Voiceless palatal stop

The voiceless palatal stop or voiceless palatal plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in some vocal languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is c, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is c.

Voiceless palatal stop
IPA Number107
Entity (decimal)c
Unicode (hex)U+0063
Audio sample
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If distinction is necessary, the voiceless alveolo-palatal stop may be transcribed as (advanced c) or t̠ʲ (retracted and palatalized t), but these are essentially equivalent, because the contact includes both the blade and body (but not the tip) of the tongue. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are c_+ and t_-' or t_-_j, respectively. There is also a non-IPA letter ȶ ("t", plus the curl found in the symbols for alveolo-palatal sibilant fricatives ɕ, ʑ), used especially in sinological circles.

It is common for the phonetic symbol c to be used to represent voiceless postalveolar affricate [t͡ʃ] or other similar affricates, for example in the Indic languages. This may be considered appropriate when the place of articulation needs to be specified and the distinction between stop and affricate is not contrastive.

There is also the voiceless post-palatal stop[1] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiceless palatal stop, though not as back as the prototypical voiceless velar stop. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as (retracted c) or (advanced k). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are c_- and k_+, respectively.

Especially in broad transcription, the voiceless post-palatal stop may be transcribed as a palatalized voiceless velar stop ( in the IPA, k' or k_j in X-SAMPA).


Features of the voiceless palatal stop:

  • 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 [k].
  • 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.


Palatal or alveolo-palatal

Albanian[2]shqip[ʃcip]'Albanian'Merged with [t͡ʃ] in Gheg Albanian and some speakers of Tosk Albanian.[3]
Asturian Western dialects[4] muyyer [muˈceɾ] 'woman' Alternate evolution of -lj-, -c'l-, pl-, cl- and fl- in the Brañas Vaqueiras area of Western Asturias. May be also realized as [c͡ç] or [ɟ͡ʝ]
Blackfootᖳᖽᖳᐡ / akikoan[aˈkicoan]'girl'Allophone of /k/ after front vowels.
BulgarianBanat dialectkaćétu (каќету or какьету)[kacetu]'as'See Bulgarian phonology
CatalanMajorcan[5]qui[ˈci̞]'who'Simultaneous dento-alveolo-palatal and palatal.[6] Corresponds to /k/ in other varieties. See Catalan phonology
ChineseTaiwanese Hokkien機車 / ki-tshia[ciː˧ t͡ɕʰia˥]'motorcycle'
Corsicanchjodu[ˈcoːdu]'nail'Also present in the Gallurese dialect
Czechčeština[ˈt͡ʃɛʃc̟ɪna]'Czech'Alveolar and alveolo-palatal.[6] See Czech phonology
French[6]qui[ci]'who' (int.)Ranges from alveolar to palatal with more than one closure point. See French phonology
Gweno[ca]'to come'
Hungarian[8]tyúk[c̟uːk]'hen'Alveolo-palatal.[6] See Hungarian phonology
Icelandicgjóla[ˈc̟ouːlä]'light wind'Alveolo-palatal.[6] See Icelandic phonology
Indonesian cari [cari] 'to find' Allophone of /tʃ/. See Malay phonology
Irishceist[cɛʃtʲ]'question'Simultaneous alveolo-palatal and palatal.[6] See Irish phonology
Khmerចាប[caap]'bird'Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms.
Kurdish Northern kîso [cʰiːsoː] 'tortoise' Allophone of /kʰ/ before /ɨ/, /ɛ/, /iː/, and /eː/. See Kurdish phonology
Central کیسەڵ [cʰiːsæɫ]
Southern [cʰiːsaɫ]
Latvianķirbis[ˈcirbis]'pumpkin'See Latvian phonology
Low GermanPlautdietschkjoakj[coac]'church'Corresponds to [kʲ] in all other dialects.
Macedonianвреќа[ˈvrɛca]'sack'See Macedonian phonology
Nez Perceʔaw̓líwaaʔinpqawtaca'I go to scoop him up in the fire'
NorwegianCentral dialects[9]fett[fɛcː]'fat'See Norwegian phonology
Northern dialects[9]
Romanian[10]chin[cin]'torture'Allophone of /k/ before /i/ and /e/. See Romanian phonology
Slovak[6]deväť[ˈɟ̟ɛ̝ʋæc̟]'nine'Alveolar.[6] See Slovak phonology
Turkishköy[cʰœj]'village'See Turkish phonology
Vietnamese[16]ch[ci˧ˀ˨ʔ]'elder sister'May be slightly affricated [tᶝ ]. See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisiantjems[cɛms]'strainer'See West Frisian phonology
Western Desertkutju[kucu]'one'


Belarusianкіслы[ˈk̟is̪ɫ̪ɨ]'acidic'Typically transcribed in IPA with . See Belarusian phonology
Catalan[17]qui[k̟i]'who'Allophone of /k/ before front vowels.[17] See Catalan phonology
DanishStandard[18]gidsel[ˈk̟isəl]'hostage'Allophone of /ɡ/ before front vowels.[18] See Danish phonology
GermanStandard[19][20]Kind[k̟ʰɪnt]'child'Allophone of /k/ before and after front vowels.[19][20] See Standard German phonology
Greek[21]Μακεδνός[mɐc̠e̞ˈðno̞s̠] 'Makedon'See Modern Greek phonology
ItalianStandard[22]chi[k̟i] 'who'Allophone of /k/ before /i, e, ɛ, j/.[22] See Italian phonology
Portuguesequi[k̟i]'Chi'Allophone of /k/ before front vowels. See Portuguese phonology
Romanian[23]ochi[o̞k̟]'eye'Typically transcribed in IPA with . See Romanian phonology
RussianStandard[24]кит / kit[k̟it̪]'whale'Typically transcribed in IPA with . See Russian phonology
Spanish[25]kilo[ˈk̟ilo̞]'kilo(gram)'Allophone of /k/ before front vowels.[25] See Spanish phonology
Tidore yaci [jaci] 'to rip'
Ukrainianкінчик/kinčyk[ˈk̟int͡ʃek] 'tip'Typically transcribed in IPA with . See Ukrainian phonology
VietnameseFinal allophone of /c/. See Vietnamese phonology


English[26][27]keen [cʰiːn]'keen'Allophone of /k/ before front vowels and /j/. Varies between post-palatal and palatal.[26][27] See English phonology

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. Newmark, Hubbard & Prifti (1982), p. 10.
  3. Kolgjini (2004).
  4. "Tinéu. Mapa del conceyu | El Teixu" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  5. Recasens & Espinosa (2005), p. 1.
  6. Recasens (2013), pp. 11–13.
  7. Connell, Ahoua & Gibbon (2002), p. 100.
  8. Ladefoged (2005), p. 164.
  9. Skjekkeland (1997), pp. 105–107.
  10. DEX Online:
  11. Menzli (1993), p. 92.
  12. Liver (1999), pp. 53–54.
  13. Liver (1999), pp. 56–57.
  14. Liver (1999), pp. 59–60.
  15. Liver (1999), pp. 63–64.
  16. Thompson (1959), pp. 458–461.
  17. Rafel (1999), p. 14.
  18. Grønnum (2005), p. 124.
  19. Wiese (1996), p. 271.
  20. Krech et al. (2009), pp. 49, 92.
  21. Arvaniti (2007), p. 20.
  22. Canepari (1992), p. 62.
  23. Sarlin (2014), p. 17.
  24. Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015), p. 223.
  25. Canellada & Madsen (1987), p. 20.
  26. Gimson (2014), p. 181.
  27. Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009).


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