Voiced palatal approximant
Some languages, however, have a palatal approximant that is unspecified for rounding and so cannot be considered the semivocalic equivalent of either [i] or its rounded counterpart, [y
], which would normally correspond to [ɥ
]. An example is Spanish
, which distinguishes two palatal approximants: an approximant semivowel [j], which is always unrounded, and an unspecified for rounding approximant consonant [ʝ̞]. Eugenio Martínez Celdrán describes the difference between them as follows (with audio examples added):
[j] is shorter and is usually a merely transitory sound. It can only exist together with a full vowel and does not appear in syllable onset. [On the other hand,] [ʝ̞] has a lower amplitude, mainly in F2. It can only appear in syllable onset. It is not noisy either articulatorily or perceptually. [ʝ̞] can vary towards [ʝ
] in emphatic pronunciations, having noise (turbulent airstream). (...) There is a further argument through which we can establish a clear difference between [j] and [ʝ̞]: the first sound cannot be rounded, not even through co-articulation, whereas the second one is rounded before back vowels or the back semi-vowel. Thus, in words like viuda [ˈbjuða]
'widow', Dios [ˈdjos]
'God', vio [ˈbjo]
's/he saw', etc., the semi-vowel [j] is unrounded; if it were rounded a sound that does not exist in Spanish, [ɥ
], would appear. On the other hand, [ʝ̞] is unspecified as far as rounding is concerned and it is assimilated to the labial vowel context: rounded with rounded vowels, e.g. ayuda [aˈʝ̞ʷuð̞a]
'help', coyote [koˈʝ̞ʷote]
'coyote', hoyuelo [oˈʝ̞ʷwelo]
'dimple', etc., and unrounded with unrounded vowels: payaso [paˈʝ̞aso]
'clown', ayer [aˈʝ̞eɾ]
He also considers that "the IPA shows a lack of precision in the treatment it gives to approximants, if we take into account our understanding of the phonetics of Spanish. [ʝ̞] and [j] are two different segments, but they have to be labelled as voiced palatal approximant consonants. I think that the former is a real consonant, whereas the latter is a semi-consonant
, as it has traditionally been called in Spanish, or a semi-vowel, if preferred. The IPA, though, classifies it as a consonant."
The symbol ⟨ʝ̞⟩ may not display properly in all browsers. In that case, ⟨ʝ˕⟩ should be substituted.
In the writing systems used for most languages in Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe, the letter j
denotes the palatal approximant, as in GermanJahr
'year'. That is followed by IPA although it may be counterintuitive for English-speakers although words occur with that sound in a few loanwords in English like Hebrew "hallelujah
" and German "Jägermeister
There is also the post-palatal approximant
in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back than the place of articulation of the prototypical palatal approximant but less far back than the prototypical velar approximant
. It can be considered the semivocalic equivalent of the close central unrounded vowel
[ɨ]The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, but it can be transcribed as ⟨j̠⟩, ⟨j˗⟩ (both symbols denote a retracted
⟨j⟩), ⟨ɰ̟⟩ or ⟨ɰ˖⟩ (both symbols denote an advanced
⟨ɰ⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are j_-
, respectively. Other possible transcriptions include a centralized ⟨j⟩ (⟨j̈⟩ in the IPA, j_"
in X-SAMPA), a centralized ⟨ɰ⟩ (⟨ɰ̈⟩ in the IPA, M\_"
in X-SAMPA) and a non-syllabic ⟨ɨ⟩ (⟨ɨ̯⟩ in the IPA, 1_^
For the reasons mentioned above and in the article velar approximant
, none of those symbols are appropriate for languages such as Spanish, whose post-palatal approximant consonant
(not a semivowel
) appears as an allophone of /ɡ/ before front vowels
and is best transcribed ⟨ʝ̞˗⟩, ⟨ʝ˕˗⟩ (both symbols denote a lowered
and retracted ⟨ʝ⟩), ⟨ɣ̞˖⟩ or ⟨ɣ˕˖⟩ (both symbols denote a lowered and advanced ⟨ɣ⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are j\_o_-
Especially in broad transcription
, the post-palatal approximant may be transcribed as a palatalized velar approximant (⟨ɰʲ⟩, ⟨ɣ̞ʲ⟩ or ⟨ɣ˕ʲ⟩ in the IPA, M\'
Features of the voiced 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 most common type of this 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). For a description of the approximant consonant variant used e.g. in Spanish, see above.
- 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. The otherwise identical post-palatal variant is articulated slightly behind the hard palate, making it sound slightly closer to the velar [ɰ].
- 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.
- ^ Martínez Celdrán (2004), p. 208.
- ^ Martínez Celdrán (2004), p. 206.
- ^ Instead of "post-palatal", it can be called "retracted palatal", "backed palatal", "palato-velar", "pre-velar", "advanced velar", "fronted velar" or "front-velar". For simplicity, this article uses only the term "post-palatal".
- ^ a b Mott (2007), pp. 105–106.
- ^ Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015), p. 340.
- ^ Ó Sé (2000), p. 17.
- ^ Mathiassen (1996), pp. 22–23.
- ^ Ambrazas et al. (1997), pp. 46–47.
- ^ Kristoffersen (2000), pp. 22 and 25.
- ^ (in Portuguese) Delta: Documentation of studies on theoric and applied Linguistics – Problems in the tense variant of carioca speech.
- ^ (in Portuguese) The acoustic-articulatory path of the lateral palatal consonant's allophony. Pages 223 and 228.
- ^ Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015), p. 223.
- ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
- ^ Pavlík (2004), p. 106.
- ^ a b Martínez Celdrán (2004), p. 205.
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Last edited on 23 April 2021, at 16:36
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