Trill consonant

In phonetics, a trill is a consonantal sound produced by vibrations between the active articulator and passive articulator. Standard Spanish <rr> as in perro, for example is an alveolar trill.

A trill is made by the articulator being held in place and the airstream causing it to vibrate. Usually a trill vibrates for 2–3 contacts, but may be up to 5, or even more if geminate.[1] However, trills may also be produced with only one contact. While single-contact trills are similar to taps and flaps, a tap or flap differs from a trill in that it is made by a muscular contraction rather than airstream.[2]

Phonemic trills

Trill consonants included in the International Phonetic Alphabet:

In addition,

  • [ʩ]velopharyngeal fricative found in disordered speech sometimes involves trilling of the velopharyngeal port, producing a 'snort'.

The bilabial trill is uncommon. The coronal trill is most frequently alveolar [r͇], but dental and postalveolar articulations [r̪] and [r̠] also occur. An alleged retroflex trill found in Toda has been transcribed [ɽ] (that is, the same as the retroflex flap), but might be less ambiguously written [ɽ͡r], as only the onset is retroflex, with the actual trill being alveolar. The epiglottal trills are identified by the IPA as fricatives, with the trilling assumed to be allophonic. However, analyzing the sounds as trills may be more economical.[3] There are also so-called strident vowels which are accompanied by epiglottal trill.

The cells in the IPA chart for the velar, (upper) pharyngeal, and glottal places of articulation are shaded as impossible. The glottis quite readily vibrates, but this occurs as the phonation of vowels and consonants, not as a consonant of its own. Palatal and velar vibratory motions are occasionally produced, especially during the release of dorsal stops.[4] The upper pharyngeal tract cannot reliably produce a trill, but the epiglottis does, and epiglottal trills are pharyngeal in the broad sense.[5] A partially devoiced pre-uvular (i.e. between velar and uvular) fricative trill [ʀ̝̊˖] has been reported to occur as coda allophone of /ʀ/ in Limburgish dialects of Maastricht and Weert. It is in free variation with partially devoiced uvular fricative trill [ʀ̝̊].[6][7]

Voiceless trills occur phonemically in e.g. Welsh and Icelandic. (See also voiceless alveolar trill, voiceless retroflex trill, voiceless uvular trill.) Mangbetu and Ninde have phonemically voiceless bilabial trills.

The Czech language has two contrastive alveolar trills, one a fricative trill (written ř in the orthography). In the fricative trill the tongue is raised, so that there is audible frication during the trill, sounding a little like a simultaneous [r] and [ʐ] (or [r̥] and [ʂ] when devoiced). A symbol for this sound, [ɼ], has been dropped from the IPA, and it is now generally transcribed as a raised r, [r̝].

Liangshan Yi ("Cool Mountain" Yi) has two "buzzed" or fricative vowels /i̝/, /u̝/ (written ṳ, i̤) which may also be trilled, [ʙ̝], [r̝].

A number of languages have trilled affricates such as [mbʙ] and [dʳ]. The Chapakuran language Wari’ and the Muran language Pirahã have a very unusual trilled phoneme, a voiceless bilabially post-trilled dental stop, [t̪͡ʙ̥].

A nasal trill [r̃] has been described from some dialects of Romanian, and is posited as an intermediate historical step in rhotacism. However, the phonetic variation of the sound is considerable, and it is not clear how frequently it is actually trilled.[8]

Extralinguistic trills

A linguolabial trill [r̼] is not known to be used phonemically, but occurs when blowing a raspberry.

Snoring typically consists of vibration of the uvula and the soft palate (velum). Although the former part is simply a uvular trill, there is no standard linguistic term for the latter. It does not constitute a velar trill, because the velum is here the active articulator, not the passive; the tongue is not involved at all. (Speculative Grammarian has proposed a jocular symbol for this sound (also the sound used to imitate a pig's snort), a double-wide ʘ with double dot Nasal-ingressive voiceless velo-pharyngeal trill.svg, which can be approximated with Ꙫ (U+A66A “CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER BINOCULAR O”), suggesting a pig's snout.[9] The Extensions to the IPA identifies a fricative pronounced with this same configuration as velopharyngeal [ʩ].)

Lateral trills are also possible. They may be pronounced by initiating [ɬ] or [ɮ] with an especially forceful airflow. There is no symbol for them in the IPA. Lateral coronal trills are sometimes used to imitate bird calls, and are a component of Donald Duck talk. A labiodental trill, [ʙ̪], is most likely to be lateral, but laterality is not distinctive among labial sounds.

Ejective trills are not known from any language, despite being easy to produce. They may occur as mimesis of a cat's purr.


Attested trilled consonants
(excluding secondary phonations and articulations)
Sounds in double parentheses are only attested from mimesis.
Bilabial Linguo-
Dental Alveolar Post-
Retroflex Velar Uvular Velo-
simple ʙ̥ ʙ ((r̼̊ r̼)) r̪̊ r̪ r r̠̊ r̠ (ɽ͡r̥ ɽ͡r) ʀ̥ ʀ ʜ ʢ
Fricative ʙ̝ r̝̊ ʀ̝̊ ʀ̝
Affricate p͡ʙ̥ b͜ʙ t͜r̊ d͜r ʡ͡ʜ ʡ͡ʢ
Nasal (ʩ)
Lateral (ʙ̪) ((bird calls))
Ejective ((r̥ʼ))

See also


  1. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 218.
  2. ^ Ladefoged & Johnson (2010), p. 175.
  3. ^ Esling (2010), p. 695.
  4. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 230.
  5. ^ Esling (2010), p. 688.
  6. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 156.
  7. ^ Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998), p. 108.
  8. ^ Sampson (1999), pp. 312–3.
  9. ^ "SpecGram—Letters to the Editor".



A purr is a tonal fluttering sound made by some species of felids and two species of genets. It varies in loudness and tone among species and in the same animal.

Although true purring is exclusive to felids and viverrids, other animals such as raccoons produce purr-like vocalization. Animals that produce purr-like sounds include mongoose, bears, badgers, foxes, hyaenas, rabbits, squirrels, guinea pigs, tapirs, ring-tailed lemurs, and gorillas while eating.

Rolled R

Rolled r or rolling r refers to consonant sounds pronounced with a vibrating tongue or uvula Trill consonant:

Alveolar trill, a consonant written as ⟨r⟩ in the International Phonetic Alphabet

Alveolar flap, a consonant written as ⟨ɾ⟩ in the International Phonetic Alphabet

Retroflex trill, a consonant written as ⟨ɽ͡r⟩ in the International Phonetic Alphabet

Uvular trill, a consonant written as ⟨ʀ⟩ in the International Phonetic Alphabet

Sotho phonology

The phonology of Sesotho and those of the other Sotho–Tswana languages are radically different from those of "older" or more "stereotypical" Bantu languages. Modern Sesotho in particular has very mixed origins (due to the influence of Difaqane refugees) inheriting many words and idioms from non-Sotho–Tswana languages.

There are in total 39 consonantal phonemes (plus 2 allophones) and 9 vowel phonemes (plus two close raised allophones). The consonants include a rich set of affricates and palatal and postalveolar consonants, as well as three click consonants.

Tamil language

Tamil (; தமிழ் Tamiḻ [t̪ɐmɨɻ], pronunciation ) is a Dravidian language predominantly spoken by the Tamil people of India and Sri Lanka, and by the Tamil diaspora, Sri Lankan Moors, Douglas, and Chindians. Tamil is an official language of two countries: Sri Lanka and Singapore and official language of the Indian state Tamil Nadu. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry. It is used as one of the languages of education in Malaysia, along with English, Malay and Mandarin. Tamil is spoken by significant minorities in the four other South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.

Tamil is one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world. A. K. Ramanujan described it as "the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past." The variety and quality of classical Tamil literature has led to it being described as "one of the great classical traditions and literature of the world".A recorded Tamil literature has been documented for over 2000 years. The earliest period of Tamil literature, Sangam literature, is dated from ca. 300 BC – AD 300. It has the oldest extant literature among Dravidian languages. The earliest epigraphic records found on rock edicts and 'hero stones' date from around the 3rd century BC. More than 55% of the epigraphical inscriptions (about 55,000) found by the Archaeological Survey of India are in the Tamil language. Tamil language inscriptions written in Brahmi script have been discovered in Sri Lanka and on trade goods in Thailand and Egypt. The two earliest manuscripts from India, acknowledged and registered by the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997 and 2005, were written in Tamil.In 1578, Portuguese Christian missionaries published a Tamil prayer book in old Tamil script named Thambiran Vanakkam, thus making Tamil the first Indian language to be printed and published. The Tamil Lexicon, published by the University of Madras, was one of the earliest dictionaries published in the Indian languages. According to a 2001 survey, there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies.

Venetian language

Venetian or Venetan (łéngoa vèneta or vèneto) is a Romance language spoken as a native language by almost four million people in the northeast of Italy, mostly in the Veneto region of Italy, where most of the five million inhabitants can understand it, centered in and around Venice, which carries the prestige dialect. It is sometimes spoken and often well understood outside Veneto, in Trentino, Friuli, Venezia Giulia, Istria, and some towns of Slovenia and Dalmatia (Croatia) by a surviving autochtonous population, and Brazil, Argentina and Mexico by diasporans.

Although referred to as an Italian dialect (Venetian dialeto, Italian dialetto) even by its speakers, Venetian is a separate language with many local dialects. Its precise place within the Romance language family remains controversial.


Ŕ (minuscule: ŕ) is a letter of the Slovak and Lower Sorbian alphabets. It is formed from R with the addition of an acute. Their Unicode codepoints are U+0154 Ŕ LATIN CAPITAL LETTER R WITH ACUTE (HTML Ŕ) and U+0155 ŕ LATIN SMALL LETTER R WITH ACUTE (HTML ŕ). The PostScript names are Racute and racute.

IPA topics

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