Voiceless retroflex affricate

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Voiceless retroflex affricate
IPA number 105 (136)
Entity (decimal) ʈ​͡​ʂ
Unicode (hex) U+0288 U+0361 U+0282
Kirshenbaum ts.

The voiceless retroflex sibilant affricate is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʈ͡ʂ⟩, sometimes simplified to ⟨⟩,[1] and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ⟨ts`⟩.

The affricate occurs in a number of languages:

Some scholars transcribe the laminal variant of this sound as /t͡ʃ/, even though it is not palatalized. In such cases the voiceless palato-alveolar affricate is transcribed /t͡ʃʲ/.


Features of the voiceless retroflex affricate:

  • Its manner of articulation is sibilant affricate, which means it is produced by first stopping the air flow entirely, then directing it with the tongue to the sharp edge of the 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 sub-apical 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 Meaning Notes
Adyghe Temirgoy чъыгы About this sound [t͡ʂəɣə]  'tree'
Asturian Some dialects[2][3] ḷḷobu [ʈ͡ʂoβu] 'wolf' Corresponds to standard /ʎ/
Belarusian пачатак [paʈ͡ʂatak] 'the beginning' Laminal. See Belarusian phonology
Chinese Mandarin[4] 中文/Zhōngwén [ʈ͡ʂʊŋ˥ u̯ən˧˥] 'Chinese language' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Mandarin phonology
Khanty Eastern dialects ҷӓңҷ [ʈ͡ʂaɳʈ͡ʂ] 'knee' Corresponds to a voiceless retroflex fricative /ʂ/ in the northern dialects
Southern dialects
Northern Qiang zhes [ʈ͡ʂəs] 'day before yesterday' Contrasts with aspirated and voiced forms
Polish Standard[5][6] czas About this sound [ˈʈ͡ʂäs̪]  'time' Laminal. Transcribed /t͡ʃ/ by most Polish scholars. See Polish phonology
Southeastern Cuyavian dialects[7] cena [ˈʈ͡ʂɛn̪ä] 'price' Some speakers. It is a result of hypercorrecting the more popular merger of /ʈ͡ʂ/ and /t͡s/ into [t͡s]
Suwałki dialect[8]
Quechua Cajamarca–Cañaris ch'upa [ʈ͡ʂupə] 'tail'
Serbo-Croatian čokoláda / чоколада [ʈ͡ʂo̞ko̞ˈɫǎ̠ːd̪a̠] 'chocolate' Laminal. It may be palato-alveolar instead, depending on the dialect. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak[9] čakať [ˈʈ͡ʂakac] 'to wait' Laminal
Torwali[10] ? [ʈ͡ʂuwu] 'to sew' Contrasts with aspirated form
Yi /zha [ʈ͡ʂa˧] 'a bit' Contrasts with aspirated form

See also


  1. Unlike the palato-alveolar and alveolar affricates, there is no obsolete ligature.
  2. (Asturian) Normes ortográfiques, Academia de la Llingua Asturiana Page 14
  3. García Arias (2003:34)
  4. Ladefoged & Wu (1984:?)
  5. Jassem (2003:103)
  6. Hamann (2004:65)
  7. "Gwary polskie - Gwara regionu". Gwarypolskie.uw.edu.pl. Retrieved 2013-11-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Gwary polskie - Szadzenie". Gwarypolskie.uw.edu.pl. Retrieved 2013-11-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Hanulíková & Hamann (2010:374)
  10. Lunsford (2001:16–20)


  • García Arias, Xosé Lluis (2003), Gramática Histórica de la Lengua Asturiana, Oviedo: Academia de la Llingua Asturiana, pp. 34–36, ISBN 84-8168-341-8<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Hamann, Silke (2004), "Retroflex fricatives in Slavic languages" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 53–67, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001604<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Hanulíková, Adriana; Hamann, Silke (2010), "Slovak" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 40 (3): 373–378, doi:10.1017/S0025100310000162<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Wu, Zongji (1984), "Places of Articulation: An Investigation of Pekingese Fricatives and Affricates", Journal of Phonetics, 11: 267–278<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>