Voiced palato-alveolar sibilant

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Voiced palato-alveolar sibilant
IPA number 135
Entity (decimal) ʒ
Unicode (hex) U+0292
Kirshenbaum Z
Braille ⠮ (braille pattern dots-2346)

The voiced palato-alveolar sibilant or voiced domed postalveolar sibilant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʒ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Z. An alternative symbol used in some older and American linguistic literature is ž, a z with a háček. The sound occurs in many languages and, as in English and French, may have simultaneous lip rounding ([ʒʷ]), although this is rarely indicated in transcription.

Although present in English, the sound is not represented by a specific letter or digraph, but is formed by yod-coalescence of [z] and [j] in words such as measure. It also appears in some loanwords, mainly from French (thus written with g and j), In some transcriptions of alphabets such as Cyrillic, as well as the Wikipedia pronunciation respelling for English, the sound is represented by the digraph zh.

Some scholars[who?] use the symbol /ʒ/ to transcribe the laminal variant of the voiced retroflex sibilant. In such cases, the voiced palato-alveolar sibilant is transcribed /ʒʲ/[importance?].

palato-alveolar fricative [ʃ, ʒ]


Features of the voiced palato-alveolar fricative:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe жакӀэ About this sound [ʒaːtʃa]  'beard'
Albanian zhurmë [ʒuɾmə] 'noise'
Angas zhaam [ʒaːm] 'chin'
Arabic Maghrebi[1] زوج [ʒuʒ] 'two' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[2] ժամ About this sound [ʒɑm]  'hour'
Avar жакъа [ˈʒaqʼːa] 'today'
Azerbaijani jmürdə/پژمرده [pæʒmyrˈdæ] 'sad'
Berber Kabyle jeddi [ʒəddi] 'my grandfather'
Berta [ŋɔ̀nʒɔ̀ʔ] 'honey'
Bulgarian мъжът [mɐˈʒɤ̞t] 'the man'
Chechen жий / ƶiy [ʒiː] 'sheep'
Corsican ghjesgia [ˈjeːʒa] 'church' Also in Gallurese
Czech muži [ˈmuʒɪ] 'men' See Czech phonology
Dutch garage [ɣäˈräːʒə] 'garage' See Dutch phonology
English vision [ˈvɪʒən] 'vision' See English phonology
Esperanto manĝaĵo [maɲˈd͡ʒaʒo̞] 'food' See Esperanto phonology
French[3] jour [ʒuʁ] 'day' See French phonology
German Garage [ɡaˈʁaːʒə] 'garage' See German phonology
Georgian[4] ურნალი [ʒuɾnali] 'magazine'
Goemai zhiem [ʒiem] 'sickle'
Greek Cypriot γαλάζ̌ο [ɣ̞ɐˈlɐʒːo̞] 'sky blue'
Gwich’in zhòh [ʒôh] 'wolf'
Hän zhùr [ʒûr] 'wolf'
Hebrew ז׳אנר [ʒaneʁ] 'genre' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi झ़दहा [əʒd̪əhaː] 'dragon' See Hindi–Urdu phonology
Hungarian zsa [ˈr̪oːʒɒ] 'rose' See Hungarian phonology
Ingush жий/žii [ʒiː] 'sheep'
Italian Marked accents of Emilia-Romagna[5] caso [ˈkäːʒo] 'case' Apical;[5] not labialized;[5] may be [z̺ʲ] or [ʐ] instead.[5] It corresponds to [z] in standard Italian. See Italian phonology
Tuscan pigiare [piˈʒare] 'press' See Italian phonology
Judaeo-Spanish mujer [muˈʒɛʀ] 'woman'
Juǀ'hoan [ʒu] 'person'
Kabardian жыг [ʒəɣʲ] 'tree'
Kashubian[6] [example needed]
Kazakh жеті [ʒeti] 'seven'
Latvian žāvēt [ˈʒäːveːt̪] 'to dry' See Latvian phonology
Ligurian xe ['ly:ʒe] 'light'
Lithuanian 'žmona [ʒmoːˈn̪ɐ] 'wife'
Livonian ž [kuːʒ] 'six'
Lombard Western resgiôra [reˈʒu(ː)ra] 'matriarch'
Macedonian жaбa [ˈʒaba] 'toad' See Macedonian phonology
Megrelian ირი [ʒiɾi] 'two'
Navajo łizh [ɬiʒ] 'urine'
Ngwe Mmockngie dialect [ʒíá] 'to split'
Occitan Auvergnat argent [aʀʒẽ] 'money' Southern dialects
Gascon [arʒen]
Pashto ژوول [ʒowul] 'chew'
Persian مژه [moʒe] 'eyelash' See Persian phonology
Polish Gmina Istebna zielony [ʒɛˈlɔn̪ɘ] 'green' /ʐ/ and /ʑ/ merge into [ʒ] in these dialects. In standard Polish, /ʒ/ is commonly used to transcribe what actually is a laminal voiced retroflex sibilant.
Lubawa dialect[7]
Malbork dialect[7]
Ostróda dialect[7]
Warmia dialect[7]
Portuguese European[8] beringela [bɯ̟ɾĩˈʒɛlɐ] 'eggplant' National spellings diverge in its representation with j or g in many words. There is some dispute as to whether the sound is palato-alveolar or alveolo-palatal in Brazilian.[9][10] See Portuguese phonology
Brazilian jenipapo [ʒẽ̞n̠ʲiˈpapu] 'genipap'
Romanian jar [ʒar] 'embers' See Romanian phonology
Serbo-Croatian жут / žut [ʒûːt̪] 'yellow' May be laminal retroflex instead, depending on the dialect. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Silesian Gmina Istebna[11] [example needed] These dialects merge /ʐ/ and /ʑ/ into [ʒ].

[example needed]

Sioux Lakota waŋži [wãˈʒi] 'one'
Slovenian žito [ʒito][tone?] 'cereal'
Spanish Rioplatense[12] yo [ʒo̞] 'I' Some dialects.[12] See Spanish phonology and yeísmo
Tadaksahak [ˈʒɐwɐb] 'to answer'
Tagish [ʒé] 'what'
Turkish jale [ʒäːlɛ][stress?] 'dew' See Turkish phonology
Turkmen žiraf [ʒiraf] 'giraffe'
Tutchone Northern zhi [ʒi] 'what'
Southern zhǜr [ʒɨ̂r] 'berry'
Ukrainian жaбa [ˈʒɑbɐ] 'frog' See Ukrainian phonology
Urdu اژدہا [əʒd̪ahaː] 'dragon' See Hindi–Urdu phonology
Veps ž [viːʒ] 'five'
Welayta [aʒa] 'bush'
West Frisian bagaazje [bɑˈɡaʒǝ] 'luggage'
Yiddish אָראַנזש [ɔʀanʒ] 'orange' See Yiddish phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[13] llan [ʒaŋ] 'anger'

The sound in Russian denoted by ж is commonly transcribed as a palato-alveolar fricative but is actually a laminal retroflex fricative.

Voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative[edit]

Voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative
IPA number 151 414 429
X-SAMPA r\_-_r

The voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative is a consonantal sound. As the International Phonetic Alphabet does not have separate symbols for the post-alveolar consonants (the same symbol is used for all coronal places of articulation that aren't palatalized), this sound is usually transcribed ɹ̠˔ (retracted constricted [ɹ]). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\_-_r.


  • 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. However, it does not have the grooved tongue and directed airflow, or the high frequencies, of a sibilant.
  • Its place of articulation is postalveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge.
  • 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.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dutch[14] meer [meːɹ̠˔] 'lake' A rare post-vocallic allophone of /r/.[15] Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology

See also[edit]



  • Canepari, Luciano (1992), Il MªPi – Manuale di pronuncia italiana [Handbook of Italian Pronunciation] (in Italian), Bologna: Zanichelli, ISBN 88-08-24624-8 
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223 
  • Dąbrowska, Anna (2004), Język polski, Wrocław: wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie, ISBN 83-7384-063-X 
  • Dubisz, Stanisław; Karaś, Halina; Kolis, Nijola (1995), Dialekty i gwary polskie, Warsaw: Wiedza Powszechna, ISBN 83-2140989-X 
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company 
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73–76, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874 
  • Goeman, Ton; Van de Velde, Hans (2001), "Co-occurrence constraints on /r/ and /ɣ/ in Dutch dialects", in Van de Velde, Hans; van Hout, Roeland, 'r-atics (PDF), Brussels: Etudes & Travaux, pp. 91–112, ISSN 0777-3692 
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373 
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344 
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Chikovani, Vakhtang (2006), "Standard Georgian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (2): 255–264, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002659 
  • Watson, Janet (2002), The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic, New York: Oxford University Press