Voiceless dental plosive: Wikis


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IPA – number 103 + 408
IPA – text
IPA – image IPA voiceless dental plosive.png
Entity t̪
Kirshenbaum t[
About this sound Sound sample

The voiceless dental 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_d. This is the symbol for the voiceless alveolar plosive with the "bridge below" diacritic meaning dental.



Features of the voiceless dental plosive:

  • Its manner of articulation is plosive or stop, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract.
  • 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 center 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.

Varieties of the voiceless dental plosive

IPA Description
t̪ʰ aspirated
t̪ʲ palatalized
t̪ʷ labialized
t̪̚ unreleased
t̪ʼ ejective


True dental consonants are relatively uncommon. In the Romance languages, /t/ is often called dental. However, the rearmost contact (which is what gives a consonant its distinctive sound) is actually alveolar, or perhaps denti-alveolar; the fact that the front of the tongue touches the teeth may be more visible, but is unimportant acoustically. The difference between the /t/ sounds of the Romance languages and English is not so much where the tongue contacts the roof of the mouth as which part of the tongue makes the contact. In English, it is the tip of the tongue (such sounds are termed apical), whereas in a number of Romance languages, it is the flat of the tongue just above the tip (such sounds are called laminal).

However, there are languages with true apical (or less commonly laminal) dental t. Many Indian languages, such as Hindi, have a two-way contrast between aspirated and plain [t̪]. In Finnish, the dental plosive /t/ contrasts with the alveolar plosive /d/, although the latter is typically voiced or tapped as a secondary cue; moreover, in native words, the alveolar plosive appears only as a lenition of the dental plosive. Pazeh contrasts a voiced alveolar plosive with a voiceless interdental one.[1] Many Australian Aboriginal languages contrast alveolar and dental varieties of /t/.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Aleut[2] tiistax̂ [t̪iːstaχ] 'dough'
Arabic Standard[3] كتب [ˈkat̪abɐ] 'he wrote' See Arabic phonology
Catalan[4] quatre [ˈkwat̪ɾə] 'four' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Hakka[5] ?/? [t̪ʰa˧] 'he/she' Contrasts with an unaspirated form.
Dinka[6] th [mɛ̀t̪] 'child' Contrasts with alveolar /t/
English Indian thin [t̪ʰɪn] 'thin' Corresponds to /θ/ in other dialects. See English phonology
southern Irish[7]
Finnish tutti [t̪ut̪ːi] 'pacifier' See Finnish phonology
Greek Ματθαίος [mat̪ˈθe̞o̞s̠] 'Matthew' See Modern Greek phonology
Hindi[8] तीन [t̪iːn] 'three' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Indonesian[9] tabir [t̪abir] 'curtain'
Italian[10] tale [ˈt̪ale] 'such' See Italian phonology
Nunggubuyu[11] [t̪aɾaɡ] 'whiskers'
Pazeh[12] [mut̪apɛt̪aˈpɛh] 'keep clapping'
Polish[13] tom Pl-tom.ogg [t̪ɔm] 'volume' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[14] montanha [mõˈt̪aɲɐ] 'mountain' See Portuguese phonology
Russian[15] толстый [ˈt̪olst̪ɨj] 'fat' See Russian phonology
Spanish[16] tango [ˈt̪ãŋɡo̞] 'tango' See Spanish phonology
Swedish[17] tåg [ˈt̪ʰoːɡ] 'train' See Swedish phonology
Turkish at [ät̪] 'horse' See Turkish phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[18] tant [t̪ant̪] 'so much'

See also



  • Blust, Robert (1999), "Notes on Pazeh Phonology and Morphology", Oceanic Linguistics 38(2): 321–365  
  • 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  
  • Engstrand, Olle (1999). "Swedish". Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the usage of the International Phonetic Alphabet.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 140–142. ISBN 0-521-63751-1.  
  • 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.  
  • Lee, Wai-Sum; Zee, Eric (2009), "Hakka Chinese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 39 (107-111)  
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259  
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquipan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114  
  • Remijsen, Bert; Manyang, Caguor Adong (2009), "Luanyjang Dinka", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 39 (1): 113–124  
  • Roca, Iggy; Johnson, Wyn (1999), A Course in Phonology, Blackwell Publishing  
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117–121  
  • Soderberg, Craig D.; Olson, Kenneth S. (2008), "Indonesian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (2): 209–213  
  • Watson, Janet (2002). The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic. Oxford University Press.  


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