Voiced palatal fricative

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Voiced palatal fricative
IPA Number139
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ʝ
Unicode (hex)U+029D
Braille⠦ (braille pattern dots-236)⠚ (braille pattern dots-245)
Voiced alveolo-palatal non-sibilant fricative

The voiced palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) that represents this sound is ʝ (crossed-tail j), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is j\. It is the non-sibilant equivalent of the voiced alveolo-palatal sibilant.

In broad transcription, the symbol for the palatal approximant, j, may be used for the sake of simplicity.

The voiced palatal fricative is a very rare sound, occurring in only 7 of the 317 languages surveyed by the original UCLA Phonological Segment Inventory Database. In Dutch, Kabyle, Margi, Modern Greek, and Scottish Gaelic, the sound occurs phonemically, along with its voiceless counterpart, and in several more, the sound occurs as a result of phonological processes.

To produce this sound, the tip of the tongue is placed against the roof of the mouth behind the upper front teeth; then, while exhaling, the space between the tongue and the palate is narrowed, creating a friction-like sound similar to the ⟨s⟩ sound (IPA: [ʒ]) in the English word leisure.

There is also the voiced post-palatal fricative[1] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiced palatal fricative but not as back as the prototypical voiced velar fricative. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, but it can be transcribed as ʝ̠, ʝ˗ (both symbols denote a retracted ʝ), ɣ̟ or ɣ˖ (both symbols denote an advanced ɣ). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are j\_- and G_+, respectively.

Especially in broad transcription, the voiced post-palatal fricative may be transcribed as a palatalized voiced velar fricative (ɣʲ in the IPA, G' or G_j in X-SAMPA).


Features of the voiced palatal fricative:



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Asturian frayar [fɾäˈʝär] 'to destroy'
Burmese [example needed] Allophone of /j/, particularly word initially.
Catalan Majorcan[2] figuera [fiˈʝeɾə] 'fig tree' Occurs in complementary distribution with [ɟ]. Corresponds to [ɣ] in other varieties. See Catalan phonology
Danish Standard[3] talg [ˈtʰælˀʝ] 'tallow' Possible word-final allophone of /j/ when it occurs after /l/.[3] See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard[4] ja [ʝaː] 'yes' Frequent allophone of /j/, especially in emphatic speech.[4] See Dutch phonology
German Standard[5][6] Jacke [ˈʝäkə] 'jacket' Most often transcribed in IPA with j; also described as an approximant [j][7][8] and a sound variable between a fricative and an approximant.[9] See Standard German phonology
Greek Standard γεια [ʝɐ] 'hi'
Cypriot[10] ελιά [e̞ˈʝːɐ] 'olive' Allophone of /ʎ/
Hungarian[11] dobj be [dobʝ bɛ] 'throw in' An allophone of /j/. See Hungarian phonology
Irish[12] an ghrian [ənʲ ˈʝɾʲiən̪ˠ] 'the sun' See Irish phonology
Italian Southern dialects figlio [ˈfiʝːo] 'son' Corresponds to /ʎ/ in standard Italian. See Italian phonology
Kabyle cceǥ [ʃʃəʝ] 'to slip'
Korean 사향노루 / sahyangnoru [sɐʝɐŋnoɾu] 'Siberian musk deer' The sound is sometimes heard by people when /h/ is between voiced and combined with /i/, /t/ and /j/, See Korean phonology
Lithuanian[13][14] ji [ʝɪ] 'she' Most often transcribed in IPA with j; also described as an approximant [j].[15] See Lithuanian phonology
Margi[16] [example needed] Contrasts /ɟ, ᶮɟ, ç, ʝ, j, j̰, ɣ/.
Mapudungun[17] kayu [kɜˈʝʊ] 'six' This phoneme corresponds to the letter Y in Mapudungün. See Mapuche language
Norwegian Urban East[18][19] gi [ʝiː] 'to give' Allophone of /j/, especially before and after close vowels and in energetic speech.[19] See Norwegian phonology
Pashto Ghilji dialect[20] موږ [muʝ] 'we'
Wardak dialect[20]
Ripuarian zeije [ˈt͡sɛʝə] 'to show'
Russian[21] яма [ˈʝämə] 'pit' Allophone of /j/ in emphatic speech.[21] See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic[22] dhiubh [ʝu] 'of them' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Spanish[23] sayo [ˈsäʝo̞] 'smock' May also be represented by ⟨ll⟩ in many dialects. See Spanish phonology and Yeísmo
Swedish[24] jord [ʝɯᵝːɖ] 'soil' Allophone of /j/. See Swedish phonology
Vietnamese Middle Vietnamese[25] Gió [𩙋] [ʝɔB1] (Tonkinese dialect) 'wind' See Middle Vietnamese phonology


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Belarusian геаграфія [ɣ̟e.äˈɣɾäfʲijä] 'geography' Typically transcribed in IPA with ɣʲ. See Belarusian phonology
Dutch Standard Belgian[26] gaan [ɣ̟aːn] 'to go' May be velar [ɣ] instead.[26] See Dutch phonology
Southern accents[26]
German Standard[27] Riese [ˈɣ̟iːzə] 'giant' Allophone of the fricative /ʁ/ before and after front vowels.[27] See Standard German phonology
Greek Standard Modern[28][29] γένος [ˈʝ̠e̞no̞s̠] 'gender' See Modern Greek phonology
Limburgish Weert dialect[30] gèr [ɣ̟ɛ̈ːʀ̝̊] 'gladly' Allophone of /ɣ/ before and after front vowels.[30] See Weert dialect phonology
Lithuanian[15][31] Hiustonas [ˈɣ̟ʊs̪t̪ɔn̪ɐs̪] 'Houston' Very rare;[32] typically transcribed in IPA with ɣʲ. See Lithuanian phonology
Russian Standard[21] других гимнов [d̪rʊˈɡ̟ɪɣ̟ ˈɡ̟imn̪əf] 'of other anthems' Allophone of /x/ before voiced soft consonants;[21] typically transcribed in IPA with ɣʲ. The example also illustrates [ɡ̟]. See Russian phonology
Southern гимн [ɣ̟imn̪] 'anthem' Typically transcribed in IPA with ɣʲ; corresponds to [ɡʲ] in standard Russian. See Russian phonology


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Mapudungun[33] [example needed] Allophone of /ɣ/ before the front vowels /ɪ, e/.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Instead of "post-palatal", it can be called "retracted palatal", "backed palatal", "palato-velar", "pre-velar", "advanced velar", "fronted velar" or "front-velar". For simplicity, this article uses only the term "post-palatal".
  2. ^ Wheeler (2005:22–23)
  3. ^ a b Basbøll (2005:212)
  4. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003:198)
  5. ^ Mangold (2005:51)
  6. ^ Krech et al. (2009:83)
  7. ^ Kohler (1999:86)
  8. ^ Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015:340)
  9. ^ Hall (2003:48)
  10. ^ Arvaniti (2010:116–117)
  11. ^ Gósy (2004:77, 130)
  12. ^ Ó Sé (2000:17)
  13. ^ Augustaitis (1964:23)
  14. ^ Ambrazas et al. (1997:46–47)
  15. ^ a b Mathiassen (1996:22–23)
  16. ^ Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 165. ISBN 0-631-19815-6.
  17. ^ Sadowsky et al. (2013:91)
  18. ^ Strandskogen (1979:33)
  19. ^ a b Vanvik (1979:41)
  20. ^ a b Henderson (1983:595)
  21. ^ a b c d Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015:223)
  22. ^ Oftedal (1956:?)
  23. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:255)
  24. ^ Engstrand (1999:140)
  25. ^ See Vietnamese alphabet#Consonants ⟨gi⟩
  26. ^ a b c Collins & Mees (2003:191)
  27. ^ a b Krech et al. (2009:85)
  28. ^ Nicolaidis (2003:?)
  29. ^ Arvaniti (2007:20)
  30. ^ a b Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998:108)
  31. ^ Ambrazas et al. (1997:36)
  32. ^ Ambrazas et al. (1997:35)
  33. ^ a b Sadowsky et al. (2013:89)


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  • Arvaniti, Amalia (2007), "Greek Phonetics: The State of the Art" (PDF), Journal of Greek Linguistics, 8: 97–208, CiteSeerX, doi:10.1075/jgl.8.08arv, archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-11, retrieved 2013-12-11
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  • Henderson, Michael M. T. (1983), "Four Varieties of Pashto", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 103 (3): 595–597, doi:10.2307/602038, JSTOR 602038
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External links[edit]