The Info List - Alveolar Tap

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The alveolar tap or flap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar flaps is [ɾ]. The terms tap and flap may be used interchangeably. Peter Ladefoged proposed for a while that it may be useful to distinguish between them; however, his usage has been inconsistent and contradicted itself even between different editions of the same text.[1] The last proposed distinction was that a tap strikes its point of contact directly, as a very brief stop, and a flap strikes the point of contact tangentially: "Flaps are most typically made by retracting the tongue tip behind the alveolar ridge and moving it forward so that it strikes the ridge in passing."[2] However, he later no longer felt that it was a useful distinction to make and preferred to use the word flap in all cases.[citation needed] For linguists who make the distinction, the coronal tap is transcribed as [ɾ], and the flap is transcribed as [ᴅ], which is not recognized by the IPA. Otherwise, alveolars and dentals are typically called taps and other articulations flaps. No language contrasts a tap and a flap at the same place of articulation. This sound is often analyzed and thus interpreted by native English-speakers as an 'R-sound' in many foreign languages. In languages for which the segment is present but not phonemic, it is often an allophone of either an alveolar stop ([t], [d], or both) or a rhotic consonant (like the alveolar trill or the alveolar approximant). When the alveolar tap is the only rhotic consonant in the language, it may be transcribed /r/ although that symbol technically represents the trill. The voiced alveolar tapped fricative reported from some languages is actually a very brief voiced alveolar non-sibilant fricative.


1 Voiced alveolar flap

1.1 Features 1.2 Occurrence

1.2.1 Dental or denti-alveolar 1.2.2 Alveolar 1.2.3 Variable

2 Alveolar nasal flap

2.1 Features 2.2 Occurrence

3 See also 4 References 5 Bibliography

Voiced alveolar flap[edit]

Voiced alveolar flap


IPA number 124


Entity (decimal) ɾ

Unicode (hex) U+027E


Kirshenbaum *




source · help

Features[edit] Features of the alveolar tap:

Its manner of articulation is flap, which means it is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that the tongue makes very brief contact. Its place of articulation is dental or alveolar, which means it is articulated behind upper front teeth or at the alveolar ridge. It is most often apical, which means that it is pronounced with the tip of the tongue. 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.

Occurrence[edit] Dental or denti-alveolar[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes

Russian[3] рьяный  [ˈɾ̪ʲjän̪ɨ̞j] (help·info) 'zealous' Apical; palatalized. More common than a dental trill.[3] It contrasts with a post-alveolar trill. See Russian phonology

Uzbek[4] ёмғир/yomg‘ir [ʝɒ̜mˈʁ̟ɨɾ̪] 'rain' Denti-alveolar.[4]


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes

Afrikaans Standard[5] rooi [ɾoːi̯] 'red' May be a trill [r] instead.[5] See Afrikaans phonology

Arabic Egyptian[6] رجل‎ [ɾeɡl] 'foot' Contrasts with emphatic form. See Egyptian Arabic phonology

Lebanese إجر [ʔəʒəɾ] 'foot'


Assyrian Neo-Aramaic [ɑɾɑː] 'ground' Used predominantly. /ɹ/, however, is used in some dialects

Armenian Eastern[7] րոպե  [ɾopɛ] (help·info) 'minute' Contrasts with /r/ in all positions.

Basque begiratu [beˈɣiɾaˌtu] 'look' Contrasts with /r/. See Basque phonology

Catalan[8] mira [ˈmiɾə] 'look' Contrasts with /r/. See Catalan phonology

Danish[9][10] Vil du med? [ʋe̝ ɾu ˈme] 'Are you coming too?' Possible realization of intervocalic /d/ when it occurs between two unstressed vowels.[9][10] See Danish phonology

English Cockney[11] better [ˈbe̞ɾə] 'better' Intervocalic allophone of /t/. In free variation with [ʔ ~ tʰ ~ tˢ]. See Flapping

Australian[12] [ˈbeɾə] Intervocalic allophone of /t/, and also /d/ among few Australians. Used more often in Australia than in New Zealand. See Australian English phonology and Flapping

New Zealand[13] [ˈbeɾɘ]

Dublin  [ˈbɛɾɚ] (help·info) Intervocalic allophone of /t/ and /d/, present in many dialects. In Local Dublin it can be [ɹ] instead, unlike New and Mainstream. See English phonology and Flapping

North America[14]


West Country

Irish three [θɾiː] 'three' Conservative accents. Corresponds to [ɹ ~ ɻ ~ ʁ] in other accents.

Scottish[15] Most speakers. Others use [ɹ ~ r].

Older Received Pronunciation[16] Allophone
of /ɹ/


South African[15] Broad speakers. Can be [ɹ ~ r] instead

Esperanto esperanto [espeˈɾanto] 'person who hopes' Allophone
of /r/. See Esperanto

Greek[17] μηρός / mirós [miˈɾ̠o̞s] 'thigh' Somewhat retracted. Most common realization of /r/. See Modern Greek phonology

Hindustani अर्थ/ارتھ‎ [əɾt̪ʰ] 'meaning' See Hindustani phonology

Japanese 心 / kokoro  [ko̞ko̞ɾo̞] (help·info) 'heart' Apical.[18] See Japanese phonology

Korean 여름 / yeoreum [jʌɾɯm] 'summer' Allophone
of /l/ between vowels or between a vowel and an /h/

Limburgish Hasselt dialect[19] weuren [ˈβ̞ø̠ːɾən] '(they) were' Possible intervocalic allophone of /r/; may be uvular [ʀ̆] instead.[19]

Persian روز [ɾuz] 'day'

Portuguese[20] prato [ˈpɾatu] 'dish' Dental to retroflex allophones, varying by dialect. Contrasts with /ʁ/, with its guttural allophones and, in all positions, with its archaic form [r]. See Portuguese phonology

Scottish Gaelic mòr [moːɾ] 'big' Both the lenited and non-initial broad form of r. Often transcribed simply as /r/. The initial unlenited broad form is /rˠ/ (also transcribed as /ᵲ/ or /R/) while the slender form is /ɾʲ/ ([ð] in some dialects). See Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic

Slovene[21] amarant [amaˈɾaːn̪t̪] 'amaranth' Also described as trill [r],[22] and variable between trill [r] and tap [ɾ].[23] See Slovene phonology

Spanish[24] caro  [ˈkaɾo̞] (help·info) 'expensive' Contrasts with /r/. See Spanish phonology

Tagalog barya [bɐɾˈja] 'coin' Once allophones with /d/. May also be pronounced as a trill /r/[25] or an approximant /ɹ/. See Tagalog phonology

Turkish[26] ara [ˈäɾä] 'interval' Intervocalic realization of /ɾ/.[26] See Turkish phonology

Yiddish Standard[27] בריק‎ [bɾɪk] 'bridge' Less commonly a trill [r]; can be uvular [ʀ̆ ~ ʀ] instead.[27] See Yiddish phonology

Zapotec Tilquiapan[28] ran [ɾaŋ] 'to see'


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes

German Standard[29] Rübe [ˈɾÿːbə] 'beet' Varies between apical dental and apical alveolar; may be a trill instead.[29] See Standard German phonology

Alveolar nasal flap[edit]

Alveolar nasal flap


IPA number 124 424



Features[edit] Features of the alveolar nasal flap:

Its manner of articulation is flap, which means it is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that the tongue makes very brief contact. Its place of articulation is alveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, termed respectively apical and laminal. Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation. It is a nasal consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the nose, either exclusively (nasal stops) or in addition to through the mouth. 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

English[30] Estuary twenty  [ˈtw̥ɛ̃ɾ̃i] (help·info) 'twenty' Allophone
of unstressed intervocalic /nt/ for some speakers. See English phonology, North American English
North American English
regional phonology and Flapping

North American[31]

See also[edit]

Flapping Index of phonetics articles Voiceless alveolar flap


^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:230–231) ^ Valentin-Marquez (2015) ^ a b Skalozub (1963:?); cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:221) ^ a b Sjoberg (1963:13) ^ a b Lass (1987), p. 117. ^ Watson (2002:16) ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:19) ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:53) ^ a b Grønnum (2005:157) ^ a b Basbøll (2005:126) ^ Wells (1982:324–325) ^ Cox & Palethorpe (2007:343) ^ Trudgill & Hannah (2002:24) ^ Ogden (2009:114) ^ a b c Ogden (2009:92) ^ Wise (1957:?) ^ Arvaniti (2007:15–18) ^ Labrune (2012), p. 92. ^ a b Peters (2006), p. 118. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91) ^ Šuštaršič, Komar & Petek (1999:135) ^ Pretnar & Tokarz (1980:21) ^ Greenberg (2006:17 and 20) ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:255) ^ Schachter and Reid (2008) ^ a b Yavuz & Balcı (2011:25) ^ a b Kleine (2003:263) ^ Merrill (2008:108) ^ a b Mangold (2005:53) ^ Kwan-Young Oh. "Reanalysis of Flapping on Level Approach". Retrieved 2013-11-24.  ^ Tomasz P. Szynalski. "Flap t FAQ". Retrieved 2013-11-24. 


Arvaniti, Amalia (2007), "Greek Phonetics: The State of the Art" (PDF), Journal of Greek Linguistics, 8: 97–208, doi:10.1075/jgl.8.08arv, archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-11  Basbøll, Hans (2005), The Phonology of Danish, ISBN 0-203-97876-5  Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (1–2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618  Cox, Felicity; Palethorpe, Sallyanne (2007), "Australian English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37 (3): 341–349, doi:10.1017/S0025100307003192  Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223  Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company  Greenberg, Mark L. (2006), A Short Reference Grammar of Standard Slovene (PDF), Kansas: University of Kansas  Grønnum, Nina (2005), Fonetik og fonologi, Almen og Dansk (3rd ed.), Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, ISBN 87-500-3865-6  Kleine, Ane (2003), "Standard Yiddish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (2): 261–265, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001385  Labrune, Laurence (2012), The Phonology of Japanese, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-954583-4  Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.  Lass, Roger (1987), "Intradiphthongal Dependencies", in Anderson, John; Durand, Jacques, Explorations in Dependency Phonology, Dordrecht: Foris Publications Holland, pp. 109–131, ISBN 9067652970  Mangold, Max (2005) [First published 1962], Das Aussprachewörterbuch (6th ed.), Mannheim: Dudenverlag, ISBN 978-3-411-04066-7  Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373  Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344  Ogden, Richard (2009), An Introduction to English Phonetics, Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 978-0-7486-2541-3  Peters, Jörg (2006), "The dialect of Hasselt", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 36 (1): 117–124, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002428  Šimáčková, Šárka; Podlipský, Václav Jonáš; Chládková, Kateřina (2012), "Czech spoken in Bohemia and Moravia" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 42 (2): 225–232, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000102  Sjoberg, Andrée F. (1963), Uzbek Structural Grammar, Uralic and Altaic Series, 18, Bloomington: Indiana University  Šuštaršič, Rastislav; Komar, Smiljana; Petek, Bojan (1999), "Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 23 (2): 135–139, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874, ISBN 0-521-65236-7  chapter= ignored (help) Trudgill, Peter; Hannah, Jean (2002), International English: A Guide to the Varieties of Standard English, 4th ed, p. 24  Valentin-Marquez, Wilfredo (2008), "Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics", Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 1 (2): 451–454, doi:10.1515/shll-2008-1031  Watson, Janet (2002), The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic, New York: Oxford University Press  Watson, Kevin (2007), "Liverpool English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37 (3): 351–360, doi:10.1017/S0025100307003180  Wells, John (1982), Accents of English 2: The British Isles, pp. 324–325, ISBN 978-0-521-28540-7  Wise, Claude Merton (1957), Introduction to Phonetics, Englewood Cliffs  Yavuz, Handan; Balcı, Ayla (2011), Turkish Phonology and Morphology (PDF), Eskişehir: Anadolu Üniversitesi, ISBN 978-975-06-0964-0 [permanent dead link]

v t e

International Phonetic Alphabet
International Phonetic Alphabet

IPA topics


International Phonetic Association History of the IPA Extensions to the IPA (extIPA) Voice Quality Symbols (VoQS) Journal of the IPA (JIPA)


Diacritics Segments Tone letter Place of articulation Manner of articulation


Cursive forms Case variants Obsolete and nonstandard symbols Naming conventions IPA chart for English dialects World Orthography


SAMPA X-SAMPA Kirshenbaum TIPA Phonetic symbols in Unicode WorldBet IPA Braille


Pulmonic consonants

Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal

Manner ↓ Bi­labial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Post­alveolar Retro­flex Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyn­geal/Epi­glottal Glottal

Nasal m̥ m


n̥ n

ɳ̊ ɳ ɲ̊ ɲ ŋ̊ ŋ


Stop p b p̪ b̪ t̼ d̼

t d

ʈ ɖ c ɟ k ɡ q ɢ ʡ


Sibilant affricate

ts dz t̠ʃ d̠ʒ ʈʂ ɖʐ t̠ɕ d̠ʑ

Non-sibilant affricate pɸ bβ p̪f b̪v

t̪θ d̪ð tɹ̝̊ dɹ̝ t̠ɹ̠̊˔ d̠ɹ̠˔

cç ɟʝ kx ɡɣ qχ

ʡʢ ʔh

Sibilant fricative

s z ʃ ʒ ʂ ʐ ɕ ʑ

Non-sibilant fricative ɸ β f v θ̼ ð̼ θ ð θ̠ ð̠ ɹ̠̊˔ ɹ̠˔

ɻ˔ ç ʝ x ɣ χ ʁ ħ ʕ h ɦ


ʋ̥ ʋ

ɹ̥ ɹ

ɻ̊ ɻ j̊ j ɰ̊ ɰ





ɾ̥ ɾ

ɽ̊ ɽ



Trill ʙ̥ ʙ

r̥ r

ɽ̊ɽ̊ ɽɽ

ʀ̥ ʀ ʜ ʢ

Lateral affricate

tɬ dɮ



kʟ̝̊ ɡʟ̝

Lateral fricative

ɬ ɮ


ʎ̝̊ ʎ̝ ʟ̝̊ ʟ̝

Lateral approximant

l̥ l

ɭ̊ ɭ ʎ̥ ʎ ʟ̥ ʟ


Lateral flap/tap





help full chart template

Symbols to the right in a cell are voiced, to the left are voiceless. Shaded areas denote articulations judged to be impossible.

Non-pulmonic consonants

Bi­labial Labio­dental Dental Alveolar Post­alveolar Retro­flex Palatal Velar Uvular Epi­glottal Glottal

Ejectives Stop pʼ










Lateral affricate










Lateral fricative


Clicks Nasal







Stop ʘ ʘ̬

ǀ ǀ̬ ǃ ǃ̬

ǃ˞ ǃ̬˞ ǂ ǂ̬ ʞ


Lateral nasal


Lateral fricative

ǁ ǁ̬

Implosive ɓ̥ ɓ

ɗ̥ ɗ

ᶑ̥ ᶑ ʄ̊ ʄ ɠ̊ ɠ ʛ̥ ʛ

help full chart template

Co-articulated consonants


n͡m Labial–alveolar

ŋ͡m Labial–velar


t͡p Labial–alveolar (voiceless)

d͡b Labial–alveolar (voiced)

k͡p Labial–velar (voiceless)

ɡ͡b Labial–velar (voiced)

q͡ʡ Uvular–epiglottal


ɧ Sj-sound


ʍ Labialized velar (voiceless)

w Labialized velar (voiced)

ɫ Velarized alveolar (lateral)

ɥ̊ Labialized palatal (voiceless)

ɥ Labialized palatal (voiced)

help full chart template


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back


i y

ɨ ʉ

ɯ u

ɪ ʏ

ɪ̈ ʊ̈

ɯ̽ ʊ

e ø

ɘ ɵ

ɤ o

e̞ ø̞

ə ɵ̞

ɤ̞ o̞

ɛ œ

ɜ ɞ

ʌ ɔ


ɐ ɞ̞

a ɶ

ä ɒ̈

ɑ ɒ







help full chart template

Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded

v t e

The letter R


Rhotic consonants (R-like sounds) Pronunciation of English /r/ Rhoticity in English R-colored vowel Rhotacism Guttural R Linking and intrusive R


Alveolar trill
Alveolar trill
[r] Alveolar or postalveolar approximant [ɹ] Alveolar flap [ɾ] Alveolar lateral flap [ɺ] Retroflex approximant
Retroflex approximant
[ɻ] Retroflex flap
Retroflex flap
[ɽ] Retroflex trill
Retroflex trill
[ɽ͡r] Uvular trill
Uvular trill
[ʀ] Voiced uvular fricative
Voiced uvular fricative
[ʁ] Labialized [ʋ]


Ꝛꝛ (R rotunda) Ꞃꞃ (Insular) Ɽɽ (R with tail) Ɍɍ (R with stroke) Ʀʀ Ȑȑ Ŕŕ Ŗŗ Řř Ȓȓ Ṙṙ Ṛṛ R̄r̄ Ṝṝ Ṟṟ Rd Rh Rl Rn Rr Rt Rnd ᚱ (Raidô) ℝ (Real number) ® (Registered trademark symbol) Ⓡ (Enclosed R) ℞ (Med