Voiceless alveolar stop

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Voiceless alveolar stop
IPA number 103
Entity (decimal) t
Unicode (hex) U+0074
Kirshenbaum t

The voiceless alveolar stop is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar stops is t, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is t. The dental stop can be distinguished with the underbridge diacritic, , the postalveolar with a retraction line, , and the Extensions to the IPA have a double underline diacritic which can be used to explicitly specify an alveolar pronunciation, .

The [t] sound is a very common sound cross-linguistically;[1] the most common consonant phonemes of the world's languages are [t], [k] and [p]. Most languages have at least a plain [t], and some distinguish more than one variety. Some languages without a [t] are Hawaiian (outside of Ni‘ihau; Hawaiian uses a voiceless velar stop when adopting loanwords with [t]), colloquial Samoan (which also lacks an [n]), and Nǁng of South Africa.[citation needed]


Here are features of the voiceless alveolar stop:

  • 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 apical and laminal.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe тфы About this sound [tfə]  'five'
Arabic Egyptian توكة tōka [ˈtoːkæ] 'barrette' See Egyptian Arabic phonology
Chinese Cantonese daan6 [taːn˨˨] 'however' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin dà [ta˥˩] 'big' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Mandarin phonology
Yi da [ta˧] 'place' Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms
Czech toto [toto][stress?] 'this' See Czech phonology
Dutch[2] taal [taːɫ] 'language' See Dutch phonology
English tick [tʰɪk] 'tick' See English phonology
Finnish parta [ˈpɑrtɑ] 'beard' Allophone of the voiceless dental stop. See Finnish phonology
German Tochter [ˈtʰɔxtɐ] 'daughter' See German phonology
Greek τρία tria [ˈtria] 'three' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew תמונה [tmuna] 'image' see Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarian[3] tutaj [tutɒj][stress?] 'raft' See Hungarian phonology
Japanese[4] 特別 tokubetsu [tokɯbetsɯ] 'special' See Japanese phonology
Kabardian тхуы About this sound [txʷə]  'five'
Korean teok [tʰʌk̚] 'jaw' See Korean phonology
Macedonian ти [ti] 'you' See Macedonian phonology
Malay tahun [tähon] 'year' S
Maltese tassew [tasˈsew] 'true'
Norwegian tann [tʰɑn] 'tooth' See Norwegian phonology
Nunggubuyu[5] [taɾawa] 'greedy'
Portuguese[6] Some dialects troço [ˈtɾɔsu] 'thing' (pejoratively) Allophone before alveolar /ɾ/. In other dialects /ɾ/ takes a denti-alveolar allophone instead. See Portuguese phonology
Slovak to [to] 'that'
Thai ta [taː˥˧] 'eye'
Vietnamese ti [ti] 'flaw,' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian tosk [ˈtosk] 'tooth'

See also[edit]



  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X 
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell 
  • Liberman, AM; Cooper, FS; Shankweiler, DP; Studdert-Kennedy, M (1967), "Perception of the speech code", Psychological Review 74 (6) 
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Phonetic Representation:Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–97, doi:10.1017/S002510030000445X 
  • Szende, Tamás (1994), "Illustrations of the IPA:Hungarian", Journal of the International Phonetic Alphabet 24 (2): 91–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005090