Flap consonant

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Manners of articulation
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In phonetics, a flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, which is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator is thrown against another. The main difference between a flap and a stop consonant is that in a flap, there is no buildup of air pressure behind the place of articulation.

The difference between a tap and a flap is that in a tap the tongue flips up to strike its point of contact, like a very light plosive, whereas with a flap the tongue is thrown out and down, striking the point of contact in passing. For linguists that make a distinction between the two, the tap is transcribed as a "fish-hook ar", , while the flap is transcribed as a small capital dee, (which however is not recognized by the IPA). However, no language contrasts a tap and a flap at the same point of articulation, so the terms are used loosely.

The flap and tap consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
retroflex flap Warlpiri dupa (?) /ɽupa/ "windbreak"
alveolar flap North American English latter "latter"
alveolar lateral flap Japanese ラーメン "ramen"

Lateral flaps may actually be quite common. Many languages of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific that don't distinguish r from l may actually have a lateral flap, but this is generally missed by European linguists, who aren't often familiar with the sound. Also, many languages do not have a lateral-central contrast at all, so that even a consistently neutral articulation may be perceived as sometimes lateral, sometimes central.

The Iwaidja language of Australia has both alveolar and retroflex lateral flaps, and perhaps a palatal lateral flap as well. (However, the latter may instead be a palatalized alveolar lateral flap.) These contrast with lateral approximants at the same positions, as well as a central retroflex flap , alveolar trill , and alveolar approximant .

The symbol for the alveolar lateral flap is the basis for the expected (though not officially recognized) symbol for the retroflex lateral flap,

Missing image
Image:Lateral flaps.png

Non-rhotic flaps are much less common. They may include a bilabial flap (in Banda) and a labiodental flap (in Margi, Kera, et al.), which may be allophones of a single phoneme. There are no recognized IPA symbols for these sounds. When described in the literature, they are often transcribed with the ad hoc diacritics . The labiodental has also been given a dedicated symbol by some researchers,

Missing image
Image:Labial flap.png

Symbols such as these are uncommon, but are becoming more frequent now that font-editing software has become accessible. Note however that as well as not being sanctioned by the IPA, there are no Unicode values for them.


ja:はじき音 ko:탄음


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