Approximant consonant

ApproximantApproximantsGlidecentralApprox.Lateral approximantnasal approximantnasal glideapproximant-likeSemivowel
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough nor with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow.wikipedia
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Vowel

vowelsvowel heightV
Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no turbulence. In phonology, "approximant" is also a distinctive feature that encompasses all sonorants except nasals, including vowels, taps and trills.
The approximants and illustrate this: both are without much of a constriction in the vocal tract (so phonetically they seem to be vowel-like), but they occur at the onset of syllables (e.g. in "yet" and "wet") which suggests that phonologically they are consonants.

Lateral consonant

LateralLateral approximantLaterals
This class is composed of sounds like (as in rest) and semivowels like and (as in yes and west, respectively), as well as lateral approximants like (as in less). Similarly, Standard Tibetan has a voiceless lateral approximant, and Welsh has a voiceless lateral fricative, but the distinction is not always clear from descriptions of these languages.
The most common laterals are approximants and belong to the class of liquids, but lateral fricatives and affricates are also common in some parts of the world.

Sonorant

sonorantssonorant consonantResonant
In phonology, "approximant" is also a distinctive feature that encompasses all sonorants except nasals, including vowels, taps and trills.
Vowels are sonorants, as are consonants like and : approximants, nasals, flaps or taps, and most trills.

Palatal consonant

Palatalpalatalspalatal consonants
In articulation and often diachronically, palatal approximants correspond to front vowels, velar approximants to back vowels, and labialized approximants to rounded vowels.
The most common type of palatal consonant is the extremely common approximant, which ranks as among the ten most common sounds in the world's languages.

Manner of articulation

articulationmanners of articulationspeech
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough nor with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow.
From greatest to least stricture, speech sounds may be classified along a cline as stop consonants (with occlusion, or blocked airflow), fricative consonants (with partially blocked and therefore strongly turbulent airflow), approximants (with only slight turbulence), and vowels (with full unimpeded airflow).

Semivowel

glideglidessemi-vowel
This class is composed of sounds like (as in rest) and semivowels like and (as in yes and west, respectively), as well as lateral approximants like (as in less).
Semivowels form a subclass of approximants.

Velar consonant

VelarvelarsDorso-velar
In articulation and often diachronically, palatal approximants correspond to front vowels, velar approximants to back vowels, and labialized approximants to rounded vowels.
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.

Rhotic consonant

Rhoticrhoticsrhotically
In American English, the rhotic approximant corresponds to the rhotic vowel.
Being "R-like" is an elusive and ambiguous concept phonetically and the same sounds that function as rhotics in some systems may pattern with fricatives, semivowels or even stops in others—for example, the alveolar tap is a rhotic consonant in many languages; but in American English it is an allophone of the stop phoneme /t/, as in water.

Alveolar and postalveolar approximants

alveolar approximantɹpostalveolar approximant
The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the alveolar and postalveolar approximants is, a lowercase letter r rotated 180 degrees.

Fricative consonant

Fricativefricativesspirant
Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no turbulence.
No language distinguishes voiced fricatives from approximants at these places, so the same symbol is used for both.

Voiced dental fricative

dental approximantðvoiced interdental fricative
The letter is sometimes used to represent the dental approximant, a similar sound, which no language is known to contrast with a dental non-sibilant fricative, but the approximant is more clearly written with the lowering diacritic:.

Voiced bilabial fricative

bilabial approximantβbilabial fricative
This letter is also often used to represent the bilabial approximant, though that is more clearly written with a lowering diacritic, that is.

Voiced glottal fricative

glottal fricativeɦvoiced
The breathy-voiced glottal transition, commonly called a voiced glottal fricative, is a type of sound used in some spoken languages which patterns like a fricative or approximant consonant phonologically, but often lacks the usual phonetic characteristics of a consonant.

Voiced uvular fricative

ʁuvular approximantuvular fricative
Because the IPA symbol stands for the uvular fricative, the approximant may be specified by adding the downtack:, though some writings use a superscript, which is not an official IPA practice.

Spanish language

SpanishSpanish-languageCastilian
For example, the Spanish word ayuda ('help') features a palatal approximant that is pronounced as a fricative in emphatic speech.
The Spanish consonant system is characterized by (1) three nasal phonemes, and one or two (depending on the dialect) lateral phoneme(s), which in syllable-final position lose their contrast and are subject to assimilation to a following consonant; (2) three voiceless stops and the affricate ; (3) three or four (depending on the dialect) voiceless fricatives; (4) a set of voiced obstruents—,, and sometimes —which alternate between approximant and plosive allophones depending on the environment; and (5) a phonemic distinction between the "tapped" and "trilled" r-sounds (single and double in orthography).

Dental, alveolar and postalveolar lateral approximants

lalveolar lateral approximantdark L
The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral approximants is, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l.

Voiced pharyngeal fricative

ʕpharyngeal approximantepiglottal approximant
Although traditionally placed in the fricative row of the IPA chart, is usually an approximant.

Mapuche language

MapudungunMapucheMapudungún
One is in the Korean diphthong or though it is more frequently analyzed as velar (as in the table above), and Mapudungun may be another, with three high vowel sounds,, and three corresponding consonants,, and, and a third one is often described as a voiced unrounded velar fricative; some texts note a correspondence between this approximant and that is parallel to – and –.

Standard Tibetan

TibetanTibetan languageLhasa Tibetan
Similarly, Standard Tibetan has a voiceless lateral approximant, and Welsh has a voiceless lateral fricative, but the distinction is not always clear from descriptions of these languages.

Nepali language

NepaliNepaleseKhas language
In colloquial Nepali speech, a process of glide-formation occurs, where one of two adjacent vowels becomes non-syllabic; the process includes mid vowels so that ('cause to wish') features a non-syllabic mid vowel.

Voiceless glottal fricative

hglottal fricativevoiceless glottal transition
The voiceless glottal fricative, sometimes called voiceless glottal transition, and sometimes called the aspirate, is a type of sound used in some spoken languages that patterns like a fricative or approximant consonant phonologically, but often lacks the usual phonetic characteristics of a consonant.

Postalveolar consonant

PostalveolarPost- alveolarPost-alveolar
Retroflex rhotics of various sorts, especially approximants and flaps occur commonly in the world's languages.

Voiceless nasal glottal approximant

nasal glottal approximantVoiceless nasal glottal fricative
The voiceless nasal glottal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, a nasal approximant, used in some oral languages.