Voiceless retroflex fricative
The voiceless retroflex 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 ⟨ʂ⟩. Like all the retroflex consonants, the IPA letter is formed by adding a rightward-pointing hook to the bottom of the ess (the letter used for the corresponding alveolar consonant). A distinction can be made between laminal, apical, and sub-apical articulations. Only one language, Toda, appears to have more than one voiceless retroflex sibilant, and it distinguishes subapical palatal from apical postalveolar retroflex sibilants; that is, both the tongue articulation and the place of contact on the roof of the mouth are different.
|Voiceless retroflex fricative|
Features of the voiceless retroflex fricative:
- Its manner of articulation is sibilant fricative, which means it is generally produced by channeling air flow along a groove in the back of the tongue up to the place of articulation, at which point it is focused against the sharp edge of the nearly clenched teeth, causing high-frequency turbulence.
- Its place of articulation is retroflex, which prototypically means it is articulated subapical (with the tip of the tongue curled up), but more generally, it means that it is postalveolar without being palatalized. That is, besides the prototypical subapical articulation, the tongue contact can be apical (pointed) or laminal (flat).
- 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.
The commonality of [ʂ] cross-linguistically is 6% in a phonological analysis of 2155 languages 
|Abkhaz||амш||[amʂ]||'day'||See Abkhaz phonology|
|Italian||Marked accents of Emilia-Romagna||sali||[ˈʂäːli]||'you go up'||Apical; may be [s̺ʲ] or [ʃ] instead. It corresponds to [s] in standard Italian. See Italian phonology|
|Khanty||Most northern dialects||шаш||[ʂɑʂ]||'knee'||Corresponds to a voiceless retroflex affricate /ʈ͡ʂ/ in the southern and eastern dialects.|
|Mandarin||石/shí||[ʂ̺ɻ̩˧˥]||'stone'||Apical. See Mandarin phonology|
|Mapudungun||trukur||[ʈ͡ʂʊ̝ˈkʊʂ]||'fog'||Possible allophone of /ʐ/ in post-nuclear position.|
|Norwegian||Norsk||[nɔʂk]||'Norwegian'||Allophone of the sequence /ɾs/ in many dialects, including Urban East Norwegian. See Norwegian phonology|
|Pashto||Southern dialect||ښودل||[ʂ̺odəl]||'to show'|
|Polish||Standard||szum||[ʂ̻um] (help·info)||'rustle'||After voiceless consonants it is also represented by ⟨rz⟩. When written so, it can be instead pronounced as the voiceless raised alveolar non-sonorant trill by few speakers. It is transcribed /ʃ/ by most Polish scholars. See Polish phonology|
|Southeastern Cuyavian dialects||schowali||[ʂxɔˈväli]||'they hid'||Some speakers. It's a result of hypercorrecting the more popular merger of /ʂ/ and /s/ into [s] (see szadzenie).|
|Romanian||Moldavian dialects||șură||[ʂurə][stress?]||'barn'||Apical. See Romanian phonology|
|Russian||шут||[ʂut̪]||'jester'||See Russian phonology|
|Serbo-Croatian||шума / šuma||[ʂûmä]||'forest'||Typically transcribed as /ʃ/. See Serbo-Croatian_phonology|
|Swedish||fors||[fɔʂ]||'rapids'||Allophone of the sequence /rs/ in many dialects, including Central Standard Swedish. See Swedish phonology|
|Ubykh||[ʂ̺a]||'head'||See Ubykh phonology|
|Upper Sorbian||Some dialects||[example needed]||Used in dialects spoken in villages north of Hoyerswerda; corresponds to [ʃ] in standard language. See Upper Sorbian phonology|
|Vietnamese||Southern dialects||sữa||[ʂɨə˧ˀ˥]||'milk'||See Vietnamese phonology|
|Zapotec||Tilquiapan||[example needed]||—||—||Allophone of /ʃ/ before [a] and [u].|
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- Ladefoged (2005:168)
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- Merrill (2008:109)
- Canepari, Luciano (1992), Il MªPi – Manuale di pronuncia italiana [Handbook of Italian Pronunciation] (in Italian), Bologna: Zanichelli, ISBN 88-08-24624-8
- Hamann, Silke (2004), "Retroflex fricatives in Slavic languages" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 53–67, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001604, archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-14, retrieved 2015-04-09
- Hanulíková, Adriana; Hamann, Silke (2010), "Slovak" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 40 (3): 373–378, doi:10.1017/S0025100310000162
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- Lunsford, Wayne A. (2001), "An overview of linguistic structures in Torwali, a language of Northern Pakistan" (PDF), M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Arlington
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- List of languages with [ʂ] on PHOIBLE