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IPA – number 138
IPA – text ç
IPA – image [[File:|{{{imagesize}}}]]
Entity ç
Kirshenbaum C
Sound sample

The voiceless palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ç, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is C. The symbol ç is the letter c with a cedilla, as used to spell French words like façade, although the sound represented by the letter ç in either French or English orthography is not a voiceless palatal fricative but /s/, the voiceless alveolar fricative.

Palatal fricatives are rare phonemes and only 5% of the world's languages have /ç/ as a phoneme.[1] However, it also tends to occur as an allophone of /x/ or /h/ in the vicinity of front vowels, and many English dialects are no exception.



Features of the voiceless palatal fricative:

Varieties of [ç]

IPA Description
ç plain velar fricative
çʷ labialised
ç’ ejective
çʷ’ ejective labialised
ç̜ʷ semi-labialised
ç̹ʷ strongly labialised


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Azerbaijani[2]some dialects çörək [tʃœˈɾæç] 'bread' Allophone of /c/.
Dutch acht [ɑçt] 'eight' Common in southern dialects such as all of Dutch-speaking Belgium some southern Dutch provinces.[3] See Dutch phonology
English hue [çjuː] 'hue' Allophone of /h/. See English phonology and Yod-coalescence
Finnish vihko [ˈʋiçko̞] 'notebook' Allophone of /h/. See Finnish phonology
German dicht [dɪçt] 'dense' See German phonology
Greek χιόνι [ˈço̞ni] 'snow' See Modern Greek phonology
Haida xíl [çɪ́l]'leaf'
Hungarian[4] h [meːç]'bee' Allophone of /h/. See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic hérna [çɛrtna] 'here' See Icelandic phonology
Irish a Sheáin [ə çaːnʲ] 'John (Voc.)' See Irish phonology
Korean /him [çim] 'strength' See Korean phonology
Japanese[5] 貧血/hinketsu [çiŋketsɯ] 'anemia' Allophone of /h/ before /i/. See Japanese phonology
Kabyle il [çil] 'to measure'
Norwegian kyss [çʏs] 'kiss' See Norwegian phonology
Polish hiacynt [çat͡sɨnt] 'hyacinth' See Polish phonology
Scottish Gaelic eich [eç] 'horses'
Xârâcùù[6]  ? [çɛɡɛ] 'stone'

See also

  • List of phonetics topics



  • Damirchizadeh, A (1972), Modern Azerbaijani Language: Phonetics, Orthoepy and Orthography, Maarif Publ 
  • Ladefoged, Peter & Ian Maddieson, The Sounds of the World's Languages, Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-19815-6
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Phonetic Representation:Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94-97
  • Szende, Tamás (1994), "Illustrations of the IPA:Hungarian", Journal of the International Phonetic Alphabet 24 (2): 91-94
  • Tryon, Darrell T. (1995), Comparative Austronesian Dictionary, Mouton de Gruyter, ISBN 3-110-12729-6

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