Affricate consonant

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Affricate consonant
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{{Manner of articulation}}{{IPA affricates|audio=yes|class=infobox}}{{IPA notice}}An affricate is a consonant that begins as a stop and releases as a fricative, generally with the same place of articulation (most often coronal). It is often difficult to decide if a stop and fricative form a single phoneme or a consonant pair.Peter Roach, Engelish Phonetics and Phonology Glassary {{webarchive |url= |date=April 12, 2015 }}, 2009 English has two affricate phonemes, {{IPA|/t͡ʃ/}} and {{IPA|/d͡ʒ/}}, often spelled ch and j, respectively.


The English sounds spelled "ch" and "j" (broadly transcribed as {{IPA|[t͡ʃ]}} and {{IPA|[d͡ʒ]}} in the IPA), German and Italian z {{IPA|[t͡s]}} and Italian z {{IPA|[d͡z]}} are typical affricates, and sounds like these are fairly common in the world's languages, as are other affricates with similar sounds, such as those in Polish and Chinese. However, voiced affricates other than {{IPA|[d͡ʒ]}} are relatively uncommon. For several places of articulation they are not attested at all.Much less common are labiodental affricates, such as {{IPA|[p͡f]}} in German and Izi, or velar affricates, such as {{IPA|[k͡x]}} in Tswana (written kg) or in High Alemannic Swiss German dialects. Worldwide, relatively few languages have affricates in these positions even though the corresponding stop consonants, {{IPA|[p]}} and {{IPA|[k]}}, are common or virtually universal. Also less common are alveolar affricates where the fricative release is lateral, such as the {{IPA|[t͡ɬ]}} sound found in Nahuatl and Navajo. Some other Athabaskan languages, such as Dene Suline, have unaspirated, aspirated, and ejective series of affricates whose release may be dental, alveolar, postalveolar, or lateral: {{IPA|[t̪͡θ]}}, {{IPA|[t̪͡θʰ]}}, {{IPA|[t̪͡θʼ]}}, {{IPA|[t͡s]}}, {{IPA|[t͡sʰ]}}, {{IPA|[t͡sʼ]}}, {{IPA|[t͡ʃ]}}, {{IPA|[t͡ʃʰ]}}, {{IPA|[t͡ʃʼ]}}, {{IPA|[t͡ɬ]}}, {{IPA|[t͡ɬʰ]}}, and {{IPA|[t͡ɬʼ]}}.


Affricates are transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet by a combination of two letters, one for the stop element and the other for the fricative element. In order to show that these are parts of a single consonant, a tie bar is generally used. The tie bar appears most commonly above the two letters, but may be placed under them if it fits better there, or simply because it is more legible.For example, in Niesler, Louw, & Roux (2005) Phonetic analysis of Afrikaans, English, Xhosa and Zulu using South African speech databases Thus:
  • {{angbr IPA|pÍ¡f, tÍ¡s, dÍ¡z, t͡ɬ, dÍ¡É®, t͡ʃ, dÍ¡Ê’, tÍ¡É•, dÍ¡Ê‘, ʈ͡ʂ, ɖ͡ʐ&x202f;, kÍ¡x}}
  • {{angbr IPA|pÍœf, tÍœs, dÍœz, t͜ɬ, d͜ɮ, t͜ʃ, d͜ʒ, t͜ɕ, d͜ʑ, ʈ͜ʂ, ɖ͜ʐ&x202f;, kÍœx}}.
A less common notation indicates the release of the affricate with a superscript:
  • .{{angbr IPA|pᶠ, tË¢, dᶻ, tᶴ, dᶾ, kË£}}
This is derived from the IPA convention of indicating other releases with a superscript. However, this convention is more typically used for a fricated release that is too brief to be considered a true affricate.Though they are no longer standard IPA, ligatures are available in Unicode for the six common affricates
  • {{angbr IPA|ʦ, Ê£, ʧ, ʤ, ʨ, Ê¥}}.
Any of these notations can be used to distinguish an affricate from a sequence of a stop plus a fricative, which exists in some languages such as Polish. However, in languages where there is no such distinction, such as English, the tie bars are commonly dropped.In other phonetic transcription systems, such as the Americanist system, affricates may be transcribed with single letters. The affricates {{IPA|[t͡s]}}, {{IPA|[d͡z]}}, {{IPA|[t͡ʃ]}}, {{IPA|[d͡ʒ]}}, {{IPA|[t͡ɬ]}}, {{IPA|[d͡ɮ]}} are transcribed respectively as {{angbr|c}} or {{angbr|¢}}; {{angbr|j}}, {{angbr|ƶ}}, or (older) {{angbr|ʒ}}; {{angbr|c}} or {{angbr|č}}; {{angbr|ǰ}}, {{angbr|ǧ}}, or (older) {{angbr|ǯ}}; {{angbr|ƛ}}; and {{angbr|λ}} or {{angbr|dl}}. Within the IPA, {{IPA|[tʃ]}} and {{IPA|[dʒ]}} are sometimes transcribed with the symbols for the palatal stops, {{angbr IPA|c}} and {{angbr IPA|ɟ}}.

Affricates vs. stop–fricative sequences

In some languages, affricates contrast phonemically with stop–fricative sequences:
  • Polish affricate {{IPA|/ʈ͡ʂ/}} in czysta 'clean (f.)' versus stop–fricative {{IPA|/tÊ‚/}} in trzysta 'three hundred'.{{citation|last=Gussmann|first=Edmund|year=2007|title=The Phonology of Polish|publisher=Oxford University Press|page=7|isbn=978-0-19-926747-7}}
  • Klallam affricate {{IPA|/tÍ¡s/}} in k’ʷə́nc 'look at me' versus stop–fricative {{IPA|/ts/}} in k’ʷə́nts 'he looks at it'.
The exact phonetic difference varies between languages. In stop–fricative sequences, the stop has a release burst before the fricative starts; but in affricates, the fricative element is the release. Phonologically, stop–fricative sequences may have a syllable boundary between the two segments, but not necessarily.In English, {{IPA|/ts/}} and {{IPA|/dz/}} (nuts, nods) are considered phonemically stop–fricative sequences. They often contain a morpheme boundary (for example, nuts = nut + s). The English affricate phonemes {{IPA|/t͡ʃ/}} and {{IPA|/d͡ʒ/}} do not generally contain morpheme boundaries. Depending on dialect, English speakers may distinguish an affricate from a stop–fricative sequence in some contexts such as when the sequence occurs across syllable boundaries:
  • bent shudder {{IPA|/bÉ›nt.ʃʌdəɹ/}} → {{IPA|[bÉ›nʔʃʌdəɹ]}}
  • bench udder {{IPA|/bÉ›nt͡ʃ.ÊŒdəɹ/}} → {{IPA|[bÉ›nt͡ʃʌdəɹ]}}
The {{IPA|/t/}} in 'bent shudder' debuccalizes to a glottal stop before {{IPA|/ʃ/}} in many dialects, making it phonetically distinct from {{IPA|/t͡ʃ/}}.One acoustic criterion for differentiating affricates and stop–fricative sequences is the rate of amplitude increase of the frication noise, which is known as the rise time. Affricates have a short rise time to the peak frication amplitude; stop–fricative sequences have longer rise times (Howell & Rosen 1983, Johnson 2003, Mitani et al. 2006).

List of affricates

In the case of coronals, the symbols {{angbr IPA|t, d}} are normally used for the stop portion of the affricate regardless of place. For example, {{IPA|[t͡ʂ]}} is commonly seen for {{IPA|[ʈ͡ʂ]}}.The exemplar languages are ones that have been reported to have these sounds, but in several cases they may need confirmation.

Sibilant affricates

{| class="wikitable"! Voiceless !! Languages !! Voiced !! Languages
Voiceless alveolar affricate {{IPA soundbox>t͡shidecc=yGerman language>German z, tzJapanese language つ/ツ {{IPA>[tsu͍]}}K'iche' languageMandarin Chinese>Mandarin c (pinyin)Italian language zzPashto language>Pashto څVoiced alveolar affricate {{IPA soundbox>d͡zhidecc=yYotsugana>some dialects)Italian zPashto ځ
Voiceless dental affricate {{IPA soundbox>t̪͡s̪hidecc=y}} Hungarian language cMacedonian language>Macedonian цSerbo-Croatian language c/цPolish language>Polish cVoiced dental affricate {{IPA soundbox>d̪͡z̪hidecc=y}} Hungarian dzMacedonian ''DzeBulgarian language>Bulgarian дзPolish dz''
Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate {{IPA soundbox>t͡ɕhidecc=y}} Japanese ち/チ {{IPA|[tɕi]}}Mandarin q (pinyin)Polish ć, ciSerbo-Croatian ć/ћThai จVoiced alveolo-palatal affricate {{IPA soundbox>d͡ʑ hidecc=y}} Japanese じ/ジ, ぢ/ヂ {{IPA|[dʑi]}}Polish dź, dziSerbo-Croatian đ/ђ
Voiceless palato-alveolar affricate {{IPA soundbox>t͡ʃhidecc=y}} English language ch, tchFrench language>French tchGerman tschHungarian csItalian ci, ceK'iche' chPersian language چSpanish language>Spanish chVoiced postalveolar affricate {{IPA soundbox>d͡ʒhidecc=y}} Arabic جEnglish j, gFrench djHungarian dzsItalian gi, ge
Voiceless retroflex affricate {{IPA soundbox>ʈ͡ʂhidecc=y}} Mandarin ch (pinyin)Polish czSerbo-Croatian č/чSlovak language čVietnamese language>Vietnamese trVoiced retroflex affricate {{IPA soundbox>ɖ͡ʐhidecc=y}} Polish dżSerbo-Croatian dž/џSlovak dž
The Northwest Caucasian languages Abkhaz and Ubykh both contrast sibilant affricates at four places of articulation: alveolar, postalveolar, alveolo-palatal and retroflex. They also distinguish voiceless, voiced, and ejective affricates at each of these.When a language only has one type of affricate, it is usually a sibilant; this is the case in e.g. Arabic ({{IPA|[d̠ʒ]}}), most dialects of Spanish ({{IPA|[t̠ʃ]}}), and Thai ({{IPA|[tɕ]}}).

Non-sibilant affricates

{| class="wikitable"! Sound (voiceless) !! IPA !! Languages !! Sound (voiced) !! IPA !! Languages
Voiceless bilabial affricate >[pɸ]}} Present allophonically in Kaingang language and Taos phonology>Taos. Not reported as a phoneme in any natural language. Voiced bilabial affricate {{IPA| Not attested in any natural language
Voiceless labiodental affricate>Voiceless bilabial-labiodental affricate {{IPAGerman language>German, Teke language >[bv]}} Teke language{{verification needed>date=September 2014}}
Voiceless labiodental affricate >[p̪f]}} XiNkuna TsongaVoiced labiodental affricate >[b̪v]}} XiNkuna Tsonga
Voiceless dental non-sibilant affricate >[t̪θ]}} New York City English, Luo language>Luo, Dene Suline language, Cun language>Cun, some varieties of Venetian and other North Italian dialectsVoiced dental non-sibilant affricate >[d̪ð]}} New York English, Dene Suline
[tɻ̝̊]}} Mapudungun language {{Verify source>date=October 2008}}, Malagasy[dɻ̝]}} Malagasy
Voiceless palatal affricate >[cç]}} Skolt Sami language (younger speakers), Hungarian language>Hungarian (casual speech), Albanian (transcribed as [c]), allophonically in KaingangVoiced palatal affricate >[ɟʝ]}} Skolt Sami (younger speakers), Hungarian (casual speech), Albanian language (transcribed as [ɟ]), some Spanish language>Spanish dialects. Not reported to contrast with a voiced palatal plosive {{IPA|[ɟ]}}
Voiceless velar affricate >[kx]}} Tswana language,{{verification needed>date=June 2015}} High Alemannic German Voiced velar affricate {{IPA English
Voiceless uvular affricate >[qχ]}} Nez Percé language, Wolof language>Wolof, Bats language, Kabardian language>Kabardian, Avar language, Tsez language>Tsez. Not reported to contrast with a voiceless uvular plosive {{IPA[ɢʁ]}} rowspan=2 | Not attested in any natural language
Voiceless pharyngeal affricate >[ʡħ]}} Haida language. Not reported to contrast with an epiglottal stop {{IPA>[ʡ]}} Voiced pharyngeal affricate {{IPA|[ʡʕ]}}

Lateral affricates

{| class="wikitable"! Sound !! IPA !! Languages
Voiceless alveolar lateral affricate >[tɬ]}} Cherokee language, Nahuatl language>Nahuatl, Navajo language, Tswana language>Tswana, etc.
Voiced alveolar lateral affricate >[dÉ®]}} Gwich'in language, Sandawe language>Sandawe. Not reported to ever contrast with a voiced alveolar lateral fricative {{IPA|[É®]}}.
Voiceless palatal lateral affricate >[cʎ̥˔]}} also {{angbr}}}}; as ejective {{IPA}}ʼ] in Dahalo language; as {{IPA>[tʎ̥˔]}} = [t{{PUAHadza language>Hadza.
Voiceless velar lateral affricate >[kʟ̝̊]}} also {{angbr}}}}; as a prevelar in Archi language and as an ejective {{IPA>[kʟ̝̊ʼ]}} = [k{{PUAZulu language>Zulu,{{citation needed|date=December 2009}} also exist in the Laghuu language.
Voiced velar lateral affricate >[ɡʟ̝]}} Laghuu.

Trilled affricates

{| class="wikitable"! Sound !! IPA !! Languages
Bilabial trill>trilled bilabial affricate {{IPAKele language (New Guinea)>Kele and Avava
[t̪ʙ̥]}} Pirahã language and Wari’ language>Wari’
[ndr]}} Fijian language and Malekula Central languages>Avava
[tʳ]}} Ngkoth
[dʳ]}} Nias
Voiced epiglottal affricate>Voiced epiglottal (trilled pharyngeal) affricate {{IPAHaida language>Haida. Cognate to Southern Haida {{IPA[Ê•]}}.HTTP://LINGSERVER.ARTS.UBC.CA/LINGUISTICS/SITES/DEFAULT/FILES/1993_BESSELL.PDF >TITLE= BESSELL 1993 ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20160304185927/HTTP://LINGSERVER.ARTS.UBC.CA/LINGUISTICS/SITES/DEFAULT/FILES/1993_BESSELL.PDF DF=,

Heterorganic affricates

Although most affricates are homorganic, Navajo and Chiricahua Apache have a heterorganic alveolar-velar affricate {{IPA|[tx]}} (Hoijer & Opler 1938, Young & Morgan 1987, Ladefoged & Maddeison 1996, McDonough 2003, McDonough & Wood 2008, Iskarous, 2012). Wari’ and Pirahã have a voiceless dental bilabially trilled affricate [t̪ʙ̥] (see #Trilled affricates). Other heterorganic affricates are reported for Northern Sotho (Johnson 2003) and other Bantu languages such as Phuthi, which has alveolar–labiodental affricates {{IPA|[tf]}} and {{IPA|[dv]}}, and Sesotho, which has bilabial–palatoalveolar afficates {{IPA|[pʃ]}} and {{IPA|[bʒ]}}. Djeoromitxi (Pies 1992) has {{IPA|[ps]}} and {{IPA|[bz]}}.

Phonation, coarticulation and other variants

The more common of the voiceless affricates are all attested as ejectives as well: {{IPA|[tθʼ, tsʼ, tɬʼ, tʃʼ, tɕʼ, tʂʼ, cʎ̥ʼ, kxʼ, kʟ̝̊ʼ]}}. Several Khoisan languages such as !Xóõ are reported to have voiced ejective affricates, but these may actually be consonant clusters: {{IPA|[dtsʼ, dtʃʼ]}}. Affricates are also commonly aspirated: {{IPA|[ɱp̪fʰ, tθʰ, tsʰ, tɬʰ, tʃʰ, tɕʰ, tʂʰ]}}, occasionally murmured: {{IPA|[ɱb̪vʱ, d̠ʒʱ]}}, and sometimes prenasalized: {{IPA|[ⁿdz, ⁿdzʱ, ᶯɖʐ, ᶯɖʐʱ]}}. Labialized, palatalized, velarized, and pharyngealized affricates also occur. Affricates may also have phonemic length, that is, affected by a chroneme, as in Italian and Karelian.

Phonological representation

{{expand section|date=September 2015}}In phonology, affricates tend to behave similarly to stops, taking part in phonological patterns that fricatives do not. Kehrein analyzes phonetic affricates as phonological stops.Kehrein (2002) Phonological Representation and Phonetic Phasing A sibilant or lateral (and presumably trilled) stop can be realized phonetically only as an affricate and so might be analyzed phonemically as a sibilant or lateral stop. In that analysis, affricates other than sibilants and laterals are a phonetic mechanism for distinguishing stops at similar places of articulation (like more than one labial, coronal, or dorsal place). For example, Chipewyan has laminal dental {{IPA|[t̪͡θ]}} vs. apical alveolar {{IPA|[t]}}; other languages may contrast velar {{IPA|[k]}} with palatal {{IPA|[c͡ç]}} and uvular {{IPA|[q͡χ]}}. Affricates may also be a strategy to increase the phonetic contrast between aspirated or ejective and tenuis consonants.According to Kehrein, no language contrasts a non-sibilant, non-lateral affricate with a stop at the same place of articulation and with the same phonation and airstream mechanism, such as {{IPA|/t̪/}} and {{IPA|/t̪θ/}} or {{IPA|/k/}} and {{IPA|/kx/}}.In feature-based phonology, affricates are distinguished from stops by the feature [+delayed release].BOOK, Hayes, Bruce, 2009, Introductory Phonology, Blackwell, 79–80, 978-1-4051-8411-3, registration,weblink


Affrication (sometimes called affricatization) is a sound change by which a consonant, usually a stop or fricative, changes into an affricate. Examples include:
  • Proto-Germanic {{IPA|/k/}} > Modern English {{IPA|/tʃ/}}, as in chin (cf. German Kinn: Anglo-Frisian palatalization)
  • Proto-Semitic {{IPA|/g/}} > Standard Arabic {{IPA|/dÍ¡Ê’/}} in all positions, as in جمل {{IPA|/dÍ¡Ê’amal/}} (camel) (cf. Aramaic: גמלא (gamlā’), Amharic: ግመል (gÉ™mäl), and Hebrew: גמל (gamal)).
  • Early Modern English {{IPA|/tj, dj/}} > {{IPA|/tʃ dÊ’/}} (yod-coalescence)
  • {{IPA|/p, t, k/}} > {{IPA|/pf, ts, kx/}} in the High German consonant shift
  • {{IPA|[t]}} > {{IPA|[ts, tÉ•]}} before {{IPA|[ɯᵝ, i]}} respectively in 16th-century JapaneseBOOK, Takayama, Tomoaki, Kubozono, Haruo, Handbook of Japanese Phonetics and Phonology, 2015, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 9781614511984, 629–630,weblink 12 June 2015, 15– Historical Phonology,
  • {{IPA|[r]}} > {{IPA|[dÊ’, dÊ‘]}} word-initially in UdmurtBOOK, Csúcs, Sándor, Die Rekonstruktion der permischen Grundsprache, 2005, Bibliotheca Uralica, 13, German, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 963-05-8184-1, 139,


In rare instances, a fricative–stop contour may occur. This is the case in dialects of Scottish Gaelic that have velar frication {{IPA|[ˣ]}} where other dialects have pre-aspiration. For example, in the Harris dialect there is {{IPA|[ʃaˣkʰ]}} 'seven' and {{IPA|[əhʷɔˣkʰ]}} 'eight' (or {{IPA|[ʃax͜kʰ]}}, {{IPA|[əhʷɔx͜kʰ]}}).Laver (1994) Principles of Phonetics, p. 374.

See also


  • Hoijer, Harry; & Opler, Morris E. (1938). Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache texts. The University of Chicago publications in anthropology; Linguistic series. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Howell Peter; & Rosen, Stuart. (1983). Production and perception of rise time in the voiceless affricate/fricative distinction. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 73 (3), 976–984.
  • Iskarous, K; McDonough, J; & Whalen, D. (2012) A gestural account of the velar fricative in Navajo. Journal of Laboratory Phonology 195-210.
  • Johnson, Keith. (2003). Acoustic & auditory phonetics (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Ladefoged, P. (1995) A Course in Phonetics (5th ed] Wadsworth, Inc
  • Ladefoged, P; & Maddieson, I. (1996) Sounds of the Worlds Languages. Blackwell.
  • Maddieson, Ian. (1984). Patterns of sounds. Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|0-521-26536-3}}
  • McDonough, J (2003) The Navajo Sound System. Kluwer
  • McDonough, Joyce; & Wood, Valerie. (2008). The stop contrasts of the Athabaskan languages. Journal of Phonetics 36, 427-449.
  • Mitani, Shigeki; Kitama, Toshihiro; & Sato, Yu. (2006). Voiceless affricate/fricative distinction by frication duration and amplitude rise slope. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 120 (3), 1600–1607.
  • Young, R & Morgan W. (1987) The Navajo Language. University of New Mexico Press.

External links

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