Alveolar consonant

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Template:Short description Template:Refimprove Template:Infobox IPA Template:Place of articulation

Alveolar consonants (Template:IPAc-en) are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli (the sockets) of the superior teeth. Alveolar consonants may be articulated with the tip of the tongue (the apical consonants), as in English, or with the flat of the tongue just above the tip (the "blade" of the tongue; called laminal consonants), as in French and Spanish. The laminal alveolar articulation is often mistakenly called dental, because the tip of the tongue can be seen near to or touching the teeth. However, it is the rearmost point of contact that defines the place of articulation, is where the oral cavity ends, and it is the resonant space of the oral cavity that gives consonants and vowels their characteristics.

Template:Cns To disambiguate, the bridge (Template:IPA, etc.) may be used for a dental consonant, or the under-bar (Template:IPA, etc.) may be used for the postalveolars. Template:IPA differs from dental Template:IPA in that the former is a sibilant and the latter is not. Template:IPA differs from postalveolar Template:IPA in being unpalatalized.Template:Cn

The bare letters Template:IPA, etc. cannot be assumed to specifically represent alveolars. The language may not make such distinctions, such that two or more coronal places of articulation are found allophonically, or the transcription may simply be too broad to distinguish dental from alveolar. If it is necessary to specify a consonant as alveolar, a diacritic from the Extended IPA may be used: Template:IPA, etc., though that could also mean extra-retracted.[1] The letters Template:Angbr are frequently called 'alveolar', and the language examples below are all alveolar sounds.

(The Extended IPA diacritic was devised for speech pathology and is frequently used to mean "alveolarized", as in the labioalveolar sounds Template:IPA, where the lower lip contacts the alveolar ridge.)


Alveolar consonants are transcribed in the IPA as follows:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning in English
Xsampa-n.png alveolar nasal English run Template:IPA
Xsampa-t.png voiceless alveolar stop English stop Template:IPA
Xsampa-d.png voiced alveolar stop English debt Template:IPA
Xsampa-s.png voiceless alveolar fricative English suit Template:IPA
Xsampa-z.png voiced alveolar fricative English zoo Template:IPA
Xsampa-ts.png voiceless alveolar affricate English pizza Template:IPA
Xsampa-dz.png voiced alveolar affricate Italian zaino Template:IPA backpack
Xsampa-K2.png voiceless alveolar lateral fricative Welsh llwyd Template:IPA grey
Xsampa-Kslash.png voiced alveolar lateral fricative Zulu dlala Template:IPA to play
t͡ɬ voiceless alveolar lateral affricate Tsez элIни Template:IPA winter
d͡ɮ voiced alveolar lateral affricate ? ? ? ?
Xsampa-rslash2.png alveolar approximant English red Template:IPA
Xsampa-l.png alveolar lateral approximant English loop Template:IPA
Xsampa-l eor5.png velarized alveolar lateral approximant English milk Template:IPA
Xsampa-4.png alveolar flap English better Template:IPA
Xsampa-lslash.png alveolar lateral flap Venda Template:IPA to open
Xsampa-r.png alveolar trill Spanish perro Template:IPA dog
IPA alveolar ejective.png alveolar ejective Georgian Template:IPA tulip
IPA alveolar ejective fricative.png alveolar ejective fricative Amharic Template:IPA
Alveolar lateral ejective fricative2.PNG alveolar lateral ejective fricative Adyghe плӀы Template:IPA
Xsampa-d lessthan.png voiced alveolar implosive Vietnamese đã Template:IPA Past tense indicator
Xsampa-doublebarslash.png alveolar lateral click release (many distinct consonants) Nama ǁî Template:IPA discussed
Places of articulation (Template:Cfy):
1. Exo-labial, 2. Endo-labial, 3. Dental, 4. Alveolar, 5. Post-alveolar, 6. Pre-palatal, 7. Palatal, 8. Velar, 9. Uvular, 10. Pharyngeal, 11. Glottal, 12. Epiglottal, 13. Radical, 14. Postero-dorsal, 15. Antero-dorsal, 16. Laminal, 17. Apical, 18. Sub-laminal

Lack of alveolars

The alveolar or dental consonants Template:IPA and Template:IPA are, along with Template:IPA, the most common consonants in human languages.[2] Nonetheless, there are a few languages that lack them. A few languages on Bougainville Island and around Puget Sound, such as Makah, lack nasals and therefore Template:IPA, but have Template:IPA. Colloquial Samoan, however, lacks both Template:IPA and Template:IPA, but it has a lateral alveolar approximant Template:IPA. (Samoan words written with t and n are pronounced with Template:IPA and Template:IPA in colloquial speech.) In Standard Hawaiian, Template:IPA is an allophone of Template:IPA, but Template:IPA and Template:IPA exist.

Labioalveolar consonants

In labioalveolars, the lower lip contacts the alveolar ridge. Such sounds are typically the result of a severe overbite. In the Extensions to the IPA for disordered speech, they are transcribed with the alveolar diacritic on labial letters: Template:Angbr IPA.

See also


  1. E.g. in Laver (1994) Principles of Phonetics, p. 559–560
  2. Ian Maddieson and Sandra Ferrari Disner, 1984, Patterns of Sounds. Cambridge University Press


Template:IPA navigation