Apical (linguistics)

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IPA mark ◌̺
IPA number 409
IPA character description inverted bridge symbol below
Unicode U + 033A
HTML (dec.) & # 826;

An apical is a phon (speech sound) that is formed by blocking the flow of air with the tip of the tongue (the apex linguae ). It differs from the laminal consonants, which are formed by blocking the flow of air through the tongue . In the International Phonetic Alphabet , apical sounds are indicated by an inverted bridge symbol (◌̺, Unicode COMBINING INVERTED BRIDGE BELOW U + 033A).

It is not a particularly common distinction and is only used with fricatives and affricates . Thus, many varieties of English either apical or laminale pairs of [⁠ t ⁠] / [⁠ d ⁠] . Some varieties of Arabic , including Hadramitic (Hadramautic), realize the [t] as a laminal, while the [d] as an apical.

The Basque used this distinction in the alveolar fricatives, as in Serbo-Croatian . The North Chinese dialects or standard Chinese use this for postalveolar fricatives ("Alveolo-palatal" and "Retroflex" sounds). The Lilloeet language uses this as a secondary feature by contrasting velarized and non-velarized affricates. A distinction between apical and laminal is common in Australian languages with nasals , plosives and usually also with the lateral approximants .