (3): 343–348  

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