Voiced retroflex approximant

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Voiced retroflex approximant
IPA Number152
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɻ
Unicode (hex)U+027B
Braille⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)⠼ (braille pattern dots-3456)
Labialised voiced retroflex approximant
Audio sample

The voiced 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.


A schematic mid-sagittal section of an articulation of a voiced retroflex approximant [ɻ]

Features of the voiced retroflex approximant:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Chinese Mandarin ròu [ɻ̺oʊ̯˥˩] 'meat' Apical.[1] Can be transcribed as fricative [ʐ]. See Standard Chinese phonology
Derung Tvrung [tə˧˩ɻuŋ˥˧] 'Derung'
Devanagari तमि [t̪əˈmɨɻ] Tamizh Incorporated into modern Devanagari exclusively for transliteration of Dravidian languages.
Dutch Some Dutch speakers in southern Netherlands and Flanders[2] eerst [ɪːɻst] 'first' Tongue bunched and root retracted. Occurs only in syllable coda. See Dutch phonology
English Some American dialects red [ɻʷɛd] 'red' Labialized (pronounced with lips rounded). See Pronunciation of English /r/
Some Hiberno-English dialects
Some West Country English
Enindhilyagwa angwura [aŋwuɻa] 'fire'
Faroese[3] hoyrdi [hɔiɻʈɛ] 'heard' Allophone of /ɹ/.[3] Sometimes voiceless [ɻ̊].[3] See Faroese phonology
Greek Cretan (Sfakia and Mylopotamos variations) region[4] γάλα la [ˈɣaɻa] 'milk' Intervocalic allophone of /l/ before /a o u/. Recessive. See Modern Greek phonology
Old Kannada ಕೊೞೆ [kɒɻe] 'to rot'
Malayalam ആഴം [aːɻɐm] 'Depth'
Mapudungun[5] rayen [ɻɜˈjën] 'flower' Possible realization of /ʐ/; may be [ʐ] or [ɭ] instead.[5]
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. Mainly[6] found in rural São Paulo, Paraná, south of Minas Gerais and surrounding areas, with the more common and prestigious realization in metropolitan areas being [ɹ] and/or rhotic vowel instead. As with [ɽ], it appeared as a mutation of [ɾ].[7][8][9] See Portuguese phonology.
Caipira temporal [tẽɪ̯̃pʊˈɾaɻ] 'rainstorm'
Conservative Piracicabano grato [ˈgɻatʊ̥] 'thankful' (m.)
Tamil[10] தமிழ் [t̪əˈmɨɻ]  'Tamil' See Tamil phonology. May be merged with [ɭ] for many modern speakers.
Telugu తమిఴ్ Telugu pronunciation: [t̪əˈmɨɻ] Tamizh Might be rarely used to transliterate Tamizh or Malayalam or to write proper nouns of Tamizh or Malayalam. Usage is practically non existent and almost always merged with [ɭ], in both written and spoken forms, by modern speakers.
Western Desert Pitjantjatjara dialect Uluu [ʊlʊɻʊ] 'Uluru'
Yaghan rho [ˈwaɻo] 'cave'

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lee, Wai-Sum (1999). An articulatory and acoustical analysis of the syllable-initial sibilants and approximant in Beijing Mandarin (PDF). Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. S2CID 51828449.
  2. ^ Sebregts, Koen (2014). The Sociophonetics of and Phonology of Dutch r (PDF). LOT. ISBN 978-94-6093-161-1.
  3. ^ a b c Árnason (2011), p. 115.
  4. ^ Trudgill (1989), pp. 18–19.
  5. ^ a b Sadowsky et al. (2013), p. 90.
  6. ^ Brandão, Silvia Figueiredo (15 December 2007). "Nas trilhas do -R retroflexo". Signum: Estudos da Linguagem. 10 (2): 265. doi:10.5433/2237-4876.2007v10n2p265.
  7. ^ Ferraz, Irineu da Silva (2005). Características fonético-acústicas do /r/ retroflexo do portugues brasileiro : dados de informantes de Pato Branco (PR) (Thesis). hdl:1884/3955.
  8. ^ (in Portuguese) Syllable coda /r/ in the "capital" of the paulista hinterland: sociolinguistic analisis. Archived 2013-09-26 at the Wayback Machine Cândida Mara Britto LEITE. Page 111 (page 2 in the attached PDF)
  9. ^ (in Portuguese) Callou, Dinah. Leite, Yonne. "Iniciação à Fonética e à Fonologia". Jorge Zahar Editora 2001, p. 24
  10. ^ Keane (2004), p. 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
  • Sadowsky, Scott; Painequeo, Héctor; Salamanca, Gastón; Avelino, Heriberto (2013), "Mapudungun", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (1): 87–96, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000369
  • 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

External links[edit]