Voiceless Dental Stop
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Voiceless Dental Stop
Voiceless alveolar plosive
IPA Number103
Entity (decimal)t
Unicode (hex)U+0074
Braille? (braille pattern dots-2345)
Audio sample
Voiceless dental plosive
IPA Number103 408
Entity (decimal)t​̪
Unicode (hex)U+0074 U+032A
Braille? (braille pattern dots-2345)? (braille pattern dots-6)? (braille pattern dots-1456)
Audio sample

The voiceless alveolar, dental and postalveolar plosives (or stops) are types of consonantal sounds used in almost all spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar plosives is ⟨t⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is t. The voiceless dental plosive can be distinguished with the underbridge diacritic, ⟨t?⟩ and the postalveolar with a retraction line, ⟨t?⟩, and the Extensions to the IPA have a double underline diacritic which can be used to explicitly specify an alveolar pronunciation, ⟨t?⟩.

The [t] sound is a very common sound cross-linguistically;[1] the most common consonant phonemes of the world's languages are [t], [k] and [p]. Most languages have at least a plain [t], and some distinguish more than one variety. Some languages without a [t] are colloquial Samoan (which also lacks an [n]), Abau, and N?ng of South Africa.[]

There are only a few languages which distinguishes dental and alveolar stops, Kota, Toda, Venda being a few of them.


Here are features of the voiceless alveolar stop:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a plosive.
  • There are three specific variants of [t]:
    • Dental, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the upper teeth, termed respectively apical and laminal.
    • Denti-alveolar, which means it is articulated with the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, and the tip of the tongue behind upper teeth.
    • Alveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, termed respectively apical and laminal.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


IPA Description
t plain t
t? dental t
t? aspirated t
t? palatalized t
t? labialized t
t? t with no audible release
t? voiced t
t? tense t
t' ejective t


Dental or denti-alveolar

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Aleut[2] tiistax? [t?i:sta?] 'dough' Laminal denti-alveolar.
Armenian Eastern[3] ? 'house' Laminal denti-alveolar.
Assyrian ?lo [t?l?] 'three' <?> has shifted to <c> for this word in Mandian dialect
Bashkir ? / dürt 'four' Laminal denti-alveolar
Belarusian[4] ??? [s?t?ä'?od?dze] 'century' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Belarusian phonology
Basque toki [t?oki] 'place' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Basque phonology
Bengali [t?umi] 'you' Laminal denti-alveolar, contrasts with aspirated form. See Bengali phonology
Catalan[5] tothom [t?u'tm] 'everyone' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Catalan phonology
Chinese Hakka[6] ? ta3 [ta?] 'he/she' Laminal denti-alveolar, contrasts with an unaspirated form.
Chuvash [ut] 'horse'
Dinka[7] m?th [mt?] 'child' Laminal denti-alveolar, contrasts with alveolar /t/.
Dutch Belgian taal [t?a:l?] 'language' Laminal denti-alveolar.
English Dublin[8] thin [tn] 'thin' Laminal denti-alveolar, corresponds to in other dialects; in Dublin it may be instead.[8] See English phonology
Southern Irish[9]
Ulster[10] train [te:n] 'train' Laminal denti-alveolar. Allophone of /t/ before /r/, in free variation with an alveolar stop.
Esperanto Esperanto [espe'ran?t?o] 'Who hopes' See Esperanto phonology
Finnish tutti ['t?ut?:i] 'pacifier' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Finnish phonology
French[11] tordu [td?y] 'crooked' Laminal denti-alveolar. See French phonology
Hindustani[12] ? / [t?i:n] 'three' Laminal denti-alveolar. Contrasts with aspirated form. See Hindustani phonology
Indonesian[13] tabir [t?abir] 'curtain' Laminal denti-alveolar.
Italian[14] tale ['t?ale] 'such' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Italian phonology
Japanese[15] / tokubetsu [t?o?kbe?t?s] 'special' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Japanese phonology
Kashubian[16] [example needed] Laminal denti-alveolar.
Kyrgyz[17] ? [t?us?] 'salt' Laminal denti-alveolar.
Latvian[18] tabula ['t?äbulä] 'table' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Latvian phonology
Mapudungun[19] ?a ['f?t] 'husband' Interdental.[19]
Marathi ? [tb'la:] 'tabla' Laminal denti-alveolar, contrasts with aspirated form. See Marathi phonology
Nepali [t?äli] 'clappin?' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Nepali phonology
Nunggubuyu[20] darag [t?a?a?] 'whiskers' Laminal denti-alveolar.
Odia /tara [t?ärä] 'star' Laminal denti-alveolar, contrasts with aspirated form.
Pazeh[21] [mut?ap?t?a'p?h] 'keep clapping' Dental.
Polish[22] tom 'volume' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Polish phonology
Portuguese[23] Many dialects montanha [mõ't?] 'mountain' Laminal denti-alveolar. Likely to have allophones among native speakers, as it may affricate to , and/or in certain environments. See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi / [t?e:l] 'oil' Laminal denti-alveolar.
Russian[24] ?? ['tos?tj] 'fat' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic[25] taigh [tj] 'house'
Serbo-Croatian[26] ? / tuga [t:gä] 'sorrow' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovene[27] tip [t?í:p] 'type' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Slovene phonology
Spanish[28] tango ['t?ão?] 'tango' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Spanish phonology
Swedish[29] tåg ['to:?] 'train' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Swedish phonology
Temne[30] [example needed] - Dental.
Turkish at [ät?] 'horse' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[31][32] ? [br?t?] 'brother' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Ukrainian phonology
Uzbek[33] [example needed] - Laminal denti-alveolar. Slightly aspirated before vowels.[33]
Vietnamese[34] tu?n [t?w?n] 'week' Laminal denti-alveolar, contrasts with aspirated form. See Vietnamese phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[35] tant [t?ant?] 'so much' Laminal denti-alveolar.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe ? 'five'
Arabic Egyptian ?t?ka ['to:kæ] 'barrette' See Egyptian Arabic phonology
Assyrian ? bèta [be:ta] 'house' Most speakers. In the Tyari, Barwari and Southern dialects ? is used.
Bengali [t?aka] 'Taka' True alveolar in eastern dialects, apical post-alveolar in western dialects. Usually transcribed in IPA as [?]. See Bengali phonology.
Czech toto ['toto] 'this' See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[36] dåse ['t:s?] 'can' (n.) Usually transcribed in IPA with ⟨d?⟩ or ⟨d⟩. Contrasts with the affricate or aspirated stop [t?] (depending on the dialect), which are usually transcribed in IPA with ⟨t?⟩ or ⟨t⟩.[37] See Danish phonology
Dutch[38] taal [ta:?] 'language' See Dutch phonology
English Most speakers tick 'tick' See English phonology
New York[39] Varies between apical and laminal, with the latter being predominant.[39]
Finnish parta ['p?rt?] 'beard' Allophone of the voiceless dental stop. See Finnish phonology
Hebrew ?? [tmu'na] 'image' see Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarian[40] tutaj ['tut?j] 'raft' See Hungarian phonology
Kabardian ? 'five'
Korean / daesup [t?sup?] 'bamboo forest' See Korean phonology
Kurdish Northern tu [t] 'you' See Kurdish phonology
Central [twe:?] 'forehead'
Southern ? [t?e:w]
Luxembourgish[41] dënn [t?n] 'thin' Less often voiced . It is usually transcribed /d/, and it contrasts with voiceless aspirated form, which is usually transcribed /t/.[41] See Luxembourgish phonology
Maltese tassew [tas'sew] 'true'
Mapudungun[19] ta ['f?t?] 'elderly'
Nunggubuyu[20] darawa [ta?awa] 'greedy'
Nuosu[which?] ? da [ta?] 'place' Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms
Portuguese[42] Some dialects troço ['tsu] 'thing' (pejorative) Allophone before alveolar . In other dialects /?/ takes a denti-alveolar allophone instead. See Portuguese phonology
Thai ?? ta [ta:?] 'eye' Contrasts with an aspirated form.
Vietnamese ti [ti] 'flaw' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian tosk ['tosk] 'tooth' See West Frisian phonology


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic Modern Standard t?n [ti:n] 'fig' Laminal denti-alveolar or alveolar, depending on the speaker's native dialect. See Arabic phonology
English Broad South African[43] talk [to:k] 'talk' Laminal denti-alveolar for some speakers, alveolar for other speakers.[43][44][45]
Scottish[44] [tk]
Welsh[45] [t:k]
German Standard[46] Tochter ['t?xt?] 'daughter' Varies between laminal denti-alveolar, laminal alveolar and apical alveolar.[46] See Standard German phonology
Greek[47] ? tria ['t?iä] 'three' Varies between dental, laminal denti-alveolar and alveolar, depending on the environment.[47] See Modern Greek phonology
Malay ? / tangkap [t?ä?.käp?] 'catch' Alveolar for some speakers, dental for other speakers. More commonly dental. Often unreleased in syllable codas. See Malay phonology
Norwegian Urban East[48] dans [tns] 'dance' Varies between laminal denti-alveolar and laminal alveolar. It is usually transcribed /d/. It may be partially voiced , and it contrasts with voiceless aspirated form, which is usually transcribed /t/.[48] See Norwegian phonology
Persian[49] [tu:t] 'berry' Varies between laminal denti-alveolar and apical alveolar.[49] See Persian phonology
Slovak[50][51] to [t] 'that' Varies between laminal denti-alveolar and laminal alveolar.[50][51] See Slovak phonology

See also


  1. ^ Liberman et al. (1967), p. ?.
  2. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 165.
  3. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009), p. 17.
  4. ^ Padluzhny (1989), p. 47.
  5. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 53.
  6. ^ Lee & Zee (2009), p. 109.
  7. ^ Remijsen & Manyang (2009), pp. 115 and 121.
  8. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 302.
  9. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999), p. 24.
  10. ^ "Week 18 (ii). Northern Ireland" (PDF).
  11. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 73.
  12. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 141.
  13. ^ Soderberg & Olson (2008), p. 210.
  14. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004), p. 117.
  15. ^ Okada (1999), p. 117.
  16. ^ Jerzy Treder. "Fonetyka i fonologia". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  17. ^ Kara (2003), p. 11.
  18. ^ Nau (1998), p. 6.
  19. ^ a b c Sadowsky et al. (2013), pp. 88-89.
  20. ^ a b Ladefoged (2005), p. 158.
  21. ^ Blust (1999), p. 330.
  22. ^ Jassem (2003), p. 103.
  23. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  24. ^ Jones & Ward (1969), p. 99.
  25. ^ Bauer, Michael. Blas na Gàidhlig: The Practical Guide to Gaelic Pronunciation. Glasgow: Akerbeltz, 2011.
  26. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 66.
  27. ^ Pretnar & Tokarz (1980), p. 21.
  28. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 255.
  29. ^ Engstrand (1999), p. 141.
  30. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. ?.
  31. ^ S. Buk; J. Ma?utek; A. Rovenchak (2008). "Some properties of the Ukrainian writing system". Glottometrics. 16: 63-79. arXiv:0802.4198.
  32. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  33. ^ a b Sjoberg (1963), p. 10.
  34. ^ Thompson (1959), pp. 458-461.
  35. ^ Merrill (2008), p. 108.
  36. ^ Basbøll (2005), p. 61.
  37. ^ Grønnum (2005), p. 120.
  38. ^ Gussenhoven (1992), p. 45.
  39. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 515.
  40. ^ Szende (1994), p. 91.
  41. ^ a b Gilles & Trouvain (2013), pp. 67-68.
  42. ^ Palatalization in Brazilian Portuguese revisited (in Portuguese)
  43. ^ a b Lass (2002), p. 120.
  44. ^ a b Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006), p. 4.
  45. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 388.
  46. ^ a b Mangold (2005), p. 47.
  47. ^ a b Arvaniti (2007), p. 10.
  48. ^ a b Kristoffersen (2000), p. 22.
  49. ^ a b Mahootian (2002:287-289)
  50. ^ a b Krá? (1988), p. 72.
  51. ^ a b Pavlík (2004), pp. 98-99.


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External links

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