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Alveolo-palatal consonant
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Alveolo-palatal consonant

Sagittal section of alveolo-palatal fricative
Sagittal section of alveolo-palatal fricative

In phonetics, alveolo-palatal (or alveopalatal) consonants are intermediate in articulation between the coronal and dorsal consonants. In the official IPA chart, alveolo-palatals would appear between the retroflex and palatal consonants but for "lack of space.[1] Ladefoged and Maddieson characterize the alveolo-palatals as palatalized postalveolars (palatalized palato-alveolars), articulated with the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge and the body of the tongue raised toward the palate,[2] 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.[1] These two descriptions are largely equivalent (see schematic at right). They are front enough that the fricatives and affricates are sibilants, the only sibilants among the dorsal consonants.


The alveolo-palatal sibilants are often used in the Chinese languages such as Mandarin, Hakka, and Wu, as well as other languages in the East Asian sprachbund, such as Japanese and Korean. Alveolo-palatal sibilants are also a feature of many Slavic languages, such as Polish, Russian and Serbo-Croatian, and of Northwest Caucasian languages, such as Abkhaz and Ubykh. The alveolo-palatal consonants included in the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
Voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative Mandarin (xi o) small
Voiced alveolo-palatal fricative Polish zio o herb
Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate Serbo-Croatian ku a/ house
Voiced alveolo-palatal affricate Japanese (jishin) earthquake

The letters and are essentially equivalent to and , though the latter would imply that they are coronal rather than dorsal. They are the sibilant homologues of the pre-palatal fricatives and .

Stops, nasals and liquids

Symbols for alveolo-palatal stops (), nasals (), and liquids () are sometimes used in sinological circles, but these are not recognized by the IPA. They may actually be simple palatal or palatalized consonants, classified as alveolo-palatals because they pattern with the alveolo-palatal sibilants of the language rather than because they are actually alveolo-palatal in articulation. If the sounds in question are palatalized coronal postalveolars, articulated with the blade of the tongue, they could be transcribed . If they are dorsal postalveolars, articulated with the body of the tongue and with the tip of the tongue kept near the lower teeth, they could be transcribed as advanced palatals, .

For example, the Polish nasal represented with the letter is a palatalized alveolar nasal and thus sometimes described as alveolo-palatal rather than palatal. The "palatal" consonants of several Indigenous Australian languages are also sometimes judged closer to alveolo-palatal in their articulation.

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography Non-standard IPA Meaning
Voiceless alveolo-palatal stop Korean dust
Voiced alveolo-palatal stop Korean firefly
Alveolo-palatal nasal Yi language nyi sit
Alveolo-palatal lateral Catalan ull eye


ar: br:Kensonenn kevig-staon de:Alveolopalatal eo:Alveolo-palatalo fr:Consonne alv olo-palatale ko: it:Consonante alveolo-palatale he: lv:Alveopalat ls l dzskanis nl:Alveolo-palataal ja: pl:Sp g oska dzi s owo-podniebienna ro:Consoan alveolopalatal simple:Alveolo-palatal consonant sv:Alveolopalatal konsonant zh:

Source: Wikipedia | The above article is available under the GNU FDL. | Edit this article

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