Nasal palatal approximant

The nasal palatal approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some oral languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨⟩, that is, a j with a tilde. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is j~, and in the Americanist phonetic notation it is ⟨⟩.

The nasal palatal approximant is sometimes called a nasal yod; [j̃] and [w̃] may be called nasal glides.

Nasal palatal approximant


Features of the nasal palatal approximant:


[j̃], written ny, is a common realization of /j/ before nasal vowels in many languages of West Africa that do not have a phonemic distinction between voiced nasal and oral stops, such as Ewe and Bini.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Hindustani[1] संयम/sanyama [səj̃jəm] 'patience'

Allophone of /ɲ/ before [j]. See Hindustani phonology

Kaingang[2] [j̃ũ] 'brave' Possible word-initial realization of /j/ before a nasal vowel.[3]
Lombard bisògn de [biˈzɔj̃ d̪e] 'need for (sth)'

Allophone of /ɲ/ before a consonant. See Lombard phonology

Polish[4] państwo [ˈpãj̃stfɔ] 'state, country'

Allophone of /ɲ/ in coda position or before fricatives. See Polish phonology

Portuguese Brazilian[5] sonho [ˈsõj̃ʊ] 'dream' Allophone of /ɲ/ between vowels, nasalizes the preceding vowel. Language's original /ɲ/ sound.[6][7] See Portuguese phonology
Most dialects[8] es [kɐ̃j̃s] 'dogs' Allophone of /j/ after nasal vowels.
Some dialects[6] me ame! [ˈmj̃ɐ̃mi] 'love me!' Non-syllabic allophone of /i/ between nasal sounds.
Shipibo[9] Allophone of /j/ after nasal vowels.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Canepari (2005:335)
  2. ^ Jolkesky (2009:676, 681)
  3. ^ Jolkesky (2009:681)
  4. ^ Gussman (2007)
  5. ^ Perini (2002:?)
  6. ^ a b Portuguese vinho: diachronic evidence for biphonemic nasal vowels
  7. ^ Mattos e Silva (1991:73)
  8. ^ Vigário (2003:77)
  9. ^ a b Valenzuela, Márquez Pinedo & Maddieson (2001:283)


  • Canepari, Luciano (2005), "Hindi", A Handbook of Pronunciation, Lincom Europa, p. 335
  • Gussman, Edmund (2007), The Phonology of Polish, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-926747-7
  • Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2009), "Fonologia e prosódia do Kaingáng falado em Cacique Doble", Anais do SETA, Campinas: Editora do IEL-UNICAMP, 3: 675–685
  • Mattos e Silva, Rosa (1991), O Português arcaico – fonologia, Contexto
  • Perini, Mário Alberto (2002), Modern Portuguese (A Reference Grammar), New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-09155-7
  • Valenzuela, Pilar M.; Márquez Pinedo, Luis; Maddieson, Ian (2001), "Shipibo", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 31 (2): 281–285, doi:10.1017/S0025100301002109
  • Vigário, Marina (2003), The Prosodic Word in European Portuguese, De Gruyter Mouton, ISBN 978-3-11-017713-8

Further reading

  • Shosted; Hualde (2010), (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory volume 315) Romance Linguistics 2009: Selected Papers from the 39th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Tucson, Arizona, March 2009, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 43–61, ISBN 978-90-272-4833-6

External links

Angolan Portuguese

Angolan Portuguese (Portuguese: Português de Angola) is a group of dialects and accents of the Portuguese language used mostly in Angola, where it is an official language. In 2005 it was used there by 60% of the population, including by 20% as their first language. The 2016 CIA World Fact Book reports that 12.3 million, or 47% of the population, speaks Portuguese as their first language.

However, many parents raise their children to speak only Portuguese. The 2014 census found that 71% speak Portuguese at home, many of them alongside a Bantu language, breaking down to 85% in urban areas and 49% in rural areas.There are different stages of Portuguese language in Angola in a similar manner to other Portuguese-speaking African countries. Some closely approximate Standard Portuguese pronunciation and are associated with upper class and younger generations of urban background.

Approximant consonant

Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough nor with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no turbulence. This class of sounds includes lateral approximants like [l] (as in less), non-lateral approximants like [ɹ] (as in rest), and semivowels like [j] and [w] (as in yes and west, respectively).

List of consonants

This is a list of all the consonants which have a dedicated letter in the International Phonetic Alphabet, plus some of the consonants which require diacritics, ordered by place and manner of articulation.

Nasal consonant

In phonetics, a nasal, also called a nasal occlusive, nasal stop in contrast with a nasal fricative, or nasal continuant, is an occlusive consonant produced with a lowered velum, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. The vast majority of consonants are oral consonants. Examples of nasals in English are [n], [ŋ] and [m], in words such as nose, bring and mouth. Nasal occlusives are nearly universal in human languages. There are also other kinds of nasal consonants in some languages.

Nasal labialized velar approximant

The nasal labio-velar approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨w̃⟩, that is, a w with a tilde. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is w~.

The nasal approximants [ȷ̃] and [w̃] may also be called nasal glides. In some languages like Portuguese, they form a second element of nasal diphthongs.

Palatal approximant

The voiced palatal approximant is a type of consonant used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨j⟩. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is j, and in the Americanist phonetic notation it is ⟨y⟩. Because the English name of the letter J, jay, does not start with [j] but with [d͡ʒ] (voiced palato-alveolar affricate), this approximant is sometimes called yod instead, as in the phonological history terms yod-dropping and yod-coalescence.

The palatal approximant can in many cases be considered the semivocalic equivalent of the close front unrounded vowel [i]. The two are almost identical featurally. They alternate with each other in certain languages, such as French, and in the diphthongs of some languages, ⟨j⟩ and ⟨i̯⟩ with the non-syllabic diacritic are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound.

Some languages, though, have a palatal approximant that is unspecified for rounding, and therefore cannot be considered the semivocalic equivalent of either [i] or its rounded counterpart [y] (which would normally correspond to [ɥ]). An example of such language is Spanish, which distinguishes two palatal approximants: an approximant semivowel [j], which is always unrounded, and an unspecified for rounding approximant consonant [ʝ̞]. Eugenio Martínez Celdrán describes the difference between them as follows:

[j] is shorter and is usually a merely transitory sound. It can only exist together with a full vowel and does not appear in syllable onset. [On the other hand,] [ʝ̞] has a lower amplitude, mainly in F2. It can only appear in syllable onset. It is not noisy either articulatorily or perceptually. [ʝ̞] can vary towards [ʝ] in emphatic pronunciations, having noise (turbulent airstream). (...)

There is a further argument through which we can establish a clear difference between [j] and [ʝ̞]: the first sound cannot be rounded, not even through co-articulation, whereas the second one is rounded before back vowels or the back semi-vowel. Thus, in words like viuda [ˈbjuð̞a] 'widow', Dios [ˈdjos] 'God', vio [ˈbjo] 's/he saw', etc., the semi-vowel [j] is unrounded; if it were rounded a sound that does not exist in Spanish, [ɥ], would appear. On the other hand, [ʝ̞] is unspecified as far as rounding is concerned and it is assimilated to the labial vowel context: rounded with rounded vowels, e.g. ayuda [aˈʝ̞ʷuð̞a] 'help', coyote [koˈʝ̞ʷote] 'coyote', hoyuelo [oˈʝ̞ʷwelo] 'dimple', etc., and unrounded with unrounded vowels: payaso [paˈʝ̞aso] 'clown', ayer [aˈʝ̞eɾ] 'yesterday'.

He also says that in his opinion, "the IPA shows a lack of precision in the treatment it gives to approximants, if we take into account our understanding of the phonetics of Spanish. [ʝ̞] and [j] are two different segments, but they have to be labelled as voiced palatal approximant consonants. I think that the former is a real consonant, whereas the latter is a semi-consonant, as it has traditionally been called in Spanish, or a semi-vowel, if preferred. The IPA, though, classifies it as a consonant."There is a parallel problem with transcribing the voiced velar approximant.

The symbol ⟨ʝ̞⟩ may also be used when the palatal approximant is merely an allophone of the voiced palatal fricative /ʝ/ as, compared with ⟨j⟩, it is somewhat more similar to the symbol ⟨ʝ⟩. The X-SAMPA equivalent of ⟨ʝ̞⟩ is j\_o.

Note that the symbol ⟨ʝ̞⟩ may not display properly in all browsers. If that is the case, ⟨ʝ˕⟩ should be substituted.

In the writing systems used for most of the languages of Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe, the letter j denotes the palatal approximant, as in German Jahr 'year'. That is followed by IPA although it may be counterintuitive for English speakers (words occur with this sound in a few loanwords in English like Hebrew "hallelujah" and German "Jägermeister").

In grammars of Ancient Greek, the palatal approximant, which was lost early in the history of Greek, is sometimes written as ⟨ι̯⟩ (iota with the inverted breve below, the nonsyllabic diacritic or marker of a semivowel).There is also the post-palatal approximant in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical palatal approximant, though not as back as the prototypical velar approximant. It can be considered the semivocalic equivalent of the close central unrounded vowel [ɨ], and the two are almost identical featurally. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨j̠⟩, ⟨j˗⟩ (both symbols denote a retracted ⟨j⟩), ⟨ɰ̟⟩ or ⟨ɰ˖⟩ (both symbols denote an advanced ⟨ɰ⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are j_- and M\_+, respectively. Other possible transcriptions include a centralized ⟨j⟩ (⟨j̈⟩ in the IPA, j_" in X-SAMPA), a centralized ⟨ɰ⟩ (⟨ɰ̈⟩ in the IPA, M\_" in X-SAMPA) and a non-syllabic ⟨ɨ⟩ (⟨ɨ̯⟩ in the IPA, 1_^ in X-SAMPA).

For the reasons mentioned above and in the article velar approximant, none of these symbols are appropriate for languages such as Spanish, in which the post-palatal approximant consonant (not a semivowel) appears as an allophone of /ɡ/ before front vowels, and is best transcribed ⟨ʝ̞˗⟩, ⟨ʝ˕˗⟩ (both symbols denote a lowered and retracted ⟨ʝ⟩), ⟨ɣ̞˖⟩ or ⟨ɣ˕˖⟩ (both symbols denote a lowered and advanced ⟨ɣ⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are j\_o_- and G_o_+.

Especially in broad transcription, the post-palatal approximant may be transcribed as a palatalized velar approximant (⟨ɰʲ⟩, ⟨ɣ̞ʲ⟩ or ⟨ɣ˕ʲ⟩ in the IPA, M\', M\_j, G'_o or G_o_j in X-SAMPA).

Palatal nasal

The palatal nasal is a type of consonant used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɲ⟩, a lowercase letter n with a leftward-pointing tail protruding from the bottom of the left stem of the letter. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is J. The IPA symbol ⟨ɲ⟩ is similar to ⟨ɳ⟩, the symbol for the retroflex nasal, which has a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem, and to ⟨ŋ⟩, the symbol for the velar nasal, which has a leftward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem; the symbol was derived from a ligature of the digraph gn, which represents the sound in French and Italian.Palatal nasals are more common than the palatal stops [c, ɟ]. As mentioned above, Italian and French spell it by the digraph ⟨gn⟩. In Spanish and languages whose writing systems are influenced by Spanish orthography, this sound is represented with the letter ⟨ñ⟩, called eñe ("enye"). Occitan uses the digraph ⟨nh⟩, the source of the same Portuguese digraph called ene-agá, used thereafter by languages whose writing systems are influenced by Portuguese orthography, such as Vietnamese. In Catalan, Hungarian and many African languages, as Swahili or Dinka, the digraph ⟨ny⟩ is used.

The alveolo-palatal nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some oral languages. There is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound. If more precision is desired, it may be transcribed ⟨n̠ʲ⟩ or ⟨ɲ̟⟩; these are essentially equivalent, since the contact includes both the blade and body (but not the tip) of the tongue. There is a non-IPA letter ⟨ȵ⟩ (⟨n⟩, plus the curl found in the symbols for alveolo-palatal sibilant fricatives ⟨ɕ, ʑ⟩), used especially in Sinological circles.

The alveolo-palatal nasal is commonly described as palatal; it is often unclear whether a language has a true palatal or not. Many languages claimed to have a palatal nasal, such as Portuguese, actually have an alveolo-palatal nasal. This is likely true of several of the languages listed here. Some dialects of Irish as well as some non-standard dialects of Malayalam are reported to contrast alveolo-palatal and palatal nasals.There is also a post-palatal nasal (also called pre-velar, fronted velar etc.) in some languages.

Portuguese language

Portuguese (português or, in full, língua portuguesa) is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Portuguese is part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia and the County of Portugal, and has kept some Celtic phonology and lexicon. With approximately 215 to 220 million native speakers and 250 million total speakers, Portuguese is usually listed as the sixth most natively spoken language in the world, the third-most spoken European language in the world in terms of native speakers, and the most spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also the most spoken language in South America and the second-most spoken in Latin America after Spanish, one of the 10 most spoken languages in Africa and is an official language of the European Union, Mercosur, OAS, ECOWAS and the African Union. The Community of Portuguese Language Countries is an international organization made up of all of the world's officially Lusophone nations.

Portuguese phonology

The phonology of Portuguese can vary between dialects, in extreme cases leading to some difficulties in intelligibility. This article focuses on the pronunciations that are generally regarded as standard. Since Portuguese is a pluricentric language, and differences between European Portuguese (EP) and Brazilian Portuguese (BP) can be considerable, both varieties are distinguished whenever necessary.

One of the most salient differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese is their prosody. European Portuguese is a stress-timed language, with reduction, devoicing or even deletion of unstressed vowels and a general tolerance of syllable-final consonants. Brazilian Portuguese, on the other hand, is of mixed characteristics, and varies according to speech rate, dialect, and the gender of the speaker. At fast speech rates, Brazilian Portuguese is more stress-timed, while in slow speech rates, it can be more syllable-timed. The accents of rural, southern Rio Grande do Sul and the Northeast (especially Bahia) are considered to sound more syllable-timed than the others, while the southeastern dialects such as the mineiro, in central Minas Gerais, the paulistano, of the northern coast and eastern regions of São Paulo, and the fluminense, along Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and eastern Minas Gerais as well the Federal District, are most frequently essentially stress-timed. Also, male speakers of Brazilian Portuguese speak faster than female speakers and speak in a more stress-timed manner, and with a lighter reduction of unstressed vowels, less raising of pre-stress vowels, less devoicing and fewer deletions.

Brazilian Portuguese disallows some closed syllables: coda nasals are deleted with concomitant nasalization of the preceding vowel, even in learned words; coda /l/ becomes [w], except for conservative velarization at the extreme south and rhotacism in remote rural areas in the center of the country; the coda rhotic is usually deleted entirely when word-final, especially in verbs in the infinitive form; and /i/ can be epenthesized after almost all other coda-final consonants. This tends to produce words almost entirely composed of open syllables, e.g., magma [ˈmaɡimɐ]. In European Portuguese, similarly, epenthesis may occur with [ɨ], as in magma [ˈmaɣɨmɐ] and afta [ˈafɨtɐ].For more detailed information on regional accents, see Portuguese dialects, and for historical sound changes see History of Portuguese § Historical sound changes.

IPA topics

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