Palatal consonant

Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth). Consonants with the tip of the tongue curled back against the palate are called retroflex.


The most common type of palatal consonant is the extremely common approximant [j], which ranks as among the ten most common sounds in the world's languages.[1] The nasal [ɲ] is also common, occurring in around 35 percent of the world's languages,[2] in most of which its equivalent obstruent is not the stop [c], but the affricate [t͡ʃ]. Only a few languages in northern Eurasia, the Americas and central Africa contrast palatal stops with postalveolar affricates - as in Hungarian, Czech, Latvian, Macedonian, Slovak, Turkish and Albanian.

Consonants with other primary articulations may be palatalized, that is, accompanied by the raising of the tongue surface towards the hard palate. For example, English [ʃ] (spelled sh) has such a palatal component, although its primary articulation involves the tip of the tongue and the upper gum (this type of articulation is called palatoalveolar).

In phonology, alveolo-palatal, palatoalveolar and palatovelar consonants are commonly grouped as palatals, since these categories rarely contrast with true palatals. Sometimes palatalized alveolars or dentals can be analyzed in this manner as well.

Distinction from palatalized consonants and consonant clusters

Palatal consonants can be distinguished from palatalized consonants and consonant clusters of a consonant and the palatal approximant [j]. Palatal consonants have their primary articulation toward or in contact with the hard palate, whereas palatalized consonants have a primary articulation in some other area and a secondary articulation involving movement towards the hard palate. Palatal and palatalized consonants are both single phonemes, whereas a sequence of a consonant and [j] is logically two phonemes.

Irish distinguishes the palatal nasal /ɲ/ from the palatalized alveolar nasal /nʲ/. In fact, some conservative Irish dialects have two palatalized alveolar nasals, distinguished as "fortis" (apical and somewhat lengthened) vs. "lenis" (laminal).

Spanish distinguishes palatal consonants from sequences of a dental and the palatal approximant:

  • uñón /uɲon/ "large nail"
unión /unjon/ "union"

Sometimes the term palatal is used imprecisely to mean "palatalized". Also, languages that have sequences of consonants and /j/, but no separate palatal or palatalized consonants (e.g. English), will often pronounce the sequence with /j/ as a single palatal or palatalized consonant. This is due to the principle of least effort and is an example of the general phenomenon of coarticulation. (On the other hand, Spanish speakers are very often careful to pronounce /nj/ as two separate sounds to avoid possible confusion with /ɲ/.)


For a table of examples of palatal /ɲ ʎ/ in the Romance languages, see Palatalization (sound change) § Mouillé.

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
Xsampa-J.png palatal nasal Malay banyak [baɲaʔ] many
Xsampa-c.png voiceless palatal stop Hungarian hattyú [hɒuː] swan
Xsampa-Jslash.png voiced palatal stop Latvian ģimene [ɟimene] family
Xsampa-C2.png voiceless palatal fricative German nicht [nɪçt] not
Xsampa-jslash2.png voiced palatal fricative Spanish rayo [raʝo] lightning bolt
Xsampa-j2.png palatal approximant English yes [jɛs]
Xsampa-L2.png palatal lateral approximant Italian gli [ʎi] the (masculine plural)
Xsampa-Jslash lessthan.png voiced palatal implosive Swahili hujambo [huʄambo] hello
Xsampa-equalsslash.png palatal click release (many distinct consonants) Nǁng ǂoo [ǂoo] man, male

See also


  1. ^ "PHOIBLE Online -Segments". Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  2. ^ Ian Maddieson (with a chapter contributed by Sandra Ferrari Disner); Patterns of sounds; Cambridge University Press, 1984. ISBN 0-521-26536-3
Alveolo-palatal consonant

In phonetics, alveolo-palatal (or alveopalatal) consonants, sometimes synonymous with pre-palatal consonants, are intermediate in articulation between the coronal and dorsal consonants, or which have simultaneous alveolar and palatal articulation. In the official IPA chart, alveolo-palatals would appear between the retroflex and palatal consonants but for "lack of space". Ladefoged and Maddieson characterize the alveolo-palatals as palatalized postalveolars (palato-alveolars), articulated with the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge and the body of the tongue raised toward the palate, whereas Esling describes them as advanced palatals (pre-palatals), the furthest front of the dorsal consonants, articulated with the body of the tongue approaching the alveolar ridge. These descriptions are essentially equivalent, since the contact includes both the blade and body (but not the tip) of the tongue (see schematic at right). They are front enough that the fricatives and affricates are sibilants, the only sibilants among the dorsal consonants.

Alveolo-palatal fricative

Alveolo-palatal fricative is a class of consonants in some oral languages. The consonants are sibilants, a variety of fricative. Their place of articulation is postalveolar. They differ in voicing.

The voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative is written ɕ in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

The voiced alveolo-palatal fricative, written ʑ, is similar to the voiced postalveolar fricative in English words such as Asia.

Balkan dialects of Bulgarian

The Balkan dialects are the most extensive group of dialects of the Bulgarian language, covering almost half of the present-day territory of Bulgaria and slightly less than a third of the territory on the Balkans where Bulgarian is spoken. Their range includes north-central Bulgaria and most of the Bulgarian part of Thrace, excluding the Rhodopes, the region of Haskovo and Strandzha. As a result of the mass population movements that affected eastern Bulgaria during the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the Balkan dialects are now spoken also in vast areas of northeastern Bulgaria, especially the regions of Dobrich and Varna. The most significant feature of the dialects, as in most Eastern Bulgarian dialects, is the pronunciation of Old Church Slavonic ѣ (yat) as ʲa or ɛ, depending on the character of the following syllable. The Balkan dialects, and in particular, the Central Balkan dialect, lie at the foundation of formal Bulgarian. However, they are not identical to the standard language because many of its features derive from the Western Bulgarian dialects, including the Macedonian dialects, or are a compromise between Eastern and Western standard.


Campaniacum is the etymon inferred from numerous toponyms in France. The Toponymie générale de la France (TGF) derives it from a Roman personal name Campanius and the Gaulish suffix -acum. The -i- (which is important in the phonetic evolution of *Campaniacum) suggests that Campanius is a gens name.The modern forms differ according to the diverse phonetic evolutions of the local dialects.

Campagnac (TGF § 7029)

Campénéac (Morbihan) (TGF § 7535)

Campigny (TGF § 8819)

Champagnac (TGF § 7061 and § 7438)

Champagnat (TGF § 7612 and § 8480)

Champagné (TGF § 8133)

Champagneux (TGF § 8537)

Champagney (TGF § 7873)

Champagny (TGF § 8868)

Champigny (TGF § 8868)The initial /ka/ of *Campaniacum became /ʃa/ (written Cha) in most of Gaul, both in langue d'oïl dialects and the northern langue d'oc dialects; but north of the Joret line, and most Langue d'oc dialects (southern one) /ka/ (written Ca-) was preserved.

In the form Champigny, Gaston Zink offered an explanation for the sequence ign in place of the expected agn: before the palatal consonant /ɲ/, the /a/ shifted to /e/, which in turn closed to /i/; Zink points out the parallel form (fungum) campaniolum ('mushroom') which became champegneul in Old French and champignon (with substitution of suffix) in modern French. This shift is restricted to central langue d'oïl.

Distinctive feature

In linguistics, a distinctive feature is the most basic unit of phonological structure that may be analyzed in phonological theory.

Distinctive features are grouped into categories according to the natural classes of segments they describe: major class features, laryngeal features, manner features, and place features. These feature categories in turn are further specified on the basis of the phonetic properties of the segments in question.

Since the inception of the phonological analysis of distinctive features in the 1950s, features traditionally have been specified by binary values to signify whether a segment is described by the feature; a positive value, [+], denotes the presence of a feature, while a negative value, [−], indicates its absence. In addition, a phoneme may be unmarked with respect to a feature. However, in recent developments to the theory of distinctive features, phonologists have proposed the existence of single-valued features. These features, called univalent or privative features, can only describe the classes of segments that are said to possess those features, and not the classes that are without them.

Hungarian phonology

The phonology of the Hungarian language is notable for its process of vowel harmony, the frequent occurrence of geminate consonants and the presence of otherwise uncommon palatal stops.

Intha-Danu language

Intha and Danu constitute a southern Burmish language of Shan State, Burma. It is spoken by the Danu people. they are considered dialects of Burmese by the Government of Myanmar.

Danu is spoken by the Danu people, Intha by the Intha, a group of Bamar descendants who migrated to Inle Lake in Shan State. Both are spoken by about 100,000. Both are characterized by a retention of the /-l-/ medial (for the following consonant clusters in Intha: /kl- kʰl- pl- pʰl- ml- hml-/). Examples include:

"full": Standard Burmese ပြည့် ([pjḛ]) → ပ္လည့် ([plḛ]), from old Burmese ပ္လည်

"ground": Standard Burmese မြေ ([mjè]) → မ္လေ ([mlè]), from old Burmese မ္လိယ်There is no voicing with the presence of either aspirated or unaspirated consonants. For instance, ဗုဒ္ဓ (Buddha) is pronounced [boʊʔda̰] in standard Burmese, but [poʊʔtʰa̰] in Intha. This is probably due to influence from the Shan language.

Furthermore, သ (/θ/ in standard Burmese) has merged to /sʰ/ (ဆ) in Intha.

Inuit phonology

This article discusses the phonology of the Inuit languages. Unless otherwise noted, statements refer to Inuktitut dialects of Canada.

Most Inuit varieties have fifteen consonants and three vowel qualities (with phonemic length distinctions for each). Although Inupiatun and Qawiaraq have retroflex consonants, retroflexes have otherwise disappeared in all the Canadian and Greenlandic dialects.


A labio-palatalized sound is one that is simultaneously labialized and palatalized. Typically the roundedness is compressed, like [y], rather than protruded like [u]. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet for this secondary articulation is ⟨ᶣ⟩, a superscript ⟨ɥ⟩, the symbol for the labialized palatal approximant. If such sounds pattern with other, labialized, consonants, they may instead be transcribed as palatalized consonants plus labialization, ⟨ʷ⟩, as with the [sʲʷ] = [sᶣ] of Abkhaz or the [nʲʷ] = [nᶣ] of Akan.

A voiced labialized palatal approximant [ɥ] occurs in Mandarin Chinese and French, but elsewhere is uncommon, as it is generally dependent upon the presence of front rounded vowels such as [ø] and [y], which are themselves not common. However, a labialized palatal approximant and labio-palatalized consonants appear in some languages without front rounded vowels in the Caucasus and in West Africa, such as Abkhaz, and as allophones of labialized consonants before /i/, including the [tsᶣ] at the beginning of the language name Twi. In Russian, /o/ and /u/ trigger labialization of any preceding consonant, including palatalized consonants, so that нёс 'he carried' is phonetically [nᶣɵs].

Iaai has a voiceless labialized palatal approximant /ɥ̊/.


Palatalization may refer to:

Palatalization (phonetics), the phonetic feature of palatal secondary articulation

Palatalization (sound change), the sound change triggered by or resulting in a palatal consonant or front vowel

Postalveolar consonant

Postalveolar consonants (sometimes spelled post-alveolar) are consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, farther back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself but not as far back as the hard palate, the place of articulation for palatal consonants. Examples of postalveolar consonants are the English palato-alveolar consonants [ʃ] [tʃ] [ʒ] [dʒ], as in the words "ship", "'chill", "vision", and "jump", respectively.

There are a large number of types of postalveolar sounds, especially among the sibilants. The three primary types are palato-alveolar (such as [ʃ ʒ], weakly palatalized), alveolo-palatal (such as [ɕ ʑ], strongly palatalized), and retroflex (such as [ʂ ʐ], unpalatalized). The palato-alveolar and alveolo-palatal subtypes are commonly counted as "palatals" in phonology since they rarely contrast with true palatal consonants.

Rup dialects

The Rup dialects, or the Southeastern dialects, are a group of Bulgarian dialects located east of the yat boundary, thus being part of the Eastern Bulgarian dialects. The range of the Rup dialects includes the southern part of Thrace, i.e. Strandzha, the region of Haskovo, the Rhodopes and the eastern half of Pirin Macedonia.

Shumen dialect

The Shumen dialect is a Bulgarian dialect, member of the Moesian dialects. It is one of the best preserved Moesian dialects and is spoken in the regions of Shumen and Kaspichan.

Teteven dialect

The Teteven dialect is a Bulgarian dialect, which is part of the Balkan group of the Eastern Bulgarian dialects. It is spoken in the town of Teteven and several neighbouring villages and is almost completely surrounded by the Central Balkan dialect, except on the west where it borders on the Western Bulgarian Botevgrad dialect. The most significant feature of the dialect, as in all Balkan dialects, is the pronunciation of Old Church Slavonic ѣ (yat) as ʲa or ɛ, depending on the character of the following syllable.

Vowel breaking

In historical linguistics, vowel breaking, vowel fracture, or diphthongization is the change of a monophthong into a diphthong or triphthong.

Vowel harmony

Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels that occurs in some languages. A vowel or vowels in a word must be members of the same class (thus "in harmony"). In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on which vowels may be found near each other. Suffixes and prefixes will usually follow vowel harmony rules. Many agglutinative languages have vowel harmony.


The letter yogh (ȝogh) (Ȝ ȝ; Scots: yoch; Middle English: ȝogh) was used in Middle English and Older Scots, representing y (/j/) and various velar phonemes. It was derived from the Old English form of the letter g.

In Middle English writing, tailed z came to be indistinguishable from yogh.

In Middle Scots, the character yogh became confused with a cursive z and the early Scots printers often used z when yogh was not available in their fonts. Consequently, some Lowland Scots words have a z in place of a yogh.

Yogh is shaped similarly to the Arabic numeral three (3), which is sometimes substituted for the character in online reference works. There is some confusion about the letter in the literature, as the English language was far from standardised at the time. The upper and lower case letters (Ȝ, ȝ) are represented in Unicode by code points U+021C Ȝ LATIN CAPITAL LETTER YOGH (HTML Ȝ) and U+021D ȝ LATIN SMALL LETTER YOGH (HTML ȝ) respectively.

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