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Voiced retroflex fricative

Voiced retroflex fricative
IPA Number137
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ʐ
Unicode (hex)U+0290
Braille⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)⠵ (braille pattern dots-1356)

The voiced retroflex sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʐ , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is z`. Like all the retroflex consonants, the IPA symbol is formed by adding a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of a z (the letter used for the corresponding alveolar consonant).


Schematic mid-sagittal section

Features of the voiced retroflex sibilant:


In the following transcriptions, diacritics may be used to distinguish between apical [ʐ̺] and laminal [ʐ̻].

The commonality of [ʐ] cross-linguistically is 2% in a phonological analysis of 2155 languages[1]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz абжа/abža [ˈabʐa] 'half' See Abkhaz phonology
Adyghe жъы / jı / ظہـ [ʐ̻ə] 'old' Laminal.
Awetí[2] [pɨtiˈʐɨk˺] 'to pray' Diachronically related to [ɾ] and also to some other alveolar sounds in certain occasions. As word lists created in the 1900s appoint for [ɾ] where there is [ʐ] now, the latter sound is supposed to be the result of a very recent sound change that is analogically happening in Waurá.[2]
Chinese Changshu dialect 常熟 /dʐan ʐɔʔ/ [tʂʱä̃233 ʐɔʔ23] (without tone sandhi) 'Changshu' Pronounced [ʂʱ] when occurring at the first syllable. A native Wu Chinese speaker may reduce it a sound closer to a retroflex approximant [ɻ] (similar to the Standard Mandarin r) when trying to force a unnatural voiced pronunciation on the first syllable.
Faroese renn [ʐɛn] 'run'
Lower Sorbian[3][4] Łužyca [ˈwuʐɨt͡sa] 'Lusatia'
Mapudungun[5] rayen [ʐɜˈjën] 'flower' May be [ɻ] or [ɭ] instead.[5]
Marrithiyel Marri Tjevin dialect [wiˈɲaʐu] 'they are laughing' Voicing is non-contrastive.
Mehináku[6] [ɨˈʐũte] 'parrot' Resulted from the voicing of /ʂ/ in between vowels.[6]
Pashto Southern dialect تږى/tâjai [ˈtəʐai] 'thirsty' See Pashto phonology
Polish Standard[7] żona [ˈʐ̻ɔn̪ä] 'wife' Also represented orthographically by ⟨rz⟩ and, when written so, may be instead pronounced as the raised alveolar non-sonorant trill by few speakers.[8] It is transcribed as /ʒ/ by most Polish scholars. See Polish phonology
Southeastern Cuyavian dialects[9] zapłacił [ʐäˈpwät͡ɕiw] 'he paid' Some speakers. It is a result of hypercorrecting the more popular merger of /ʐ/ and /z/ into [z] (see Szadzenie).
Suwałki dialect[10]
Romagnol di [ˈdiːʐ] 'ten' Apical; may be [z̺ʲ] or [ʒ] instead.
Russian[7] жена/žena [ʐɨ̞ˈna] 'wife' See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic South Barra, Vatersay, Tiree air muir [ɛʐ ˈmuʐ] 'at sea' Realised as a palatalised /ɾʲ/ in most dialects or as /ð/ in some other Hebridean dialects, particularly Lewis and South Uist.
Serbo-Croatian жут / žut [ʐûːt̪] 'yellow' Typically transcribed as /ʒ/. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Shina Gilgiti[11] ڙَکُݨ / akuṇ [ʐəkuɳ] 'donkey'
Slovak[12] žaba [ˈʐäbä] 'frog'
Spanish Andean hacer [a'seʐ] 'do' The phoneme [r] changes to [ʐ], when it is at the end of a syllable
marrón, ratón [maˈʐon], [ʐa'ton] 'brown', 'mouse' See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central dialects fri [fʐi] 'free' Allophone of /ɹ/. Also may be pronounced as [r] or [ɾ]. See Swedish phonology
Tilquiapan Zapotec[13] ? [ʐan] 'bottom'
Torwali[14] ݜوڙ [ʂuʐ] 'straight'
Ubykh [ʐa] 'firewood' See Ubykh phonology
Ukrainian жaбa/žaba [ˈʐɑbɐ] 'frog' See Ukrainian phonology
Upper Sorbian Some dialects[15][16] [example needed] Used in dialects spoken in villages north of Hoyerswerda; corresponds to [ʒ] in the standard language.[3]
Yi ry [ʐʐ̩˧] 'grass'

Voiced retroflex non-sibilant fricative

Voiced retroflex non-sibilant fricative
IPA Number152 429


Features of the voiced retroflex non-sibilant fricative:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English Eastern Cape[17] red [ɻ˔ed] 'red' Apical; typical realization of /r/ in that region.[17] See South African English phonology

See also


  1. ^ (2018). PHOIBLE Online - Segments. [online] Available at:
  2. ^ a b Drude (2020), p. 190.
  3. ^ a b Šewc-Schuster (1984:40–41)
  4. ^ Zygis (2003:180–181, 190–191)
  5. ^ a b Sadowsky et al. (2013), p. 90.
  6. ^ a b Felipe (2020), pp. 87–89.
  7. ^ a b Hamann (2004:65)
  8. ^ "Gwary polskie - Frykatywne rż (ř)". Archived from the original on 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  9. ^ "Gwary polskie - Gwara regionu". Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Gwary polskie - Szadzenie". Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  11. ^ Ziya, Muhammad Amin, Prof. (2010, October). Gilti Shina Urdu Dictionary / ݜِناٗ - اُردو لغت. Publisher: Zia Publications, Gilgit. ضیاء پبلیکبشنز، گلیٗتISBN: 978-969-942-00-8
  12. ^ Hanulíková & Hamann (2010:374)
  13. ^ Merrill (2008:109)
  14. ^ Lunsford (2001:16–20)
  15. ^ Šewc-Schuster (1984:41)
  16. ^ Zygis (2003:180)
  17. ^ a b Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:165)


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Voiced retroflex fricative
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