Denti-alveolar consonant

In linguistics, a denti-alveolar consonant or dento-alveolar consonant is a consonant that is articulated with a flat tongue against the alveolar ridge and the upper teeth, such as /t/ and /d/ in languages like French, Italian and Spanish. That is, a denti-alveolar consonant is alveolar and laminal.

Tongue shape
Secondary articulation
See also

Although denti-alveolar consonants are often labeled as "dental" because only the forward contact with the teeth is visible, the point of contact of the tongue that is farthest back is most relevant, defines the maximum acoustic space of resonance, and gives a characteristic sound to a consonant.[1]

In French, the contact that is the farthest back is alveolar or sometimes slightly pre-alveolar. In Spanish, /t/ and /d/ are laminal denti-alveolar,[2] and /l/ and /n/ are alveolar but assimilate to a following /t/ or /d/. Similarly, in Italian, /t/, /d/, /t͡s/, /d͡z/ are denti-alveolar, and /l/ and /n/ are alveolar.[3]

The dental clicks are also laminal denti-alveolar.


  1. Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-19815-4.
  2. Martínez-Celdrán et al. (2003:257)
  3. Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:117)


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