Voiced postalveolar fricative

A voiced postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. This refers to a class of sounds, not a single sound.[citation needed] There are several types with significant perceptual differences:

This article discusses the first two.

International Phonetic Association uses term voiced postalveolar fricative only for sound [ʒ].[1]

Voiced palato-alveolar fricative

Voiced postalveolar fricative
IPA Number135
Entity (decimal)ʒ
Unicode (hex)U+0292
Braille⠮ (braille pattern dots-2346)
Audio sample

The voiced palato-alveolar fricative or voiced domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages.


The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is the lower case form of the letter Ezh ⟨Ʒ ʒ⟩ (/ɛʒ/), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Z. An alternative symbol used in some older and American linguistic literature is ⟨ž⟩, a z with a caron. In some transcriptions of alphabets such as the Cyrillic, the sound is represented by the digraph zh.

palato-alveolar fricative [ʃ, ʒ]

Although present in English, the sound is not represented by a specific letter or digraph, but is formed by yod-coalescence of [z] and [j] in words such as measure. It also appears in some loanwords, mainly from French (thus written with ⟨g⟩ and ⟨j⟩).

The sound occurs in many languages and, as in English and French, may have simultaneous lip rounding ([ʒʷ]), although this is rarely indicated in transcription.


Features of the voiced palato-alveolar fricative:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe жакӀэ About this sound[ʒaːtʃʼa]  'beard'
Albanian zhurmë [ʒuɾm] 'noise'
Arabic Maghrebi[2] زوج [zuʒ] 'husband' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[3] ժամ About this sound[ʒɑm]  'hour'
Assyrian ܐܘܪܡܓ̰ܢܝܐ Ūrmıǰnaya [urmɪʒnaɪja] 'Assyrian from Urmia'
Avar жакъа [ˈʒaqʼːa] 'today'
Azerbaijani jalüz [ʒalyz] 'blinds'
Berta [ŋɔ̀nʒɔ̀ʔ] 'honey'
Bulgarian мъжът [mɐˈʒɤ̞t̪] 'the man' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan Eastern catalan gel [ˈʒel] 'ice'
Chechen жий / ƶiy [ʒiː] 'sheep'
Chinese Quzhou dialect [ʒɑ̃] 'bed'
Corsican ghjesgia [ˈjeːʒa] 'church' Also in Gallurese
Czech muži [ˈmuʒɪ] 'men' See Czech phonology
Dutch garage [ɣäˈräːʒə] 'garage' See Dutch phonology
Emilian Bolognese chè [ˈkɛːð̠] 'case' Apical; not labialized; may be [z̺ʲ] or [ʐ] instead.
English vision About this sound[ˈvɪʒən] 'vision' See English phonology
Esperanto manĝaĵo [mänˈd͡ʒäʒo̞] 'food' See Esperanto phonology
French[4] Jour [ʒuʁ] 'day' See French phonology
German Standard[5] Garage [ɡaˈʁaːʒʷə] 'garage' Laminal or apico-laminal and strongly labialized.[5] Some speakers may merge it with /ʃ/. See Standard German phonology
Georgian[6] ურნალი [ʒuɾnali] 'magazine'
Goemai zhiem [ʒiem] 'sickle'
Greek Cypriot γαλάζ̌ο [ɣ̞ɐˈlɐʒːo̞] 'sky blue'
Gwich’in zhòh [ʒôh] 'wolf'
Hän zhùr [ʒûr] 'wolf'
Hebrew ז׳אנר [ʒaneʁ] 'genre' Phoneme present in loanwords only. See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi झ़दहा [əʒd̪əhaː] 'dragon' See Hindi–Urdu phonology
Hungarian zsa [ˈr̪oːʒɒ] 'rose' See Hungarian phonology
Ingush жий/žii [ʒiː] 'sheep'
Italian Tuscan pigiare [piˈʒäːre] 'press' See Italian phonology
Judaeo-Spanish mujer [muˈʒɛr] 'woman'
Juǀ'hoan ju [ʒu] 'person'
Kabardian жыг [ʒəɣʲ] 'tree'
Kabyle jeddi [ʒəddi] 'my grandfather'
Kashubian[7] żdi rôz [kʷʒdi rɞz] 'constantly'
Kazakh жеті/jeti [ʒeti] 'seven'
Latvian žāvēt [ˈʒäːveːt̪] 'to dry' See Latvian phonology
Ligurian xe ['ly:ʒe] 'light'
Limburgish Maastrichtian[8] zjuweleer [ʒy̠β̞əˈleːʀ̝̊] 'jeweller' Laminal post-alveolar with an unclear amount of palatalization.[9]
Lithuanian žmona [ʒmoːˈn̪ɐ] 'wife' See Lithuanian phonology
Livonian ž [kuːʒ] 'six'
Lombard Western resgiôra [reˈʒu(ː)ra] 'matriarch'
Macedonian жaбa [ˈʒaba] 'toad' See Macedonian phonology
Megrelian ირი [ʒiɾi] 'two'
Navajo łizh [ɬiʒ] 'urine'
Neapolitan sbattere [ˈʒbαttərə] 'to slam'
Ngas zhaam [ʒaːm] 'chin'
Ngwe Mmockngie dialect [ʒíá] 'to split'
Occitan Auvergnat argent [aʀʒẽ] 'money' Southern dialects
Gascon [arʒen]
Pashto ژوول [ʒowul] 'chew'
Persian مژه [moʒe] 'eyelash' See Persian phonology
Polish Gmina Istebna zielony [ʒɛˈlɔn̪ɘ] 'green' /ʐ/ and /ʑ/ merge into [ʒ] in these dialects. In standard Polish, /ʒ/ is commonly used to transcribe what actually is a laminal voiced retroflex sibilant.
Lubawa dialect[10]
Malbork dialect[10]
Ostróda dialect[10]
Warmia dialect[10]
Portuguese[11][12] loja [ˈlɔʒɐ] 'shop' Also described as alveolo-palatal [ʑ].[13][14][15] See Portuguese phonology
Romanian jar [ʒär] 'embers' See Romanian phonology
Serbo-Croatian жут / žut [ʒûːt̪] 'yellow' May be laminal retroflex instead, depending on the dialect. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Silesian Gmina Istebna[16] [example needed] These dialects merge /ʐ/ and /ʑ/ into [ʒ].
Jablunkov[16] [example needed]
Sioux Lakota waŋži [wãˈʒi] 'one'
Slovenian žito [ˈʒìːtɔ] 'cereal' See Slovene phonology
Spanish Rioplatense, Ecuadorian (lleísta dialect)[17][18] yo (Rioplatense), ellos (Ecuadorian, Rioplatense) [ʒo̞][eʒos] 'I', 'they' Some dialects.[17] See Spanish phonology and yeísmo
Tadaksahak [ˈʒɐwɐb] 'to answer'
Tagish [ʒé] 'what'
Turkish jale [ʒäːˈlɛ] 'dew' See Turkish phonology
Turkmen žiraf [ʒiraf] 'giraffe'
Tutchone Northern zhi [ʒi] 'what'
Southern zhǜr [ʒɨ̂r] 'berry'
Ukrainian жaбa [ˈʒɑbɐ] 'frog' See Ukrainian phonology
Urdu اژدہا [əʒd̪ahaː] 'dragon' See Hindi–Urdu phonology
Veps ž [viːʒ] 'five'
Welayta [aʒa] 'bush'
West Frisian bagaazje [bɑˈɡaʒə] 'luggage' See West Frisian phonology
Yiddish אָראַנזש [ɔʀanʒ] 'orange' See Yiddish phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[19] llan [ʒaŋ] 'anger'

The sound in Russian denoted by ⟨ж⟩ is commonly transcribed as a palato-alveolar fricative but is actually a laminal retroflex fricative.

Voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative

Voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative
IPA Number151 414 429
Audio sample

The voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative is a consonantal sound. As the International Phonetic Alphabet does not have separate symbols for the post-alveolar consonants (the same symbol is used for all coronal places of articulation that aren't palatalized), this sound is usually transcribed ⟨ɹ̠˔⟩ (retracted constricted [ɹ]). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\_-_r.


  • Its manner of articulation is fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence. However, it does not have the grooved tongue and directed airflow, or the high frequencies, of a sibilant.
  • Its place of articulation is postalveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dutch[20] meer [meːɹ̠˔] 'lake' A rare post-vocalic allophone of /r/.[21] Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology
Manx mooar [muːɹ̠˔] 'lake' In free variation with other coda allophones of /r/.[22]
Yiddish (Northeastern) אַרויס [aɹ̠˔ejs] "out" Common allophone of /r/ in some dialects.

See also


  1. ^ "IPA i-charts (2018)". International Phonetic Association. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  2. ^ Watson (2002:16)
  3. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:18)
  4. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  5. ^ a b Mangold (2005:51)
  6. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006:255)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2013-11-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 156.
  9. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:156). The authors state that /ʒ/ is "pre-palatal, articulated with the blade of the tongue against the post-alveolar place of articulation". This makes it unclear whether this sound is palato-alveolar (somewhat palatalized post-alveolar) or alveolo-palatal (strongly palatalized post-alveolar).
  10. ^ a b c d Dubisz, Karaś & Kolis (1995:62)
  11. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  12. ^ Medina (2010)
  13. ^ Mateus & d'Andrade (2000)
  14. ^ Silva (2003:32)
  15. ^ Guimarães (2004)
  16. ^ a b Dąbrowska (2004:?)
  17. ^ a b Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:258)
  18. ^ Argüello, Fanny M. (1980-03-10). "El rehilamiento en el español hablado en la región andina del Ecuador". Lexis (in Spanish). 4 (2): 151–155. ISSN 0254-9239.
  19. ^ Merrill (2008:108)
  20. ^ Goeman & van de Velde (2001:94–98 and 101–102)
  21. ^ Goeman & van de Velde (2001:95–97 and 102)
  22. ^ Broderick (1986:17-8)


External links

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