|Labialized palatal approximant|
The labialized palatal approximant, also called the labial-palatal or labio-palatal approximant, is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. It has two constrictions in the vocal tract: with the tongue on the palate, and rounded at the lips. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨?⟩, a rotated lowercase letter ⟨h⟩, or occasionally ⟨j?⟩, since it is a labialized .
The labialized palatal approximant can in many cases be considered the semivocalic equivalent of the close front rounded vowel [y]. The two are almost identical featurally. They alternate with each other in certain languages, such as French, and in the diphthongs of some languages, ⟨?⟩ and ⟨y?⟩ with the non-syllabic diacritic are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound. Sometimes, ⟨y?⟩ is written in place of ⟨y?⟩, even though the former symbol denotes an extra-short in the official IPA.
Some languages, though, have a palatal approximant that is unspecified for rounding, and therefore cannot be considered the semivocalic equivalent of either [y] or its unrounded counterpart . An example of such language is Spanish, in which the labialized palatal approximant consonant (not semivowel, which does not exist in Spanish) appears allophonically with rounded vowels in words such as ayuda [a'uð?a] 'help'. It is not correct to transcribe it with the symbols ⟨?⟩ or ⟨j?⟩; the only suitable transcription is ⟨⟩. See palatal approximant for more information.
There is also the labialized post-palatal approximant in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical labialized palatal approximant, though not as back as the prototypical labialized velar approximant. It can be considered the semivocalic equivalent of the close central rounded vowel [?]. The two are almost identical featurally. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨⟩ or ⟨⟩ (both symbols denote a retracted ⟨?⟩), ⟨⟩ (centralized ⟨?⟩), ⟨w?⟩ (advanced ⟨w⟩) or ⟨?⟩ (centralized ⟨w⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are
w_", respectively. Other possible transcriptions include a centralized and labialized ⟨j⟩ (⟨j⟩ in the IPA,
j_"_w in X-SAMPA) and a non-syllabic ⟨?⟩ (⟨⟩ in the IPA,
}_^ in X-SAMPA).
Especially in broad transcription, the labialized post-palatal approximant may be transcribed as a palatalized labialized velar approximant (⟨w?⟩ in the IPA,
w_j in X-SAMPA).
The compressed palatal approximant is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ⟨?⟩, and that is the convention used in this article. There is no dedicated diacritic for compression in the IPA. However, the compression of the lips can be shown with the letter ⟨⟩ as ⟨j⟩ (simultaneous [j] and labial compression) or ⟨j?⟩ ([j] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic ⟨ ? ⟩ may also be used with a labialized approximant letter ⟨⟩ as an ad hoc symbol, though technically 'spread' means unrounded.
The compressed post-palatal approximant can be transcribed simply as ⟨⟩ (centralized [?]), and that is the convention used in this article. Other possible transcriptions include ⟨j⟩ (centralized [j] modified with labial compression) and ⟨⟩ (centralized [?] with the spread-lip diacritic).
Features of the compressed palatal approximant:
Because the labialized palatal approximant is assumed to have compression, and few descriptions cover the distinction, some examples in the table below may actually have protrusion.
|Abkhaz||??||[awa']||'human'||See Abkhaz phonology|
|Chinese||Mandarin||? / yuè||[?e]||'moon'||See Mandarin phonology|
|Shanghainese||[?o]||'bath'||Allophone of /j/ before rounded vowels.|
|French||nuire||'to harm'||Merges with /w/ or /y/ in Belgian French. See French phonology|
|Iaai||vëk||[?æk]||'four'||Contrasts with the voiceless //.|
|Korean||Gyeonggi||? / swieomswieom||[i?mi?m]||'Take it easy'||Only occurs before /i/. See Korean phonology|
|Kurdish||düa||[d?::]||'back'||See Kurdish phonology|
|Norwegian||Urban East||dualisme||[d'lsm?]||'dualism'||Post-palatal; appears prevocalically after the compressed close vowels /?, ?:/. May be transcribed with ⟨w?⟩ or simply ⟨w⟩. See Norwegian phonology|
|Shipibo||[example needed]||Allophone of /w/ before /i, ?/. Only lightly labialized.|
|Swedish||Central Standard||ful||'ugly'||Non-syllabic element of the common diphthongal realization of /?:/ (); can be a fricative instead. Palatal in the Central Standard variety, post-palatal in some other varieties. See Swedish phonology|
|Upper Sorbian||wem||[?em]||'I know'||Soft counterpart of . See Upper Sorbian phonology|
|Xumi||Lower||[Rd][clarification needed]||'fang'||Allophone of /w/ when preceded by an (alveolo-)palatal initial and/or followed by one of the front vowels /i, e, ?/ (in Upper Xumi also /?/).|
|Upper||[Rd?e][clarification needed]||'to ask'|
|Protruded palatal approximant|
As there are no diacritics in the IPA to distinguish protruded and compressed rounding, an old diacritic for labialization, ⟨ ?⟩, will be used here as an ad hoc symbol for the protruded palatal approximant. Another possible transcription is ⟨⟩ or ⟨j?⟩ (a palatal approximant modified by endolabialization).
Acoustically, this sound is "between" the more typical compressed palatal approximant [?] and the non-labialized palatal approximant .
Features of the protruded palatal approximant:
|Norwegian||Urban East||cyanid||'cyanide'||Appears prevocalically after the protruded close vowels /?, y:/. See Norwegian phonology|
|Spanish||ayuda||[ä'uð?ä]||'help'||Approximant consonant; lenited allophone of // before and between rounded vowels. May be a fricative  in emphatic speech. See Spanish phonology|
|Swedish||Central Standard||yla||'howl'||Non-syllabic element of the common diphthongal realization of /y:/ ([y]); can be a fricative  instead. See Swedish phonology|