vowelsvowel heightV
Nasalization refers to whether some of the air escapes through the nose. In nasal vowels, the velum is lowered, and some air travels through the nasal cavity as well as the mouth. An oral vowel is a vowel in which all air escapes through the mouth. French, Polish and Portuguese contrast nasal and oral vowels. Voicing describes whether the vocal cords are vibrating during the articulation of a vowel. Most languages have only voiced vowels, but several Native American languages, such as Cheyenne and Totonac, contrast voiced and devoiced vowels. Vowels are devoiced in whispered speech. In Japanese and in Quebec French, vowels that are between voiceless consonants are often devoiced.

Stop consonant

Simple nasals are differentiated from stops only by a lowered velum that allows the air to escape through the nose during the occlusion. Nasals are acoustically sonorants, as they have a non-turbulent airflow and are nearly always voiced, but they are articulatorily obstruents, as there is complete blockage of the oral cavity. The term occlusive may be used as a cover term for both nasals and stops. A prenasalized stop starts out with a lowered velum that raises during the occlusion. The closest examples in English are consonant clusters such as the [nd] in candy, but many languages have prenasalized stops that function phonologically as single consonants.


Lat.Latin languagelat
Old Latin had more diphthongs, but most of them changed into long vowels in Classical Latin. The Old Latin diphthong and the sequence became Classical. Old Latin and changed to Classical, except in a few words whose became Classical. These two developments sometimes occurred in different words from the same root: for instance, Classical poena "punishment" and pūnīre "to punish". Early Old Latin usually changed to Classical. In Vulgar Latin and the Romance languages, merged with. A similar pronunciation also existed during the Classical Latin period for less-educated speakers.

Spanish language

Where Latin had -li- before a vowel (e.g. filius) or the ending -iculus, -icula (e.g. auricula), Old Spanish produced, that in Modern Spanish became the velar fricative (hijo, oreja, where neighboring languages have the palatal lateral (e.g. Portuguese filho, orelha; Catalan fill, orella). The Spanish phonemic inventory consists of five vowel phonemes and 17 to 19 consonant phonemes (the exact number depending on the dialect ). The main allophonic variation among vowels is the reduction of the high vowels and to glides— and respectively—when unstressed and adjacent to another vowel.

Japanese language

For example, in the Japanese language up to and including the first half of the 20th century, the phonemic sequence was palatalized and realized phonetically as, approximately chi ; however, now and are distinct, as evidenced by words like tī "Western style tea" and chii "social status". The "r" of the Japanese language is of particular interest, ranging between an apical central tap and a lateral approximant. The "g" is also notable; unless it starts a sentence, it may be pronounced, in the Kanto prestige dialect and in other eastern dialects.

French language

Old French doit > French doigt "finger" (Latin digitus). Old French pie > French pied "foot" [Latin pes (stem: ped-)]. Nasal: n and m. When n or m follows a vowel or diphthong, the n or m becomes silent and causes the preceding vowel to become nasalized (i.e., pronounced with the soft palate extended downward so as to allow part of the air to leave through the nostrils). Exceptions are when the n or m is doubled, or immediately followed by a vowel. The prefixes en- and em- are always nasalized. The rules are more complex than this but may vary between dialects.

English language

English: cheese, church; West Frisian: tsiis, tsjerke; ("ch" and "ts" from palatalization). Low German: Keese, Kark; Dutch: kaas, kerk; German: Käse, Kirche ("k" without palatalization). Foxas habbað holu and heofonan fuglas nest. Fox-as habb-að hol-u and heofon-an fugl-as nest-∅. fox- have- hole- and heaven- bird- nest-. "Foxes have holes and the birds of heaven nests". lenis stops: bin, about, nib. fortis stops: pin ; spin ; happy ; nip or. clear l: RP light. dark l: RP and GA full, GA light. voiceless sonorants: clay ; snow RP, GA. syllabic sonorants: paddle, button. Singular: cat, dog. Plural: cats, dogs. Singular: man, woman, foot, fish, ox, knife, mouse.

Guarani language

GuaraníGuaraniParaguayan Guaraní
The tilde is used with many letters that are considered part of the alphabet. In the case of Ñ/ñ, it differentiates the palatal nasal from the alveolar nasal (as in Spanish), whereas it marks stressed nasalisation when used over a vowel (as in Portuguese): ã, ẽ, ĩ, õ, ũ, ỹ. (Nasal vowels have been written with several other diacritics: ä, ā, â, ã.) The tilde also marks nasality in the case of G̃/g̃, used to represent the nasalized velar approximant by combining the velar approximant "G" with the nasalising tilde. The letter G̃/g̃, which is unique to this language, was introduced into the orthography relatively recently during the mid-20th century and there is disagreement over its use.

Velar consonant

There are also labial–velar consonants, which are doubly articulated at the velum and at the lips, such as. This distinction disappears with the approximant consonant since labialization involves adding of a labial approximant articulation to a sound, and this ambiguous situation is often called labiovelar. A velar trill or tap is not possible: see the shaded boxes on the table of pulmonic consonants. In the velar position, the tongue has an extremely restricted ability to carry out the type of motion associated with trills or taps, and the body of the tongue has no freedom to move quickly enough to produce a velar trill or flap.

Fricative consonant

Fricativefricativesvoiceless fricative
Phonemically nasalized fricatives are rare. Some South Arabian languages have, Umbundu has, and Kwangali and Souletin Basque have. In Coatzospan Mixtec, appear allophonically before a nasal vowel, and in Igbo nasality is a feature of the syllable; when occur in nasal syllables they are themselves nasalized. H is not a fricative in English (see ). Until its extinction, Ubykh may have been the language with the most fricatives (29 not including ), some of which did not have dedicated symbols or diacritics in the IPA. This number actually outstrips the number of all consonants in English (which has 24 consonants).


For example, English has both oral and nasal allophones of its vowels. The pattern is that vowels are nasal only before a nasal consonant in the same syllable; elsewhere, they are oral. Therefore, by the "elsewhere" convention, the oral allophones are considered basic, and nasal vowels in English are considered to be allophones of oral phonemes. In other cases, an allophone may be chosen to represent its phoneme because it is more common in the languages of the world than the other allophones, because it reflects the historical origin of the phoneme, or because it gives a more balanced look to a chart of the phonemic inventory.

Polish language

Some additional characteristic but less widespread regional dialects include: Polish has six oral vowels (all monophthongs) and two nasal vowels. The oral vowels are (spelled i), (spelled y), (spelled e), (spelled a), (spelled o) and (spelled u or ó). The nasal vowels are (spelled ę) and (spelled ą). The Polish consonant system shows more complexity: its characteristic features include the series of affricate and palatal consonants that resulted from four Proto-Slavic palatalizations and two further palatalizations that took place in Polish and Belarusian.

Standard Chinese

MandarinChineseMandarin Chinese
In Taiwan, the relationship between Standard Chinese and other varieties, particularly Taiwanese Hokkien, has been more politically heated. During the martial law period under the Kuomintang (KMT) between 1949 and 1987, the KMT government revived the Mandarin Promotion Council and discouraged or, in some cases, forbade the use of Hokkien and other non-standard varieties. This produced a political backlash in the 1990s. Under the administration of Chen Shui-Bian, other Taiwanese varieties were taught in schools. The former President, Chen Shui-Bian, often spoke in Hokkien during speeches, while after the late 1990s, former President Lee Teng-hui, also speaks Hokkien openly.

Breton language

BretonOld BretonBreton-language
All vowels can also be nasalized, which is noted by appending an 'n' letter after the base vowel, or by adding a combining tilde above the vowel (most commonly and easily done for a and o due to the Portuguese letters), or more commonly by non-ambiguously appending an letter after the base vowel (this depends on the orthographic variant). Diphthongs are.


For instance, an areal feature of the Pacific Northwest coast is that historical * has become palatalized in many languages, so that Saanich for example has and but no plain ; similarly, historical * in the Northwest Caucasian languages became palatalized to in Ubykh and in most Circassian dialects. The most frequent consonant (that is, the one appearing most often in speech) in many languages is. The following pages include consonant charts with links to audio samples. The manner of articulation is how air escapes from the vocal tract when the consonant or approximant (vowel-like) sound is made. Manners include stops, fricatives, and nasals.

Irish phonology

In Old Irish, the sonorants (those spelled ) were divided not only into broad and slender types, but also into fortis and lenis types. The precise phonetic definition of these terms is somewhat vague, but the coronal fortis sounds (those spelled ) were probably longer in duration and may have had a larger area of contact between the tongue and the roof of the mouth than the lenis sounds. Fortis m was probably a normal, while lenis m was a nasalized semivowel, perhaps tending towards a nasalized fricative or when palatalized.


diacriticsdiacritical markdiacritical marks
The acute and the grave indicate stress and vowel height, the cedilla marks the result of a historical palatalization, the diaeresis indicates either a hiatus, or that the letter u is pronounced when the graphemes gü, qü are followed by e or i, and the interpunct distinguishes the different values of nh/n·h and sh/s·h (i.e., that the letters are supposed to be pronounced separately, not combined into "ny" and "sh"). Portuguese has the following composite characters: à, á, â, ã, ç, é, ê, í, ó, ô, õ, ú.

Tone (linguistics)

tonetonal languagetones
Unlike in Bantu systems, tone plays little role in the grammar of modern standard Chinese, though the tones descend from features in Old Chinese that had morphological significance (such as changing a verb to a noun or vice versa). Contour systems are typical of languages of the Mainland Southeast Asia linguistic area, including Kra–Dai, Vietic and Sino-Tibetan languages. The Afroasiatic, Khoisan, Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan languages spoken in Africa are dominated by register systems.


A somewhat different example is found in English, with the three nasal phonemes. In word-final position these all contrast, as shown by the minimal triplet sum, sun, sung . However, before a stop such as (provided there is no morpheme boundary between them), only one of the nasals is possible in any given position: before, before or, and before, as in limp, lint, link. The nasals are therefore not contrastive in these environments, and according to some theorists this makes it inappropriate to assign the nasal phones heard here to any one of the phonemes (even though, in this case, the phonetic evidence is unambiguous).


Hindi-languageHindi languageHindi हिंदी
The most frequent source languages in this category are Persian, Arabic, English and Portuguese. Examples are कमेटी kameṭī from English committee and साबुन sābun "soap" from Arabic. Hindi. अनुच्छेद 1 – सभी मनुष्यों को गौरव और अधिकारों के विषय में जन्मजात स्वतन्त्रता और समानता प्राप्त हैं। उन्हें बुद्धि और अन्तरात्मा की देन प्राप्त है और परस्पर उन्हें भाईचारे के भाव से बर्ताव करना चाहिए।. Transliteration (IAST):. ''Anucched 1 (ek) – Sabhī manuṣyõ ko gaurav aur adhikārõ ke viṣay mẽ janmajāt svatantratā aur samāntā prāpt hai. Unhẽ buddhi aur antarātmā kī den prāpt hai aur paraspar unhẽ bhāīcāre ke bhāv se bartāv karnā cāhie.''. Gloss (word-to-word):.

Korean language

ㅏ is closer to a near-open central vowel, though is still used for tradition. is aspirated and becomes an alveolo-palatal before or for most speakers (but see North–South differences in the Korean language). This occurs with the tense fricative and all the affricates as well. At the end of a syllable, changes to (example: beoseot 'mushroom'). may become a bilabial before or, a palatal before or, a velar before, a voiced between voiced sounds, and a elsewhere. become voiced between voiced sounds. frequently denasalize to at the beginnings of words. becomes alveolar flap between vowels, and or at the end of a syllable or next to another.

Index of phonetics articles

list of phonetics topics
Retroflex flap. Retroflex nasal. Retroflex lateral approximant. Retroflex lateral flap. Retroflex trill. Rhotic consonant. Rounded vowel. Sandhi. SAMPA. Semivowel. Sibilant consonant. Sj-sound. Slack voice. Sociophonetics. Sonorant. Source–filter model of speech production. Spectrogram. Speech organ. Speech perception. Stress accent. Stress (linguistics). Stricture. Syllable. Syncope. Table of vowels. Tap or flap consonant. Teeth. Tenseness. Tonal language. Tone sandhi. Tongue. Trill consonant. Triphthong. Unrounded vowel. Uvula. Uvular consonant. Uvular ejective. Uvular ejective affricate. Uvular ejective fricative. Uvular flap. Uvular nasal. Uvular trill. Velar approximant.


Velar consonants are made using the tongue body against the velum. They are incredibly common crosslinguistically; almost all languages have a velar stop. Because both velars and vowels are made using the tongue body, they are highly affected by coarticulation with vowels and can be produced as far forward as the hard palate or as far back as the uvula. These variations are typically divided into front, central, and back velars in parallel with the vowel space. They can be hard to distinguish phonetically from palatal consonants, though are produced slightly behind the area of prototypical palatal consonants. Uvular consonants are made by the tongue body contacting or approaching the uvula.

Alveolar consonant

A few languages on Bougainville Island and around Puget Sound, such as Makah, lack nasals and therefore, but have. Colloquial Samoan, however, lacks both and, but it has a lateral alveolar approximant. (Samoan words written with t and n are pronounced with and in colloquial speech.) In Standard Hawaiian, is an allophone of, but and exist. In labioalveolars, the lower lip contacts the alveolar ridge. Such sounds are typically the result of a severe overbite. In the Extensions to the IPA for disordered speech, they are transcribed with the alveolar diacritic on labial letters:. Index of phonetics articles. Perception of English /r/ and /l/ by Japanese speakers. Place of articulation.

Chinese language

ChineseRegional dialectChinese:
Old Chinese was the language of the Western Zhou period (1046–771 BCE), recorded in inscriptions on bronze artifacts, the Classic of Poetry and portions of the Book of Documents and I Ching. Scholars have attempted to reconstruct the phonology of Old Chinese by comparing later varieties of Chinese with the rhyming practice of the Classic of Poetry and the phonetic elements found in the majority of Chinese characters. Although many of the finer details remain unclear, most scholars agree that Old Chinese differs from Middle Chinese in lacking retroflex and palatal obstruents but having initial consonant clusters of some sort, and in having voiceless nasals and liquids.