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Language: Linguistics · Semiotics · Speech

Manners of articulation
Plosive (occlusive)
See also: Place of articulation
This page contains phonetic information in IPA, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]

Affricate consonants begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as [t] or [d]), but release as a fricative such as [s] or [z] (or, in a couple of languages, into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel.


The English sounds spelt "ch" and "j" (transcribed [tʃ] and [dʒ] in IPA), German and Italian z [ts] and Italian z [dz] are typical affricates. These sounds are fairly common in the world's languages, as are other affricates with similar sounds, such as those in Polish and Chinese. However, other than [dʒ], voiced affricates are relatively uncommon. For several places of articulation they aren't attested at all.

Much less common are e.g. labiodental affricates, such as [p͡f] in German, or velar affricates, such as [k͡x] in Tswana (written kg) or High Alemannic Swiss German dialects (depending on the dialect also uvular [q͡χ]). Worldwide, only a few languages have affricates in these positions, even though the corresponding stop consonants are virtually universal. Also less common are alveolar affricates where the fricative is lateral, such as the [tɬ] sound found in Nahuatl and Totonac. Many Athabaskan languages (such as Dene Suline and Navajo) have series of coronal affricates which may be unaspirated, aspirated, or ejective in addition to being interdental/dental, alveolar, postalveolar, or lateral, i.e. [t̪͡θ], [t̪͡θʰ], [t̪͡θ’], [ts], [tsʰ], [ts’], [tʃ], [tʃʰ], [tʃ’], [tɬ], [tɬʰ], and [tɬ’]. Affricates may also be contrasted by palatalization, as in the Erzya language, where voiceless alveolar, postalveolar and palatal affricates are contrasted. Affricates may also have phonemic length, that is, affected by a chroneme, as in Karelian.


Affricates are often represented by the two sounds they consist of (e.g. [pf], [kx]). However, single signs for the affricates may be desirable, in order to stress that they function as unitary speech segments (i.e. as phonemes). In this case, the IPA recommends to join the two elements of the affricate by a tie bar (e.g. [p͡f], [k͡x]). Ligatures are available in Unicode for the six common affricates [ʦ], [ʣ], [ʧ], [ʤ], [ʨ], and [ʥ].

Another method is to indicate the release of the affricate with a superscript: [tˢ], [kˣ]. This is derived from the IPA convention of indicating other releases with a superscript.

In other phonetic transcription systems, such as the Americanist system, the affricates [ts], [dz], [tʃ], [dʒ], [tɬ], and [dɮ] are represented as <c> or <¢>; <j>, <ƶ>, or (older) <ʒ>; <c> or <č>; <ǰ>, <ǧ>, or (older) <ǯ>; <ƛ>; and <λ> or <dl> respectively. Within the IPA, [tʃ] and [dʒ] are sometimes transcribed as palatal stops, <c> and <ɟ>.

Affricates vs. stop-fricative sequences

Affricates can contrast with stop-fricative sequences. Examples include:

Polish: [t͡ʃ] in czysta 'clean (f.)'   vs.   [tʃ] in trzysta 'three hundred',


Klallam: [t͡s] in k’ʷə́nc 'look at me'   vs.   [ts] in k’ʷə́nts 'he looks at it'.

The difference is that in the stop-fricative sequence, the stop has a release of its own before the fricative starts, but in the affricate, the fricative element is the release. Stop-fricative sequences may have a syllable boundary between the two segments.

Affricates and stop-fricative sequences are also distinguished phonemically. In English, [ts] and [dz] (as in nuts and nods) are considered to be sequences of a stop phoneme and a fricative phoneme even though they are phonetically affricates, because they may have a morpheme boundary in them (e.g. nuts is nut + s). The real English affricate phonemes /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ cannot have a morpheme boundary, and in order to show that they are not sequences of phonemes, they can be written with the ligatures or tie bars, or different characters /č/ and /ǰ/, avoiding the ambiguous /tʃ/ and /dʒ/.

List of affricates

In the case of coronals, the symbols <t, d> are normally used for the stop portion of the affricate regardless of place. For example, [t͡ʂ] is commonly seen for [ʈ͡ʂ]. For legibility, the tie bars have been removed from the table entries.

The exemplar languages are ones that these sounds have been reported from, but in several cases they may need confirmation.

Sibilant affricates

  • Voiceless alveolar affricate [ts] (in Italian, etc.)
  • Voiced alveolar affricate [dz] (in Italian, etc.)
  • Voiceless postalveolar affricate [t̠ʃ] (in English, etc.)
  • Voiced postalveolar affricate [d̠ʒ] (in English, etc.)
  • Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate [t̠ɕ] (in Polish, etc.)
  • Voiced alveolo-palatal affricate [d̠ʑ] (in Polish, etc.)
  • Voiceless retroflex affricate [ʈʂ] (in Hindi, etc.)
  • Voiced retroflex affricate [ɖʐ] (in Hindi, etc.)

Non-sibilant affricates

  • Voiceless bilabial affricate [pɸ] (needs confirmation)
  • Voiceless bilabial-labiodental affricate [pf] (in German, Teke)
  • Voiced bilabial-labiodental affricate [bv] (in Teke) (needs confirmation)
  • Voiceless labiodental affricate [p̪f] (in XiNkuna Tsonga)
  • Voiced labiodental affricate [b̪v] (in XiNkuna Tsonga)
  • Voiceless dental affricate [t̪θ] (in Luo, Dene Suline)
  • Voiced dental affricate [d̪ð] (in Dene Suline)
  • Voiceless alveolar nonsibilant affricate [tɹ̝̊] (in Mapudungun) (needs confirmation)
  • Voiceless palatal affricate [cç] (in Hungarian)
  • Voiced palatal affricate [ɟʝ] (in Hungarian)
  • Voiceless velar affricate [kx] (in Setswana, High Alemannic German)
  • Voiceless uvular affricate [qχ] (in Nez Percé, Wolof, Kabardian)

Lateral affricates

  • Voiceless alveolar lateral affricate [tɬ] (in Navaho, etc.)
  • Voiced alveolar lateral affricate [dɮ] (not reported to ever contrast with [ɮ])
  • Voiceless palatal lateral affricate [cʎ̥ʼ] (as ejective [cʎ̥ʼ] in Dahalo; as [tʎ̥] in Hadza)
  • Voiceless velar lateral affricate [kʟ̝̊] (as ejective [kʟ̝̊ʼ] in Zulu)

Trilled affricates

  • Prenasalized trilled bilabial affricate [mbʙ] (in Kele)
  • Voiceless dental bilabially trilled affricate [t̪ʙ̥] (in Wari’)
  • Voiceless retroflex trilled affricate [tɽ̝̊] (in Malagasy) (needs confirmation; a similar sound in the southern dialect of Mapudungun is reported to vary with [ʈʂ].)
  • Voiced retroflex trilled affricate [dɽ̝] (in Malagasy) (needs confirmation; a similar sound in Fijian is a prenasalized postalveolar stop that seldom has a trilled release)

The more common of the voiceless affricates are all attested as ejectives as well: [tθ’, ts’, tɬ’, tʃ’, tɕ’, tʂ’, cʎ̥ʼ, kx’, kʟ̝̊’]. Several Khoisan languages such as !Xóõ are reported to have voiced ejective affricates, but these are actually consonant clusters: [dts’, dtʃ’]. Affricates are also commonly aspirated: [m̪p̪fʰ, tθʰ, tsʰ, tɬʰ, tʃʰ, tɕʰ, tʂʰ], and occasionally murmured: [m̪b̪vʱ, d̠ʒʱ]. Labialized, palatalized, velarized, and pharyngealized affricates also occur.

See also

als:Affrikate da:Affrikat de:Affrikate fr:Consonne affriquée ko:파찰음 he:עיצורים מחוככים nl:Affrikaat ro:Consoană africată ru:Аффриката fi:Affrikaatta sv:Affrikata

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