Voiced postalveolar fricative

Voiced fricatives produced in the postalveolar region include the voiced palato-alveolar fricative [ʒ], the voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative [ɹ̠˔], the voiced retroflex fricative [ʐ], and the voiced alveolo-palatal fricative [ʑ]. This article discusses the first two.

Voiced palato-alveolar fricative

Voiced palato-alveolar fricative
IPA Number135
Entity (decimal)ʒ
Unicode (hex)U+0292
Audio sample
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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.

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:

  • Its manner of articulation is sibilant fricative, which means it is generally produced by channeling air flow along a groove in the back of the tongue up to the place of articulation, at which point it is focused against the sharp edge of the nearly clenched teeth, causing high-frequency turbulence.
  • 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.


AdygheжакӀэ[ʒaːtʃʼa] 'beard'
ArabicMaghrebi[1]زوج[zuʒ]'husband'See Arabic phonology
ArmenianEastern[2]ժամ[ʒɑm] 'hour'
Bulgarianмъжът[mɐˈʒɤ̞t̪]'the man'See Bulgarian phonology
Chechenжий / ƶiy[ʒiː]'sheep'
ChineseQuzhou dialect[ʒɑ̃]'bed'
Corsicanghjesgia[ˈjeːʒa]'church'Also in Gallurese
Czechmuži[ˈmuʒɪ]'men'See Czech phonology
Dutchgarage[ɣäˈräːʒə]'garage'See Dutch phonology
Englishvision[ˈvɪʒən]'vision'See English phonology
Esperantomanĝaĵo[maɲˈd͡ʒaʒo̞]'food'See Esperanto phonology
French[3]Jour[ʒuʁ]'day'See French phonology
GermanStandard[4]Garage[ɡaˈʁaːʒʷə]'garage'Laminal or apico-laminal and strongly labialized.[4] Some speakers may merge it with /ʃ/. See Standard German phonology
GreekCypriotγαλάζ̌ο[ɣ̞ɐˈlɐʒːo̞]'sky blue'
Hebrewז׳אנר[ʒaneʁ]'genre'Phoneme present in loanwords only. See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindiझ़दहा[əʒd̪əhaː]'dragon'See Hindi–Urdu phonology
Hungarianzsa[ˈr̪oːʒɒ]'rose'See Hungarian phonology
ItalianMarked accents of Emilia-Romagna[6]caso[ˈkäːʒo]'case'Apical;[6] not labialized;[6] may be [z̺ʲ] or [ʐ] instead.[6] It corresponds to [z] in standard Italian. See Italian phonology
Tuscanpigiare[piˈʒäːre]'press'See Italian phonology
Kabylejeddi[ʒəddi]'my grandfather'
Kashubian[7]żdi rôz [kʷʒdi rɞz]'constantly' See English-Kashubian Dictionary
Latvianžāvēt[ˈʒäːveːt̪]'to dry'See Latvian phonology
LimburgishMaastrichtian[8]zjuweleer[ʒy̠β̞əˈleːʀ̝̊]'jeweller'Laminal post-alveolar with an unclear amount of palatalization.[9]
Lithuanianžmona[ʒmoːˈn̪ɐ]'wife'See Lithuanian phonology
Macedonianжaбa[ˈʒaba]'toad'See Macedonian phonology
NgweMmockngie dialect[ʒíá]'to split'
OccitanAuvergnatargent[aʀʒẽ]'money'Southern dialects
Persianمژه[moʒe]'eyelash'See Persian phonology
PolishGmina Istebnazielony[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
Romanianjar[ʒär]'embers'See Romanian phonology
Serbo-Croatianжут / žut[ʒûːt̪]'yellow'May be laminal retroflex instead, depending on the dialect. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
SilesianGmina Istebna[16]These dialects merge /ʐ/ and /ʑ/ into [ʒ].
Slovenianžito[ʒito]'cereal'See Slovene phonology
SpanishRioplatense, 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'
Turkishjale[ʒäːˈlɛ]'dew'See Turkish phonology
Ukrainianжaбa[ˈʒɑbɐ]'frog'See Ukrainian phonology
Urduاژدہا[əʒd̪ahaː]'dragon'See Hindi–Urdu phonology
West Frisianbagaazje[bɑˈɡaʒə]'luggage'See West Frisian phonology
Yiddishאָראַנזש[ɔʀanʒ]'orange'See Yiddish phonology

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
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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.


Dutch[20]meer[meːɹ̠˔]'lake'A rare post-vocalic allophone of /r/.[21] Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology
ThaiKrungthepยี[ɹ̠˔īː]'to crush, to mash'Contrast with Ayutthaya accent (Standard accent) which use [j] instead.

See also


  1. Watson (2002:16)
  2. Dum-Tragut (2009:18)
  3. Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  4. Mangold (2005:51)
  5. Shosted & Chikovani (2006:255)
  6. Canepari (1992), p. 73.
  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. 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. Dąbrowska (2004:?)
  17. 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)


  • Canepari, Luciano (1992), Il MªPi – Manuale di pronuncia italiana [Handbook of Italian Pronunciation] (in Italian), Bologna: Zanichelli, ISBN 88-08-24624-8
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223
  • Dąbrowska, Anna (2004), Język polski, Wrocław: wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie, ISBN 83-7384-063-X
  • Dubisz, Stanisław; Karaś, Halina; Kolis, Nijola (1995), Dialekty i gwary polskie, Warsaw: Wiedza Powszechna, ISBN 83-2140989-X
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 23 (2): 73–76, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874
  • Goeman, Ton; van de Velde, Hans (2001), "Co-occurrence constraints on /r/ and /ɣ/ in Dutch dialects", in van de Velde, Hans; van Hout, Roeland (eds.), 'r-atics, Brussels: Etudes & Travaux, pp. 91–112, ISSN 0777-3692
  • Guimarães, Daniela (2004), Seqüências de (Sibilante + Africada Alveopalatal) no Português Falado em Belo Horizonte (PDF), Belo Horizonte: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos; Aarts, Flor (1999), "The dialect of Maastricht" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, University of Nijmegen, Centre for Language Studies, 29: 155–166, doi:10.1017/S0025100300006526
  • Mangold, Max (2005) [First published 1962], Das Aussprachewörterbuch (6th ed.), Mannheim: Dudenverlag, ISBN 978-3-411-04066-7
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373
  • Mateus, Maria Helena; d'Andrade, Ernesto (2000), The Phonology of Portuguese, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-823581-X
  • Medina, Flávio (2010), Análise Acústica de Sequências de Fricativas Seguidas de [i] Produzidas por Japoneses Aprendizes de Português Brasileiro (PDF), Anais do IX Encontro do CELSUL Palhoça, SC, Palhoça: Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Chikovani, Vakhtang (2006), "Standard Georgian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 36 (2): 255–264, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002659
  • Silva, Thaïs Cristófaro (2003), Fonética e Fonologia do Português: Roteiro de Estudos e Guia de Exercícios (7th ed.), São Paulo: Contexto, ISBN 85-7244-102-6
  • Watson, Janet (2002), The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic, New York: Oxford University Press
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