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Manners of articulation
Obstruent
Stop
Affricate
Fricative
Sibilant
Sonorant
Nasal
Flaps/Tap
Trill
Approximant
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Vowel
Semivowel
Lateral
Airstreams
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Affricates are consonants that begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as [t] or [d]) but release as a fricative (such as [s] or [z] or occasionally into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel.

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Samples

The English sounds spelled "ch" and "j" (transcribed [tʃ] and [dʒ] in IPA), German and Italian z [ts] and Italian z/ƶ [dz] are typical affricates. These sounds are fairly common in the world's languages, as are other affricates with similar sounds, such as those in Polish and Chinese. However, other than [dʒ], voiced affricates are relatively uncommon. For several places of articulation they are not attested at all.

Much less common are e.g. labiodental affricates, such as [p͡f] in German and Izi, or velar affricates, such as [k͡x] in Tswana (written kg) or High Alemannic Swiss German dialects. Worldwide, only a few languages have affricates in these positions, even though the corresponding stop consonants [p], [k] are virtually universal. Also less common are alveolar affricates where the fricative is lateral, such as the [tɬ] sound found in Nahuatl and Totonac. Many Athabaskan languages (such as Dene Suline and Navajo) have series of coronal affricates that may be unaspirated, aspirated, or ejective in addition to being interdental/dental, alveolar, postalveolar, or lateral, i.e., [t̪͡θ], [t̪͡θʰ], [t̪͡θʼ], [ts], [tsʰ], [tsʼ], [tʃ], [tʃʰ], [tʃʼ], [tɬ], [tɬʰ], and [tɬʼ].

Notation

Affricates are often represented by the two sounds they consist of (e.g. [pf], [kx]). However, single signs for the affricates may be desirable, in order to stress that they function as unitary speech segments (i.e. as phonemes). In this case, the IPA recommends joining the two elements of the affricate by a tie bar (e.g. [p͡f], [k͡x]). Though they are no longer standard IPA, ligatures are available in Unicode for the six common affricates [ʦ], [ʣ], [ʧ], [ʤ], [ʨ], and [ʥ].

Another method is to indicate the release of the affricate with a superscript: [tˢ], [kˣ]. This is derived from the IPA convention of indicating other releases with a superscript.

In other phonetic transcription systems, such as the Americanist system, the affricates [ts], [dz], [tʃ], [dʒ], [tɬ], and [dɮ] are represented as ‹c› or ‹¢›; ‹j›, ‹ƶ›, or (older) ‹ʒ›; ‹c› or ‹č›; ‹ǰ›, ‹ǧ›, or (older) ‹ǯ›; ‹ƛ›; and ‹λ› or ‹dl› respectively. Within the IPA, [tʃ] and [dʒ] are sometimes transcribed with the symbols for the palatal stops, ‹c› and ‹ɟ›.

Affricates vs. stop-fricative sequences

Affricates can contrast phonemically with stop-fricative sequences. Examples include:

Polish affricate /t͡ʂ/ in czysta 'clean (f.)' versus stop–fricative /tʂ/ in trzysta 'three hundred',

and

Klallam affricate /t͡s/ in k’ʷə́nc 'look at me' versus stop–fricative /ts/ in k’ʷə́nts 'he looks at it'.

In the stop-fricative sequence, the stop has a release burst before the fricative starts; but in the affricate, the fricative element is the release. Stop-fricative sequences may have a syllable boundary between the two segments, but not necessarily.

In English, /ts/ and /dz/ (as in nuts and nods) are considered phonemically stop-fricative sequences because they may contain a morpheme boundary (for example, nuts is composed of nut and the plural suffix s). But the sounds are phonetically affricates. The English affricate phonemes /t͡ʃ/ and /d͡ʒ/ do not require a morpheme boundary. The sounds are sometimes written with the unitary symbols ‹č› and ‹ǰ›, though it is not considered standard IPA notation. However, English speakers (depending on dialect) do distinguish affricates from stop–fricative sequences:

  • cat shit /kæt.ʃɪt/[kʰæʔʃɪt̚]
  • catch it /kæt͡ʃ.ɪt/[kʰæt͡ʃɪt̚]

Here /t/ debuccalizes to a glottal stop before /ʃ/ in many dialects, making it phonetically distinct from /t͡ʃ/.

The acoustic difference between affricates and stop+fricative sequences is rate of amplitude increase of the frication noise, which is known as the rise time. Affricates have a short rise time to the peak frication amplitude while sequences of stop and fricative have relatively longer rise time (Howell & Rosen 1983, Johnson 2003, Mitani et al. 2006).

List of affricates

In the case of coronals, the symbols ‹t, d› are normally used for the stop portion of the affricate regardless of place. For example, [t͡ʂ] is commonly seen for [ʈ͡ʂ]. For legibility, the tie bars have been removed from the table entries.

The exemplar languages are ones that these sounds have been reported from, but in several cases they may need confirmation.

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Sibilant affricates

Some Northwest Caucasian languages such as Abkhaz contrast all eight of these.

When a language only has one type of affricate, it usually a sibilant; this is the case in e.g. Arabic ([d̠ʒ]), most dialects of Spanish ([t̠ʃ]), and Thai ([t̠ɕ]).

Non-sibilant affricates



Lateral affricates

Trilled affricates

  • Voiced prenasalized trilled bilabial affricate [mbʙ] (in Kele and Avava)
  • Voiceless dental bilabially trilled affricate [t̪ʙ̥] (in Wari’)
  • Voiced prenasalised trilled alveolar affricate [ndr] (in Fijian and Avava).
  • Voiceless alveolar trilled affricate [tʳ] (in Ngkoth)

Heterorganic affricates

While most affricates are homorganic, Navajo and Chiricahua Apache have a heterorganic alveolar-velar affricate [tx] (McDonough & Ladefoged 1993, Hoijer & Opler 1938). Other heterorganic affricates are reported for Northern Sotho (Johnson 2003) and other Bantu languages such as Phuthi, which has alveolar-labiodental affricates [tf] and [dv], and Sesotho, which has bilabial-palatoalveolar afficates [pʃ] and [bʒ]. Djeoromitxi (Pies 1992) has [ps] and [bz].

Phonation, coarticulation and other variants

The more common of the voiceless affricates are all attested as ejectives as well: [tθʼ, tsʼ, tɬʼ, tʃʼ, tɕʼ, tʂʼ, cʎ̥ʼ, kxʼ, kʟ̝̊ʼ]. Several Khoisan languages such as !Xóõ are reported to have voiced ejective affricates, but these may actually be consonant clusters: [dtsʼ, dtʃʼ]. Affricates are also commonly aspirated: [ɱp̪fʰ, tθʰ, tsʰ, tɬʰ, tʃʰ, tɕʰ, tʂʰ], occasionally murmured: [ɱb̪vʱ, d̠ʒʱ], and sometimes prenasalized: [ndz, ndzʱ, ɳɖʐ, ɳɖʐʱ]. Labialized, palatalized, velarized, and pharyngealized affricates also occur. Affricates may also have phonemic length, that is, affected by a chroneme, as in Italian and Karelian.

References

  1. Hoijer, Harry; & Opler, Morris E. (1938). Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache texts. The University of Chicago publications in anthropology; Linguistic series. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  2. Howell Peter; & Rosen, Stuart. (1983). Production and perception of rise time in the voiceless affricate/fricative distinction. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 73 (3), 976–984.
  3. Johnson, Keith. (2003). Acoustic & auditory phonetics (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
  4. Maddieson, Ian. (1984). Patterns of sounds. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-26536-3
  5. McDonough, Joyce; & Ladefoged, Peter. (1993). Navajo stops. UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics, 84, 151-164.
  6. Mitani, Shigeki; Kitama, Toshihiro; & Sato, Yu. (2006). Voiceless affricate/fricative distinction by frication duration and amplitude rise slope. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 120 (3), 1600-1607.

See also

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