World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Central consonant

Article Id: WHEBN0000543123
Reproduction Date:

Title: Central consonant  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Khanty language, Dental, alveolar and postalveolar flaps, Uvular trill, Voiced alveolar affricate, Cocopah language
Collection: Consonants
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Central consonant

A central consonant is a consonant sound that is produced when air flows across the center of the mouth over the tongue. The class contrasts with lateral consonants, in which air flows over the sides of the tongue rather than down its center.

Examples of central consonants are the voiced alveolar fricative (the "z" in the English word "zoo") and the palatal approximant (the "y" in the English word "yes"). Others are the central fricatives [θ ð s z ʃ ʒ ʂ ʐ ɕ ʑ ç ʝ x ɣ χ ʁ], the central approximants [ɹ ɻ j ɥ ɰ w ʍ], the trills [r ʀ], and the central flaps [ɾ ɽ].

The term is most relevant for approximants and fricatives (for which there are contrasting lateral and central consonants - e.g. [l] versus [ɹ] and [ɮ] versus [z]). Stops that have "lateral release" can be written in the International Phonetic Alphabet using a superscript symbol, e.g. [tl ], or can be implied by a following lateral consonant, e.g. [tɬ]. The labial fricatives [f v] often—perhaps usually—have lateral airflow, as the lip blocks the airflow in the center, but nonetheless they are not considered lateral consonants because no language makes a distinction between the two.

In some languages, the centrality of a consonant may be indeterminate. In Japanese, for example, there is a flap consonant that may be either central or lateral, typically central before a front vowel, as in ri [ɾi], and lateral before a back vowel, as in ro [ɺo]. Transcribing the phoneme r as either /ɾ/ or /ɺ/ gives the false impression that it is one or the other, when the category does not apply.

See also


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.