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Voiceless dental fricative: Wikis

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IPA – number 130
IPA – text θ
IPA – image {{{imagesize}}}
Entity θ
X-SAMPA T
Kirshenbaum T
About this sound Sound sample

The voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. 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 θ, 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". It is familiar to English speakers as the 'th' in thing.

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,[1] th-stopping,[2] and th-fronting.[3])

The sound is known to have died out in a number of languages, eg. in most of the Germanic languages or dialects, where it is retained only in English and Icelandic.

Contents

Features

Features of the voiceless dental fricative:

  • 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 dental which means it is articulated with the tongue on either the lower or the upper teeth, or both.
  • 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.

Occurrence

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Albanian thotë [θɔtə] 'to say'
Arabic Standard[4] ثابت [ˈθaːbit] 'firm' See Arabic phonology
Amami [θeda] 'sun'
Arapaho [jɔːθɔn] 'bee'
Asu [iðiθo] 'eye'
Berta [θɪ́ŋɑ̀] 'to eat'
Burmese ? [θòʊ̃] 'three'
Cornish eth [ɛθ] 'eight'
Emiliano-Romagnolo faza [ˈfaːθɐ] 'face'
English thin [θɪn] 'thin' See English phonology
Galician cero [θeɾo] 'zero'
Greek θάλασσα [ˈθalasa] 'sea' See Modern Greek phonology
Gweno [riθo] 'eye'
Gwich’in th [θaɬ] 'pants'
Hän nihthän [nihθɑn] 'I want'
Harsusi [θəroː] 'two'
Hlai Basadung [θsio] 'one'
Kabyle fa [faθ] 'to cut'
Karen Sgaw [θø˧] 'three'
Karuk [jiθa] 'one'
Kickapoo [nɛθwi] 'three'
Kwama [mɑ̄ˈθíl] 'to laugh'
Leonese ceru [θeɾu] 'zero'
Lorediakarkar [θar] 'four'
Massa [faθ] 'five'
Saanich ? [teθʔəs] 'eight'
Sardinian Nuorese petha [pɛθa] 'meat'
Shark Bay [θar] 'four'
Shawnee nthwi [nθwɪ] 'three'
Sioux Nakota ? [ktũˈθa] 'four'
Spanish Castilian[5] cazar [kaˈθar] 'to hunt' See Spanish phonology
Swahili thamini [θɑmini] 'value'
Tanacross thiit [θiːtʰ] 'embers'
Toda [wɨnboθ] 'nine'
Turkmen sekiz [θekið] 'eight'
Tutchone Northern tho [θo] 'pants'
Southern thü [θɨ]
Upland Yuman Havasupai [θerap] 'five'
Hualapai [θarap]
Yavapai [θerapi]
Welayta [ɕiθθa] 'flower'
Welsh saith [saiθ] 'seven'
Western Neo-Aramaic ? [θloːθa] 'three'

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).

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Features

  • 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.

Occurrence

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English Scouse[6] attain [əˈθ̠eɪn] 'attain' Allophone of /t/ See English phonology
Hiberno-English[7] Italy [ˈɪθ̠ɪli] 'Italy'
Icelandic þakið [θ̠akið̠] 'roof' See Icelandic phonology

See also

References

Bibliography


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