Talk:Approximant consonant

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Edit needed in first sentence[edit]

I would just make the edit myself, but I am sick unto death of having edits immediately reverted for unconvincing reasons by people who seem to "own" everything around here, and to "know" better than everyone else. I see a person who is prominently this way on this very Talk page, so I'm not about to invite that Supreme Being Edit Warrior to start stomping all over any contribution I would otherwise make. At least here on the Talk page, what I write is not subject to the smiting hand of such a deity. (Sorry to all the rest of you for the tone; but by now, thanks to a couple such Wikipenes I've had the great misfortune to run into, I have lost all interest in making my own edits — I take no pleasure in the prospect of having an attempted contribution instantly vaporized.)

So perhaps the God of Linguistics (and apparently various other subjects) would like to take this following observation under consideration, and if it please the Majesty, perhaps to make a corresponding change, if the Majesty deem it worthy. To wit:

It seems to me that in this first sentence:

Approximants are speech sounds (phonemes) that could be regarded as intermediate between vowels and typical consonants.

...there is no place for the word "phoneme", since a phoneme is an abstract cognitive unit within the phonology of a specific language, which merely corresponds to an identifiable set of one or more physical sounds possessing realized physical properties. Clearly, some would say a phoneme is that set of physical sounds, itself; and this may well be the definition of a more empiricist or positivist school of linguistics — see e.g. the brief definition "Phoneme, a set of phones that are cognitively equivalent" given under "See Also" in the Phone article (and then contrast it with the definition given in the Phoneme article itself... — but where I come from, linguistics is a branch of cognitive psychology, where a phoneme is a single unit that is "real" only on a cognitive, i.e. abstract, psychological, level, and hence will correspond to a physical set of allophones, but cannot be that set.

So "long story long" as it were, finally I suggest simply that the first sentence be modified to read "phones" instead of "phonemes":

Approximants are speech sounds (phones) that could be regarded as intermediate between vowels and typical consonants.

I would pick at other details, such as the notion of a "typical" consonant, but I would not wish to make the God(s?) angry. So I leave all such to You in Your infinite wisdom to decide.

Wikipedia is a nice idea, and obviously I still wish to see it improved; but human nature being what it is, I shall have to settle for the occasional verbose *suggestion* here on these talk pages which I hope others will take into their own hands. Myself, I have little stomach for actual editing, as it seems almost inevitably to lead to bowing the knee to one or more of the Ba‘als. DevilInTheDetails (talk) 04:49, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Difference from schwa?[edit]

How is this different from a schwa?

A schwa is a vowel of indeterminate quality -- usually a "reduced" one. Approximants are consonants, albeit pronounced with a greater opening of the vocal tract than other kinds of consonant. They are distinguished more by their unique resonance than by any kind of "sound effect" produced in the mouth (like the sound of friction or the final burst accompanying a stop articulation). Piotr Gasiorowski

Mapudungun's high central vowel and its corresponding approximant[edit]

Mapudungun has three high vowel sounds: /i/, /u/ and a high central unrounded vowel, /ɨ/, transcribed usually as "ü".

It also has /j/ and /w/, and a voiced unrounded velar consonant that's described in most textbooks as a fricative sound ɣ and transcribed usually as "q".

This sound is described by Felix José de Augusta as "the ü, written this way because of it similarity with a mispronounced «g», in words like naq, leq."; other texts also note a correspondence between this sound and /ɨ/, in the same way that /i/ corresponds to /j/ and /u/ corresponds to /w/. It may very well be an approximant: /ɰ/.

I found the following recordings (GFDL) which seem to illustrate my point:

liq /'liɣ/ ("white"):

trukür /tʴu'kɨɹ/ ("fog"):

Locoluis 06:21, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks - unfortunately, those are a single link.
If this really is the consonantal version of a central vowel, then perhaps it is [j] rather than [ɰ]? That would be interesting. kwami 06:28, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Fixed. Locolui.
Listening to the first one, it sounds more like a diphthong than a vowel plus consonant. But that's perhaps a naive impression. The second does sound more like an approximant, almost like a Usonian English /r/. Too bad the beginning is clipped - I've always been curious about that <tr>. kwami 06:59, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
I'll put it in the article as a possibility. Swedish has something similar allophonically. kwami 07:05, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
I see, it is a Usonian /r/. I'm in IE and couldn't see the IPA. Fixing. kwami 07:28, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually... this discussion seems pointless now. See Locoluis (talk) 14:20, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

On the main page, [ȷ̈] appears (at least on my computer, United States, Windows 7, IE 9) as an unadorned [j]. It should be changed to something readable like [j], even if it's not official IPA. Or if there's a code for overstrike, you could overstrike a dotless j with an umlaut. Collin237 (talk) 07:04, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

That is a dotless jay overstruck with a trema: [ ȷ̈ ]. Does an overstruck dotted jay: [ j̈ ] look better to you? — kwami (talk) 18:56, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
As the problem seems to be that the first dot is swallowed by the bracket, I added a full space between the two [ ȷ̈]. It doesn't look too bad on my Firefox, at least, and even if inelegant on some browsers it'll hopefully make it clear for the time being. Lsfreak (talk) 20:04, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Some Tupi–Guarani languages also seem to have such a phoneme, see Tupi language#Semivowels. --Florian Blaschke (talk)


Classical Arabic before the 9th christian century is now thought to have contrasted a voiced alveolar lateral approximant with a voiced alveolar lateral fricative. Perhaps the article's statement that fricatives and approximants do not contrast should be revised?Szfski (talk) 08:29, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Citation errors[edit]

Using User:Ucucha/HarvErrors, the following errors are shown:

  • (1996:310), on the other hand, labels both as r-colored and notes that both have a lowered third formant.[12] Harv error: link to #CITEREFCatford1988 doesn't point to any citation. Harv error: link to #CITEREFTrask1996 doesn't point to any citation.
  • ^ Ladefoged (1975:277) Harv error: link to #CITEREFLadefoged1975 doesn't point to any citation.
  • ^ Martínez-Celdrán (2004:201), pointing to Ladefoged (1964:25) Harv error: link to #CITEREFLadefoged1964 doesn't point to any citation.
  • ^ Hallé, Best & Levitt (1999:283) citing Delattre & Freeman (1968), Zawadzki & Kuehn (1980), and Boyce & Espy-Wilson (1997) Harv error: link to #CITEREFHall.C3.A9BestLevitt1999 doesn't point to any citation. Harv error: link to #CITEREFZawadzkiKuehn1980 doesn't point to any citation.
  • ^ Both cited in Hamann (2003:25–26) Harv error: link to #CITEREFHamann2003 doesn't point to any citation.
  • Hallé, Pierre A.; Best, Catherine T.; Levitt; Andrea (1999), "Phonetic vs. phonological influences on French listeners' perception of American English approximants", Journal of Phonetics 27: 281–306 Harv error: There is no link pointing to this citation.
  • Zawadski, P.A.; Kuehn, D.P. (1980), "A cineradiographic study of static and dynamic aspects of American English /r/", Phonetica 37: 253–266 Harv error: There is no link pointing to this citation.

---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:53, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Hangul Romanisation useful?[edit]

As a person currently (and regrettably) unable to read Hangul, I would like to request a Romanisation of the Korean script which is used to illustrate one of the approximants- the Hangul script is not of particular use to me to illustrate the sound. As this must not be a sound used in English, perhaps a pronunciation guide could be used instead? Thanks, (talk) 21:32, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm curious about this, too, because I'm not even sure if it's exhibiting the same thing the others do (that is, variation between a vowel and its corresponding semivowel depending on suffixation). — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 23:26, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

R sound missing[edit]

There is a sound that is used by most people in Costa Rica which is the r in rica, the rr in perro. This sound does not correspond with any of the r sounds mentioned in this page or in This is mentioned in Costa_Rican_Spanish however but even there it is not specified in detail. Basically I have been unable to find which is the name and IPA symbol for this sound. It is more similar to Voiced_retroflex_fricative however with a clear vibration. Like a f sound in English vibrated turns to v. Voiced retroflex fricative vibrated turns to this Costa Rican r. If there is any expert in this I would like to give you a call or send a recording. Acuna007 (talk) 04:28, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

If there is vibration, it cannot be an approximant. Your description suggests a retroflex trill to me. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 12:53, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Spanish examples[edit]

I think some of the examples are wrong (or inappropriate). For example, I'm quite sure pronouncing "abyecto" as [aβˈ] is wrong. I pronounce it as [ab'dʒ] and I'm sure many (if not all) Spanish-speakers would pronounce it the same way. Some of the examples are right but inappropriate. Most people don't say [am'plja.mos] or [ac'twa.mos], but [am.pli'a.mos] and [ac.tu'a.mos]. I propose that we use clearer examples. (talk) 04:36, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Were are you from? Pronouncing ⟨y⟩ as [(d)ʒ] is a dialectal phenomenon in parts of South America. And would you really be able to distinguish between [am'plja.mos] and [am.pli.'a.mos]? Most people aren't. That said, often speakers of Spanish pronounce /j/ not as an approximant, but as a fricative [ʝ]. --JorisvS (talk) 09:47, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

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Dental Approximant[edit]

I'm no linguist, but shouldn't the dental approximant [ð̞] redirect to Dental,_alveolar_and_postalveolar_lateral_approximants instead of Voiced_dental_fricative? — Preceding unsigned comment added by ChinskiEpierOzki (talkcontribs) 01:18, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

No, the lateral element is actually pretty important. It helps, for example, Spanish speakers to distinguish between words like cada and cala. Another thing to keep in mind that a number of languages (Spanish and some dialects of Portuguese included) have free variation between the fricative and approximant pronunciations so that it makes sense to group them together. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 03:50, 13 November 2017 (UTC)