Affricates are consonants that begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as or) but release as a fricative (such as or or occasionally into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel.
The English sounds spelled "ch" and "j" (transcribed and in IPA), German and Italian z and Italian z 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, voiced affricates are relatively uncommon. For several places of articulation they are not attested at all.
Much less common are labiodental affricates, such as in German and Izi, or velar affricates, such as in Tswana (written kg) or High Alemannic Swiss German dialects. 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 sound found in Nahuatl and Totonac. Many Athabaskan languages (such as Dene Suline and Navajo) have series of coronal affricates that may be unaspirated, aspirated, or ejective in addition to being interdental/dental, alveolar, postalveolar, or lateral, i.e.,,,,,,,,,,,, and .
Affricates are often represented by the two sounds of which they consist . However, single signs for the affricates may be desirable, in order to stress that they function as unitary speech segments (i.e. phonemes). In this case, the IPA recommends joining the two elements of the affricate by a tie bar . Though they are no longer standard IPA, ligatures are available in Unicode for the six common affricates,,,,, .
Another method is to indicate the release of the affricate with a superscript:, . 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,,,,, are represented as or ;,, or (older) ; or ;,, or (older) ; ; and or respectively. Within the IPA, and are sometimes transcribed with the symbols for the palatal stops, and .
Affricates can contrast phonemically with stop-fricative sequences. Examples:
Polish affricate in czysta 'clean (f.)' versus stop–fricative in trzysta 'three hundred', and
Klallam affricate in 'look at me' versus stop–fricative in 'he looks at it'.
In the stop-fricative sequence, the stop has a release burst 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, but not necessarily.
In English, and (nuts, nods) are considered phonemically stop-fricative sequences because they may contain a morpheme boundary (for example, nuts = nut + s). But the sounds are phonetically affricates. The English affricate phonemes and do not require a morpheme boundary. The sounds are sometimes written with the unitary symbols and, though it is not considered standard IPA notation. However, English speakers (depending on dialect) do distinguish affricates from stop–fricative sequences:
The acoustic difference between affricates and stop+fricative sequences is rate of amplitude increase of the frication noise, which is known as the rise time. Affricates have a short rise time to the peak frication amplitude while sequences of stop and fricative have relatively longer rise time (Howell & Rosen 1983, Johnson 2003, Mitani et al. 2006).
In the case of coronals, the symbols are normally used for the stop portion of the affricate regardless of place. For example, is commonly seen for . 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.
|Sound (voiceless)||IPA||Languages||Sound (voiced)||IPA||Languages|
|Voiceless alveolar affricate||Italian, German z|
Hungarian, Polish c
Pashto, Mayan K'iche'
|Voiced alveolar affricate||Italian z|
Hungarian, Polish dz
Japanese (some dialects)
|Voiceless postalveolar affricate||English, K'ich'e ch|
|Voiced postalveolar affricate||English j, "soft g"|
Italian j, "soft g"
|Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate||Polish ć|
|Voiced alveolo-palatal affricate||Polish dź|
Japanese じ/ジ, ぢ/ヂ
|Voiceless retroflex affricate||Polish cz|
|Voiced retroflex affricate||Polish dż|
|Sound (Voiceless)||IPA||Languages||Sound (Voiced)||IPA||Languages|
|Voiceless bilabial affricate||Present allophonically in Taos|
|Voiceless bilabial-labiodental affricate||German, Teke|
|Voiceless labiodental affricate||XiNkuna Tsonga||Voiced labiodental affricate||XiNkuna Tsonga|
|Voiceless dental affricate||Luo, Dene Suline, Cun, some varieties of Venetian and other North Italian dialects||Voiced dental affricate||Dene Suline|
|Voiceless retroflex nonsibilant affricate||Mapudungun, Malagasy||Voiced retroflex nonsibilant affricate||Malagasy|
|Voiceless palatal affricate||Skolt Sami, Hungarian||Voiced palatal affricate||Skolt Sami, Hungarian, some Spanish dialects). Not reported to contrast with a voiced palatal plosive|
|Voiceless velar affricate||Tswana, High Alemannic German||Voiced velar affricate|
|Voiceless uvular affricate||Nez Percé, Wolof, Bats, Kabardian||Voiced uvular affricate|
|Voiceless epiglottal affricate||Haida. Not reported to contrast with an epiglottal stop|
|Voiceless alveolar lateral affricate||Nahuatl, Navaho, Tswana, etc.|
|Voiced alveolar lateral affricate||Gwich'in, Sandawe. Not reported to ever contrast with a voiced alveolar lateral fricative .|
|Voiceless palatal lateral affricate||also [c]; as ejective /[cʼ] in Dahalo; as /[t] in Hadza|
|Voiceless velar lateral affricate||also [k]; as a prevelar in Archi and as an ejective /[kʼ] in Zulu|
|Voiced velar lateral affricate|
See main article: Trilled affricate.
|Voiced prenasalized trilled bilabial affricate||Kele and Avava|
|Voiceless dental bilabially trilled affricate||Wari’|
|Voiced prenasalized trilled alveolar affricate||Fijian and Avava|
|Voiceless alveolar trilled affricate||Ngkoth|
|Voiced alveolar trilled affricate||Nias|
While most affricates are homorganic, Navajo and Chiricahua Apache have a heterorganic alveolar-velar affricate (McDonough & Ladefoged 1993, Hoijer & Opler 1938). Other heterorganic affricates are reported for Northern Sotho (Johnson 2003) and other Bantu languages such as Phuthi, which has alveolar-labiodental affricates and, and Sesotho, which has bilabial-palatoalveolar afficates and . Djeoromitxi (Pies 1992) has and .
The more common of the voiceless affricates are all attested as ejectives as well: . Several Khoisan languages such as !Xóõ are reported to have voiced ejective affricates, but these may actually be consonant clusters: . Affricates are also commonly aspirated:, occasionally murmured:, and sometimes prenasalized: . Labialized, palatalized, velarized, and pharyngealized affricates also occur. Affricates may also have phonemic length, that is, affected by a chroneme, as in Italian and Karelian.