Voiceless palatal stop

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Voiceless palatal stop
IPA number 107
Entity (decimal) c
Unicode (hex) U+0063
Kirshenbaum c
Braille ⠉ (braille pattern dots-14)

The voiceless palatal stop or voiceless palatal plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in some vocal languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is 〈c〉, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is c.

If distinction is necessary, the voiceless alveolo-palatal stop may be transcribed 〈〉 or 〈t̠ʲ〉; these are essentially equivalent, because the contact includes both the blade and body (but not the tip) of the tongue. There is also a non-IPA letter 〈ȶ〉, used especially in Sinological circles.

It is common for the phonetic symbol 〈c〉 to be used to represent voiceless postalveolar affricate [t͡ʃ] or other similar affricates, for example in the Indic languages. This may be considered appropriate when the place of articulation needs to be specified and the distinction between stop and affricate is not contrastive.

There is also a voiceless post-palatal stop (also called pre-velar, fronted velar etc.) in some languages.


Features of the voiceless palatal stop:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a stop.
  • Its place of articulation is palatal, which means it is articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised to the hard palate. The otherwise identical post-palatal variant is articulated slightly behind the hard palate, making it sound slightly closer to the velar [k].
  • 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.
  • 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
Albanian[1] shqip [ʃcip] 'Albanian' Merged with [t͡ʃ] in Gheg Albanian and some speakers of Tosk Albanian.[2]
Aranda [example needed] Dento-alveolo-palatal and alveolar.[3]
Basque ttantta [cäɲcä] 'droplet'
Blackfoot ᖳᖽᖳᐡ/akikoan [aˈkicoan] 'girl' Allophone of /k/ after front vowels.
Bulgarian Banat dialect kaćétu [kacetu] 'as' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan Eastern[4] qui [ˈk̟i̞] 'who' Post-palatal.[4] Allophone of /k/ before front vowels.[4] See Catalan phonology
Majorcan[5] [ˈci̞] Simultaneous dento-alveolo-palatal and palatal.[3] Corresponds to /k/ in other varieties. See Catalan phonology
Chinese Taiwanese Hokkien 機車/ki-tshia [ciː˧˧ t͡ɕʰia˥˥] 'motorcycle'
Corsican chjodu [ˈcoːdu] 'nail' Also present in the Gallurese dialect
Czech čeština [ˈt͡ʃɛʃc̟ɪna] 'Czech' Alveolar and alveolo-palatal.[3] See Czech phonology
Dawsahak [cɛːˈnɐ] 'small'
Dinka car [car] 'black'
Dutch mietje [ˈmicə] 'wimp' See Dutch phonology
Ega[6] [cá] 'understand'
English[7][8] keen [k̟ʰiːn] 'keen' Post-palatal.[7][8] Allophone of /k/ before front vowels and /j/,[8] in Australia it may be (less commonly) palatal instead.[8] See English phonology and Australian English phonology
French[3] qui [ci] 'who' (int.) Ranges from alveolar to palatal with more than one closure point. See French phonology
Friulian cjase [case] 'house'
Ganda caayi [caːji] 'tea'
Greek[9] Μακεδνός About this sound [mɐc̠e̞ˈðno̞s̠]  'Makedon' Post-palatal.[9] See Modern Greek phonology
Gweno [ca] 'to come'
Hungarian[10] tyúk [c̟uːk] 'hen' Alveolo-palatal.[3] See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic gjóla [ˈc̟ouːlä] 'light wind' Alveolo-palatal.[3] See Icelandic phonology
Italian Standard[11] chi About this sound [k̟i]  'who(m)' Post-palatal; allophone of /k/ before /i, e, ɛ, j/.[11] See Italian phonology
Irish ceist [cɛʃtʲ] 'question' Simultaneous alveolo-palatal and palatal.[3] See Irish phonology
Khmer ចាប [caap] 'bird' Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms.
Kinyarwanda ikintu [iciːntu] 'question'
Latvian ķirbis [ˈcirbis] 'pumpkin' See Latvian phonology
Low German Plautdietsch kjoakj [coac] 'church' Corresponds to [kʲ] in all other dialects.[clarification needed]
Macedonian вреќа [ˈvrɛca] 'sack' See Macedonian phonology
Norwegian Central dialects[12] fett [fɛcː] 'fat' See Norwegian phonology
Northern dialects[12]
Occitan Limousin tireta [ciˈʀetɒ] 'drawer'
Auvergnat tirador [ciʀaˈdu] 'drawer'
Portuguese Some Fluminense speakers pequi [pi̥ˈci] 'pequi' Allophone of stressed /k/ after [i ~ ɪ] and before close front vowels (/i e ĩ ẽ/).
Some Brazilian speakers metido [miˈc̟idu] 'meddlesome', 'cocky' (m.) Corresponds to the affricate allophone of /t/ before /i/ that is common in Brazil).[13] See Portuguese phonology
Romanian[14] chin [cin] 'torture' Allophone of /k/ before /i/ and /e/. See Romanian phonology
Romansh Sursilvan[15] notg [nɔc] 'night'
Sutsilvan[16] tgàn [caŋ] 'dog'
Surmiran[17] vatgas [ˈvɑcɐs] 'cows'
Puter[18] cher [ˈtsycər] 'sugar'
Vallader[19] müs-chel [ˈmyʃcəl] 'moss'
Slovak[3] deväť [ˈɟ̟e̞ʋe̞c̟] 'nine' Alveolar.[3] See Slovak phonology
Turkish köy [cʰœj] 'village' See Turkish phonology
Vietnamese[20] ch [ci˧ˀ˨ʔ] 'elder sister' May be slightly affricated [t͡ɕ]. See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian tjems [cɛms] 'strainer' See West Frisian phonology
Western Desert kutju [kucu] 'one'

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Newmark, Hubbard & Prifti (1982), p. 10.
  2. ^ Kolgjini (2004).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Recasens (2013), pp. 11–13.
  4. ^ a b c Rafel (1999), p. 14.
  5. ^ Recasens & Espinosa (2005), p. 1.
  6. ^ Connell, Ahoua & Gibbon (2002), p. 100.
  7. ^ a b Lyons (1981), p. 76.
  8. ^ a b c d Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009).
  9. ^ a b Arvaniti (2007), p. 20.
  10. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 164.
  11. ^ a b Canepari (1992), p. 62.
  12. ^ a b Skjekkeland (1997), pp. 105–107.
  13. ^ Palatalization in Brazilian Portuguese revisited
  14. ^ DEX Online : [1]
  15. ^ Menzli (1993), p. 92.
  16. ^ Liver (1999), pp. 53–54.
  17. ^ Liver (1999), pp. 56–57.
  18. ^ Liver (1999), pp. 59–60.
  19. ^ Liver (1999), pp. 63–64.
  20. ^ Thompson (1959), pp. 458–461.