Voiceless palatal plosive

The voiceless palatal plosive or stop is a type of consonantal sound used in some vocal languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨c⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is c.

Voiceless palatal plosive
IPA Number107
Entity (decimal)c
Unicode (hex)U+0063
Braille⠉ (braille pattern dots-14)
Audio sample

If distinction is necessary, the voiceless alveolo-palatal plosive may be transcribed as ⟨⟩ (advancedc⟩) or ⟨t̠ʲ⟩ (retracted and palatalizedt⟩), but these are essentially equivalent, because the contact includes both the blade and body (but not the tip) of the tongue. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are c_+ and t_-' or t_-_j, respectively. There is also a non-IPA letter ⟨ȶ⟩ ("t", plus the curl found in the symbols for alveolo-palatal sibilant fricatives ⟨ɕ, ʑ⟩), used especially in sinological circles.

It is common for the phonetic symbol ⟨c⟩ to be used to represent voiceless postalveolar affricate [t͡ʃ] or other similar affricates, for example in the Indic languages. This may be considered appropriate when the place of articulation needs to be specified and the distinction between plosive and affricate is not contrastive.

There is also the voiceless post-palatal plosive[1] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical palatal consonant, though not as back as the prototypical velar consonant. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨⟩ (retracted ⟨c⟩) or ⟨⟩ (advanced ⟨k⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are c_- and k_+, respectively.

Especially in broad transcription, the voiceless post-palatal plosive may be transcribed as a palatalized voiceless velar plosive (⟨⟩ in the IPA, k' or k_j in X-SAMPA).


Features of the voiceless palatal 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 plosive.
  • 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 [k].
  • 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.
  • 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.


Palatal or alveolo-palatalEdit

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Albanian[2] shqip [ʃcip] 'Albanian' Merged with [t͡ʃ] in Gheg Albanian and some speakers of Tosk Albanian.[3]
Basque ttantta [cäɲcä] 'droplet'
Asturian Western dialects [es][4] muyyer [muˈceɾ] 'woman' Alternate evolution of -lj-, -c'l-, pl-, cl- and fl- in the Brañas Vaqueiras area of Western Asturias. May be also realized as [c͡ç] or [ɟ͡ʝ]
Blackfoot ᖳᖽᖳᐡ / akikoan [aˈkicoan] 'girl' Allophone of /k/ after front vowels.
Bulgarian Banat dialect kaćétu (каќету or какьету) [kacetu] 'as' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan Majorcan[5] qui [ˈci̞] 'who' Simultaneous dento-alveolo-palatal and palatal.[6] Corresponds to /k/ in other varieties. See Catalan phonology
Chinese Taiwanese Hokkien 機車 / ki-tshia [ciː˧ t͡ɕʰia˥] 'motorcycle'
Corsican chjodu [ˈcoːdu] 'nail' Also present in the Gallurese dialect
Croatian već [vec] 'already' Dialect of the Croatian Littoral
Czech čeština [ˈt͡ʃɛʃc̟ɪna] 'Czech' Alveolar and alveolo-palatal.[6] See Czech phonology
Dawsahak [cɛːˈnɐ] 'small'
Dinka car [car] 'black'
Ega[7] [cá] 'understand'
French[6] qui [ci] 'who' (int.) Ranges from alveolar to palatal with more than one closure point. See French phonology
Friulian cjase [case] 'house'
Ganda caayi [caːji] 'tea'
Gweno [ca] 'to come'
Hungarian[8] tyúk [c̟uːk] 'hen' Alveolo-palatal.[6] See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic gjóla [ˈc̟ouːlä] 'light wind' Alveolo-palatal.[6] See Icelandic phonology
Indonesian cari [cari] 'to find' Allophone of /tʃ/. See Malay phonology
Irish ceist [cɛʃtʲ] 'question' Simultaneous alveolo-palatal and palatal.[6] See Irish phonology
Khasi boit [bɔc] 'dwarf'
Khmer ចាប [caap] 'bird' Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms.
Kinyarwanda ikintu [iciːnɦuʰ] 'question'
Kurdish Northern kîso [cʰiːsoː] 'tortoise' Allophone of /kʰ/ before /ɨ/, /ɛ/, /iː/, and /eː/. See Kurdish phonology
Central کیسەڵ [cʰiːsæɫ]
Southern [cʰiːsaɫ]
Latvian ķirbis [ˈcirbis] 'pumpkin' See Latvian phonology
Low German Plautdietsch kjoakj [coac] 'church' Corresponds to [kʲ] in all other dialects.[clarification needed]
Macedonian вреќа [ˈvrɛca] 'sack' See Macedonian phonology
Norwegian Central dialects[9] fett [fɛcː] 'fat' See Norwegian phonology
Northern dialects[9]
Occitan Limousin tireta [ciˈʀetɒ] 'drawer'
Auvergnat tirador [ciʀaˈdu]
Romanian[10] chin [cin] 'torture' Allophone of /k/ before /i/ and /e/. See Romanian phonology. Also in some northern dialects
Romansh Sursilvan[11] notg [nɔc] 'night'
Sutsilvan[12] tgàn [caŋ] 'dog'
Surmiran[13] vatgas [ˈvɑcɐs] 'cows'
Puter[14] cher [ˈtsycər] 'sugar'
Vallader[15] müs-chel [ˈmyʃcəl] 'moss'
Slovak[6] deväť [ˈɟ̟ɛ̝ʋæc̟] 'nine' Alveolar.[6] See Slovak phonology
Turkish köy [cʰœj] 'village' See Turkish phonology
Vietnamese[16] ch [ci˧ˀ˨ʔ] 'elder sister' May be slightly affricated [tᶝ ]. See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian tjems [cɛms] 'strainer' See West Frisian phonology
Western Desert kutju [kucu] 'one'


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Belarusian кіслы [ˈk̟is̪ɫ̪ɨ] 'acidic' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Belarusian phonology
Catalan[17] qui [k̟i] 'who' Allophone of /k/ before front vowels.[17] See Catalan phonology
Danish Standard[18] gidsel [ˈk̟isəl] 'hostage' Allophone of /ɡ/ before front vowels.[18] See Danish phonology
German Standard[19][20] Kind [k̟ʰɪnt] 'child' Allophone of /k/ before and after front vowels.[19][20] See Standard German phonology
Greek[21] Μακεδνός  [mɐc̠e̞ˈðno̞s̠]  'Makedon' See Modern Greek phonology
Italian Standard[22] chi  [k̟i]  'who' Allophone of /k/ before /i, e, ɛ, j/.[22] See Italian phonology
Portuguese qui [k̟i] 'Chi' Allophone of /k/ before front vowels. See Portuguese phonology
Romanian[23] ochi [o̞k̟] 'eye' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Romanian phonology
Russian Standard[24] кит / kit [k̟it̪] 'whale' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Russian phonology
Spanish[25] kilo [ˈk̟ilo̞] 'kilo(gram)' Allophone of /k/ before front vowels.[25] See Spanish phonology
Tidore yaci [jaci] 'to rip'
Ukrainian кінчик/kinčyk  [ˈk̟int͡ʃek]  'tip' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese [example needed] Final allophone of /c/. See Vietnamese phonology


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English[26][27] keen  [cʰiːn] 'keen' Allophone of /k/ before front vowels and /j/. Varies between post-palatal and palatal.[26][27] See English phonology

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 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".
  2. ^ Newmark, Hubbard & Prifti (1982), p. 10.
  3. ^ Kolgjini (2004).
  4. ^ "Tinéu. Mapa del conceyu | El Teixu" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2019-08-29. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  5. ^ Recasens & Espinosa (2005), p. 1.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Recasens (2013), pp. 11–13.
  7. ^ Connell, Ahoua & Gibbon (2002), p. 100.
  8. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 164.
  9. ^ a b Skjekkeland (1997), pp. 105–107.
  10. ^ DEX Online: [1][permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Menzli (1993), p. 92.
  12. ^ Liver (1999), pp. 53–54.
  13. ^ Liver (1999), pp. 56–57.
  14. ^ Liver (1999), pp. 59–60.
  15. ^ Liver (1999), pp. 63–64.
  16. ^ Thompson (1959), pp. 458–461.
  17. ^ a b Rafel (1999), p. 14.
  18. ^ a b Grønnum (2005), p. 124.
  19. ^ a b Wiese (1996), p. 271.
  20. ^ a b Krech et al. (2009), pp. 49, 92.
  21. ^ Arvaniti (2007), p. 20.
  22. ^ a b Canepari (1992), p. 62.
  23. ^ Sarlin (2014), p. 17.
  24. ^ Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015), p. 223.
  25. ^ a b Canellada & Madsen (1987), p. 20.
  26. ^ a b Gimson (2014), p. 181.
  27. ^ a b Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009).


External linksEdit