Voiced palatal fricative

The voiced palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) that represents this sound is ʝ (crossed-tail j), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is j\. It is the non-sibilant equivalent of the voiced alveolo-palatal sibilant.

Voiced palatal fricative
IPA Number139
Entity (decimal)ʝ
Unicode (hex)U+029D
Audio sample
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In broad transcription, the symbol for the palatal approximant, j, may be used for the sake of simplicity.

The voiced palatal fricative is a very rare sound, occurring in only seven of the 317 languages surveyed by the original UCLA Phonological Segment Inventory Database. In Kabyle, Margi, Modern Greek, and Scottish Gaelic, the sound occurs phonemically, along with its voiceless counterpart, and in several more, the sound occurs a result of phonological processes.

There is also the voiced post-palatal fricative[1] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiced palatal fricative but not as back as the prototypical voiced velar fricative. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, but it can be transcribed as ʝ̠, ʝ˗ (both symbols denote a retracted ʝ), ɣ̟ or ɣ˖ (both symbols denote an advanced ɣ). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are j\_- and G_+, respectively.

Especially in broad transcription, the voiced post-palatal fricative may be transcribed as a palatalized voiced velar fricative (ɣʲ in the IPA, G' or G_j in X-SAMPA).


Features of the voiced palatal fricative:

  • Its place of articulation is palatal, which means it is articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised to the hard palate. The otherwise identical post-palatal variant is articulated slightly behind the hard palate, making it sound slightly closer to the velar [ɣ].
  • 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.



Asturianfrayar[fɾäˈʝär]'to destroy'
CatalanMajorcan[2]figuera[fiˈʝeɾə]'fig tree'Occurs in complementary distribution with [ɟ]. Corresponds to [ɣ] in other varieties. See Catalan phonology
DanishStandard[3]talg[ˈtˢa̝lˀʝ]'tallow'Possible word-final allophone of /j/ when it occurs after /l/.[3] See Danish phonology
DutchStandard[4]ja[ʝaː]'yes'Frequent allophone of /j/, especially in emphatic speech.[4] See Dutch phonology
GermanStandard[5][6]Jacke[ˈʝäkə]'jacket'Most often transcribed in IPA with j; also described as an approximant [j][7][8] and a sound variable between a fricative and an approximant.[9] See Standard German phonology
Cypriot[10]ελιά[e̞ˈʝːɐ]'olive'Allophone of /ʎ/
Hungarian[11]dobj be[dobʝ bɛ]'throw in'An allophone of /j/. See Hungarian phonology
Irish[12]an ghrian[ənʲ ˈʝɾʲiən̪ˠ]'the sun'See Irish phonology
ItalianSouthern dialectsfiglio[ˈfiʝːo]'son'Corresponds to /ʎ/ in standard Italian. See Italian phonology
Kabylecceǥ[ʃʃəʝ]'to slip'
Korean사향노루 / sahyangnoru[sɐʝɐŋnoɾu]'Siberian musk deer'The sound is sometimes heard by people when voiceless glottal fricative is between voiced and combined with close front unrounded vowel, close front rounded vowel and palatal approximant. See Korean phonology
Lithuanian[13][14]ji[ʝɪ]'she'Most often transcribed in IPA with j; also described as an approximant [j].[15] See Lithuanian phonology
Mapudungun[16]kayu[kɜˈʝʊ]'six'May be an approximant [j] instead.[16]
Myanmar[ʝ]Allophone of /j/, particularly word initially.
NorwegianUrban East[17][18]gi[ʝiː]'to give'Allophone of /j/, especially before and after close vowels and in energetic speech.[18] See Norwegian phonology
PashtoGhilji dialect[19]موږ[muʝ]'we'
Wardak dialect[19]
Ripuarianzeije[ˈt͡sɛʝə]'to show'
Russian[20]яма[ˈʝämə]'pit'Allophone of /j/ in emphatic speech.[20] See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic[21]dhiubh[ʝu]'of them'See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Slovak[22]prijímať[ˈpɾɪʝɪːmäc̟]'to receive'Possible allophone of /j/ between close front vowels.[22] See Slovak phonology
Spanish[23]sayo[ˈsäʝo̞]'smock'More often an approximant; may also be represented by ll in many dialects. See Spanish phonology and Yeísmo
Swedish[24]jord[ʝɯᵝːɖ] 'soil'Allophone of /j/. See Swedish phonology


Belarusianгеаграфія[ɣ̟e.äˈɣɾäfʲijä]'geography'Typically transcribed in IPA with ɣʲ. See Belarusian phonology
DutchStandard Belgian[25]gaan[ɣ̟aːn]'to go'May be velar [ɣ] instead.[25] See Dutch phonology
Southern accents[25]
GermanStandard[26]Riese[ˈɣ̟iːzə]'giant'Allophone of the fricative /ʁ/ before and after front vowels.[26] See Standard German phonology
GreekStandard Modern[27][28]γένος[ˈʝ̠e̞no̞s̠] 'gender'See Modern Greek phonology
LimburgishWeert dialect[29]gèr [ɣ̟ɛ̈ːʀ̝̊]'gladly'Allophone of /ɣ/ before and after front vowels.[29]
Lithuanian[15][30]Hiustonas[ˈɣ̟ʊs̪t̪ɔn̪ɐs̪]'Houston'Very rare;[31] typically transcribed in IPA with ɣʲ. See Lithuanian phonology
RussianStandard[20]других гимнов[d̪rʊˈɡ̟ɪɣ̟ ˈɡ̟imn̪əf]'of other anthems'Allophone of /x/ before voiced soft consonants;[20] typically transcribed in IPA with ɣʲ. The example also illustrates [ɡ̟]. See Russian phonology
Southernгимн[ɣ̟imn̪]'anthem'Typically transcribed in IPA with ɣʲ; corresponds to [ɡʲ] in standard Russian. See Russian phonology


Mapudungun[32]Allophone of /ɣ/ before the front vowels /ɪ, e/.[32]

See also


  1. Instead of "post-palatal", it can be called "retracted palatal", "backed palatal", "palato-velar", "pre-velar", "advanced velar", "fronted velar" or "front-velar". For simplicity, this article uses only the term "post-palatal".
  2. Wheeler (2005:22–23)
  3. Basbøll (2005:212)
  4. Collins & Mees (2003:198)
  5. Mangold (2005:51)
  6. Krech et al. (2009:83)
  7. Kohler (1999:86)
  8. Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015:340)
  9. Hall (2003:48)
  10. Arvaniti (2010:116–117)
  11. Gósy (2004:77, 130)
  12. Ó Sé (2000:17)
  13. Augustaitis (1964:23)
  14. Ambrazas et al. (1997:46–47)
  15. Mathiassen (1996:22–23)
  16. Sadowsky et al. (2013:91)
  17. Strandskogen (1979:33)
  18. Vanvik (1979:41)
  19. Henderson (1983:595)
  20. Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015:223)
  21. Oftedal (1956:?)
  22. Pavlík (2004:106)
  23. Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:255)
  24. Engstrand (1999:140)
  25. Collins & Mees (2003:191)
  26. Krech et al. (2009:85)
  27. Nicolaidis (2003:?)
  28. Arvaniti (2007:20)
  29. Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998:108)
  30. Ambrazas et al. (1997:36)
  31. Ambrazas et al. (1997:35)
  32. Sadowsky et al. (2013:89)


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  • Arvaniti, Amalia (2007), "Greek Phonetics: The State of the Art" (PDF), Journal of Greek Linguistics, 8: 97–208, CiteSeerX, doi:10.1075/jgl.8.08arv, archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-11, retrieved 2013-12-11
  • Arvaniti, Amalia (2010), "A (brief) review of Cypriot Phonetics and Phonology" (PDF), The Greek Language in Cyprus from Antiquity to the Present Day, University of Athens, pp. 107–124, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-23, retrieved 2015-04-12
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  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003) [First published 1981], The Phonetics of English and Dutch (PDF) (5th ed.), Leiden: Brill Publishers, ISBN 978-9004103405
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  • Heijmans, Linda; Gussenhoven, Carlos (1998), "The Dutch dialect of Weert" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 28 (1–2): 107–112, doi:10.1017/S0025100300006307
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  • Krech, Eva Maria; Stock, Eberhard; Hirschfeld, Ursula; Anders, Lutz-Christian (2009), Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch, Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 978-3-11-018202-6
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