Voiceless retroflex affricate

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Voiceless retroflex affricate
IPA Number105 (136)
Entity (decimal)ʈ​͡​ʂ
Unicode (hex)U+0288 U+0361 U+0282
Audio sample

The voiceless retroflex sibilant affricate is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʈ͡ʂ⟩, sometimes simplified to ⟨⟩ or ⟨⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ⟨ts`⟩.

The affricate occurs in a number of languages:


Features of the voiceless retroflex affricate:

  • Its manner of articulation is sibilant affricate, which means it is produced by first stopping the air flow entirely, then directing it with the tongue to the sharp edge of the teeth, causing high-frequency turbulence.
  • Its place of articulation is retroflex, which prototypically means it is articulated subapical (with the tip of the tongue curled up), but more generally, it means that it is postalveolar without being palatalized. That is, besides the prototypical subapical articulation, the tongue contact can be apical (pointed) or laminal (flat).
  • 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
Adyghe чъыгы [t͡ʂəɣə]  'tree'
Asturian Some dialects[1][2] ḷḷobu [ʈ͡ʂoβu] 'wolf' Corresponds to standard /ʎ/.
Belarusian пачатак [paʈ͡ʂatak] 'the beginning' Laminal. See Belarusian phonology
Chinese Mandarin[3] 中文 / Zhōngwén [ʈ̺͡ʂ̺ʊŋ˥ u̯ən˧˥]  'Chinese language' Apical.[4] Contrasts with aspirated form. See Mandarin phonology
Khanty Eastern dialects ҷӓңҷ [ʈ͡ʂaɳʈ͡ʂ] 'knee' Corresponds to a voiceless retroflex fricative /ʂ/ in the northern dialects.
Southern dialects
Mapudungun trafoy [ʈ͡ʂa.ˈfoj] 'it got broken' Contrasts with a voiceless postalveolar affricate: chafoy [t͡ʃa.ˈfoj] 'he/she coughed'
Northern Qiang zhes [ʈ͡ʂəs] 'day before yesterday' Contrasts with aspirated and voiced forms.
Polish Standard[5][6] czas [ˈʈ͡ʂäs̪]  'time' Laminal. Transcribed /t͡ʃ/ by most Polish scholars. See Polish phonology
Southeastern Cuyavian dialects[7] cena [ˈʈ͡ʂɛn̪ä] 'price' Some speakers. It is a result of hypercorrecting the more popular merger of /ʈ͡ʂ/ and /t͡s/ into [t͡s].
Suwałki dialect[8]
Quechua Cajamarca–Cañaris chupa [ʈ͡ʂupə] 'tail'
Russian лу́чше / luchshe [ˈɫut͡ʂʂə]  'better'
Serbo-Croatian[9] чеп / čep [ʈ͡ʂe̞p] 'cork' Apical. It may be palato-alveolar instead, depending on the dialect. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak[10] čakať [ˈʈ͡ʂäkäc] 'to wait' Laminal.
Torwali[11] ڇووو [ʈ͡ʂuwu] 'to sew' Contrasts with aspirated form.
Vietnamese trà [ʈ͡ʂaː˨˩] 'tea' Some speakers.
Yi / zha [ʈ͡ʂa˧] 'a bit' Contrasts with aspirated form.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (in Asturian) Normes ortográfiques, Academia de la Llingua Asturiana Archived 2013-03-23 at the Wayback Machine Page 14
  2. ^ García Arias (2003:34)
  3. ^ Ladefoged & Wu (1984:?)
  4. ^ 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. pp. 413–416. S2CID 51828449.
  5. ^ Jassem (2003:103)
  6. ^ Hamann (2004:65)
  7. ^ "Gwary polskie - Gwara regionu". Gwarypolskie.uw.edu.pl. Archived from the original on 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  8. ^ "Gwary polskie - Szadzenie". Gwarypolskie.uw.edu.pl. Archived from the original on 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  9. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
  10. ^ Hanulíková & Hamann (2010), p. 374.
  11. ^ Lunsford (2001), pp. 16–20.


External links[edit]