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In phonetics, a continuant is a speech sound produced without a complete closure in the oral cavity, namely fricatives, approximants and vowels.[1] Approximants and vowels are sometimes called "frictionless continuants".[2] Continuants contrast with occlusives, such as plosives, affricates and nasals.

Compare sonorant (resonant), which includes vowels, approximants and nasals but not fricatives, and contrasts with obstruent.

In phonology, continuant as a distinctive feature also includes trills. Whether lateral fricatives and approximants and taps/flaps are continuant is not conclusive.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "continuant" in Bussamann, Routledge dictionary of language and linguistics, 1996
  2. ^ "approximant" in Crystal, A dictionary of linguistics and phonetics, 6th ed, 2008
  3. ^ Hayes, Bruce (2009). Introductory Phonology. Blackwell. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-4051-8411-3.

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