Voiceless retroflex stop

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Voiceless retroflex stop
IPA number 105
Entity (decimal) ʈ
Unicode (hex) U+0288
Kirshenbaum t.
Braille ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256) ⠞ (braille pattern dots-2345)

The voiceless retroflex stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʈ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is t`. Like all the retroflex consonants, the IPA symbol is formed by adding a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of tee (the letter used for the equivalent alveolar consonant); in many fonts lowercase tee already has a rightward-pointing hook, but ⟨ʈ⟩ is distinguished from ⟨t⟩ by extending the hook below the baseline.


Features of the voiceless retroflex stop:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a stop.
  • Its place of articulation is retroflex, which prototypically means it is articulated subapical (with the tip of the tongue curled up), but more generally, it means that it is postalveolar without being palatalized. That is, besides the prototypical sub-apical articulation, the tongue contact can be apical (pointed) or laminal (flat).
  • 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.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.
  • 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 Translation Notes
Bengali টাকা [ʈaka] 'taka' Contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms. Corresponds to alveolar/palato-alveolar /t/ in Eastern dialects.
Brahui سىٹ [asiʈ] 'one'
Chinese Xiang [ʈen] 'true' Corresponds to /ʈ͡ʂ/ in other dialects.
English Indian dialects time [ʈaɪm] 'time' Corresponds to alveolar /t/ in other dialects. See English phonology
Hindi[1] टालना [ʈaːl.naː] 'to postpone' Contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms. See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Hmong raus [ʈàu] 'immerse in liquid' Contrasts with aspirated form (written ⟨rh⟩).
Iwaidja yirrwartbart [jiɺwɑʈbɑʈ] 'taipan'
Javanese bathang [baʈaŋ] 'cadaver'
Kannada ತಟ್ಟು [tʌʈʈu] 'to tap' Contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms
Lo-Toga Lo dialect dege [ʈəɣə] 'we (incl.)' /ʈ/ is a voiceless, laminal retroflex.[2]
Malayalam അഠുക [aʈuka] 'to cook' Formal varieties may contrast unaspirated and aspirated forms
Marathi बटाटा [bəʈaːʈaː] 'potato' Contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms. See Marathi phonology
Mutsun ikušte [ʈiʈkuʃtɛ] 'torn'
Norwegian kort [kɔʈː] 'card' See Norwegian phonology
Nunggubuyu[3] [ʈakowa] 'prawn'
Pashto ټول [ʈol] 'all'
Punjabi ਟੋਪੀ [ʈoːpi] 'hat'
Sicilian latru [ˈlaʈɽu] 'thief'
Scottish Gaelic Some Hebridean dialects árd [aːʈ] 'high' Corresponds to the sequence /rˠt/ in other dialects. See Scottish Gaelic phonology[4]
Swedish[5] karta [ˈkʰɑːʈa] 'map' See Swedish phonology
Sylheti ꠐꠦꠇꠣ [ʈexa] 'Taka'
Tamil[6] எட்டு [eʈʈɯ] 'eight' See Tamil phonology
Telugu కొట్టు [koʈʈu] 'beat' Contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms
Torwali[7] ? [ʈijɛl̥] 'words' contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms
Urdu ٹوپی [ʈoːpiː] 'hat' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Vietnamese Southern dialects[8] bạn tr [ɓaɳ˧ˀ˨ʔ ʈa˧˩˧] 'you pay' May be somewhat affricated. See Vietnamese phonology
Welayta [ʈaza] 'dew'

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ladefoged (2005:141)
  2. ^ François, Alexandre (2009), "Verbal aspect and personal pronouns: The history of aorist markers in north Vanuatu", in Pawley, Andrew; Adelaar, Alexander, Austronesian historical linguistics and culture history: A festschrift for Bob Blust, 601, Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, pp. 179–195 
  3. ^ Ladefoged (2005:158)
  4. ^ Bauer, Michael. Blas na Gàidhlig: The Practical Guide to Gaelic Pronunciation. Glasgow: Akerbeltz, 2011.
  5. ^ Eliasson (1986:278–279)
  6. ^ Keane (2004:111)
  7. ^ Lunsford (2001:11–16)
  8. ^ Thompson (1959:458–461)


External links[edit]