The voiced 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⟩. Because the name of the letter jay may be confusing when used to refer to this sound, the palatal approximant is sometimes called yod instead, as in the phonological history terms yod-dropping and yod-coalescence.
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'. This is the IPA usage, and although it may be counter-intuitive for English speakers, it does occur with this sound in a few English words, such as hallelujah and Jägermeister.
In grammars of Ancient Greek, the palatal approximant, which was lost early in the history of Greek, is sometimes written as ⟨ι̯⟩ (iota with the inverted breve below, the non-syllabic diacritic or marker of a semivowel).
Features of the palatal approximant:
- Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but not enough to produce a turbulent airstream.
- Its place of articulation is palatal, which means it is articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised to the hard palate.
- Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
- It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
- It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
- The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.
- Voiceless palatal approximant
- Palatal lateral approximant
- Nasal palatal approximant
- Index of phonetics articles
- Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1–2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618
- Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company
- Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191
- Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373
- Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344
- Ó Sé, Diarmuid (2000), Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne, Dublin: Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann, ISBN 0-946452-97-0 (Irish)
- Smyth, Herbert Weir (1920), A Greek Grammar for Colleges, Calvin College Library
- Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117–121, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001628
- Thelwall, Robin; Sa'Adeddin, M. Akram (1990), "Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004266