Labialized palatal approximant

Not to be confused with Կ or Ч.
For consonants followed by superscript ᶣ, see Labio-palatalization.
Labialized palatal approximant
IPA number 171
Entity (decimal) ɥ
Unicode (hex) U+0265
Kirshenbaum j<rnd>
Braille ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)⠓ (braille pattern dots-125)
source · help

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 ɥ, a rotated lowercase letter h, or occasionally , since it is a labialized [j].

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, ɥ and with the non-syllabic diacritic are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound. Sometimes,[1] is written in place of , even though the former symbol denotes an extra-short [y] 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 [i]. 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 [aˈʝ̞ʷuð̞a] 'help'. It is not correct to transcribe it with the symbols ɥ or ; the only suitable transcription is ʝ̞ʷ.[2] See palatal approximant for more information.

There is also the labialized post-palatal approximant[3] 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 [ʉ]. 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 ɥ̄ or ɥ˗ (both symbols denote a retracted ɥ), ɥ̈ (centralized ɥ), (advanced w) or (centralized w). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are H_o, H_", w_+ and w_", respectively. Other possible transcriptions include a centralized and labialized j (j̈ʷ in the IPA, j_"_w in X-SAMPA) and a non-syllabic ʉ (ʉ̯ in the IPA, }_^ in X-SAMPA).

Especially in broad transcription, the labialized post-palatal approximant may be transcribed as a palatalized labialized velar approximant ( in the IPA, w' or w_j in X-SAMPA).

Compressed palatal approximant

The compressed palatal approximant is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ɥ, 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 β̞ as j͡β̞ (simultaneous [j] and labial compression) or jᵝ ([j] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic   ͍ may also be used with a labialized approximant letter ɥ͍ as an ad hoc symbol, though technically 'spread' means unrounded.

The compressed post-palatal approximant[3] can be transcribed simply as ɥ̈ (centralized [ɥ]), and that is the convention used in this article. Other possible transcriptions include j̈ᵝ (centralized [j] modified with labial compression) and ɥ͍̈ (centralized [ɥ] 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.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz ауаҩы [awaˈɥə] 'human' See Abkhaz phonology
Chinese Mandarin /y [ɥe˥˩] 'moon' See Mandarin phonology
Shanghainese[4] [ɥo̽ʔ⁵] 'bath' Allophone of /j/ before rounded vowels.[4]
French nuire  [nɥiʁ]  'to harm' Merges with /w/ or /y/ in Belgian French. See French phonology
Iaai Contrasts with the voiceless /ɥ̊/.
Korean /gwi [kɥi] 'ear' See Korean phonology
Norwegian Standard Eastern[5] dualisme [dʉ̞ɥ̈ɑˈlɪ̟smə] 'dualism' Post-palatal; appears prevocalically after the compressed close vowels /ʉ, ʉː/.[5] May be transcribed with or simply w. See Norwegian phonology
Shipibo[6] Allophone of /w/ before /i, ĩ/. Only lightly labialized.[6]
Sorbian Upper[7] wem [ɥem] 'I know' Soft counterpart of /β/.[7] See Upper Sorbian phonology
Swedish Central Standard ful  [fʉ̟ɥl]  'ugly' Non-syllabic element of the common diphthongal realization of /ʉː/ ([ʉ̟ɥ]); can be a fricative instead. Palatal in the Central Standard variety, post-palatal in some other varieties. See Swedish phonology
Xumi Lower[8] [Rdʑɥɛ] 'fang' Allophone of /w/ when preceded by an (alveolo-)palatal initial and/or followed by one of the front vowels /i, e, ɛ/ (in Upper Xumi also /ĩ/).[8][9]
Upper[9] [Rdɥe] 'to ask'

Protruded palatal approximant

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 ɥʷ or (a palatal approximant modified by endolabialization).

Acoustically, this sound is "between" the more typical compressed palatal approximant [ɥ] and the non-labialized palatal approximant [j].


Features of the protruded palatal approximant:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Norwegian Standard Eastern[5] cyanid [sʏ̫ɥ̫ɑˈniːd] 'cyanide' Appears prevocalically after the protruded close vowels /ʏ, yː/.[5] See Norwegian phonology
Spanish ayuda [äˈʝ̞ʷuð̞ä] 'help' Approximant consonant; lenited allophone of /ɟ͡ʝ/ before and between rounded vowels. May be a fricative [ʝʷ] in emphatic speech. See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[10] yla [ˈŷ̫ɥ̫lâ̠] 'howl' Non-syllabic element of the common diphthongal realization of /yː/ ([y̫ɥ̫]); can be a fricative [ʝʷ] instead. See Swedish phonology

See also


  1. See e.g. Mangold (2005:42)
  2. Martínez Celdrán (2004:208))
  3. 1 2 Instead of "post-palatal", it can be called "retracted palatal", "backed palatal", "palato-velar", "pre-velar", "advanced velar", "fronted velar" or "front-velar". For simplicity, this article uses only the term "post-palatal".
  4. 1 2 Chen & Gussenhoven (2015:331)
  5. 1 2 3 4 Kristoffersen (2000), p. 35.
  6. 1 2 Valenzuela, Márquez Pinedo & Maddieson (2001), p. 283.
  7. 1 2 Šewc-Schuster (1984), pp. 36–37, 41, 46.
  8. 1 2 Chirkova & Chen (2013), p. 368.
  9. 1 2 Chirkova, Chen & Kocjančič Antolík (2013), p. 387.
  10. Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 295.


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/11/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.