The voiceless palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ç⟩. The symbol ç is the letter c with a cedilla, as used to spell French and Portuguese words such as façade and acção. However, the sound represented by the letter ç in French, Portuguese and English orthography is not a voiceless palatal fricative but /s/, the voiceless alveolar fricative.
Palatal fricatives are relatively rare phonemes, and only 5% of the world's languages have /ç/ as a phoneme. The sound occurs, however, as an allophone of /x/ in German, or, in other languages, of /h/ in the vicinity of front vowels, such as the non-silent 'h' of huge as in most dialects of English.
Features of the voiceless palatal fricative:
- Its manner of articulation is fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence.
- 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 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.
See also 
- ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:167–68)
- ^ Damirchizadeh (1972:96)
- ^ Pieter van Reenen; Nanette Huijs (2000), "De harde en de zachte g, de spelling gh versus g voor voorklinker in het veertiende-eeuwse Middelnederlands.", Taal en Tongval, 52 (Thema nr.), 159–181 (in Dutch), retrieved 2009-05-04
- ^ Roach (2009:43)
- ^ Wells, John C (2009-01-29), "A huge query", John Wells's phonetic blog, retrieved 2010-12-28
- ^ Arvaniti (2007:20)
- ^ Siptár & Törkenczy (2007:205)
- ^ Okada (1991:95)
- ^ Henderson (1983:595)
- ^ Oftedal (1956:?)
- ^ Tryon (1995)
- Arvaniti, Amalia (2007), "Greek Phonetics: The State of the Art", Journal of Greek Linguistics 8: 97–208
- Damirchizadeh, A (1972), Modern Azerbaijani Language: Phonetics, Orthoepy and Orthography, Maarif Publ
- Henderson, Michael M. T. (1983), "Four Varieties of Pashto", Journal of the American Oriental Society (American Oriental Society) 103 (3): 595–597, JSTOR 602038
- Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996), The sounds of the World's Languages, Oxford: Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-19815-6
- Oftedal, M. (1956), The Gaelic of Leurbost, Oslo: Norsk Tidskrift for Sprogvidenskap
- Okada, Hideo (1991), "Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–97, doi:10.1017/S002510030000445X
- Roach, Peter (2009), English Phonetics and Phonology: A Practical Course 1 (4th ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-71740-3
- Siptár, Péter; Törkenczy, Miklós (2007), The Phonology of Hungarian, The Phonology of the World's Languages, Oxford University Press
- Tryon, Darrell T. (1995), Comparative Austronesian Dictionary, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, ISBN 3-11-012729-6