A voiceless alveolar fricative is a type of fricative consonant pronounced with the tip or blade of the tongue against the alveolar ridge (gum line) just behind the teeth. This refers to a class of sounds, not a single sound. There are at least six types with significant perceptual differences:
The first three types are sibilants, meaning that they are made with the teeth closed and have a piercing, perceptually prominent sound.
|Voiceless alveolar sibilant|
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|Voiceless laminal dentalized alveolar sibilant|
|Voiceless alveolar retracted sibilant|
|Unicode (hex)||U+0073 U+033A|
The voiceless alveolar sibilant is a common consonant sound in vocal languages. It is the sound in English words such as sea and pass, and is represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet with ⟨s⟩. It has a characteristic high-pitched, highly perceptible hissing sound. For this reason, it is often used to get someone's attention, using a call often written as sssst! or psssst!.
The voiceless alveolar sibilant [s] is one of the most common sounds cross-linguistically. If a language has fricatives, it will most likely have [s]. However, some languages have a related sibilant sound, such as [ʃ], but no [s]. In addition, sibilants are absent from Australian Aboriginal languages, in which fricatives are rare; even the few indigenous Australian languages that have developed fricatives do not have sibilants.
The voiceless alveolar retracted sibilant (commonly termed the voiceless apico-alveolar sibilant) is a fricative that is articulated with the tongue in a hollow shape, usually with the tip of the tongue (apex) against the alveolar ridge. It is a sibilant sound and is found most notably in a number of languages in a linguistic area covering northern and central Iberia. It is most well known from its occurrence in the Spanish of this area. In the Middle Ages, it occurred in a wider area, covering Romance languages spoken throughout France, Portugal, and Spain, as well as Old High German and Middle High German.
In Romance languages, it occurs as the normal voiceless alveolar sibilant in Astur-Leonese, Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Galician, northern European Portuguese, and some Occitan dialects. It also occurs in Basque and Mirandese, where it is opposed to a different voiceless alveolar sibilant, the more common [s]; the same distinction occurs in a few dialects of northeastern Portuguese. Outside this area, it also occurs in a few dialects of Latin American Spanish (e.g. Antioqueño, in Colombia).
There is no single IPA symbol used for this sound. The symbol ⟨s̺⟩ is often used, with a diacritic indicating an apical pronunciation. However, that is potentially problematic in that not all alveolar retracted sibilants are apical (see below), and not all apical alveolar sibilants are retracted. The ad hoc non-IPA symbols ⟨ṣ⟩ and ⟨S⟩ are often used in the linguistic literature even when IPA symbols are used for other sounds, but ⟨ṣ⟩ is a common transcription of the retroflex sibilant [ʂ].
In medieval times, it occurred in a wider area, including the Romance languages spoken in most or all of France and Iberia (Old Spanish, Galician-Portuguese, Catalan, French, etc.), as well as in the Old and Middle High German of central and southern Germany, and most likely Northern Germany as well. In all of these languages, the retracted "apico-alveolar" sibilant was opposed to a non-retracted sibilant much like modern English [s], and in many of them, both voiceless and voiced versions of both sounds occurred. A solid evidence is different spellings used for two different sibilants: in general, the retracted "apico-alveolar" variants were written ⟨s⟩ or ⟨ss⟩, while the non-retracted variants were written ⟨z⟩, ⟨c⟩ or ⟨ç⟩. In the Romance languages, the retracted sibilants derived from Latin /s/, /ss/ or /ns/, while the non-retracted sibilants derived from earlier affricates [t͡s] and [d͡z], which in turn derived from palatalized /k/ or /t/. The situation was similar in High German, where the retracted sibilants derived largely from Proto-Germanic /s/, while the non-retracted sibilants derived from instances of Proto-Germanic /t/ that were shifted by the High German sound shift. Minimal pairs were common in all languages. Examples in Middle High German, for example, were wizzen "to know" (Old English witan, cf. "to wit") vs. wissen "known" (Old English wissen), and weiz "white" (Old English wīt) vs. weis "way" (Old English wīs, cf. "-wise").
Often, to speakers of languages or dialects that do not have the sound, it is said to have a "whistling" quality, and to sound similar to palato-alveolar ʃ. For this reason, when borrowed into such languages or represented with non-Latin characters, it is often replaced with [ʃ]. This occurred, for example, in English borrowings from Old French (e.g. push from pousser, cash from caisse); in Polish borrowings from medieval German (e.g. kosztować from kosten, żur from sūr (contemporary sauer)); and in representations of Mozarabic (an extinct medieval Romance language once spoken in southern Spain) in Arabic characters. The similarity between retracted [s̺] and [ʃ] has resulted in many exchanges in Spanish between the sounds, during the medieval period when Spanish had both phonemes. Examples are jabón (formerly xabón) "soap" from Latin sapō/sapōnem, jibia "cuttlefish" (formerly xibia) from Latin sēpia, and tijeras "scissors" (earlier tixeras < medieval tiseras) from Latin cīsōrias (with initial t- due to influence from tōnsor "shaver").
One of the clearest descriptions of this sound is from Obaid: "There is a Castilian s, which is a voiceless, concave, apicoalveolar fricative: The tip of the tongue turned upward forms a narrow opening against the alveoli of the upper incisors. It resembles a faint /ʃ/ and is found throughout much of the northern half of Spain".
This distinction has since vanished from most of the languages that once had it in medieval times.
Those languages in which the sound occurs typically did not have a phonological process from which either [s] or [ʃ] appeared, two similar sounds with which ⟨s̺⟩ was eventually confused. In general, older European languages only had a single pronunciation of s.
In Romance languages, [s] was reached from -ti-, -ci-, -ce- ([ti], [ki], [ke]) clusters that eventually became [ts], [tsi], [tse] and later [s], [si], [se] (as in Latin fortia "force", civitas "city", centum "hundred"), while [ʃ] was reached:
In High German, [s] was reached from a [t] > [ts] > [s] process, as in German Wasser vs English water. In English, the same process of Romance [ts] > [s] occurred in Norman-imported words, accounting for modern homophones sell and cell. [ʃ] was also reached from a -sk- cluster reduction as in Romance, e.g. Old English spelling "asc" for modern "ash", German schirm vs English screen, English ship vs Danish skib.
Standard Modern Greek, that has apical [s̺], lacked both processes.
The Germanic-speaking regions that did not have either phenomena have normally preserved the apical [s̺], that is, Icelandic, Dutch and many Scandinavian lects. It also reached modern times in Low German, but this language has largely been replaced by Standard German.
The main Romance language to preserve the sound, Castilian Spanish, is exceptional in that it had both events that produced [s] and [ʃ], and preserved the apical S at the expense of both, that were shifted farther away. Galician changed only [s], and Catalan, as well as Ladino, still preserves all three sounds.
Because of the widespread medieval distribution, it has been speculated that retracted [s̺] was the normal pronunciation in spoken Latin. Certain borrowings suggest that it was not far off from the sh-sound [ʃ], e.g. Aramaic Jeshua > Latin Jesus, Hebrew Shabbat > Vulgar Latin Sabato; but this could also be explained by the lack of a better sound in Latin to represent Semitic sh. It equally well could have been an areal feature inherited from the prehistoric languages of Western Europe, as evidenced by its occurrence in modern Basque.
For the same reasons, it can be speculated that retracted [s̺] was the pronunciation of Proto-Germanic s. Its presence in many branches of Indo-European and its presence particularly in the more conservative languages inside each branch (e.g. Icelandic, Spanish), as well as being found in disparate areas, such as the Baltic languages and Greece, suggests it could have ultimately been the main allophone of Proto-Indo-European s, known for ranging from [s] to as far as [ɕ].
[ʃ], but not [s], was developed in Italian. However, where Spanish and Catalan have apical [s̺], Italian uses the same laminal [s] that occurs in standard forms of English: evidence, it could be argued, that S was not pronounced apically in Latin. But Neapolitan has a medieval S becoming either [s] or [ʃ] depending on context, much as in European Portuguese, which could attest to the previous existence of [s̺] in the Italian Peninsula. The Italian pronunciation as laminal S could also be explained by the presence of [ʃ] but not [s], thus moving the pronunciation of [s̺] to the front of the mouth in an attempt to better differentiate between the two sounds.
The term "voiceless alveolar sibilant" is potentially ambiguous in that it can refer to at least two different sounds. Various languages of northern Iberia (e.g. Astur-Leonese, Catalan, Basque, Galician, Portuguese and Spanish) have a so-called "voiceless apico-alveolar sibilant" that lacks the strong hissing of the [s] described in this article but has a duller, more "grave" sound quality somewhat reminiscent of a voiceless retroflex sibilant. Basque, Mirandese and some Portuguese dialects in northeast Portugal (as well as medieval Spanish and Portuguese in general) have both types of sounds in the same language.
There is no general agreement about what actual feature distinguishes these sounds. Spanish phoneticians normally describe the difference as apical (for the northern Iberian sound) vs. laminal (for the more common sound), but Ladefoged and Maddieson claim that English /s/ can be pronounced apical, which is evidently not the same as the apical sibilant of Iberian Spanish and Basque. Also, Adams asserts that many dialects of Modern Greek have a laminal sibilant with a sound quality similar to the "apico-alveolar" sibilant of northern Iberia.
Some authors have instead suggested that the difference lies in tongue shape. Adams describes the northern Iberian sibilant as "retracted". Ladefoged and Maddieson appear to characterize the more common hissing variant as grooved, and some phoneticians (such as J. Catford) have characterized it as sulcal (which is more or less a synonym of "grooved"), but in both cases, there is some doubt about whether all and only the "hissing" sounds actually have a "grooved" or "sulcal" tongue shape.
Features of the voiceless alveolar sibilant:
|Basque||gauza||[ɡäus̪ä]||'thing'||Contrasts with an apical sibilant. See Basque phonology|
|Belarusian||стагоддзе||[s̪t̪äˈɣod̪d̪͡z̪ʲe]||'century'||Contrasts with palatalized form. See Belarusian phonology|
|Bulgarian||всеки||[ˈfs̪ɛki]||'everyone'||Contrasts with palatalized form.|
|Chinese||Mandarin||三 sān||[s̪a̋n]||'three'||See Mandarin phonology|
|Czech||svět||[s̪vjɛt̪]||'world'||See Czech phonology|
|English||Auckland||sand||[s̪ɛnˑd̥]||'sand'||See English phonology|
|French||façade||[fäs̪äd̪]||'front'||See French phonology|
|Hungarian||sziget||[ˈs̪iɡɛt̪]||'island'||See Hungarian phonology|
|Latvian||sens||[s̪en̪s̪]||'ancient'||See Latvian phonology|
|Macedonian||скока||[ˈs̪kɔkä]||See Macedonian phonology|
|Mirandese||Contrasts seven sibilants altogether, preserving medieval Ibero-Romance contrasts.|
|Polish||sum||[s̪um] (help·info)||'catfish'||See Polish phonology|
|Romanian||surd||[s̪ur̪d̪]||'deaf'||See Romanian phonology|
|Russian||волосы||[ˈvo̞ɫ̪əs̪ɨ̞] (help·info)||'hair'||Contrasts with palatalized form. See Russian phonology|
|Scottish Gaelic||Slàinte||[ˈs̪ɫ̪äːn̪t̪ʰʲə]||'cheers'||See Scottish Gaelic phonology|
|Serbo-Croatian||село / selo||[s̪ĕ̞lo̞]||'village'||See Serbo-Croatian phonology|
|Slovene||svet||[s̪ʋéːt̪]||'world'||See Slovene phonology|
|Spanish||European||estar||[e̞s̪ˈt̪är]||'to be'||Allophone of /s/ before dental consonants. See Spanish phonology|
|Swedish||Central Standard||säte||[ˈs̪ɛːt̪e]||'seat'||Retracted in some southern dialects. See Swedish phonology|
|Turkish||su||[s̪u]||'water'||See Turkish phonology|
|Ukrainian||село||[s̪ɛˈɫ̪ɔ]||'village'||See Ukrainian phonology|
|Upper Sorbian||sowa||[ˈs̪ovä]||'owl'||See Upper Sorbian phonology|
|Vietnamese||Hanoi||xa||[s̪äː]||'far'||See Vietnamese phonology|
|Arabic||Modern Standard||جَلَسَ||[ˈdʒælæsɐ]||'to sit'||See Arabic phonology|
|Bengali||রাস্তা||[raːst̪a]||'street'||See Bengali phonology|
|Burmese||စစားဗျီ||[sə sá bjì]||'I am eating now'|
|Chinese||Cantonese||閃 / sim2||[siːm˧˥]||'twinkle'||See Cantonese phonology|
|Dutch||staan||[s̻t̻aːn̻]||'to stand'||Laminal; may have only mid-to-low pitched friction|
in the Netherlands. See Dutch phonology
|English||sit||[sɪt]||'sit'||See English phonology|
|Esperanto||Esperanto||[espeˈranto]||'Who hopes'||See Esperanto phonology|
|Hebrew||ספר||[ˈsefeʁ]||'book'||See Modern Hebrew phonology|
|Hindustani||साल / سال||[saːl]||'year'||See Hindustani phonology|
|Icelandic||segi||[ˈs̺ɛːjɪ]||'I say'||Apical. See Icelandic phonology|
|sali||[ˈs̺ʲäːli]||'you go up'||Palatalized apical; may be [ʂ] or [ʃ] instead.|
See Italian phonology
|Japanese||複数形 / fukusūkē||[ɸɯkɯsɯːkeː]||'plural'||See Japanese phonology|
|Korean||섬 / seom||[sʌːm]||'island'||See Korean phonology|
|Marathi||साप||[saːp]||'snake'||See Marathi phonology|
|Persian||سیب / sib||[sib]||'apple'||See Persian phonology|
|Portuguese||caço||[ˈkasu]||'I hunt'||See Portuguese phonology|
|Spanish||Latin American||saltador||[s̻al̪t̪aˈð̞o̞r]||'jumper'||See Spanish phonology and Seseo|
|Vietnamese||xa||[saː˧]||'far'||See Vietnamese phonology|
|West Frisian||sâlt||[sɔːt]||'salt'||See West Frisian phonology|
|Basque||su||[s̺u]||'fire'||Apical. Contrasts with a dentalized laminal sibilant.|
|Catalan||Most dialects||set||[ˈs̺ɛt̪]||'seven'||Apical. See Catalan phonology|
|Some Valencian speakers||peix||[ˈpe̠js̠ʲ]||'fish'||Normally transcribed with ⟨ʂ⟩; realized as pre-palatal [ɕ]|
in Standard Catalan and Valencian.
|Some Valencian speakers||patisc||[päˈt̪is̠ʲk]||'I suffer'|
|English||Glasgow||sun||[s̺ʌn]||'sun'||Working-class pronunciation, other speakers may use a non-retracted [s]|
|Italian||Central Italy||sali||[ˈs̠äːli]||'you go up'||Present in Lazio north of Cape Linaro, most of Umbria|
(save Perugia and the extreme south), Marche and south of Potenza.
|Northern Italy||Apical. Present in many areas north of the La Spezia–Rimini Line.|
See Italian phonology
|Sicily||Present south and west of a line drawn from Syracuse to Cefalù.|
|Mirandese||passo||[ˈpäs̺u]||'step'||Apical. Contrasts with /s̪/.|
|Occitan||Gascon||dos||[d̻ys̺]||'two'||See Occitan phonology|
|cansaço||[kə̃ˈs̺äs̻u]||'weariness'||Apical. Contrasts with /s̻/. See Portuguese phonology|
|cansaço||[kə̃ˈs̺äs̺u]||Merges with /s̻/. See Portuguese phonology|
|pescador||[pe̞s̺käˈd̻oχ]||'fisherman'||Realization of Portuguese coda sibilant, which may be postalveolars,|
depending on dialect
|Carioca do brejo||escadas||[is̺ˈkäd̻ɐs̺]||'stairs'|
|Spanish||Andean||saltador||[s̺äl̪t̪äˈð̞o̞ɾ]||'jumper'||Apical. In Andean and Paisa (except in southern parts of Antioquia)|
alternates with a more frequent corono-dental /s/.
See Spanish phonology and seseo
|Swedish||Blekinge||säte||[ˈs̠ɛːte]||'seat'||See Swedish phonology|
|Danish||sælge||[ˈseljə]||'sell'||Most often non-retracted apical, but can be dentalized laminal for some speakers. See Danish phonology|
|Finnish||sinä||[sinæ]||'you'||Varies between non-retracted and retracted. See Finnish phonology|
|German||Standard||Biss||[bɪs]||'bite'||Varies between dentalized laminal, non-retracted laminal and non-retracted apical. See Standard German phonology|
|Greek||σαν san||[sɐn]||'as'||Varies between non-retracted and retracted, depending on the environment. See Modern Greek phonology|
|Norwegian||Urban East||sand||[sɑnː]||'sand'||Most often dentalized laminal, but can be non-retracted apical for some speakers. See Norwegian phonology|
|Italian||Standard||sali||[ˈsäːli]||'you go up'||Varies between dentalized laminal and non-retracted apical. See Italian phonology|
|Ticino||Varies between dentalized laminal and non-retracted apical. Both variants may be labiodentalized. See Italian phonology|
|Voiceless alveolar non-sibilant fricative|
|IPA number||130 414|
|Unicode (hex)||U+03B8 U+0331|
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|Voiceless alveolar tapped fricative|
|IPA number||124 402A 430|
|Unicode (hex)||U+027E U+031E U+030A|
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The voiceless alveolar non-sibilant fricative (also known as a "slit" fricative) is a consonantal sound. As the International Phonetic Alphabet does not have separate symbols for the alveolar consonants (the same symbol is used for all coronal places of articulation that are not palatalized), this sound is usually transcribed ⟨θ̠⟩, occasionally ⟨θ͇⟩ (retracted or alveolarized [θ], respectively), ⟨ɹ̝̊⟩ (constricted voiceless [ɹ]), or ⟨t̞⟩ (lowered [t]).
Few languages also have the voiceless alveolar tapped fricative, which is simply a very brief apical alveolar non-sibilant fricative, with the tongue making the gesture for a tapped stop but not making full contact. This can be indicated in the IPA with the lowering diacritic to show full occlusion did not occur.
Tapped fricatives are occasionally reported in the literature, though these claims are not generally independently confirmed and so remain dubious.
Flapped fricatives are theoretically possible but are not attested.
|Afenmai||V͈[aɾ̞̊u]||'hat'||Tapped; tense equivalent of lax /ɾ/.|
|Dutch||Geert||[ɣeːɹ̝̊t]||'Geert'||One of many possible realizations of /r/; distribution unclear. See Dutch phonology|
|English||Australian||Italy||[ˈɪ̟θ̠əɫɪi̯]||'Italy'||Occasional allophone of /t/. See Australian English phonology|
|Received Pronunciation||[ˈɪθ̠əlɪi̯]||Common allophone of /t/.|
|Irish||[ˈɪθ̠ɪli]||Allophone of /t/. See English phonology|
|Some American speakers||[ˈɪɾ̞̊əɫi]||Tapped; possible allophone of /t/. Can be a voiceless tap [ɾ̥] or a voiced tap [ɾ] instead. See English phonology|
|Scouse||attain||[əˈθ̠eɪn]||'attain'||Allophone of /t/. See English phonology|
|Icelandic||þakið||[ˈθ̠äkið̠]||'the roof'||Laminal. See Icelandic phonology|
|Italian||Bologna||sali||[ˈθ̠äːli]||'you go up'||Laminal; a hypercorrective variant of /s/ for some young speakers. Either non-sibilant, or "not sibilant enough". See Italian phonology|
|Turkish||bir||[biɾ̞̊]||'a(n)'||Tapped; word-final allophone of /ɾ/. See Turkish phonology|
/s/ may refer to:
Signature, a mark that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent
Voiceless alveolar sibilant, a type of voiceless alveolar fricativeBleeding order
Bleeding order is a term used in phonology to describe specific interactions of phonological rules. The term was introduced in 1968 by Paul Kiparsky. If two phonological rules are said to be in bleeding order, the application of the first rule creates a context in which the second rule can no longer apply.
The opposite of this is called feeding order.Bruges dialect
The Bruges dialect (Standard Dutch and West Flemish: Brugs) is a West Flemish dialect used in Bruges. It is rapidly declining, being replaced with what scholars call general (rural) West Flemish.Catalan phonology
The phonology of Catalan, a Romance language, has a certain degree of dialectal variation. Although there are two standard dialects, one based on Eastern Catalan and one based on Valencian, this article deals with features of all or most dialects, as well as regional pronunciation differences. Various studies have focused on different Catalan varieties; for example, Wheeler (1979) and Mascaró (1976) analyze Central Eastern varieties, the former focusing on the educated speech of Barcelona and the latter focusing more on the vernacular of Barcelona, and Recasens (1986) does a careful phonetic study of Central Eastern Catalan.Catalan is characterized by final-obstruent devoicing, lenition, and voicing assimilation; a set of 7 or 8 phonemic vowels, vowel assimilations (including vowel harmony), many phonetic diphthongs, and vowel reduction, whose precise details differ between dialects. Several dialects have a dark l, and all dialects have palatal l (/ʎ/) and n (/ɲ/).Es (Cyrillic)
Es (С с; italics: С с) is a letter of the Cyrillic script.
It commonly represents the voiceless alveolar fricative /s/, like the pronunciation of ⟨s⟩ in "sand".Hittite phonology
Hittite phonology is the description of the reconstructed phonology or pronunciation of Hittite language. Because Hittite as a spoken language is extinct, leaving no living descendants, and no contemporary descriptions of the pronunciation are known, little can be said with certainty about the phonetics and phonology of the language. Some conclusions can be made, however, due to the relationship to the other Indo-European languages, by studying its orthography, and comparing loanwords from neighboring languages.Karenic languages
The Karen () or Karenic languages, are tonal languages spoken by some seven million Karen people. They are of unclear affiliation within the Sino-Tibetan languages. The Karen languages are written using the Burmese script. The three main branches are Sgaw, Pwo and Pa'o. Karenni (also known as Kayah or Red Karen) and Kayan (also known as Padaung) are related to the Sgaw branch. They are unusual among the Sino-Tibetan languages in having a subject–verb–object word order; other than Karen, Bai and the Chinese languages, Sino-Tibetan languages have a subject–object–verb order. This is likely due to influence from neighboring Mon and Tai languages.Klon language
Kelon, or Klon, (pronounced [kəlon]) is a Papuan language of the western tip of Alor Island in the Alor archipelago of East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.SAMPA chart
The following show the typical symbols for consonants and vowels used in SAMPA, an ASCII-based system based on the International Phonetic Alphabet. Note that SAMPA is not a universal system as it varies from language to language.Samekh
Samekh or simketh is the fifteenth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician samek , Hebrew ˈsamekh ס, Aramaic semkath , Syriac semkaṯ ܣ, representing /s/. The Arabic alphabet, however, uses a letter based on Phoenician Šīn to represent /s/ (see there); however, that glyph takes samekh's place in the traditional Abjadi order of the Arabic alphabet.
The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek xi (Ξ, ξ). However, its name gave rise to sigma.Sani (letter)
Sani (asomtavruli Ⴑ, nuskhuri ⴑ, mkhedruli ს) is the 20th letter of the three Georgian scripts.In the system of Georgian numerals it has a value of 200.Sani commonly represents the voiceless alveolar fricative /s/, like the pronunciation of ⟨s⟩ in "see".Sat (letter)
Śat ሰ is a letter of the Ge'ez abugida, descended from South Arabian 𐩪. It represents both a historical "s"(a voiceless alveolar fricative) and "ṯ" (a voiceless dental fricative).Syriac language
Syriac (; ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ Leššānā Suryāyā), also known as Syrian/Syriac Aramaic, Syro-Aramaic or Classical Syriac, is a dialect of Middle Aramaic of the Northwest Semitic languages of the Afroasiatic family that is written in the Syriac alphabet, a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet. Having first appeared in the early first century CE in Edessa, classical Syriac became a major literary language throughout the Middle East from the 4th to the 8th centuries, preserved in a large body of Syriac literature. Indeed, Syriac literature comprises roughly 90% of the extant Aramaic literature. Syriac was once spoken across much of the Near East as well as Anatolia and Eastern Arabia. Syriac originated in Mesopotamia and eventually spread west of Iraq in which it was became the lingua franca of the region during the Mesopotamian Neo-Assyrian period. During the establishment of the Church of the East in central-southern Iraq, speakers of Syriac split into two; those who followed the Eastern Syriac Rite and those who followed Western Syriac Rite. Syriac was the lingua franca of the entire region of Mesopotamia and the native language of the peoples of Iraq and surrounding regions until it was spread further west of the country to the entire Fertile Crescent region, as well as in parts of Eastern Arabia, becoming the dominant language for centuries, before the spread and replacement with Arabic language as the lingua franca. For this reason, Mesopotamian Iraqi Arabic being an Aramaic Syriac substratum, is said to be the most Aramaic Syriac influenced dialect of Arabic, sharing significant similarities in language structure, as well as having evident and stark influences from other ancient Mesopotamian languages of Iraq, such as Akkadian, Sumerian and Babylonian. Mesopotamian Arabic dialects developed by Iraqi Muslims, Iraqi Jews, as well as dialects by Iraqi Christians, most of whom are native ethnic Syriac speakers. Today, Syriac is the native spoken language of millions of Iraqi-Chaldo-Assyrians living in Iraq and the diaspora, and other Syriac-speaking people from Mesopotamia, such as the Mandaean people of Iraq. The dialects of Syriac spoken today include Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, and Mandaic.The Old Aramaic language was adopted by the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–609 BC) when the Assyrians conquered the various Syro-Hittite states to its west. The Achaemenid Empire (546-332 BC), which rose after the fall of the Assyrian Empire, also retained Old Aramaic as its official language, and Old Aramaic remained the lingua franca of the region. During the course of the third and fourth centuries AD, the inhabitants of the region began to embrace Christianity. Because of theological differences, Syriac-speaking Christians bifurcated during the 5th century into the Church of the East, or East Syrians under Sasanian rule, and the Syriac Orthodox, or West Syrians under the Byzantine empire. After this separation, the two groups developed distinct dialects differing primarily in the pronunciation and written symbolisation of vowels. The modern, and vastly spoken, Syriac varieties today include Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic and Turoyo, among others, which, in turn, have their own subdialects as well.Along with Latin and Greek, Syriac became one of "the three most important Christian languages in the early centuries" of the Common Era. From the 1st century AD, Syriac became the vehicle of Syriac Christianity and culture, and the liturgical language of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Maronite Church, and the Church of the East, along with its descendants: the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, and the Assyrian Pentecostal Church.
Syriac Christianity and language spread throughout Asia as far as the Indian Malabar Coast and Eastern China, and was the medium of communication and cultural dissemination for the later Arabs and, to a lesser extent, the Parthian Empire and Sasanian Empire. Primarily a Christian medium of expression, Syriac had a fundamental cultural and literary influence on the development of Arabic, which largely replaced it towards the 14th century. Syriac remains the sacred language of Syriac Christianity to this day.Voiceless alveolar trill
A voiceless alveolar trill differs from the voiced alveolar trill /r/ only by the vibrations of the vocal cord. It occurs in a few languages, usually alongside the voiced version, as a similar phoneme or an allophone.
Proto-Indo-European *sr developed into a sound spelled ⟨ῥ⟩, with the letter for /r/ and the diacritic for /h/, in Ancient Greek. It was probably a voiceless alveolar trill and became the regular word-initial allophone of /r/ in standard Attic Greek that has disappeared in Modern Greek.
PIE *srew- > Ancient Greek ῥέω "flow", possibly [r̥é.oː]Voiceless dental and alveolar lateral fricatives
Not to be confused with the Voiceless alveolar lateral affricate, the Tibetan lh as in Lhasa
The voiceless alveolar lateral fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral fricatives is [ɬ], and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is [K]. The symbol [ɬ] is called "belted l" and should not be confused with "l with tilde", [ɫ], which transcribes a different sound, the velarized alveolar lateral approximant. It should also be distinguished from a voiceless alveolar lateral approximant, although the fricative is sometimes incorrectly described as a "voiceless l", a description fitting only of the approximant.
Several Welsh names beginning with this sound (e.g. Llwyd /ɬʊɨd/, Llywelyn /ɬəˈwɛlɨn/) have been borrowed into English, where they either retain the Welsh ⟨ll⟩ spelling but are pronounced with an /l/ (Lloyd, Llewellyn), or are substituted with ⟨fl⟩ (pronounced /fl/) (Floyd, Fluellen).Voiceless dental fricative
The voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. It is familiar to English speakers as the 'th' in thing. Though rather rare as a phoneme in the world's inventory of languages, it is encountered in some of the most widespread and influential (see below). The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨θ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is T. The IPA symbol is the Greek letter theta, which is used for this sound in post-classical Greek, and the sound is thus often referred to as "theta".
The dental non-sibilant fricatives are often called "interdental" because they are often produced with the tongue between the upper and lower teeth, and not just against the back of the upper or lower teeth, as they are with other dental consonants.
This sound and its voiced counterpart are rare phonemes occurring in 4% of languages in a phonological analysis of 2155 languages. Among the more than 60 languages with over 10 million speakers, only English, various dialects of Arabic, Standard European Spanish, Swahili (in words derived from Arabic), Burmese, Greek have the voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative. Speakers of languages and dialects without the sound sometimes have difficulty producing or distinguishing it from similar sounds, especially if they have had no chance to acquire it in childhood, and typically replace it with a voiceless alveolar fricative (/s/) (as in Indonesian), voiceless dental stop (/t/), or a voiceless labiodental fricative (/f/); known respectively as th-alveolarization, th-stopping, and th-fronting.The sound is known to have disappeared from a number of languages, e.g. from most of the Germanic languages or dialects, where it is retained only in Scots, English, Elfdalian, and Icelandic, but it is alveolar in the last of these. Among non-Germanic Indo-European languages as a whole, the sound was also once much more widespread, but is today preserved in a few languages including the Brythonic languages, Castilian Spanish, Venetian, Albanian and Greek. It has likewise disappeared from many Semitic languages, such as Hebrew and many modern varieties of Arabic (excluding Tunisian, Mesopotamian Arabic and various dialects in the Arabian Peninsula which still include it).Voiceless palatal fricative
The voiceless palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ç⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is C. It is the non-sibilant equivalent of the voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative.
The symbol ç is the letter c with a cedilla, as used to spell French and Portuguese words such as façade and ação. However, the sound represented by the letter ç in French and Portuguese orthography is not a voiceless palatal fricative but /s/, the voiceless alveolar fricative.
Palatal fricatives are relatively rare phonemes, and only 5% of the world's languages have /ç/ as a phoneme. The sound occurs, however, as an allophone of /x/ in German, or, in other languages, of /h/ in the vicinity of front vowels.
There is also the voiceless post-palatal fricative in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiceless palatal fricative, though not as back as the prototypical voiceless velar fricative. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨ç̠⟩, ⟨ç˗⟩ (both symbols denote a retracted ⟨ç⟩) or ⟨x̟⟩ (advanced ⟨x⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are C_- and x_+, respectively.
Especially in broad transcription, the voiceless post-palatal fricative may be transcribed as a palatalized voiceless velar fricative (⟨xʲ⟩ in the IPA, x' or x_j in X-SAMPA).Ṯāʾ
Ṯāʾ (ث) is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being ḫāʾ, ḏāl, ḍād, ẓāʾ, ġayn). In Modern Standard Arabic it represents the voiceless dental fricative [θ], also found in English as the "th" in words such as "think" and "thin". In name and shape, it is a variant of tāʾ (ت). Its numerical value is 500 (see Abjad numerals).
The Arabic letter ث is named ثاء ṯāʾ. It is written is several ways depending in its position in the word:
In contemporary spoken Arabic, pronunciation of ṯāʾ as [θ] is found in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraqi, and Tunisian and other dialects and in highly educated pronunciations of Modern Standard and Classical Arabic. Pronunciation of the letter varies between and within the various varieties of Arabic: while it is consistently pronounced as the voiceless dental plosive [t] in Maghrebi Arabic (except Tunisian and eastern Libyan), on the other hand in the Arabic varieties of the Mashriq (in the broad sense, including Egyptian, Sudanese and Levantine) and Hejazi Arabic, it can be pronounced as either [t] or as the sibilant voiceless alveolar fricative [s]. Depending on the word in question, words pronounced as [s] are generally more technical or "sophisticated." Regardless of these regional differences, the pattern of the speaker's variety of Arabic frequently intrudes into otherwise Modern Standard speech; this is widely accepted, and is the norm when speaking the mesolect known alternately as lugha wusṭā ("middling/compromise language") or ʿAmmiyyat/Dārijat al-Muṯaqqafīn ("Educated/Cultured Colloquial") used in the informal speech of educated Arabs of different countries.
When representing this sound in transliteration of Arabic into Hebrew, it is written as ת׳.