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IPA – number 153
IPA – text j
IPA – image [[File:|{{{imagesize}}}]]
Entity j
Kirshenbaum j
Sound sample

The palatal approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is j. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is j, or equivalently, i_^, and in the Americanist phonetic notation it is y.

In the writing systems used for most of the languages of Central, Northern and Eastern Europe, the letter j denotes the palatal approximant, as in German Jahr 'year'.



Features of the palatal approximant:

  • Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by bringing one articulator close to another but without the vocal tract being narrowed to such an extent that a turbulent airstream is produced.
  • Its place of articulation is palatal which means it is articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised against the hard palate.
  • Its phonation type is voiced, which means the vocal cords are vibrating during the articulation.
  • 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
Arabic Standard يوم [jawm] 'day' See Arabic phonology
Catalan[1] veiem [bəˈjɛm] 'we see' See Catalan phonology
Chechen ялх/yalx [jalx] 'six'
Chinese Cantonese /jat9 [jɐt˨ʔ] 'day' See Standard Cantonese
Mandarin /yī [ji] 'one' See Standard Mandarin
Corsican ghjesgia [ˈjeːʒa] 'church' Also occurs in the Gallurese dialect
Danish jeg [jɑɪ] , [jɐ] 'I' See Danish phonology
Dutch jaar [ja:r] 'year' See Dutch phonology
English you [juː] 'you' See English phonology
Esperanto jaro [jaro] 'year' See Esperanto phonology
Finnish jalka [ˈjɑlkɑ] 'leg' See Finnish phonology
French yeux [jø] 'eyes' See French phonology
German Joch [jɔx] 'yoke' See German phonology
Hebrew ילד [jeled] 'boy' See Hebrew phonology
Hungarian játék [jaːteːk] 'game' See Hungarian phonology
Kabardian йи [ji] 'game'
Irish ghreamaigh [ˈjɾʲamˠə] 'stuck' See Irish phonology
Italian[2] ione [ˈjone] 'ion' See Italian phonology
Japanese やった/yatta [jatːa] 'i did it' See Japanese phonology
Korean 야구/yaku [ˈjaːgu] 'baseball' See Korean phonology
Norwegian jul [jʉːl] 'Christmas' See Norwegian phonology
Polish[3] jutro [ˈjutrɔ] 'tomorrow' See Polish phonology
Romanian iar [jar] 'again' See Romanian phonology
Russian я [ja] 'I' See Russian phonology
Spanish[4] viuda [ˈbjuða] 'widow' Non-syllabic allophone of /i/. See Spanish phonology
Swedish jag [ˈjɑːg] 'I' See Swedish phonology
Turkish yol [jol] 'way' See Turkish phonology
Ubykh [ajəwʃqʼa] 'you did it' See Ubykh phonology
Ukrainian їжак [ji'ʒak] 'hedgehog' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese de [jɛ] 'cinnamon'See Vietnamese phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[5] yan [jaŋ] 'neck'

See also



  • Carbonell, Joan F. & Joaquim Llisterri (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1-2): 53-56
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103-107
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Ana Ma. Fernández-Planas & Josefina Carrera-Sabaté (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 
  • Rogers, Derek & Luciana d'Arcangeli (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117-121
  • Thelwall, Robin (1990), "Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37-41



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