Affricate consonant

Affricate consonant

Affricate consonants begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as IPA| [t] or IPA| [d] ) but release as a fricative (such as IPA| [s] or IPA| [z] or occasionally into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel.


The English sounds spelled "ch" and "j" (transcribed IPA| [tʃ] and IPA| [dʒ] in IPA), German and Italian "z" IPA| [ts] and Italian "z/ƶ" IPA| [dz] are typical affricates. These sounds are fairly common in the world's languages, as are other affricates with similar sounds, such as those in Polish and Chinese. However, other than IPA| [dʒ] , voiced affricates are relatively uncommon. For several places of articulation they aren't attested at all.

Much less common are e.g. labiodental affricates, such as IPA| [p͡f] in German, or velar affricates, such as IPA| [k͡x] in Tswana (written "kg") or High Alemannic Swiss German dialects. Worldwide, only a few languages have affricates in these positions, even though the corresponding stop consonants are virtually universal. Also less common are alveolar affricates where the fricative is lateral, such as the IPA| [tɬ] sound found in Nahuatl and Totonac. Many Athabaskan languages (such as Dene Suline and Navajo) have series of coronal affricates which may be unaspirated, aspirated, or ejective in addition to being interdental/dental, alveolar, postalveolar, or lateral, i.e. IPA| [t̪͡θ] , IPA| [t̪͡θʰ] , IPA| [t̪͡θ’] , IPA| [ts] , IPA| [tsʰ] , IPA| [ts’] , IPA| [tʃ] , IPA| [tʃʰ] , IPA| [tʃ’] , IPA| [tɬ] , IPA| [tɬʰ] , and IPA| [tɬ’] .


Affricates are often represented by the two sounds they consist of (e.g. IPA| [pf] , IPA| [kx] ). However, single signs for the affricates may be desirable, in order to stress that they function as unitary speech segments (i.e. as phonemes). In this case, the IPA recommends joining the two elements of the affricate by a tie bar (e.g. IPA| [p͡f] , IPA| [k͡x] ). Ligatures are available in Unicode for the six common affricates IPA| [ʦ] , IPA| [ʣ] , IPA| [ʧ] , IPA| [ʤ] , IPA| [ʨ] , and IPA| [ʥ] .

Another method is to indicate the release of the affricate with a superscript: IPA| [tˢ] , IPA| [kˣ] . This is derived from the IPA convention of indicating other releases with a superscript.

In other phonetic transcription systems, such as the Americanist system, the affricates IPA| [ts] , IPA| [dz] , IPA| [tʃ] , IPA| [dʒ] , IPA| [tɬ] , and IPA| [dɮ] are represented as Unicode| or Unicode|<¢>; Unicode|, Unicode|<ƶ>, or (older) IPA|<ʒ>; Unicode| or Unicode|<č>; Unicode|<ǰ>, Unicode|<ǧ>, or (older) Unicode|<ǯ>; Unicode|<ƛ>; and Unicode|<λ> or Unicode|

respectively. Within the IPA, IPA| [tʃ] and IPA| [dʒ] are sometimes transcribed as palatal stops, IPA| and IPA|<ɟ>.

Affricates vs. stop-fricative sequences

Affricates can contrast phonemically with stop-fricative sequences. Examples include:: Polish affricate IPA|/t​͡ʂ/ in "czysta" 'clean (f.)' versus stop–fricative IPA|/tʂ/ in "trzysta" 'three hundred', and: Klallam affricate IPA|/t͡s/ in Unicode|"k’ʷə́nc" 'look at me' versus stop–fricative IPA|/ts/ in Unicode|"k’ʷə́nts" 'he looks at it'.

The difference is that in the stop-fricative sequence, the stop has a release burst before the fricative starts, but in the affricate, the fricative element "is" the release. Stop-fricative sequences may also have a syllable boundary between the two segments, but this is not necessary.

In English, IPA|/ts/ and IPA|/dz/ (as in "nuts" and "nods") are considered to be sequences of a stop phoneme and a fricative phoneme even though they are phonetically affricates, because they may have a morpheme boundary in them (e.g. "nuts" is "nut" + "s"). The English affricate phonemes IPA|/t͡ʃ/ and IPA|/d͡ʒ/ do not require a morpheme boundary, and are sometimes written with the unitary symbols <Unicode|č> and <Unicode|ǰ>, though this is not considered standard IPA notation). However, English does distinguish affricates from stop–fricative sequences:

*"cat shit" IPA|/kæt.ʃɪt/, pronounced IPA| [kʰæʔʃɪt̚]
*"catch it" IPA|/kæt͡ʃ.ɪt/, pronounced IPA| [kʰæt͡ʃɪt̚]

Here IPA|/t/ debuccalizes to glottal stop before IPA|/ʃ/, making it phonetically distinct from IPA|/t͡ʃ/.

The acoustic difference between affricates and stop+fricative sequences is 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 while sequences of stop and fricative have relatively longer rise time (Howell & Rosen 1983), (Johnson 2003), (Mitani et al. 2006).

List of affricates

In the case of coronals, the symbols IPA| are normally used for the stop portion of the affricate regardless of place. For example, IPA| [t͡ʂ] is commonly seen for IPA| [ʈ͡ʂ] . For legibility, the tie bars have been removed from the table entries.

The exemplar languages are ones that these sounds have been reported from, but in several cases they may need confirmation.

ibilant affricates

* Voiceless alveolar affricate IPA| [ts] (in Italian, German, Hungarian, Lombard, Mayan K'iche', Japanese)
* Voiced alveolar affricate IPA| [dz] (in Italian, Lombard, Pashto )
* Voiceless postalveolar affricate IPA| [t̠ʃ] (in English,Spanish in both cases spelled "ch")
* Voiced postalveolar affricate IPA| [d̠ʒ] (English "j" or "soft g")
* Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate IPA| [t̠ɕ] (in Polish, Mandarin, Thai)
* Voiced alveolo-palatal affricate IPA| [d̠ʑ] (in Polish, Serbian )
* Voiceless retroflex affricate IPA| [ʈʂ] (in Ubykh and other Northwest Caucasian languages, Mandarin)
* Voiced retroflex affricate IPA| [ɖʐ] (in Ubykh and other Northwest Caucasian languages)

Non-sibilant affricates

* Voiceless bilabial affricate IPA| [pɸ] Present reportedly in Scouse English ("needs confirmation")
* Voiceless bilabial-labiodental affricate IPA| [pf] (in German, Teke)
* Voiced bilabial-labiodental affricate IPA| [bv] (in Teke) ("needs confirmation")
* Voiceless labiodental affricate IPA| [p̪f] (in XiNkuna Tsonga)
* Voiced labiodental affricate IPA| [b̪v] (in XiNkuna Tsonga)
* Voiceless dental affricate IPA| [t̪θ] (in Luo, Dene Suline, some varieties of Venetian and other North Italian dialects)
* Voiced dental affricate IPA| [d̪ð] (in Dene Suline)
* Voiceless alveolar nonsibilant affricate IPA| [tɹ̝̊] (in Mapudungun) ("needs confirmation")
* Voiceless palatal affricate IPA| [cç] (in Skolt Sami, Hungarian)
* Voiced palatal affricate IPA| [ɟʝ] (in Skolt Sami, Hungarian, some Spanish dialects)
* Voiceless velar affricate IPA| [kx] (in Tswana, High Alemannic German)
* Voiceless uvular affricate IPA| [qχ] (in Nez Percé, Wolof, Kabardian)
* Voiceless epiglottal affricate IPA| [ʡʜ] (in Haida)

Lateral affricates

* Voiceless alveolar lateral affricate IPA| [tɬ] (in Navaho, etc.)
* Voiced alveolar lateral affricate IPA| [dɮ] (not reported to ever contrast with IPA| [ɮ] )
* Voiceless palatal lateral affricate IPA| [cʎ̥˔] (also [c] ) (as ejective IPA| [cʎ̥˔ʼ] / [cʼ] in Dahalo; as IPA| [tʎ̥˔] / [t] in Hadza)
* Voiceless velar lateral affricate IPA| [kʟ̝̊] (also [k] ) (as ejective IPA| [kʟ̝̊ʼ] / [kʼ] in Zulu)

Trilled affricates

* Prenasalized trilled bilabial affricate IPA| [mbʙ] (in Kele)
* Voiceless dental bilabially trilled affricate IPA| [t̪ʙ̥] (in Wari’)
* Voiceless alveolar trilled affricate IPA|/tʳ/ (in Ngkoth)
* Voiceless retroflex trilled affricate IPA| [tɽ̝̊] (in Malagasy) ("needs confirmation;" a similar sound in the southern dialect of Mapudungun is reported to vary with IPA| [ʈʂ] .)
* Voiced retroflex trilled affricate IPA| [dɽ̝] (in Malagasy) ("needs confirmation;" a similar sound in Fijian is a prenasalized postalveolar stop that seldom has a trilled release)

Other Affricates

The more common of the voiceless affricates are all attested as ejectives as well: IPA| [tθ’, ts’, tɬ’, tʃ’, tɕ’, tʂ’, cʎ̥ʼ, kx’, kʟ̝̊’] . Several Khoisan languages such as !Xóõ are reported to have voiced ejective affricates, but these may actually be consonant clusters: IPA| [dts’, dtʃ’] . Affricates are also commonly aspirated: IPA| [m̪p̪fʰ, tθʰ, tsʰ, tɬʰ, tʃʰ, tɕʰ, tʂʰ] , occasionally murmured: IPA| [m̪b̪vʱ, d̠ʒʱ] , and sometimes prenasalized: IPA| [ndz, ndzʰ, ɳɖʐ, ɳɖʐʰ] . Labialized, palatalized, velarized, and pharyngealized affricates also occur. Affricates may also have phonemic length, that is, affected by a chroneme, as in Karelian. While most affricates are homorganic, Navajo and Chiricahua Apache have a heterorganic alveolar-velar affricate IPA| [tx] (McDonough & Ladefoged 1993, Hoijer & Opler 1938). Other heterorganic affricates are reported for Northern Sotho (Johnson 2003).


* 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.
* Johnson, Keith. (2003). "Acoustic & auditory phonetics" (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
* Maddieson, Ian. (1984). "Patterns of sounds". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-26536-3
* McDonough, Joyce; & Ladefoged, Peter. (1993). Navajo stops. "UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics", "84", 151-164.
* 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.

See also

* Apical consonant
* Laminal consonant
* List of phonetic topics

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