Voiceless Retroflex Plosive
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Voiceless Retroflex Plosive
Voiceless retroflex plosive
IPA Number105
Entity (decimal)ʈ
Unicode (hex)U+0288
Braille? (braille pattern dots-256)? (braille pattern dots-2345)
Audio sample

The voiceless retroflex plosive or stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. This consonant is found as a phoneme mostly (though not exclusively) in two areas: South Asia and Australia.


The symbol that represents this sound in the International Phonetic Alphabet is ⟨?⟩. Like all the retroflex consonants, the IPA symbol is formed by adding a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of tee (the letter used for the equivalent alveolar consonant). In many fonts lowercase tee already has a rightward-pointing hook, but ⟨?⟩ is distinguished from ⟨t⟩ by extending the hook below the baseline.


Features of the voiceless retroflex 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 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.


Language Word IPA Translation Notes
Bengali[1] [?aka] 'taka' Apical postalveolar;[1] contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms. See Bengali phonology
Brahui [asi?] 'one'
English Indian dialects time [?a?m] 'time' Corresponds to alveolar /t/ in other dialects. See English phonology
Gujarati[2] ? [] (name of a letter) Subapical;[2] contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms. See Gujarati phonology
Hindustani[3][4] Hindi ? [?o:pi:] 'hat' Apical postalveolar; contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms.[4] See Hindustani phonology
Urdu ?
Hmong raus [?àu] 'immerse in liquid' Contrasts with aspirated form (written ⟨rh⟩).
Iwaidja yirrwartbart [ji?wb] 'taipan'
Javanese bathang [ba?a?] 'cadaver'
Kannada [t:u] 'to tap' Contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms
Lo-Toga Lo dialect[5] dege [?] 'we (incl.)' Laminal retroflex.
Marathi[2] [ba:?a:] 'potato' Subapical;[2] contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms. See Marathi phonology
Mutsun TiTkuSte [?i?ku?t?] 'torn'
Nepali [?oli] 'team' Apical postalveolar; contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms. See Nepali phonology
Norwegian kort [k:] 'card' See Norwegian phonology
Nunggubuyu[6] rdagowa [?akowa] 'prawn'
Odia ?/?agara [g?r?] 'crepe jasmine' Apical postalveolar; contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms.
Pashto [?ol] 'all'
Punjabi Gurmukhi ? [?o:pi] 'hat'
Shahmukhi ?
Sicilian latru ['lau] 'thief'
Scottish Gaelic Some Hebridean dialects[7] árd [a:?] 'high' Corresponds to the sequence /r?t/ in other dialects. See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Swedish[8] karta ['k:?a] 'map' See Swedish phonology
Sylheti [?exa] 'Taka'
Tamil[2][9] [e?:?] 'eight' Subapical.[2] See Tamil phonology
Telugu [ko?:u] 'beat' Contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms
Torwali[10] [?ij?l?] 'words' Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms.
Vietnamese Southern dialects[11] b?n tr? [?a ?a] 'you pay' May be somewhat affricated. See Vietnamese phonology
Welayta [?aza] 'dew'

See also


  1. ^ a b Mazumdar (2000:57)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Khatiwada (2009:374)
  3. ^ Ladefoged (2005:141)
  4. ^ a b Tiwari (2004:?)
  5. ^ François (2016:) 35, 41); entry dege in François' Lo-Toga online dictionary.
  6. ^ Ladefoged (2005:158)
  7. ^ Bauer, Michael. Blas na Gàidhlig: The Practical Guide to Gaelic Pronunciation. Glasgow: Akerbeltz, 2011.
  8. ^ Eliasson (1986:278-279)
  9. ^ Keane (2004:111)
  10. ^ Lunsford (2001:11-16)
  11. ^ Thompson (1959:458-461)


  • Eliasson, Stig (1986), "Sandhi in Peninsular Scandinavian", in Anderson, Henning (ed.), Sandhi Phenomena in the Languages of Europe, Berlin: de Gruyter, pp. 271-300
  • Keane, Elinor (2004), "Tamil", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 111-116, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001549
  • François, Alexandre (2016), "The historical morphology of personal pronouns in northern Vanuatu" (PDF), in Pozdniakov, Konstantin (ed.), Comparatisme et reconstruction : tendances actuelles, Faits de Langues, 47, Bern: Peter Lang, pp. 25-60.
  • Khatiwada, Rajesh (2009), "Nepali", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 39 (3): 337-380, doi:10.1017/s0025100309990181
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (2nd ed.), Blackwell
  • 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
  • Mazumdar, Bijaychandra (2000) [First published 1920], The history of the Bengali language, New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, ISBN 8120614526
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language, 35 (3): 454-476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232
  • Tiwari, Bholanath (2004) [First published 1966], Hind? Bh?sh?, Kit?b Mahal: Kit?b Mahal, ISBN 81-225-0017-X

External links

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