alveolar approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the alveolar and postalveolar approximants is ⟨ ɹ⟩, a lowercase letter r rotated 180 degrees. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ⟨ r\⟩.
There is no separate symbol for the
dental approximant (as in Spanish na) in the International Phonetic Alphabet, which most scholars transcribe with the symbol for a da voiced dental fricative, ⟨ ð⟩.
The most common sound represented by the letter
r in English is the postalveolar approximant, pronounced a little more back and transcribed more precisely in IPA as ⟨ ɹ̠⟩, but ⟨ ɹ⟩ is often used for convenience in its place. For further ease of typesetting, English phonemic transcriptions might use the symbol ⟨ r⟩ even though the former symbol represents the alveolar trill in phonetic transcription.
Features [ edit ]
Features of the alveolar approximant:
manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but not enough to produce a turbulent airstream. 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 and apical . laminal Its
phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation. 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.
Occurrence [ edit ]
Alveolar [ edit ]
/ in most other Assyrian dialects. ɾ/
Burmese  
Occurs only in loanwords, mostly from Pali or English
Apical. It is a common intervocalic allophone of
/d̠/, and may be a weak fricative [ or simply a plosive ð̠] [ instead. d] 
  
Velarized and laminal; allophone of
/d/ in the syllable coda.   For few speakers, it may be a  non-sibilant fricative instead. See  Danish phonology
Dutch Central Netherlandic
/r/ in the syllable coda for some speakers. See Dutch phonology
/r/ in other dialects.
The most common alveolar realization of
/r/, with a trill [ being the alternative realization. The more common uvular realizations are a fricative (either voiced r] [ or voiceless ʁ] [) and, more rarely, a trill χ] [. ʀ] See  Standard German phonology
[ˈɹeːbə] Most other dialects use a voiced uvular fricative
[ or a uvular trill ʁ] [. See ʀ] Standard German phonology
μέ ρα mé ra
/r/ in rapid or casual speech. See Modern Greek phonology
Usually apical. See
Montfortian dialect 
/ɾ/ before /d/, /l/, /s/, /ʃ/, /t/, /z/, and /ʒ/. See Persian phonology.
Portuguese Inland Brazilian
Centro-Sul's metro cities 
[ in the syllable coda. May also be ~ ɾ ] ʁ retroflex, post-alveolar and/or rhotic vowel. See Portuguese phonology.
Appears in loanwords, even by speakers who do not use it as an allophone of
[. Generally not as ~ ɾ ] ʁ onset or final e.g. trailer [ˈtɾejle̞ʁ].
Greater São Paulo 
[pe̞ɹmiˈtɕiɾ] 'to allow'
Spanish Some dialects
[do̞ɹˈθje̞n̪t̪o̞s] 'two hundred'
/s/ in the syllable coda. See Spanish phonology
invie rno [
Possible realization of
/r/ in the syllable coda.
Swedish Central Standard
/r/. Some speakers have [ ( ɾ] [ when geminated) in all positions. See r] Swedish phonology
Allophone of the more traditional
[ used by the more English-literate younger speakers. ~ ɾ ] r
Allophone of /ɾ/. See
[ɹa] 'go out'
In free variation with
[, ɾ] [ and r] [. See ʐ] Vietnamese phonology
/ɾ/ before any consonant
Postalveolar [ edit ]
As an allophone of other
rhotic sounds, [ɹ] occurs in Edo, Fula, Murinh-patha, and Palauan. 
See also [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
Bibliography [ edit ]
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