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Palatalization mechanisms[edit]

"Several mechanisms of palatalization" doesn't look well. The "esh" sound [ʃ] is not a palatalization of [s]; it's postalveolar. There are several palatal sibilants one could mention. The difference should be made clear between the physiological/phonetic mechanism of palatalization, and the phonological function. In English, some instances of [ʃ] can be considered a palatalization of [s] from the diachronical POV, but /ʃ/ is not really a palatal(ized) consonant and it's a phoneme in its own right. --Pablo D. Flores 11:29, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

That's true, but more often than not, hacek sibilants are called "palatalized". Now, hacek sibilants are contrasted with palatalized sibilants in some languages. Either the haceks are mislabeled, or then there are several mechanisms. --Vuo 12:42, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I think we need to distinguish palatalization as a phonetic process, and loose usage of the term "palatalized". A core definition with examples (synchronic and diachronic), and then examples of how this term has been extended to superficially similar phonemes. The "hacek" sibilants are examples of the latter, although for all I know, they resulted historically from an earlier round of palatalization, before the current palatalized fricatives developed. In English, you might argue that cute is palatalized. Church is not, but the ch did arise through palatalization of /k/ a millennium ago. kwami 19:20, 2005 Jun 8 (UTC)
"Cute" isn't independently palatalized as far as I know; there is only a palatal approximant in it ("kjuut"), which colors the surrounding sounds. Independent palatalization is found in Uralic languages. In there, consonants are palatalized and are different sounds, and palatalization is not a result of any nearby phoneme. (Quite the opposite in Erzya, or Erz'ä, where the palatalized consonants turn surrounding A's into fronted Ä's.) For example, Savo and Karelian ves', kot', etc. Palatalization is feature of a phoneme, not a historical sound change. --Vuo 14:35, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
It is indeed both things, and that's precisely the problem I was mentioning above. The definition of "palatalization" is loose and it needs to be clarified. The /k/ in "cute" is palatalized, but not phonemically; the average English speaker doesn't find a difference between that and the /k/ in "cook". --Pablo D. Flores 15:20, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
A better example might be key versus coo. Phonetic palatalization of the /k/ in key due to assimilation with the vowel. kwami 18:48, 2005 Jun 19 (UTC)
To the original question, I must note that we should return the removed text. Palatalization may also be a phonemic, lexical feature; I think that Savo Finnish kunj "like" (standard kuin) is distinct from kun "when". Estonian certainly differentiates palatals and non-palatals. --Vuo 22:03, 9 July 2005 (UTC)

Palatal? Palatalized?[edit]

I think there's some big confusion here, with "palatalization" meaning at least two completely different things that should be differentiated very clearly. In Russian, for example, ш is palatal (IPA: ʂ), while сь is palatalized (IPA: sʲ).

Some letters with a háček are palatal (š, ž, č: ʂ, ʐ, tʂ-ligature), while others are palatalized (ď, ť, ň, ľ: dʲ, tʲ, nʲ, lʲ).

David Marjanović (... that's tʃʲ-ligature for you!) 23:52 CET-summertime 2005/8/2

This usage of 'palatal' is specific to Slavic and some other linguistics tradition, perhaps due to historical development through palatalization. They are not synchronically palatal consonants by the IPA standards for the use of that term. Part of the difference between them and the English postalveolars is that they aren't palatalized in Russian, while they are (at least somewhat) in English! (The also aren't labialized as in English, I believe.) kwami 01:22, 2005 August 3 (UTC)
Sorry. I wrote the above before I had reasonably understood the IPA and the associated terminology. Retroflexes could be called palatal (being "corono-palatal"), but they almost never are, instead "palatal" normally refers to dorso-palatal consonants only. – The confusion has long ago been cleared up, thanks, everyone! – I agree the Russian retroflexes aren't labialized, at least not as much as the palato-alveolars of English, French, or German. David Marjanović 23:08, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

problem with diacritic[edit]

I'm cleaning up the article, and removed the following:

  • The digraphs with j are problematic, because /j/ is a separate phoneme: The Savo Finnish word ärjäsj /ärjäś/ uses both meanings.

I removed this because it does not show the digraph <sj> being used for contrastive [sj] vs [sʲ]. Does the person who wrote this have an example of a true contrast, so we can put the illustration back in? kwami 02:46, 2005 August 20 (UTC)

Now, it is hard to find such minimal pairs from Savo, because typically palatalization is final. Maybe parjaa mua [parjaammua] vs. parj aamua [parʲ aammua]. (But, here prosody comes to help.) But, we have inconsistencies such as karja [karja] vs. kaarj [kaarʲ]. This is indeed less problematic than the other method, which prefixing 'j' instead. ([vesʲ] as vejs.) For example, standard vesissä "in the waters" would be [veisʲ] in Karelian dialect (example from [1]), while [vesʲ] would be the singular of the same. Now, write the latter (singular) as vejs, the standard pronounciation becomes [veis], which is a plural as it contains the plural marker -i-. --Vuo 14:12, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

The whole last section about local traditions needs to be reworked by someone who knows the literature. I've merely tried sorting out what was already in the article, along with some comments on this page. kwami

Russian /akʲa/[edit]

I speak Russian and i don't understand what /akʲa/ is. There's now such word as "акя" and i can't even think of a word which includes that sounds in that order. There should be an example from the actual language. I would think of an example myself, but i don't know jack about phonology.--Amir E. Aharoni 19:04, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Palatalization to mark past tense[edit]

The article says: "Sometimes palatalization is part of a synchronic grammatical process, such as palatalizing the first consonant of a verb root to signal the past tense".

Is there an example for this?--Amir E. Aharoni 19:49, 4 November 2005 (UTC)


I don't know what happened to the template and I don't know what was in there, but the article needs to be fixed now it was deleted. --Mkill 10:48, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

What's so bad about /anʲa/?[edit]

  1. There's no кя (/kʲa/) in any Russian words and from what i learned about linguistics (i'm doing my fourth year) examples from real life are much better. Why do English, Estonian and Votic deserve a real word as an example and Russian does not?
  2. If k is supposed to represent a generic konsonant, then why use IPA at all?
  3. I focused much more on syntax than on phonetics in my studies, but /anja/ would be анья or even анъя and i'm quite sure that аня is anʲa.--Amir E. Aharoni 11:26, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
OK, after this grand rewrite i've got no more complaints about Russian. Thanks.--Amir E. Aharoni 13:15, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, I have to disagree on sibilant offglide in Russian palatalized t. Indeed, such a phenomenon is possible and quite frequent, but nevertheless it's a typical feature of some dialects that should be avoided in standard normative speech. -- (talk) 17:43, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Unpalatalizable Consonants[edit]

Are there any consonants which cannot be palatalized? -- 08:45, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Some languages palatalize all consonants they "can", such as Nenets language and Võro language, but the glottal stop and the velar nasal are not palatalized. The obvious is also /j/ itself. --Vuo 20:45, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I would say that palatalizing a consonant with a palatal point of articulation would be tricky. In a contrastive system it might be feasible if, say, the effect of "palatalization" as a contrastive feature were redundantly signaled by adjacent syllabics, say, /a/ has allophones [æ] preceding palatalized consonants but [a] elsewhere, one might think of a contast between [æɲ] (with phonemically palatalized /ɲj/ vs [aɲ] (with plain /ɲ/). But I would imagine that such a setup would be extremely unstable. I would think that it would be a dicey matter to palatalize a uvular r, [ʀ], but according to rumor in 18th and 19th century Russia, some high-hat types transplanted uvular pronunciation of r from French into Russian. Presumably they managed the contrast somehow. I'd have to hear it to believe it, though. Alsihler 15:45, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
Irish has [ŋʲ]. A dialect of Hausa has [ʔʲ]. There are IIRC languages in the Caucasus with aspirated and/or ejective versions of [qʲ], and at least one manages [ʀʲ]. As a native speaker of two of the many variants of German with [ʀ], I find [ʀʲ] much more difficult than the Russian [rʲ], which in turn I find much easier than ordinary [r], but that's another story… I agree that palatalized dorso-palatals are probably impossible. David Marjanović 23:01, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Phonetically, it would be more accurate to say that it's not possible to unpalatalize palatal consonants. If you want something which cannot be palatalized primarily nor secondarily, retroflexes - proper subapicals, at least - are commonly considered that; everything else should be possible. (Well, theoretically dorsal linguolabials are also unpalatizable, as well as unvelarizable, but those aren't used in speech anywhere. :b) I've redd a dissertation on this which might be suitable for quoting... --Tropylium 09:25, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
According to Jerzy Rubach, who wrote a whole dissertation on retroflex consonants, retroflexes typically resist palatalization (in the phonetic sense). — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 15:06, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Palatised or palatalised?[edit]

When a sound is formed on the palate it is palatal. When the sound migrates to be formed on the palate it is palatised.
This is the same as: digit - digital - digitised. It is NOT 'digitalised' is it? Then why is it 'palatalised'? Bill, 2009 April.

The reasoning for "palatalization" is that "palatization" is confusing: are we talking about changing something into a palate? No, we mean "change into consonant produced by tongue touching hard palate" (or one roughly similar).
"Digitization" isn't confusing if understood correctly. "Digit" means both "finger" and "number counted on a finger" (= digital). Therefore, the word-formation sequence is digit → digitization: "change into digits". — Erutuon (talk) 21:46, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

In English please[edit]

In English please. So everyone can understand it.--Standforder (talk) 02:52, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Indeed! This is an unintelligible, jargon-filled mess. (talk) 13:19, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
This is a linguistics article, it will use linguistics terms. While it'd be nice for it to be accessible for people who don't know the jargon used in this field, that is not a requirement for an encyclopaedia. I mean, the article on Nucleotides is full of jargon and I can't understand much of it, but if I learnt more about biology it would be less daunting, and I'm not going to insist that it be made easier to understand, since it'd probably make the page less useful for those in the know. Stickinsect2 (talk) 18:36, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't mean there's no room for improovment, however. Here's a checklist of a few terms to see if anything is the problem in particular:
  • front vowel
  • palatal articulation
  • phonetic(al(ly))
  • hard palate
  • synchronic
  • diachronic

Still, these are all link'd in the article, as should! There's no room to explain all of them in full detail here… --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 20:53, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

The Jargon in this article really should be cleaned up.Anhydrobiosis 01:51, 18 January 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Anhydrobiosis (talkcontribs)

Difference between palatalization and yod-coalescence?[edit]

What is the difference between palatalization and yod-coalescence? Are [ʃ] and [ʒ] palatal consonants? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Yod-coalescence is an example of palatalization. Palatalization doesn't always result in palatal consonants, and [ʃ] and [ʒ] are not palatal. Sometimes it just makes consonants that are closer to palatal, as here. [ʃ] and [ʒ] are closer to the palatal place of articulation than the alveolar consonants [s] and [z]: more back, or postalveolar, or alveolopalatal. — Eru·tuon 02:54, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Well said, Erutuon. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 03:00, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Erutuon, [z] and [s] have their panlatal variants. They do not need to convert to [ʃ] and [ʒ] to become palatal.--Anuclanus (talk) 22:17, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

This means that the consonant is pronounced as if followed very closely by the sound [j][edit]

Hi! I wonder what does it mean. In Russian there are many examples when sounds are followed with [j] and are not palatalized. For example, подъём[подйом], въезд[вйэзд], съезд[cйэзд], вражья[вражйа].--Anuclanus (talk) 22:12, 28 April 2012 (UTC)


The articla says Russian тема is pronounced [ˈtˢʲɛmə] but this pronounciation is definitely non-Russian. There is no [s] or [ts] there.--Anuclanus (talk) 22:31, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

There is a stub article called Mouillé that contains (currently unsourced) information about the development of palatal laterals and nasals in Romance. I propose that any usable information be sourced and merged into the "Diachronic palatalization" section of this article, and for Mouillé to be redirected to Palatal consonant (since mouillé is just French for "palatal(ized)", and I don't think it means anything more than that when used in English, if it is actually used in English with any significant frequency). CapnPrep (talk) 01:44, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I think Mouillé can have a separate section here. It might need to have a fuller treatment to indicate why it's something separate, though. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 01:35, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
I do not object to merging "mouillé" (to an appropriate destination) itself, but the "palatalization" article already devotes too little attention to palatalized consonants, and too many to various ditch–dike, shirt–skirt and other phonological processes resulted in sounds which are not itself palatalized. The phonetic palatalization should not be eclipsed by numerous examples of historical assimilation of [ʲ] to palatalized consonants themselves and succeeding sounds. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 09:51, 1 September 2012 (UTC)