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Voiced palato-alveolar sibilant

The voiced palato-alveolar sibilant fricative or voiced domed postalveolar sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is the lower case form of the letter Ezh ⟨Ʒ ʒ⟩ (/ˈɛʒ/), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Z. An alternative symbol used in some older and American linguistic literature is ⟨ž⟩, a z with a háček. The sound occurs in many languages and, as in English and French, may have simultaneous lip rounding ([ʒʷ]), although this is rarely indicated in transcription.

Voiced palato-alveolar sibilant
IPA number 135
Entity (decimal) ʒ
Unicode (hex) U+0292
Kirshenbaum Z
Braille ⠮ (braille pattern dots-2346)

Although present in English, the sound is not represented by a specific letter or digraph, but is formed by yod-coalescence of [z] and [j] in words such as measure. It also appears in some loanwords, mainly from French (thus written with ⟨g⟩ and ⟨j⟩). In some transcriptions of alphabets such as Chinese or Cyrillic, the sound is represented by the digraph zh.

palato-alveolar fricative [ʃ, ʒ]



Features of the voiced palato-alveolar fricative:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe жакӀэ   [ʒaːtʃʼa]  'beard'
Albanian zhurmë [ʒuɾmə] 'noise'
Arabic Maghrebi[1] زوج [zuʒ] 'husband' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[2] ժամ   [ʒɑm]  'hour'
Avar жакъа [ˈʒaqʼːa] 'today'
Azerbaijani jmürdə/پژمرده [pæʒmyrˈdæ] 'sad'
Berber Kabyle jeddi [ʒəddi] 'my grandfather'
Berta [ŋɔ̀nʒɔ̀ʔ] 'honey'
Bulgarian мъжът [mɐˈʒɤ̞t̪] 'the man' See Bulgarian phonology
Chechen жий / ''ƶ'iy' [ʒiː] 'sheep'
Chinese Quzhou dialect [ʒɑ̃] 'bed'
Corsican ghjesgia [ˈjeːʒa] 'church' Also in Gallurese
Czech muži [ˈmuʒɪ] 'men' See Czech phonology
Dutch garage [ɣäˈräːʒə] 'garage' See Dutch phonology
English vision [ˈvɪʒən] 'vision' See English phonology
Esperanto manĝaĵo [maɲˈd͡ʒaʒo̞] 'food' See Esperanto phonology
French[3] Jour [ʒuʁ] 'day' See French phonology
German Standard[4] Garage [ɡaˈʁaːʒʷə] 'garage' Laminal or apico-laminal and strongly labialized.[4] Some speakers may merge it with /ʃ/. See Standard German phonology
Georgian[5] ურნალი [ʒuɾnali] 'magazine'
Goemai zhiem [ʒiem] 'sickle'
Greek Cypriot γαλάζ̌ο [ɣ̞ɐˈlɐʒːo̞] 'sky blue'
Gwich’in ''zh'òh' [ʒôh] 'wolf'
Hän ''zh'ùr' [ʒûr] 'wolf'
Hebrew ז׳אנר [ʒaneʁ] 'genre' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi झ़दहा [əʒd̪əhaː] 'dragon' See Hindi–Urdu phonology
Hungarian zsa [ˈr̪oːʒɒ] 'rose' See Hungarian phonology
Ingush жий/''ž'ii' [ʒiː] 'sheep'
Italian Marked accents of Emilia-Romagna[6] caso [ˈkäːʒo] 'case' Apical;[6] not labialized;[6] may be [z̺ʲ] or [ʐ] instead.[6] It corresponds to [z] in standard Italian. See Italian phonology
Tuscan pigiare [piˈʒäːre] 'press' See Italian phonology
Judaeo-Spanish 'mujer' [muˈʒɛʀ] 'woman'
Juǀ'hoan ju [ʒu] 'person'
Kabardian жыг [ʒəɣʲ] 'tree'
Kashubian[7] [example needed]
Kazakh жеті [ʒeti] 'seven'
Latvian žāvēt [ˈʒäːveːt̪] 'to dry' See Latvian phonology
Ligurian xe ['ly:ʒe] 'light'
Limburgish Maastrichtian[8] zjuweleer [ʒy̠β̞əˈleːʀ̝̊] 'jeweller' Laminal post-alveolar with an unclear amount of palatalization.[9]
Lithuanian žmona [ʒmoːˈn̪ɐ] 'wife' See Lithuanian phonology
Livonian ž [kuːʒ] 'six'
Lombard Western resgiôra [reˈʒu(ː)ra] 'matriarch'
Macedonian жaбa [ˈʒaba] 'toad' See Macedonian phonology
Megrelian ირი [ʒiɾi] 'two'
Navajo łizh [ɬiʒ] 'urine'
Ngas zhaam [ʒaːm] 'chin'
Ngwe Mmockngie dialect [ʒíá] 'to split'
Occitan Auvergnat 'argent' [aʀʒẽ] 'money' Southern dialects
Gascon [arʒen]
Pashto ژوول [ʒowul] 'chew'
Persian مژه [moʒe] 'eyelash' See Persian phonology
Polish Gmina Istebna zielony [ʒɛˈlɔn̪ɘ] 'green' /ʐ/ and /ʑ/ merge into [ʒ] in these dialects. In standard Polish, /ʒ/ is commonly used to transcribe what actually is a laminal voiced retroflex sibilant.
Lubawa dialect[10]
Malbork dialect[10]
Ostróda dialect[10]
Warmia dialect[10]
Portuguese[11][12] loja [ˈlɔʒɐ] 'shop' Also described as alveolo-palatal [ʑ].[13][14][15] See Portuguese phonology
Romanian jar [ʒär] 'embers' See Romanian phonology
Serbo-Croatian жут / ''ž'ut' [ʒûːt̪] 'yellow' May be laminal retroflex instead, depending on the dialect. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Silesian Gmina Istebna[16] [example needed] These dialects merge /ʐ/ and /ʑ/ into [ʒ].
Jablunkov[16] [example needed]
Sioux Lakota waŋži [wãˈʒi] 'one'
Slovenian žito [ʒito][tone?] 'cereal' See Slovene phonology
Spanish Rioplatense[17] yo [ʒo̞] 'I' Some dialects.[17] See Spanish phonology and yeísmo
Tadaksahak [ˈʒɐwɐb] 'to answer'
Tagish [ʒé] 'what'
Turkish jale [ʒäːˈlɛ] 'dew' See Turkish phonology
Turkmen žiraf [ʒiraf] 'giraffe'
Tutchone Northern ''zh'i' [ʒi] 'what'
Southern ''zh'ǜr' [ʒɨ̂r] 'berry'
Ukrainian жaбa [ˈʒɑbɐ] 'frog' See Ukrainian phonology
Urdu اژدہا [əʒd̪ahaː] 'dragon' See Hindi–Urdu phonology
Veps ''ž'' [viːʒ] 'five'
Welayta [aʒa] 'bush'
West Frisian bagaazje [bɑˈɡaʒǝ] 'luggage' See West Frisian phonology
Yiddish אָראַנזש [ɔʀanʒ] 'orange' See Yiddish phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[18] llan [ʒaŋ] 'anger'

The sound in Russian denoted by ⟨ж⟩ is commonly transcribed as a palato-alveolar fricative but is actually a laminal retroflex fricative.

Voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricativeEdit

Voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative
IPA number 151 414 429
X-SAMPA r\_-_r

The voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative is a consonantal sound. As the International Phonetic Alphabet does not have separate symbols for the post-alveolar consonants (the same symbol is used for all coronal places of articulation that aren't palatalized), this sound is usually transcribed ⟨ɹ̠˔⟩ (retracted constricted [ɹ]). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\_-_r.


  • Its manner of articulation is fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence. However, it does not have the grooved tongue and directed airflow, or the high frequencies, of a sibilant.
  • Its place of articulation is postalveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • 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.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dutch[19] meer [meːɹ̠˔] 'lake' A rare post-vocallic allophone of /r/.[20] Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Watson (2002:16)
  2. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:18)
  3. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  4. ^ a b Mangold (2005:51)
  5. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006:255)
  6. ^ a b c d Canepari (1992), p. 73.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 156.
  9. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:156). The authors state that /ʒ/ is "pre-palatal, articulated with the blade of the tongue against the post-alveolar place of articulation". This makes it unclear whether this sound is palato-alveolar (somewhat palatalized post-alveolar) or alveolo-palatal (strongly palatalized post-alveolar).
  10. ^ a b c d Dubisz, Karaś & Kolis (1995:62)
  11. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  12. ^ Medina (2010)
  13. ^ Mateus & d'Andrade (2000)
  14. ^ Silva (2003:32)
  15. ^ Guimarães (2004)
  16. ^ a b Dąbrowska (2004:?)
  17. ^ a b Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:258)
  18. ^ Merrill (2008:108)
  19. ^ Goeman & van de Velde (2001:94–98 and 101–102)
  20. ^ Goeman & van de Velde (2001:95–97 and 102)