|IPA chart affricate consonants|
|Where symbols appear in pairs, left—right represent the voiceless—voiced consonants|
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Affricates are consonants that begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as [t] or [d]) but release as a fricative (such as [s] or [z] or occasionally into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel. English has two affricates, spelled ch and j.
The English sounds spelled "ch" and "j" (transcribed [t͡ʃ] and [d͡ʒ] in IPA), German and Italian z [t͡s] and Italian z [d͡z] are typical affricates. These sounds are fairly common in the world's languages, as are other affricates with similar sounds, such as those in Polish and Chinese. However, other than [d͡ʒ], voiced affricates are relatively uncommon. For several places of articulation they are not attested at all.
Much less common are labiodental affricates, such as [p͡f] in German and Izi, or velar affricates, such as [k͡x] in Tswana (written kg) or High Alemannic Swiss German dialects. Worldwide, relatively few languages have affricates in these positions, even though the corresponding stop consonants [p], [k] are virtually universal. Also less common are alveolar affricates where the fricative is lateral, such as the [t͡ɬ] sound found in Nahuatl and Navajo. Some other Athabaskan languages, such as Dene Suline, have unaspirated, aspirated, and ejective series of affricates that may be dental, alveolar, postalveolar, or lateral, that is [t̪͡θ], [t̪͡θʰ], [t̪͡θʼ], [t͡s], [t͡sʰ], [t͡sʼ], [t͡ʃ], [t͡ʃʰ], [t͡ʃʼ], [t͡ɬ], [t͡ɬʰ], and [t͡ɬʼ].
Affricates are transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet by a combination of two letters, one for the stop element and the other for the fricative element. In order to show that these are parts of a single consonant, a tie bar is generally used. The tie bar appears most commonly above the two letters, but may be placed under them if it fits better there, or simply because this is more legible. Thus:
- ⟨p͡f, t͡sʼ, d͡z, t͡ɬ, d͡ɮ, t͡ʃʼ, d͡ʒ, t͡ɕʼ, d͡ʑ, t͡ʂʼ, d͡ʐ , k͡xʼ⟩
- ⟨p͜f, t͜sʼ, d͜z, t͜ɬ, d͜ɮ, t͜ʃʼ, d͜ʒ, t͜ɕʼ, d͜ʑ, t͜ʂʼ, d͜ʐ , k͜xʼ⟩.
A less common notation is to indicate the release of the affricate with a superscript:
- ⟨pᶠ, tˢ, dᶻ, tᶴ, dᶾ, kˣ⟩.
This is derived from the IPA convention of indicating other releases with a superscript. However, this convention is more typically used for a fricated release that is too brief to be considered a true affricate.
Though they are no longer standard IPA, ligatures are available in Unicode for the six common affricates
- ⟨ʦ, ʣ, ʧ, ʤ, ʨ, ʥ⟩.
Any of these notations distinguishes affricates from sequences of stop plus fricative, a difference that distinguishes words in languages such as Polish. However, in languages where there is no such distinction, such as English, the tie bars are commonly dropped.
In other phonetic transcription systems, such as the Americanist system, the affricates [t͡s], [d͡z], [t͡ʃ], [d͡ʒ], [t͡ɬ], [d͡ɮ] are transcribed respectively as ⟨c⟩ or ⟨¢⟩; ⟨j⟩, ⟨ƶ⟩, or (older) ⟨ʒ⟩; ⟨c⟩ or ⟨č⟩; ⟨ǰ⟩, ⟨ǧ⟩, or (older) ⟨ǯ⟩; ⟨ƛ⟩; and ⟨λ⟩ or ⟨dl⟩. Within the IPA, [tʃ] and [dʒ] are sometimes transcribed with the symbols for the palatal stops, ⟨c⟩ and ⟨ɟ⟩.
Affricates vs. stop–fricative sequences
Affricates can contrast phonemically with stop–fricative sequences. Examples:
- Polish affricate /t͡ʂ/ in czysta 'clean (f.)' versus stop–fricative /tʂ/ in trzysta 'three hundred',
- Klallam affricate /t͡s/ in k’ʷə́nc 'look at me' versus stop–fricative /ts/ in k’ʷə́nts 'he looks at it'.
In the stop–fricative sequence, the stop has a release burst before the fricative starts; but in the affricate, the fricative element is the release. Stop–fricative sequences may have a syllable boundary between the two segments, but not necessarily.
In English, /ts/ and /dz/ (nuts, nods) are considered phonemically stop–fricative sequences because they may contain a morpheme boundary (for example, nuts = nut + s). But the sounds are phonetically affricates. The English affricate phonemes /t͡ʃ/ and /d͡ʒ/ do not require a morpheme boundary. The sounds are sometimes written with the unitary symbols ⟨č⟩ and ⟨ǰ⟩, though it is not considered standard IPA notation. However, English speakers (depending on dialect) do distinguish affricates from stop–fricative sequences:
- cat shit /kæt.ʃɪt/ → [kʰæʔʃɪt̚]
- catch it /kæt͡ʃ.ɪt/ → [kʰæt͡ʃɪt̚]
The acoustic difference between affricates and stop–fricative sequences is rate of amplitude increase of the frication noise, which is known as the rise time. Affricates have a short rise time to the peak frication amplitude whereas stop–fricative sequences have longer rise times (Howell & Rosen 1983, Johnson 2003, Mitani et al. 2006).
List of affricates
In the case of coronals, the symbols ⟨t, d⟩ are normally used for the stop portion of the affricate regardless of place. For example, [t͡ʂ] is commonly seen for [ʈ͡ʂ].
The exemplar languages are ones that these sounds have been reported from, but in several cases they may need confirmation.
|Voiceless alveolar affricate||
Japanese つ/ツ [tsu͍]
Mandarin z (pinyin)
|Voiced alveolar affricate||Japanese (some dialects)|
|Voiceless dental affricate||
|Voiced dental affricate||
|Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate||
Japanese ち/チ [tɕi]
Mandarin j (pinyin)
Polish ć, ci
|Voiced alveolo-palatal affricate||
Japanese じ/ジ, ぢ/ヂ [dʑi]
Polish dź, dzi
|Voiceless postalveolar affricate||
English ch, tch
Italian ci, ce
|Voiced postalveolar affricate||
English j, gHungarian dzs
Italian gi, ge
|Voiceless retroflex affricate||
Mandarin zh (pinyin)
|Voiced retroflex affricate||
The Northwest Caucasian languages Abkhaz and Ubykh both contrast sibilant affricates at four places of articulation: alveolar, postalveolar, alveolo-palatal and retroflex. They also distinguish voiceless, voiced, and ejective affricates at each of these.
|Sound (Voiceless)||IPA||Languages||Sound (Voiced)||IPA||Languages|
|Voiceless bilabial affricate||[pɸ]||Present allophonically in Kaingang and Taos. Not reported as a phoneme in any natural language.||Voiced bilabial affricate||[bβ]||Not attested in any natural language|
|Voiceless bilabial-labiodental affricate||[pf]||German, Teke||Voiced bilabial-labiodental affricate||[bv]||Teke|
|Voiceless labiodental affricate||[p̪f]||XiNkuna Tsonga||Voiced labiodental affricate||[b̪v]||XiNkuna Tsonga|
|Voiceless dental non-sibilant affricate||[t̪θ]||New York English, Luo, Dene Suline, Cun, some varieties of Venetian and other North Italian dialects||Voiced dental non-sibilant affricate||[d̪ð]||New York English, Dene Suline|
|Voiceless retroflex non-sibilant affricate||[tɻ̝̊]||Mapudungun , Malagasy||Voiced retroflex non-sibilant affricate||[dɻ̝]||Malagasy|
|Voiceless palatal affricate||[cç]||Skolt Sami, Hungarian; allophonically in Kaingang||Voiced palatal affricate||[ɟʝ]||Skolt Sami, Hungarian, some Spanish dialects. Not reported to contrast with a voiced palatal plosive [ɟ]|
|Voiceless velar affricate||[kx]||Tswana, High Alemannic German||Voiced velar affricate||[ɡɣ]||Not attested in any natural language|
|Voiceless uvular affricate||[qχ]||Nez Percé, Wolof, Bats, Kabardian, Avar, Tsez. Not reported to contrast with a voiceless uvular plosive [q] in natural languages, though this distinction is used in the constructed Klingon.||Voiced uvular affricate||[ɢʁ]|
|Voiceless epiglottal affricate||[ʡ̥ʜ]||Haida. Not reported to contrast with an epiglottal stop [ʡ]||Voiced epiglottal affricate||[ʡ̬ʢ]|
|Voiceless alveolar lateral affricate||[tɬ]||Cherokee, Nahuatl, Navajo, Tswana, etc.|
|Voiced alveolar lateral affricate||[dɮ]||Gwich'in, Sandawe. Not reported to ever contrast with a voiced alveolar lateral fricative [ɮ].|
|Voiceless palatal lateral affricate||[cʎ̥˔]||also ⟨c⟩; as ejective [cʎ̥˔ʼ] = [cʼ] in Dahalo; as [tʎ̥˔] = [t] in Hadza.|
|Voiceless velar lateral affricate||[kʟ̝̊]||also ⟨k⟩; as a prevelar in Archi and as an ejective [kʟ̝̊ʼ] = [kʼ] in Zulu, also exist in the Laghuu language.|
|Voiced velar lateral affricate||[ɡʟ̝]||Laghuu.|
|Voiced prenasalized trilled bilabial affricate||[mbʙ]||Kele and Avava|
|Voiceless dental bilabially trilled affricate||[t̪ʙ̥]||Wari’|
|Voiced prenasalized trilled alveolar affricate||[ndr]||Fijian and Avava|
|Voiceless alveolar trilled affricate||[tʳ]||Ngkoth|
|Voiced alveolar trilled affricate||[dʳ]||Nias|
Although most affricates are Northern Sotho (Johnson 2003) and other Bantu languages such as Phuthi, which has alveolar–labiodental affricates [tf] and [dv], and Sesotho, which has bilabial–palatoalveolar afficates [pʃ] and [bʒ]. Djeoromitxi (Pies 1992) has [ps] and [bz].
Phonation, coarticulation and other variants
The more common of the voiceless affricates are all attested as ejectives as well: [tθʼ, tsʼ, tɬʼ, tʃʼ, tɕʼ, tʂʼ, cʎ̥ʼ, kxʼ, kʟ̝̊ʼ]. Several Khoisan languages such as !Xóõ are reported to have voiced ejective affricates, but these may actually be consonant clusters: [dtsʼ, dtʃʼ]. Affricates are also commonly aspirated: [ɱp̪fʰ, tθʰ, tsʰ, tɬʰ, tʃʰ, tɕʰ, tʂʰ], occasionally murmured: [ɱb̪vʱ, d̠ʒʱ], and sometimes prenasalized: [ⁿdz, ⁿdzʱ, ᶯɖʐ, ᶯɖʐʱ]. Labialized, palatalized, velarized, and pharyngealized affricates also occur. Affricates may also have phonemic length, that is, affected by a chroneme, as in Italian and Karelian.
- Hoijer, Harry; & Opler, Morris E. (1938). Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache texts. The University of Chicago publications in anthropology; Linguistic series. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Howell Peter; & Rosen, Stuart. (1983). Production and perception of rise time in the voiceless affricate/fricative distinction. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 73 (3), 976–984.
- Johnson, Keith. (2003). Acoustic & auditory phonetics (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
- Maddieson, Ian. (1984). Patterns of sounds. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-26536-3
- McDonough, Joyce; & Ladefoged, Peter. (1993). Navajo stops. UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics, 84, 151–164.
- Mitani, Shigeki; Kitama, Toshihiro; & Sato, Yu. (2006). Voiceless affricate/fricative distinction by frication duration and amplitude rise slope. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 120 (3), 1600–1607.
- Affricates in English