Voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant

Voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant
IPA number 134
Entity (decimal) ʃ
Unicode (hex) U+0283
Kirshenbaum S
Braille ⠱ (braille pattern dots-156)
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The voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant fricative or voiceless domed postalveolar sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in languages, including English. In English, it is usually represented in writing with sh, as in ship.

Palato-alveolar fricative [ʃ, ʒ]

The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʃ, the letter esh introduced by Isaac Pitman (not to be confused with the integral symbol ). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is S.

An alternative symbol is š, an s with a caron or háček, which is used in the Americanist phonetic notation and the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet, as well as in the scientific and ISO 9 transliterations of Cyrillic. It originated with the Czech orthography of Jan Hus and was adopted in Gaj's Latin alphabet and other Latin alphabets of Slavic languages. It also features in the orthographies of many Baltic, Finno-Lappic, North American and African languages.


Features of the voiceless palato-alveolar fricative:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe шыд [ʃəd] 'donkey'
Albanian shtëpi [ʃtəˈpi] 'house'
Arabic Standard[1] شمس  [ʃams]  'sun' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[2] շուն  [ʃun]  'dog'
Asturian xera [ʃe.ɾa] 'work'
Azerbaijani şeir [ʃeiɾ] 'poem'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic [ʃəkla] 'picture'
Basque kaixo [kajʃ̺o] 'hello'
Bengali [ʃɔb] 'all' See Bengali phonology
Berber Kabyle ciwer [ʃiwər] 'to consult'
Breton chadenn [ˈʃa.dɛ̃n] 'chain'
Bulgarian юнашки [joˈnaʃki] 'heroically' See Bulgarian phonology
Czech kaše [ˈkaʃɛ] 'mash' See Czech phonology
Dutch[3] sjabloon  [ʃäˈbloːn]  'template' May be [sʲ] or [ɕ] instead. See Dutch phonology
English sheep  [ʃiːp]  'sheep' See English phonology
Esperanto ŝelko [ˈʃelko] 'suspenders' See Esperanto phonology
Faroese sjúkrahús [ʃʉukrahʉus] 'hospital' See Faroese phonology
French[4] cher  [ʃɛʁ]  'expensive' See French phonology
Finnish šekki [ʃekːi] 'check' See Finnish phonology
Galician viaxe [ˈbjaʃe] 'trip' See Galician phonology
Georgian[5] არი [ˈʃɑɾi] 'quibbling'
German Standard[6] schön [ʃʷø̈ːn] 'beautiful' Laminal or apico-laminal and strongly labialized.[6] See Standard German phonology
Greek Cypriot ασ̌σ̌ήμια [ɐˈʃːimɲɐ] 'ugliness' Contrasts with /ʃ/ and /ʒː/
Hebrew שלום  [ʃaˈlom]  'peace' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi [ʃək] 'doubt' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian segítség [ˈʃɛɡiːt͡ʃːeːɡ] 'help' See Hungarian phonology
Ilocano siák [ʃak] 'I'
Irish sí [ʃiː] 'she' See Irish phonology
Italian Marked accents of Emilia-Romagna[7] sali [ˈʃäːli] 'you go up' Apical non-labialized; may be [s̺ʲ] or [ʂ] instead.[7] It corresponds to [s] in standard Italian. See Italian phonology
Standard[8] fasce [ˈfäʃːe] 'bands' See Italian phonology
Kabardian шыд [ʃɛd] 'donkey' Contrasts with a labialized form
Latvian šalle [ˈʃalːe] 'scarf' See Latvian phonology
Limburgish Maastrichtian[10] sjat [ʃɑ̽t] 'darling' Laminal post-alveolar with an unclear amount of palatalization.[11]
Lingala shakú [ʃakú] 'African grey parrot'
Lithuanian šarvas [ˈʃɐrˑvɐs] 'armor' See Lithuanian phonology
Macedonian што [ʃtɔ] 'what' See Macedonian phonology
Malay syarikat [ʃarikat] 'company'
Maltese x'jismek [ʃismek] 'what is your name'
Marathi ब्द [ˈʃəbˈd̪ə] 'word' See Marathi phonology
Mopan kax [kɑːʃ] 'chicken'
Mutsun raṭmašte [ɾɑʈmɑʃtɛ] 'having acne'
Neapolitan scugnizzo [ʃkuˈɲːitt͡sə] 'urchin'
Occitan Auvergnat maissant [meˈʃɔ̃] 'bad' See Occitan phonology
Gascon maishant [maˈʃan]
Limousin son [ʃũ] 'his'
Persian شاه [ʃɒːh] 'king' See Persian phonology
Polish Gmina Istebna siano [ˈʃän̪ɔ] 'hay' /ʂ/ and /ɕ/ merge into [ʃ] in these dialects. In standard Polish, /ʃ/ is commonly used to transcribe what actually is a laminal voiceless retroflex sibilant
Lubawa dialect[12]
Malbork dialect[12]
Ostróda dialect[12]
Warmia dialect[12]
Portuguese[13][14] cheio [ˈʃeju] 'filled' Also described as alveolo-palatal [ɕ].[15][16][17] See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਸ਼ੇਰ [ʃeːɾ] 'lion'
Romani Vlax deš [deʃ] 'ten'
Romanian șefi [ʃefʲ] 'bosses' See Romanian phonology
Sahaptin šíš [ʃiʃ] 'mush'
Scottish Gaelic seinn [ʃeiɲ] 'sing' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbo-Croatian шума šuma [ʃûmä] 'forest' May be laminal retroflex instead, depending on the dialect. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Silesian Gmina Istebna[18] These dialects merge /ʂ/ and /ɕ/ into [ʃ]
Slovene šola [ˈʃóːlä] 'school' See Slovene phonology
Somali shan [ʃan] 'five' See Somali phonology
Spanish Chilean echador [e̞ʃäˈðo̞ɾ] 'boastful' Corresponds to [t͡ʃ] in other dialects. See Spanish phonology
New Mexican
Northern Mexico[19]
Southern Andalusia
Rioplatense ayer [äˈʃe̞ɾ] 'yesterday' May be voiced [ʒ] instead. See Spanish phonology and yeísmo
Swahili kushoto [kuʃoto] 'trees'
Tagalog siya [ʃa] 'he/she' See Tagalog phonology
Toda[20] [pɔʃ] 'language'
Tunica šíhkali [ˈʃihkali] 'stone'
Turkish güneş [ɟyˈne̞ʃ] 'sun' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian шахи ['ʃɑxɪ] 'chess' See Ukrainian phonology
Urdu شکریہ [ʃʊkˈriːaː] 'thank you' See Hindustani phonology
Uyghur شەھەر [ʃæhær] 'city'
Walloon texhou [tɛʃu] 'knit fabric'
Welsh Standard siarad [ˈʃɑːrad] 'speak' See Welsh phonology
Southern dialects mis [miːʃ] 'month'
West Frisian sjippe [ˈʃɪpǝ] 'soap' See West Frisian phonology
Western Lombard Canzés fescia [feʃa] 'nuisance'
Yiddish וויסנשאַפֿטלעכע [vɪsn̩ʃaftləxə] 'scientific' See Yiddish phonology
Yorùbá i [ʃũ] 'open'
Zapotec languages Tilquiapan[21] xana [ʃana] 'how?'
Zhuang cib [ʃǐp] 'ten'

In various languages, including English and French, it may have simultaneous labialization, i.e. [ʃʷ], although this is usually not transcribed.

Classical Latin did not have [ʃ], though it does occur in most Romance languages. For example, ch in French chanteur "singer" is pronounced /ʃ/. Chanteur is descended from Latin cantare, where c was pronounced /k/. The sc in Latin scientia "science" was pronounced /sk/, but has shifted to /ʃ/ in Italian scienza.

Similarly, Proto-Germanic had neither [ʃ] nor [ʂ], yet many of its descendants do. In most cases, this [ʃ] or [ʂ] descends from a Proto-Germanic /sk/. For instance, Proto-Germanic *skipą ("hollow object, water-borne vessel larger than a boat") was pronounced /ˈski.pɑ̃/. The English word "ship" /ʃɪp/ has been pronounced without the /sk/ the longest, the word being descended from Old English "scip" /ʃip/, which already also had the [ʃ], though the Old English spelling etymologically indicated that the old /sk/ had once been present.

This change took longer to catch on in West Germanic languages other than Old English, though it eventually did. The second West Germanic language to undergo this sound shift was Old High German. In fact, it has been argued that Old High German's /sk/ was actually already [s̠k], because a single [s] had already shifted to []. Furthermore, by Middle High German, that /s̠k/ had shifted to [ʃ]. After High German, the shift most likely then occurred in Low Saxon. After Low Saxon, Middle Dutch began the shift, but it stopped shifting once it reached /sx/, and has kept that pronunciation since. Then, most likely through influence from German and Low Saxon, North Frisian experienced the shift.

Then, Swedish quite swiftly underwent the shift, which resulted in the very uncommon [ɧ] phoneme, which, aside from Swedish, is only used in Colognian, a variety of High German, though not as a replacement for the standard High German /ʃ/ but a coronalized /ç/. However, the exact realization of Swedish /ɧ/ varies considerably among dialects; for instance, in Northern dialects it tends to be realized as [ʂ]. See sj-sound for more details. Finally, the last to undergo the shift was Norwegian, in which the result of the shift was [ʃ].

The sound in Russian denoted by ш is commonly transcribed as a palato-alveolar fricative but is actually a laminal retroflex fricative.

Voiceless postalveolar non-sibilant fricative

Voiceless postalveolar non-sibilant fricative
IPA number 151 414 402A 429
X-SAMPA r\_-_0_r

The voiceless postalveolar non-sibilant fricative is a consonantal sound. As the International Phonetic Alphabet does not have separate symbols for the post-alveolar consonants (the same symbol is used for all coronal places of articulation that aren't palatalized), this sound is usually transcribed ɹ̠̊˔ (retracted constricted voiceless [ɹ]). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\_-_0_r.



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English Hiberno-English[22] tree [tɹ̠̊˔iː] 'tree' Allophone of /r/ after an aspirated /t/.[22] See English phonology
Received Pronunciation[23] crew [kɹ̠̊˔uː] 'crew' Partially devoiced;[24] it's an allophone of /r/ after aspirated consonants.[24] See English phonology

See also


  1. Thelwall (1990), p. 37.
  2. Dum-Tragut (2009), p. 18.
  3. Gussenhoven (1992), p. 46.
  4. Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 73.
  5. Shosted & Chikovani (2006), p. 255.
  6. 1 2 Mangold (2005:51)
  7. 1 2 Canepari (1992), p. 73.
  8. Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004), p. 117.
  9. Treder, Jerzy. "Fonetyka i fonologia". Rastko.
  10. Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 156.
  11. Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:156). The authors state that /ʃ/ is "pre-palatal, articulated with the blade of the tongue against the post-alveolar place of articulation". This makes it unclear whether this sound is palato-alveolar (somewhat palatalized post-alveolar) or alveolo-palatal (strongly palatalized post-alveolar).
  12. 1 2 3 4 Dubisz, Karaś & Kolis (1995), p. 62.
  13. Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  14. Medina (2010).
  15. Mateus & d'Andrade (2000).
  16. Silva (2003), p. 32.
  17. Guimarães (2004).
  18. 1 2 Dąbrowska (2004:?)
  19. Cotton & Sharp (2001:15)
  20. Ladefoged (2005:168)
  21. Merrill (2008), p. 108.
  22. 1 2 "Irish English and Ulster English" (PDF). Uni Stuttgart. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.
  23. Roach (2004), pp. 240–41.
  24. 1 2 Roach (2004), p. 240.


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