Voiceless palatal affricate

The voiceless palatal affricate is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represent this sound are c͡ç and c͜ç, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is c_C. The tie bar may be omitted, yielding in the IPA and cC in X-SAMPA.

Voiceless palatal affricate
IPA Number107 (138)
Entity (decimal)c͡ç
Unicode (hex)U+0063U+0361U+00E7
Audio sample
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This sound is the non-sibilant equivalent of the voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate.

The voiceless palatal affricate occurs in such languages as Hungarian and Skolt Sami, among others. The consonant is quite rare; it is mostly absent from Europe (with the Uralic languages and Albanian being exceptions). It usually occurs with its voiced counterpart, the voiced palatal affricate.

There is also the voiceless post-palatal affricate[1] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiceless palatal affricate, though not as back as the prototypical voiceless velar affricate. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as c̠͡ç̠, c͡ç˗ (both symbols denote a retracted c͡ç) or k̟͡x̟ (advanced k͡x) - this article uses only the first symbol. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are c_-_C_- and k_+_x_+, respectively.

Especially in broad transcription, the voiceless post-palatal affricate may be transcribed as a palatalized voiceless velar affricate (k͡xʲ or k͜xʲ in the IPA, k_x' or k_x_j in X-SAMPA).


Features of the voiceless palatal affricate:

  • Its manner of articulation is affricate, which means it is produced by first stopping the airflow entirely, then allowing air flow through a constricted channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence. It is not a sibilant.
  • 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 [k͡x].
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • 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.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Albanian Standard[2] qaj [c͡çaj] 'I cry' May merge with [t͡ʃ] in some dialects. Retained as [c] in some Tosk Albanian varieties, or alternatively [c͡ç]. See Albanian language
Asturian Western dialects[3] muyyer [muˈc͡çeɾ] 'woman' Alternate evolution of -lj-, -c'l-, pl-, cl- and fl- in the Brañas Vaqueiras area of Western Asturias. May be also realized as [c] or [ɟ͡ʝ]
Dutch[4] bakje [ˈbɑc̠͡ç̠jə] 'tray' (dim.) Post-palatal; allophone of /k/ before /j/.[4] See Dutch phonology
Hungarian tyúk [c͡çuːk] 'hen' See Hungarian phonology
Kaingang[5] [c͡çɔi̯ɟ] 'cranefly' Possible word-initial realization of /ç/.[6]
Korean 켜다 kyeoda [c͡çɘː.dɐ] 'turn on' Allophone of /kʰ/ before /i/ and /j/. See Korean phonology
Navajo ashkii [aʃc͡çiː] 'boy' Allophone of /kʰ/ before the front vowels /i, e/. See Navajo phonology
Norwegian Central and Western dialects[7] ikkje [ic͡çə] 'not' See Norwegian phonology
Skolt Sami sääˊmǩiõll [sʲaamc͡çiɘl] 'Skolt Sami'

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. Palatal controversies Péter Siptár(2013)
  3. "Tinéu. Mapa del conceyu | El Teixu" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  4. Collins & Mees (2003), p. 193.
  5. Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676, 681.
  6. Jolkesky (2009), p. 681.
  7. Skjekkeland (1997), pp. 96–100.


  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003) [First published 1981], The Phonetics of English and Dutch (PDF) (5th ed.), Leiden: Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004103406
  • Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2009), "Fonologia e prosódia do Kaingáng falado em Cacique Doble", Anais do SETA, Campinas: Editora do IEL-UNICAMP, 3: 675–685
  • Skjekkeland, Martin (1997), Dei norske dialektane: Tradisjonelle særdrag i jamføring med skriftmåla (in Norwegian), Høyskoleforlaget (Norwegian Academic Press)
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