Alveolar approximant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alveolar approximant
IPA number 151
Entity (decimal) ɹ
Unicode (hex) U+0279
Kirshenbaum r
Braille ⠼ (braille pattern dots-3456)

The alveolar approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the alveolar and postalveolar approximants is ɹ, a lowercase letter r rotated 180 degrees. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\.

For ease of typesetting, English phonemic transcriptions might use the symbol r instead of ɹ, even though the former symbol represents the alveolar trill in phonetic transcription.


Features of the alveolar approximant:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Armenian Eastern[citation needed] սուրճ [suɹtʃ] 'coffee'
Burmese[1][2] တိစ္ဆာန် [təɹeɪʔsʰàɴ] 'animal' Occurs only in loanwords, mostly from Pali or English.
Chukchi[citation needed] ңирэк [ŋiɹek] 'two'
Dutch Central Netherlandic door [doə̯ɹ] 'through' Allophone of [r ~ ɾ ~ ʀ] in the syllable coda for some speakers. See Dutch phonology.
Western Netherlandic
Leiden rat [ɹat] 'rat' Dialect of this city, unlike any other, uses [ɹ] for every instance of /r/.
English some American dialects[3] red About this sound [ɹ̠ʷɛd]  'red' Often retracted and labialized. In non-rhotic varieties, it occurs only before a vowel. May also be a labialized retroflex approximant; corresponds to an alveolar trill or alveolar tap in a few other dialects. For convenience it is often transcribed r. See English phonology.
Received Pronunciation
Faroese róður [ɹɔuwʊɹ] 'rudder'
German Westerwald[4] Rebe [ˈɹeːbə] 'vine shoot' Most other dialects use a voiced uvular fricative or uvular trill. See German phonology.
Silesian German
Upper Lusatian
Greek[6] μέρα ra [ˈmɛɹɐ] 'day' Allophone of /r/ in rapid or casual speech. See Modern Greek phonology.
Igbo[7] rí [ɹí] 'eat' Post-alveolar.
Portuguese Greater São Paulo[8] permitir [pe̞ɹmiˈtɕiɾ] 'to allow', 'to enable' Some or all coda /ɾ/ may instead be a guttural or an approximant, varying by speaker, albeit more likely to be aspirated or deleted altogether than to be an approximant among native speakers when as final. See Portuguese phonology.
Inland Brazilian Centro-Sul's metro cities[9] amor [aˈmoɹ] 'love', 'dear' Allophone of [ɾ ~ ʁ] in the syllable coda. May also be retroflex, post-alveolar and/or rhotic vowel. As most rhotic coda in colloquial Brazilian Portuguese, likely to get deleted as final or at the end of sentences.
General Brazilian[10] marketing [ˈmaɹke̞tɕĩ] 'marketing' Allophone of [ɾ ~ ʁ] in recent loanwords, used even by many speakers who do not use coda alveolar, post-alveolar or retroflex approximants in native words. Varies individually. Generally not as onset or final e.g. trailer [ˈtɾejle̞ʁ].
Spanish Some dialects[11] doscientos [do̞ɹˈθje̞nto̞s] 'two hundred' Allophone of /s/ in the syllable coda. See Spanish phonology.
Swedish[12] starkast [ˈstaɹːkast] 'strongest' See Swedish phonology.
Vietnamese Saigon[13] ra [ɹa] 'go out' In free variation with flap, trill and [ʐ]. See Vietnamese phonology.
Zapotec Tilquiapan[14] r [ɹd̪ɨ] 'pass' Allophone of /ɾ/ before any consonant.

As an allophone of other rhotic sounds, [ɹ] occurs in Edo, Fula, Murinh-patha, and Palauan.[15]

See also[edit]



  • Arvaniti, Amalia (2007), "Greek Phonetics: The State of the Art", Journal of Greek Linguistics 8: 97–208 
  • Boyce, S.; Espy-Wilson, C. (1997), "Coarticulatory stability in American English /r/", Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 101 (6): 3741–3753, Bibcode:1997ASAJ..101.3741B, doi:10.1121/1.418333, PMID 9193061 
  • Browman, L.; Goldstein (1995), "Gestural syllable position in American English", in Bell-Berti, F., Producing Speech: Contemporary issues for K Harris, New York: AIP, pp. 9–33 
  • Cornyn, William (1944), Outline of Burmese Grammar, Supplement to Language, vol. 20 no. 4, Baltimore: Linguistic Society of America 
  • Delattre, P.; Freeman, D.C. (1968), "A dialect study of American R's by x-ray motion picture", Linguistics 44: 29–68 
  • Engstrand, Olle (1999), "Swedish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 140–142, ISBN 9780521637510 
  • Fougeron, C (1999), "Prosodically conditioned articulatory variation: A Review", UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics 97, pp. 1–73 
  • Hallé, Pierre A.; Best, Catherine T.; Levitt, Andrea (1999), "Phonetic vs. phonological influences on French listeners' perception of American English approximants", Journal of Phonetics 27 (3): 281–306, doi:10.1006/jpho.1999.0097 
  • Ikekeonwu, Clara I. (1999), "Igbo", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 108–110, ISBN 9780521637510 
  • Kohler, Klaus (1995), Einführung in die Phonetik des Deutschen, Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag 
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996), The Sounds of the World's Languages, Oxford: Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-19814-8 
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344 
  • Recasens, Daniel (2004), "The effect of syllable position on consonant reduction (evidence fromCatalan consonant clusters)", Journal of Phonetics 32 (3): 435–453, doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2004.02.001 
  • Thompson, Laurence C. (1959), "Saigon Phonemics", Language (Linguistic Society of America) 35 (3): 454–476, JSTOR 411232 
  • Watkins, Justin (2001), "Burmese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 31 (2): 291–95, doi:10.1017/S0025100301002122 
  • Zawadzki, P.A.; Kuehn, D.P. (1980), "A cineradiographic study of static and dynamic aspects of American English /r/", Phonetica 37 (4): 253–266, doi:10.1159/000259995, PMID 7443796