Voiceless alveolar stop

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Voiceless alveolar stop
IPA number 103
Entity (decimal) t
Unicode (hex) U+0074
Kirshenbaum t
Braille ⠞ (braille pattern dots-2345)

The voiceless alveolar stop is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar stops is t, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is t. The dental stop can be distinguished with the underbridge diacritic, , the postalveolar with a retraction line, , and the Extensions to the IPA have a double underline diacritic which can be used to explicitly specify an alveolar pronunciation, .

The [t] sound is a very common sound cross-linguistically;[1] the most common consonant phonemes of the world's languages are [t], [k] and [p]. Most languages have at least a plain [t], and some distinguish more than one variety. Some languages without a [t] are Hawaiian (except for Ni‘ihau; Hawaiian uses a voiceless velar stop when adopting loanwords with [t]), colloquial Samoan (which also lacks an [n]), and Nǁng of South Africa.[citation needed]


Here are features of the voiceless alveolar stop:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a stop.
  • Its place of articulation is alveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, termed respectively apical and laminal.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • 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
Adyghe тфы About this sound [tfə]  'five'
Arabic Egyptian توكة tōka [ˈtoːkæ] 'barrette' See Egyptian Arabic phonology
Standard تين tīn [tiːn] 'fig' Articulation may be alveolar or dental depending on the speaker's native dialect. See Arabic phonology
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic [bet̪a] 'house' Most speakers. In the Tyari, Barwari and Chaldean Neo-Aramaic dialects θ is used.
Chinese Cantonese daan6 [taːn˨˨] 'however' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin dà [ta˥˩] 'big' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Mandarin phonology
Yi da [ta˧] 'place' Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms
Czech toto [ˈtoto] 'this' See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[2] dose [ˈtɔ̽ːsə] 'can (n.)' Usually transcribed /d̥/ or /d/. Contrasts with affricated form, which is usually transcribed /tˢ/ or /t/. See Danish phonology
Dutch[3] taal [taːɫ] 'language' See Dutch phonology
English tick [tʰɪk] 'tick' See English phonology
Finnish parta [ˈpɑrtɑ] 'beard' Allophone of the voiceless dental stop. See Finnish phonology
German Tochter [ˈtʰɔxtɐ] 'daughter' See German phonology
Greek τρία tria [ˈtria] 'three' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew תמונה [tmuna] 'image' see Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarian[4] tutaj [ˈtutɒj] 'raft' See Hungarian phonology
Japanese[5] 特別 tokubetsu [tokɯbetsɯ] 'special' See Japanese phonology
Kabardian тхуы About this sound [txʷə]  'five'
Korean teok [tʰʌk̚] 'jaw' See Korean phonology
Malay tahun [tähon] 'year' S
Maltese tassew [tasˈsew] 'true'
Norwegian tann [tʰɑn] 'tooth' See Norwegian phonology
Nunggubuyu[6] [taɾawa] 'greedy'
Portuguese[7] Some dialects troço [ˈtɾɔsu] 'thing' (pejoratively) Allophone before alveolar /ɾ/. In other dialects /ɾ/ takes a denti-alveolar allophone instead. See Portuguese phonology
Slovak to [to] 'that'
Thai ta [taː˥˧] 'eye'
Vietnamese ti [ti] 'flaw' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian tosk [ˈtosk] 'tooth'

See also[edit]



  • Basbøll, Hans (2005), The Phonology of Danish, ISBN 0-203-97876-5 
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X 
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell 
  • Liberman, AM; Cooper, FS; Shankweiler, DP; Studdert-Kennedy, M (1967), "Perception of the speech code", Psychological Review 74 (6) 
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Phonetic Representation:Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–97, doi:10.1017/S002510030000445X 
  • Szende, Tamás (1994), "Illustrations of the IPA:Hungarian", Journal of the International Phonetic Alphabet 24 (2): 91–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005090