World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Palatal approximant

Article Id: WHEBN0000524850
Reproduction Date:

Title: Palatal approximant  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: French orthography, Modern Hebrew phonology, Chuvash language, Arabic, Yodh
Collection: Palatal Consonants
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Palatal approximant

Palatal approximant
IPA number 153
Entity (decimal) j
Unicode (hex) U+006A
Kirshenbaum j
Braille ⠚ (braille pattern dots-245)

The voiced palatal approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is j. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is j, and in the Americanist phonetic notation it is y. Because the English name of the letter J, jay, does not start with j, this approximant is sometimes called yod instead, as in the phonological history terms yod-dropping and yod-coalescence.

The palatal approximant is the semivocalic equivalent of the close front unrounded vowel [i]. The two are almost identical featurally. They alternate with each other in certain languages, such as French, and in the diphthongs of some languages, j and with the non-syllabic diacritic are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound.

In the writing systems used for most of the languages of Central, Northern and Eastern Europe, the letter j denotes the palatal approximant, as in German Jahr 'year'. This is the IPA usage, and although it may be counter-intuitive for English speakers, it does occur with this sound in a few English words, such as hallelujah and Jägermeister.

In grammars of Ancient Greek, the palatal approximant, which was lost early in the history of Greek, is sometimes written as ι̯ (iota with the inverted breve below, the non-syllabic diacritic or marker of a semivowel).[1]


  • Features 1
  • Occurrence 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5


Features of the palatal approximant:

  • Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but not enough to produce a turbulent airstream. The type of approximant is glide or semivowel. The term glide emphasizes the characteristic of movement (or 'glide') of /j/ from the /i/ vowel position to a following vowel position. The term semivowel emphasizes that, although the sound is vocalic in nature, it is not 'syllabic' (it does not form the nucleus of a syllable).
  • 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.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • 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.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe ятӀэ     'dirt'
Arabic Standard يوم [jawm] 'day' See Arabic phonology
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic yama [ja:ma] 'ocean'
Armenian Eastern[2] յուղ [juʁ] 'fat'
Afrikaans ja [jaː] 'yes'
Azerbaijani yuxu [juxu] 'dream'
Basque bai [baj] 'yes'
Bulgarian майка/mayka [ˈmajkɐ] 'mother'
Catalan[3] seient [səˈjen] 'seat' See Catalan phonology
Chechen ялх/yalx [jalx] 'six'
Chinese Cantonese /jat9 [jɐt˨ʔ] 'day' See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin /yā [ja˥] 'duck' See Mandarin phonology
Corsican ghjesgia [ˈjeːʒa] 'church' Also occurs in the Gallurese dialect
Czech je [jɛ] 'is' See Czech phonology
Danish jeg [jä] 'I' See Danish phonology
Dutch jaar [jäːr] 'year' See Dutch phonology
English you [juː] 'you' See English phonology
Esperanto jaro [jaro] 'year' See Esperanto phonology
Finnish jalka [ˈjɑlkɑ] 'leg' See Finnish phonology
French yeux [jø] 'eyes' See French phonology
German Joch [jɔx] 'yoke' See German phonology
Hebrew ילד [ˈjeled] 'boy' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani Hindi यान [jɑːn] 'vehicle' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian játék [jaːteːk] 'game' See Hungarian phonology
Kabardian йи [ji] 'game'
Irish[4] ghearrfadh [ˈjɑːɾˠhəx] 'would cut' See Irish phonology
Italian[5] ione [ˈjoːne] 'ion' See Italian phonology
Japanese 焼く/yaku [jaku͍] 'to bake' See Japanese phonology
Korean 야구/yagu [ˈjaːɡu] 'baseball' See Korean phonology
Macedonian крај [kraj] 'end' See Macedonian phonology
Malay sayang [sajaŋ] 'love'
Marathi [jəʃ] 'success'
Norwegian Standard Eastern[6][7] gi [jiː] 'to give' May be a fricative [ʝ] instead.[7][8] See Norwegian phonology
Polish[9] jutro     'tomorrow' See Polish phonology
Portuguese All dialects[10] ia [ˈbɔj.jɐ] 'buoy', 'float' Allophone of both /i/ and /ʎ/,[11] as well as a very common epenthetic sound before coda sibilants in some dialects. See Portuguese phonology
Some dialects[11] os olhos [ujˈzɔj.ju] 'the eyes'
Punjabi ਯਾਰ [jäːɾ] 'friend'
Romanian iar [jar] 'again' See Romanian phonology
Russian я/ya [ja] 'I' See Russian phonology
Spanish[12] viuda [ˈbjuð̞ä] 'widow' Both non-syllabic /i/ and intervocalic /ʝ/ are approximants, though speakers may still contrast the two. See Spanish phonology
Swedish jag [ˈjɑːɡ] 'I' See Swedish phonology
Turkish yol [joɫ] 'way' See Turkish phonology
Turkmen ýüpek [jypek] 'silk'
Ubykh [ajəwʃqʼa] 'you did it' See Ubykh phonology
Ukrainian їжак/jižak [jiˈʒɑk] 'hedgehog' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese de [jɛ] 'cinnamon' Southern dialects. Corresponds to northern /z/. See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian jas [jɔs] 'coat'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[13] yan [jaŋ] 'neck'

See also


  1. ^ Smyth (1920:11)
  2. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:13)
  3. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:53)
  4. ^ Ó Sé (2000:17)
  5. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:117)
  6. ^ Kristoffersen (2000:22 and 25)
  7. ^ a b Vanvik (1979:41)
  8. ^ Kristoffersen (2000:74)
  9. ^ Jassem (2003:103)
  10. ^ (Portuguese) Delta: Documentation of studies on theoric and applied Linguistics – Problems in the tense variant of carioca speech.
  11. ^ a b (Portuguese) The acoustic-articulatory path of the lateral palatal consonant's allophony. Pages 223 and 228.
  12. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:256)
  13. ^ Merrill (2008:108)


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.