Voiceless dental stop

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Voiceless dental stop
IPA number 103 408
Entity (decimal) t​̪
Unicode (hex) U+0074 U+032A
Kirshenbaum t[
Braille ⠞ (braille pattern dots-2345) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠹ (braille pattern dots-1456)

The voiceless dental stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is t_d. This is the symbol for the voiceless alveolar stop with the "bridge below" diacritic meaning dental.


Features of the voiceless dental 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 dental, which means it is articulated with the tongue at either the upper or lower teeth, or both. (Most stops and liquids described as dental are actually denti-alveolar.)
  • 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.


True dental consonants are relatively uncommon. In the Romance languages, /t/ is often called dental. However, the rearmost contact (which is what gives a consonant its distinctive sound) is actually alveolar, or perhaps denti-alveolar; The difference between the /t/ sounds of the Romance languages and English is not so much where the tongue contacts the roof of the mouth as which part of the tongue makes the contact. In English, it is the tip of the tongue (such sounds are termed apical), whereas in a number of Romance languages, it is the flat of the tongue just above the tip (such sounds are called laminal). However, there are a few languages, such as Temne, with a true apical (or less commonly laminal) dental t.

Many Indian languages, such as Hindustani and Bengali, have a two-way contrast between aspirated and plain [t̪]. In Finnish, the dental stop /t/ contrasts with the alveolar stop /d/, although the latter is typically voiced or tapped as a secondary cue; moreover, in native words, the alveolar stop appears only as a lenition of the dental stop. Pazeh contrasts a voiced alveolar stop with a voiceless interdental one.[1] Malayalam and many Australian Aboriginal languages contrast alveolar and dental varieties of /t/.

True dental
Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Pazeh[2] [mut̪apɛt̪aˈpɛh] 'keep clapping'
Laminal (denti-)alveolar
Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Aleut[4] tiistax̂ [t̪iːstaχ] 'dough'
Armenian Eastern[5] տուն About this sound [t̪un]  'house'
Belarusian[6] стагоддзе [s̪t̪äˈɣod̪d̪͡z̪ʲe] 'century' See Belarusian phonology
Basque toki [t̪oki] 'place'
Bengali তুমি [t̪umi] 'you' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Bengali phonology
Catalan[7] tothom [t̪uˈt̪ɔm] 'everyone' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Hakka[8] ta3 [t̪ʰa˧] 'he/she' Contrasts with an unaspirated form.
Dinka[9] th [mɛ̀t̪] 'child' Contrasts with alveolar /t/.
Dutch Belgian taal [t̪aːl̪] 'language'
English Dublin[10] thin [t̪ʰɪn] 'thin' Corresponds to [θ] in other dialects; in Dublin it may be [t͡θ] instead.[10] See English phonology
Southern Irish[11]
Broad South African[12] talk [t̪oːk] 'talk' Some speakers. Corresponds to [] in other dialects.
New York [t̪ʰɔk] May be alveolar [t] for some speakers.
Scottish[13] [t̪ɔk]
Welsh[14] [t̪ʰɒːk] Some speakers;[14] for others it's alveolar [t].
Ulster[15] train [t̪ɹeːn] 'train' Allophone of /t/ before /r/, in free variation with [].
Finnish tutti [ˈt̪ut̪ːi] 'pacifier' See Finnish phonology
French[16] tordu [t̪ɔʀd̪y] 'crooked' See French phonology
Greek Ματθαίος Matthaios [mat̪ˈθe̞o̞s̠] 'Matthew' See Modern Greek phonology
Hindustani[17] तीन / تین [t̪iːn] 'three' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Hindustani phonology
Indonesian[18] tabir [t̪abir] 'curtain'
Italian[19] tale [ˈt̪ale] 'such' See Italian phonology
Kashubian[20] [example needed]
Kyrgyz[21] туз [t̪us̪] 'salt'
Latvian[22] tabula [ˈt̪äbulä] 'table' See Latvian phonology
Marathi बला [t̪əbˈlaː] 'tabla' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Marathi phonology
Nunggubuyu[23] [t̪aɾaɡ] 'whiskers'
Polish[24] tom About this sound [t̪ɔm]  'volume' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[25] Many dialects montanha [mõˈt̪ɐɲɐ] 'mountain' Likely to have allophones among native speakers, as it may affricate to [], [] and/or [ts] in certain environments. See Portuguese phonology
Central northeastern Portuguese[26] noite típica [ˈnojt̪i ˈt̪ipikɐ] 'typical night' In this dialect, it's used in a limited way, and not by all the speakers, the post-alveolar phonemes // and // before /i/ sound syllables "de", "di", "te" and "ti". Instead, they use denti-alveolar sounds like the spanish language. See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਤੇਲ [t̪eːl] 'oil'
Russian[27] толстый [ˈt̪ʷo̞ɫ̪s̪t̪ɨ̞j] 'fat' See Russian phonology
Slovene[28] tip [t̪íːp] 'type'
Spanish[29] tango [ˈt̪ãŋɡo̞] 'tango' See Spanish phonology
Swedish[30] tåg [ˈt̪ʰoːɡ] 'train' See Swedish phonology
Turkish at [ät̪] 'horse' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[31] брат [brɑt̪] 'brother' See Ukrainian phonology
Uzbek[32] [example needed] Slightly aspirated before vowels.[32]
Vietnamese[33] tuần [t̪wən˨˩] 'week' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Vietnamese phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[34] tant [t̪ant̪] 'so much'

See also[edit]



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