Voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative

Voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative
IPA number 182
Entity (decimal) ɕ
Unicode (hex) U+0255
Kirshenbaum S;
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The voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some oral languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɕ ("c", plus the curl also found in its voiced counterpart ʑ). It is the sibilant equivalent of the voiceless palatal fricative.

The voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant fricative does not occur in any major dialect of English. However, it is the usual realization of /ʃ/ (as in ship) in the Ghanaian variety.[1]


Features of the voiceless alveolo-palatal 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 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.


Adygheщы [ɕə] 'three'
CatalanEastern[2]caixa[ˈkäɕə]'box'See Catalan phonology
ChineseMandarin西安 / Xī'ān [ɕí.án] 'Xi'an'Contrasts with /ʂ/ and /s/. See Mandarin phonology
Chuvashçиçĕм[ˈɕiɕ̬əm]'lightning'Contrasts with /ʂ/ and /s/.
Danishsjæl[ˈɕeːˀl]'soul'See Danish phonology
DutchSome speakerssjabloon[ɕäˈbloːn]'template'May be [ʃ] or [sʲ] instead. See Dutch phonology
EnglishGhanaian[1]ship[ɕip]'ship'Educated speakers may use [ʃ], to which this phone corresponds in other dialects.[1]
Japanese[3] / shio[ɕi.o]'salt'See Japanese phonology
Kabardianщэ [ɕa] 'hundred'
Korean / si[ɕi]'poem'See Korean phonology
Lower Sorbian[4]pśijaśel[ˈpɕijäɕɛl]'friend'
Luxembourgish[5]liicht[liːɕt]'light'Allophone of /χ/ after phonologically front vowels; some speakers merge it with [ʃ].[5] See Luxembourgish phonology
NorwegianUrban East[6]kjekk[ɕe̞kː]'handsome'Typically transcribed in IPA with ç; less often realized as palatal [ç]. Younger speakers in Bergen, Stavanger and Oslo merge it with /ʂ/.[6] See Norwegian phonology
PashtoWazirwola dialectلښکي[ˈləɕki]'little, slight'
Polish[7]śruba [ˈɕrubä] 'screw'Contrasts with /ʂ/ and /s/. See Polish phonology
Portuguese[8][9][10]mexendo[meˈɕẽd̪u]'moving'Also described as palato-alveolar [ʃ].[11][12] See Portuguese phonology
RomanianTransylvanian dialects[13]ce[ɕɛ]'what'Realized as [] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Russianсчастье [ˈɕːæsʲtʲjə] 'happiness'Also represented by щ. Contrasts with /ʂ/, /s/, and /sʲ/. See Russian phonology
Sema[14]ashi[à̠ɕì]'meat'Possible allophone of /ʃ/ before /i, e/.[14]
Serbo-CroatianCroatian[15]miš će[mîɕ t͡ɕe̞]'the mouse will'Allophone of /ʃ/ before /t͡ɕ, d͡ʑ/.[15] See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Some speakers of Montenegrinśutra[ɕutra]'tomorrow'Phonemically /sj/ or, in some cases, /s/.
SwedishFinlandsjok[ɕuːk]'chunk'Allophone of /ɧ/.
Swedenkjol [ɕuːl] 'skirt'See Swedish phonology
TibetanLhasa dialectབཞི་[ɕi˨˧]'four'Contrasts with /ʂ/.
XumiLower[17][RPd͡ʑi ɕɐ]'one hundred'
Upper[18][RPd͡ʑi ɕɜ]
Zhuang cib [ɕǐp] 'ten'

See also



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