Voiced alveolo-palatal sibilant

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Voiced alveolo-palatal sibilant
IPA number 183
Entity (decimal) ʑ
Unicode (hex) U+0291
Braille ⠦ (braille pattern dots-236) ⠵ (braille pattern dots-1356)

The voiced alveolo-palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some oral languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʑ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is z\. The closest representation in English is a voiced postalveolar fricative as in the word Asia.


alveolo-palatal fricative [ɕ, ʑ]

Features of the voiced alveolo-palatal fricative:

  • Its manner of articulation is sibilant fricative, which means it is generally produced by channeling air flow along a groove in the back of the tongue up to the place of articulation, at which point it is focused against the sharp edge of the nearly clenched teeth, causing high-frequency turbulence.
  • Its place of articulation is alveolo-palatal. This means that:
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation. However, in some languages (like Swiss German) it can just mean that this consonant is pronounced shorter and weaker than its voiceless counterpart, while its voicedness or lack thereof is not relevant. In such cases it's more accurate to call such sounds lenis or lax.
  • 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.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz ажьа [aˈʑa] 'hare' See Abkhaz phonology
Adyghe жьау [ʑaːw] 'shadow'
Catalan Eastern and Majorcan[1] ajut [əˈʑut] 'help' (n.) See Catalan phonology
Chinese Southern Min 今仔日 [kɪn˧a˥ʑɪt˥] 'today'
Japanese 火事 kaji [kaʑi] 'fire' Found in free variation with [dʲʑ] between vowels. See Japanese phonology
Kabardian жьэ [ʑa] 'mouth'
Lower Sorbian źasety [ʑasɛtɨ][stress?] 'tenth'
Pashto Wazirwola dialect ميږ [miʑ] 'we'
Polish[2] źrebię About this sound [ˈʑrɛbʲɛ̃]  'foal' Also denoted by the digraph zi. See Polish phonology
Portuguese[3] Brazilian magia [mɐˈʑi.ɐ] 'magic', 'sorcery' Allophonic variation of /ʒ/. Contrasts with other sibilants only in onset. Argued both to be laminal [ʒ],[4] and generally produced "in the middle of the hard palate",[3] same of fellow alveolo-palatal [l̠ʲ] and [n̠ʲ],[5] and further palatalized than Italian post-alveolars.[6] Found in coda mainly before fricative, coronal and palatalized consonants in Brazil.[7][8] See Portuguese phonology
European (?) rasgos dóem [ˈʀaʑguʑ ˈdɔẽj] '[these] rips hurt'
Many Brazilian dialects eles, desde sempre [ˈeɫiʑ ˈdeʑdʑi̥ ˈsẽpɾi̥] 'they, since ever'
Some speakers [ˈelɪz ˈdeɪ̯ʑːɪ ˈsẽpɾɪ]
Russian езжу [ˈjeʑːʊ] 'I drive' Most speakers. Usually written жж or зж. See Russian phonology
Uzbek[9] [example needed]
Yi yi [ʑi˧] 'tobacco'

See also[edit]