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Retroflex consonant

From Academic Kids

Places of articulation
Labial
Bilabial
Labiodental
Linguolabial
Labial-velar
Coronal
Interdental
Dental
Retroflex
Alveolar
Postalveolar
Alveolo-palatal
Dorsal
Palatal
Labial-palatal
Velar
Uvular
Pharyngeal
Epiglottal
Glottal
Apical
Laminal
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retroflex plosive
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retroflex plosive

Retroflex consonants cover two points of articulation. They are articulated in the postalveolar-palatal region, but are either apical or sub-apical, rather than laminal as the postalveolar and palatal consonants are. That is, in a retroflex articulation, either the tip of the tongue touches the postalveolar region (in Mandarin Chinese and Hindi), or it curls back so that the underside of the tip touches the roof of the mouth in the postalveolar-palatal region (in Tamil). Retroflex consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
Image:Xsampa-n'.png retroflex nasal Swedish Vnern [] Vnern
Image:Xsampa-t'.png voiceless retroflex plosive Vietnamese Nha Trang [[[Template:IPA bold dark red]]] Nha Trang
Image:Xsampa-d'.png voiced retroflex plosive Swedish nord [] north
Image:Xsampa-s'.png voiceless retroflex fricative Mandarin 上海 (Shnghǎi) [] Shanghai
Image:Xsampa-z'.png voiced retroflex fricative Mandarin 朱镕基 (Zhū Rngj) [] Zhu Rongji
Image:Xsampa-rslash'.png retroflex approximant Tamil தமிழ் (Tamil) [] Tamil
Missing image
Xsampa-l'.png
Image:Xsampa-l'.png

lateral retroflex approximant Swedish Karlstad [] Karlstad
Image:Xsampa-r'.png retroflex flap Hausa shaara [] sweeping

Note: In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the symbols for retroflex consonants are typically the same as for the alveolar consonants, but with the addition of a right-facing hook to the bottom of the symbol. Some linguists restrict these symbols for the "true" retroflex consonants with sub-apical palatal articulation, and use the alveolar symbols with the obsolete underdot symbol for an apical post-alveolar articulation: . Another solution, more in keeping with the official IPA, would be to use the rhotic diacritic for the apical retroflexes: .

Retroflex consonants are common in the Indo-Aryan languages and the Dravidian languages; and can also be found in languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Javanese, Vietnamese, Swedish, Norwegian and some languages of Southern Italy and Sardinia.

There are several other retroflex consonants not yet recognized by the IPA. For example, the Iwaidja language of northwestern Australia has a retroflex lateral flap () as well as a retroflex tap and retroflex lateral approximant ; and the Dravidian language Toda has a retroflex lateral fricative (). Because of the regularity of deriving retroflex symbols from their alveolar counterparts, people will occasionally use a font editor to create the appropriate symbols for these sounds.

See also

de:Retroflex pl:Retrofleksja (fonetyka) fr:consonne rtroflexe ja:そり舌音 ko:권설음 sv:retroflex

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