The retroflex approximant is a type of consonant used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɻ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\`. The IPA symbol is a turned lowercase letter r with a rightward hook protruding from the lower right of the letter.
Features of the retroflex approximant:
- Its 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 retroflex, which prototypically means it is articulated subapical (with the tip of the tongue curled up), but more generally, it means that it is postalveolar without being palatalized. That is, besides the prototypical sub-apical articulation, the tongue contact can be apical (pointed) or laminal (flat).
- 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.
The retroflex approximant occurs in American English, Hiberno-English, West Country English, Mandarin Chinese, Pashto, a few Brazilian Portuguese dialects and some languages of India such as Tamil and Malayalam, as well as several Australian Aboriginal and Indigenous South American languages.
|Chinese||Mandarin||肉 ròu||[ɻoʊ̯˥˩] (help·info)||'meat'||Can be a fricative [ʐ] for some speakers. See Standard Chinese phonology|
|Dutch||Some Netherlandic speakers||eerst||[ɪːɻst]||'first'||Tongue bunched and root retracted. Only occurs in the syllable coda. See Dutch phonology|
|English||Some American dialects||red||[ɻʷɛd]||'red'||See English phonology|
|Some Hiberno-English dialects|
|Some West Country English|
|Faroese||hoyrdi||[hɔiɻʈɛ]||'heard'||Allophone of /r/. Sometimes voiceless [ɻ̊]. See Faroese phonology|
|Greek||Cretan Greek (Sfakia and Mylopotamos variations) region||γάλα gála||[ˈɣaɻa]||'milk'||Intervocalic allophone of /l/ before /a o u/. Recessive. See Modern Greek phonology|
|Kannada||Some dialects||ಕೊೞೆ||[kɒɻe]||'to rot'|
|Pashto||سوړ||[soɻ]||'cold'||Allophone of retroflex lateral flap /ɭ̆/. See Pashto phonology|
|Portuguese||Many Centro-Sul registers||cartas||[ˈkaɻtə̥̆s]||'letters'||Allophone of rhotic consonants (and sometimes /l/) in the syllable coda. Found in rural São Paulo, Paraná, south of Minas Gerais and surrounding areas, but as the more common and prestigious realization in metropolitan areas. As with [ɽ], it appeared as a mutation of [ɾ]. See Portuguese phonology.|
|Conservative piracicabano||grato||[ˈgɻatʊ̥]||'thankful' (m.)|
|Tamil||வழி||[ʋɐɻi]||vaḻi "way"||See Tamil phonology|
|Western Desert||Pitjantjatjara dialect||Uluṟu||[ʊlʊɻʊ]||'Uluru'|
- Árnason (2011:115)
- Trudgill (1989:18–19)
- (Portuguese) Acoustic-phonetic characteristics of the Brazilian Portuguese's retroflex /r/: data from respondents in Pato Branco, Paraná. Irineu da Silva Ferraz. Pages 19–21
- (Portuguese) Syllable coda /r/ in the "capital" of the paulista hinterland: sociolinguistic analisis. Cândida Mara Britto LEITE. Page 111 (page 2 in the attached PDF)
- (Portuguese) Callou, Dinah. Leite, Yonne. "Iniciação à Fonética e à Fonologia". Jorge Zahar Editora 2001, p. 24
- Keane (2004:111)
- Árnason, Kristján (2011), The Phonology of Icelandic and Faroese, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-922931-4
- Keane, Elinor (2004), "Tamil", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 111–116, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001549
- Trudgill, Peter (1989), "The Sociophonetics of /l/ in the Greek of Sphakiá", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 15 (2): 18–22, doi:10.1017/S0025100300002942