retroflex consonant
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A retroflex ( /ˈɹɛtʃɹoːflɛks/), apico-domal ( /əpɪkoːˈdɔmɪnəl/), or cacuminal () consonant is a
coronal consonant Coronals are consonants articulated with the flexible front part of the tongue. Among places of articulation, only the coronal consonants can be divided into as many articulation types: apical (using the tip of the tongue), laminal (using the bla ...
where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the
alveolar ridge The alveolar process () or alveolar bone is the thickened ridge of bone that contains the tooth sockets on the jaw bones (in humans, the maxilla and the mandible). The structures are covered by gums as part of the oral cavity. The synonymous t ...
and the
hard palate The hard palate is a thin horizontal bony plate made up of two bones of the facial skeleton, located in the roof of the mouth. The bones are the palatine process of the maxilla and the horizontal plate of palatine bone. The hard palate spans t ...
. They are sometimes referred to as cerebral consonants—especially in
Indology Indology, also known as South Asian studies, is the academic study of the History of India, history and Culture of India, cultures, Languages of South Asia, languages, and Indian literature, literature of the Indian subcontinent, and as such is a ...
. The
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of the ...
-derived word ''retroflex'' means "bent back"; some retroflex consonants are pronounced with the tongue fully curled back so that articulation involves the underside of the tongue tip ( subapical). These sounds are sometimes described as "true" retroflex consonants. However, retroflexes are commonly taken to include other consonants having a similar
place of articulation In articulatory phonetics, the place of articulation (also point of articulation) of a consonant is a location along the vocal tract where its production occurs. It is a point where a constriction is made between an active and a passive articula ...
without such extreme curling of the tongue; these may be articulated with the tongue tip (
apical Apical means "pertaining to an apex". It may refer to: *Apical ancestor, refers to the last common ancestor of an entire group, such as a species (biology) or a clan (anthropology) *Apical (anatomy), an anatomical term of location for features loc ...
) or the tongue blade (
laminal A laminal consonant is a phone (speech sound) produced by obstructing the air passage with the blade of the tongue, the flat top front surface just behind the tip of the tongue in contact with upper lip, teeth, alveolar ridge, to possibly, as ...
).


Types

Retroflex consonants, like other
coronal consonant Coronals are consonants articulated with the flexible front part of the tongue. Among places of articulation, only the coronal consonants can be divided into as many articulation types: apical (using the tip of the tongue), laminal (using the bla ...
s, come in several varieties, depending on the shape of the tongue. The tongue may be either flat or concave, or even with the tip curled back. The point of contact on the tongue may be with the
tip Tip commonly refers to: * Tip (gambling) * Tip (gratuity) * Tip (law enforcement) * another term for Advice (opinion), Advice Tip or TIP may also refer to: Science and technology * Tank phone, a device allowing infantry to communicate with the oc ...
(), with the
blade A blade is the portion of a tool, weapon, or machine with an edge that is designed to puncture, chop, slice or scrape surfaces or materials. Blades are typically made from materials that are harder than those they are to be used on. Historic ...
(), or with the underside of the tongue (). The point of contact on the roof of the mouth may be with the
alveolar ridge The alveolar process () or alveolar bone is the thickened ridge of bone that contains the tooth sockets on the jaw bones (in humans, the maxilla and the mandible). The structures are covered by gums as part of the oral cavity. The synonymous t ...
(), the area behind the alveolar ridge (), or the
hard palate The hard palate is a thin horizontal bony plate made up of two bones of the facial skeleton, located in the roof of the mouth. The bones are the palatine process of the maxilla and the horizontal plate of palatine bone. The hard palate spans t ...
(). Finally, both sibilant ( or ) and nonsibilant (, , , ) consonants can have a retroflex articulation. The greatest variety of combinations occurs with sibilants, because for them, small changes in tongue shape and position cause significant changes in the resulting sound. Retroflex sounds generally have a duller, lower-pitched sound than other alveolar or postalveolar consonants, especially the sibilants. The farther back the point of contact with the roof of the mouth, the more concave is the shape of the tongue, and the duller (lower pitched) is the sound, with subapical consonants being the most extreme. The main combinations normally observed are: *Laminal post-alveolar, with a flat tongue. These occur, for example, in
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland, a country in Europe * Polish language * Poles Poles,, ; singular masculine: ''Polak'', singular feminine: ''Polka'' or Polish people, are a West Slavic nation and ethnic group, w ...
''cz, sz, ż (rz), dż'' . *Apical post-alveolar, with a somewhat concave tongue. These occur, for example, in
Mandarin Mandarin or The Mandarin may refer to: Language * Mandarin Chinese, branch of Chinese originally spoken in northern parts of the country ** Standard Chinese or Modern Standard Mandarin, the official language of China ** Taiwanese Mandarin, Stand ...
''zh, ch, sh, r'',
Hindi Hindi (Devanāgarī: or , ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in the Hindi Belt region encompassing parts of northern, central, eastern, and western India. Hindi has been de ...
and other
Indo-Aryan languages The Indo-Aryan languages (or sometimes Indic languages) are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family. As of the early 21st century, they have more than 800 million speakers, primarily ...
. *Subapical palatal, with a highly concave tongue, which occur particularly in the
Dravidian languages The Dravidian languages (or sometimes Dravidic) are a family of languages spoken by 250 million people, mainly in southern India, north-east Sri Lanka, and south-west Pakistan. Since the colonial era, there have been small but significant ...
and some
Indo-Aryan languages The Indo-Aryan languages (or sometimes Indic languages) are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family. As of the early 21st century, they have more than 800 million speakers, primarily ...
. They are the dullest and lowest-pitched type and, after a vowel, often add strong ''r''-coloring to the vowel and sound as if an
American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the Languages of the United States, most widely spoken lan ...
''r'' occurred between the vowel and consonant. They are not a place of articulation, as the IPA chart implies, but a shape of the tongue analogous to laminal and apical. Subapical sounds are sometimes called "true retroflex" because of the curled-back shape of the tongue, and the other sounds sometimes go by other names. For example, Ladefoged and Maddieson prefer to call the laminal post-alveolar sounds "flat post-alveolar".


Other sounds

Retroflex sounds must be distinguished from other consonants made in the same parts of the mouth: *the palato-alveolar consonants (e.g., ), such as the ''sh'', ''ch'' and ''zh'' occurring in
English English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national ide ...
words like ''ship'', ''chip'' and ''vision'' *the
alveolo-palatal consonant In phonetics, alveolo-palatal (or alveopalatal) consonants, sometimes synonymous with pre-palatal consonants, are intermediate in articulation between the coronal and dorsal consonants, or which have simultaneous alveolar and palatal articul ...
s (e.g., ), such as the ''j, q'' and ''x'' occurring in
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Chinese (Sinitic) dialects that are natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of the phonology of Standard Chinese, the official language of ...
*the
dorsal Dorsal (from Latin ''dorsum'' ‘back’) may refer to: * Dorsal (anatomy), an anatomical term of location referring to the back or upper side of an organism or parts of an organism * Dorsal, positioned on top of an aircraft's fuselage * Dorsal c ...
palatal consonant Palatals are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth). Consonants with the tip of the tongue curled back against the palate are called retroflex. Characteristic ...
s (e.g., ), such as the ''ch'' in
German German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) ** Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ge ...
''ich'' or the ''ñ'' in
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Can ...
''año'' *the grooved
alveolar consonant Alveolar (; UK also ) consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli (the sockets) of the upper teeth. Alveolar consonants may be articulated with ...
s (e.g., ), such as the ''s'' and ''z'' occurring in
English English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national ide ...
words like ''sip'' and ''zip'' The first three types of sounds above have a convex tongue shape, which gives them an additional secondary articulation of palatalization. The last type has a groove running down the center line of the tongue, which gives it a strong hissing quality. The retroflex sounds, however, have a flat or concave shape, with no associated palatalization, and no groove running down the tongue. The term "retroflex", in fact, literally means "bent back" (concave), although consonants with a flat tongue shape are commonly considered retroflex as well. The
velar bunched approximant The voiced velar approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is M\. The consonant is not presen ...
found in northern varieties of
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () Dutch may also refer to: Places * Dutch, West Virginia, a community in the United States * Pennsylvania Dutch Country People E ...
and some varieties of
American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the Languages of the United States, most widely spoken lan ...
is acoustically similar to the retroflex approximant. It is articulated with the body of the tongue bunched up at the velum.


Transcription


IPA transcription

In the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic transcription, phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standa ...
, the symbols for retroflex consonants are typically the same as for the
alveolar consonant Alveolar (; UK also ) consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli (the sockets) of the upper teeth. Alveolar consonants may be articulated with ...
s, but with the addition of a right-facing hook to the bottom of the symbol. Retroflex consonants are transcribed in the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic transcription, phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standa ...
as follows:


Other conventions

Some linguists restrict these symbols for consonants with subapical palatal articulation, in which the tongue is curled back and contacts the hard palate, and use the alveolar symbols with the obsolete IPA underdot symbol for an apical post-alveolar articulation: , and use for laminal retroflex, as in Polish and Russian. The latter are also often transcribed with a retraction diacritic, as . Otherwise they are typically but inaccurately transcribed as if they were palato-alveolar, as . Consonants with more forward articulation, in which the tongue touches the alveolar or postalveolar region rather than the hard palate, can be indicated with the retracted diacritic ( minus sign below). This occurs especially for ; other sounds indicated this way, such as , tend to refer to
alveolo-palatal In phonetics, alveolo-palatal (or alveopalatal) consonants, sometimes synonymous with pre-palatal consonants, are intermediate in articulation between the coronal and dorsal consonants, or which have simultaneous alveolar and palatal artic ...
rather than retroflex consonants.


Occurrence

Although data are not precise, about 20 percent of the world's languages contain retroflex consonants of one sort or another. About half of these possess only retroflex continuants, with most of the rest having both stops and continuants. Retroflex consonants are concentrated in the
Indian subcontinent The Indian subcontinent is a list of the physiographic regions of the world, physiographical region in United Nations geoscheme for Asia#Southern Asia, Southern Asia. It is situated on the Indian Plate, projecting southwards into the Indian O ...
, particularly in the Indo-Aryan and
Dravidian languages The Dravidian languages (or sometimes Dravidic) are a family of languages spoken by 250 million people, mainly in southern India, north-east Sri Lanka, and south-west Pakistan. Since the colonial era, there have been small but significant ...
, but are found in other languages of the region as well, such as the
Munda languages The Munda languages are a group of closely related languages spoken by about nine million people in India and Bangladesh. Historically, they have been called the Kolarian languages. They constitute a branch of the Austroasiatic language famil ...
and
Burushaski Burushaski (; ) is a language isolate spoken by Burusho people, who reside almost entirely in northern Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, with a few hundred speakers in northern Jammu and Kashmir, India. In Pakistan, Burushaski is spoken by people ...
. The
Nuristani languages The Nuristani languages, formerly known as Kafiri languages, are one of the three groups within the Indo-Iranian language family, alongside the much larger Indo-Aryan and Iranian groups. They have approximately 130,000 speakers primarily in ea ...
of eastern
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
also have retroflex consonants. Among Eastern Iranian languages, they are common in
Pashto Pashto (,; , ) is an Eastern Iranian language in the Indo-European language family. It is known in historical Persian literature as Afghani (). Spoken as a native language mostly by ethnic Pashtuns, it is one of the two official languages ...
, Wakhi, Sanglechi- Ishkashimi, and Munji- Yidgha. They also occur in some other Asian languages such as
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Chinese (Sinitic) dialects that are natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of the phonology of Standard Chinese, the official language of ...
, Javanese and
Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast Asia ** A citizen of Vietnam. See Demographics of Vietnam. * Vietnamese people, or Kinh people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group native to Vietnam ** Overse ...
. In West Asia, the
Shihhi Arabic Shihhi Arabic (also known as Shehhi, Shihu, Shihuh, or Al-Shihuh) (Arabic: اللهجة الشحية Al-Lahjah Al-Shihhiyya) is a variety of Arabic spoken in the Musandam Governorate of Oman and Ras al Khaimah emirate of UAE.Raymond G. Gordon Jr. ...
variety also has retroflex approximants. The other major concentration is in the
indigenous languages of Australia The Indigenous languages of Australia number in the hundreds, the precise number being quite uncertain, although there is a range of estimates from a minimum of around 250 (using the technical definition of 'language' as non-mutually intellig ...
and the Western Pacific (notably
New Caledonia ) , anthem = "" , image_map = New Caledonia on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , map_alt = Location of New Caledonia , map_caption = Location of New Caledonia , mapsize = 290px , subdivision_type = Sovereign st ...
). Here, most languages have retroflex plosives, nasal and
approximants Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough nor with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a ...
. Retroflex consonants are relatively rare in the
European languages Most languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family. Out of a total European population of 744 million as of 2018, some 94% are native speakers of an Indo-European language. Within Indo-European, the three largest phyla are Ro ...
but occur in such languages as
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe. Or, specifically: * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland ** Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by ...
and
Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe * Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway * Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian language, including ...
in
Northern Europe The northern region of Europe has several definitions. A restrictive definition may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54th parallel north, 54°N, or may be based on other g ...
, some
Romance languages The Romance languages, sometimes referred to as Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages, are the various modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin. They are the only extant subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European language fam ...
of
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern regions of Europe, region of Europe. It is also known as Mediterranean Europe, as its geography is essentially marked by the Mediterranean Sea. Definitions of Southern Europe include some or all of these countrie ...
( Sardinian, Sicilian, including Calabrian and Salentino, some Italian dialects such as Lunigianese in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the homonymous geographical re ...
, and some Asturian dialects in
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
), and (sibilants only) Faroese and several
Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavic peoples and their descendants. They are thought to descend from a proto-language called Proto-Slavic, spoken during the Ear ...
(
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland, a country in Europe * Polish language * Poles Poles,, ; singular masculine: ''Polak'', singular feminine: ''Polka'' or Polish people, are a West Slavic nation and ethnic group, w ...
,
Russian Russian(s) refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (), Russian language term for all citizens and peo ...
,
Serbo-Croatian Serbo-Croatian () – also called Serbo-Croat (), Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic language and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and ...
, Slovak and Sorbian). In Swedish and Norwegian, a sequence of ''r'' and a coronal consonant may be replaced by the coronal's retroflex equivalent: the name ''Martin'' is pronounced (Swedish) or (Norwegian), and ''nord'' ("north") is pronounced in (Standard) Swedish and in many varieties of Norwegian. That is sometimes done for several consonants in a row after an ''r'':
Hornstull Hornstull () is an area in western Södermalm, Stockholm. Hornstull is actually the name of where the streets Hornsgatan and Långholmsgatan intersect. Up to the early 19th century it was also a city toll; "tull" in Swedish. Hornstull also has ...
is pronounced ). The
retroflex approximant The voiced retroflex approximant is a type of consonant used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\`. The IPA symbol is a turned lowercase lett ...
is in free variation with the
postalveolar approximant The voiced alveolar approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the alveolar and postalveolar approximants is , a lowercase letter ''r'' rotated 18 ...
in many dialects of
American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the Languages of the United States, most widely spoken lan ...
, particularly in the
Midwestern United States The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the Midwest or the American Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau (also known as "Region 2"). It occupies the northern central part of the United States. I ...
. Polish and Russian possess retroflex sibilants, but no stops or liquids at this place of articulation. Retroflex consonants are largely absent from indigenous languages of the Americas with the exception of the extreme south of South America, an area in the
Southwestern United States The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona, New Mexico, and adjacent portions of California, Colorado, Ne ...
as in Hopi and
O'odham The O'odham peoples, including the Tohono O'odham, the Pima or Akimel O'odham, and the Hia C-ed O'odham, are indigenous Uto-Aztecan peoples of the Sonoran desert in southern and central Arizona and northern Sonora, united by a common herita ...
, and in
Alaska Alaska ( ; russian: Аляска, Alyaska; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a state located in the Western United States on the northwest extremity of North America. A semi-exclave of the U.S., ...
and the
Yukon Territory Yukon (; ; formerly called Yukon Territory and also referred to as the Yukon) is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the second-least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 43,964 as ...
as in the
Athabaskan languages Athabaskan (also spelled ''Athabascan'', ''Athapaskan'' or ''Athapascan'', and also known as Dene) is a large family of indigenous languages of North America, located in western North America in three areal language groups: Northern, Pacific C ...
Gwich’in and
Hän The Hän, Han or Hwëch'in / Han Hwech’in (meaning "People of the River, i.e. Yukon River", in English also Hankutchin) are a First Nations people of Canada and an Alaska Native Athabaskan people of the United States; they are part of the At ...
. In African languages retroflex consonants are also rare but reportedly occur in a few
Nilo-Saharan languages The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages spoken by some 50–60 million people, mainly in the upper parts of the Chari River, Chari and Nile rivers, including historic Nubia, north of where the two tributaries of the ...
, as well as in the
Bantu language The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu people of Central, Southern, Eastern africa and Southeast Africa. They form the largest branch of the Southern Bantoid languages. The t ...
Makhuwa and some other varieties. In southwest Ethiopia, phonemically distinctive retroflex consonants are found in Bench and Sheko, two contiguous, but not closely related, Omotic languages.Breeze, Mary. 1988. "Phonological features of Gimira and Dizi." In Marianne Bechhaus-Gerst and Fritz Serzisko (eds.), Cushitic - Omotic: papers from the International Symposium on Cushitic and Omotic languages, Cologne, January 6–9, 1986, 473-487. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. There are several retroflex consonants that are implied by the
International Phonetic Association The International Phonetic Association (IPA; French: ', ''API'') is an organization that promotes the scientific study of phonetics and the various practical applications of that science. The IPA's major contribution to phonetics is the Interna ...
. In their ''Handbook'', they give the example of , a retroflex implosive, but when they requested an expansion of coverage of the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic transcription, phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standa ...
by Unicode in 2020, they supported the addition superscript variants of not just but of the retroflex lateral fricatives and , of the retroflex lateral flap , and of the retroflex click release . (See
Latin Extended-F Latin Extended-F is a Unicode block containing modifier letters, nearly all IPA and extIPA, for phonetic transcription. The Latin Extended-F and -G blocks contain the first Latin characters defined outside of the Basic Multilingual Plane In th ...
.) The lateral fricatives are explicitly provided for by extIPA. Most of these sounds are not common, but they all occur. For example, the
Iwaidja language Iwaidja, in phonemic spelling ''Iwaja'', is an Australian aboriginal language of the Iwaidja people with about 123 native, with an extra 20 to 30 L2 speakers in northernmost Australia. Historically having come from the base of the Cobourg Penin ...
of northern Australia has a
retroflex lateral flap The voiced retroflex lateral flap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The expected symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet is ().Kirk Miller & Michael AshbyL2/20-252RUnicode request for IPA modifier-letters (a), ...
() as well as a retroflex tap and retroflex lateral approximant ; and the
Dravidian language The Dravidian languages (or sometimes Dravidic) are a family of languages spoken by 250 million people, mainly in southern India, north-east Sri Lanka, and south-west Pakistan. Since the colonial era, there have been small but significant imm ...
Toda has a subapical retroflex lateral fricative () and a retroflexed trill . The Ngad'a language of
Flores Flores is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, a group of islands in the eastern half of Indonesia. Including the Komodo Islands off its west coast (but excluding the Solor Archipelago to the east of Flores), the land area is 15,530.58 km2, and th ...
has been reported to have a
retroflex implosive The voiced retroflex implosive is a type of consonantal sound. It is not known to be phonemically distinct from alveolar in any language. Sindhi has an implosive that varies between dental and retroflex articulation, while Oromo, Saraiki and ...
. Subapical retroflex clicks occur in
Central !Kung Central ǃKung (Central ǃXun), or Central Ju, is a language of the ǃKung dialect cluster, spoken in a small area of northern Namibia: Neitsas, in Grootfontein district, and Gaub, in Tsumeb district. It is frequently reported as Grootfontein ǃ ...
, and possibly in
Damin Damin ( in the practical orthography of Lardil) was a ceremonial language register used by the advanced initiated men of the aboriginal Lardil ( in the practical orthography) and Yangkaal peoples of northern Australia. Both inhabit island ...
. Most languages with retroflex sounds typically have only one retroflex sound with a given
manner of articulation In articulatory phonetics, the manner of articulation is the configuration and interaction of the articulators (speech organs such as the tongue, lips, and palate) when making a speech sound. One parameter of manner is ''stricture,'' that is, h ...
. An exception, however, is the
Toda language Toda is a Dravidian language noted for its many fricatives and trills. It is spoken by the Toda people, a population of about one thousand who live in the Nilgiri Hills of southern India. The Toda language originated from Toda-Kota subgroup o ...
, with a two-way distinction among retroflex sibilants between apical (post)alveolar and subapical palatal.


See also

* Hush consonant *
List of phonetics topics A * Acoustic phonetics * Active articulator * Affricate * Airstream mechanism * Alexander John Ellis * Alexander Melville Bell * Alfred C. Gimson * Allophone * Alveolar approximant () * Alveolar click () * Alveolar consonant * Alveolar ej ...
*
Place of articulation In articulatory phonetics, the place of articulation (also point of articulation) of a consonant is a location along the vocal tract where its production occurs. It is a point where a constriction is made between an active and a passive articula ...
*
Retroflex approximant The voiced retroflex approximant is a type of consonant used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\`. The IPA symbol is a turned lowercase lett ...


References


External links


Silke Hamann's dissertation on retroflex consonants

Retroflex Consonant Harmony in South Asia by Paul Arsenault
{{Latin script , show diacritic = retroflex hook Place of articulation