An approximant ( Latin approximare 'to approach' ; German also approximation sound ) is a linguistic sound , usually a consonant , in which the exhaled air can flow relatively evenly and unhindered through the mouth. Approximants thus stand in contrast to other consonants as fricatives , where during the articulation of such a bottleneck. B. is formed in the oral cavity, which swirls the outflowing air and thus generates a frictional sound. Examples of approximants are the sound [ j ] in words like year or the volume [ w ] in the English where .
Description of the approximants
With vowels , the tongue takes a position in the oral cavity in which it does not touch any articulation organ such as the roof of the mouth or the teeth. In the case of approximators, the tongue assumes a similar position, but a stronger constriction is formed, which, however, is still such that no audible air turbulence and thus no rubbing noise occurs. With approximants, the organs of articulation come less close than with other consonants such as the fricatives , in which a noise-generating air turbulence arises. This is clear when one such as the approximant [j] in the year or hunting with fricatives such as [ s ] in pillows or [ v ] as in Vase compares where a rubbing noise is clearly audible.
Approximates are formed with pulmonary egressive or pharyngeal air flowing through the mouth. In the case of nasal sounds as [ n ] and [ m ] exhaled air also flows is uniform and unimpeded; however, it does not escape through the mouth (which is closed by the tongue or lips), but through the nose. Because of the occlusion of the mouth, nasals form a separate group and are not counted among the approximants.
Different definitions and other classifications
The term approximant is sometimes interpreted differently in linguistics . In the narrowest definition, approximants only include consonants in which the air flow over the center of the oral cavity without turbulence, as with the sounds [j] and [w] as in English yes or where . In other cases laterals such as [l] or the English r-sound [ɹ] are also counted among the approximants, but not everywhere. In individual cases, even vowels are counted as approximants.
Laterals as approximants
In some literature, laterals are counted among the approximants and are also referred to as lateral approximants or liquids. The other approximants are called central approximants or (in older phonetics as with Henry Sweet ) as sliding sounds , which also include [j] and [w] sounds. In the case of the central approximators, the air flow runs over the central or central area of the oral cavity, while in the case of lateral approximants the air flow is blocked in the middle, but can flow off to the side.
This combination of glides and laterals into approximants is not done everywhere. In other literature, a clear distinction is made between approximants on the one hand and laterals on the other. What is common, however, is the tendency in the literature to treat laterals and approximants together because of their acoustic similarities.
Vowels and approximants
In linguistic literature, approximants are usually consonants. In individual cases it is believed that vowels can also be approximants. So the linguist called Ian Catford as a further feature of approximants that approximants unlike fricatives no friction (audible air turbulence) that if they voiced are that but friction would be heard as soon under otherwise identical conditions, the air we breathe freely between the vocal cords pass through can, which makes the sound voiceless and, with the same lung pressure, greatly increases the air volume velocity above the vocal cords (measured in cm³ / s). Loud, not with those once in free air passage between the vocal cords ( voiceless is heard) friction, called Catford Resonant . After this applied only from a part of the classification Phoneticians also high and back vowels as [ i ] ; [ y ] ; [ u ] ; [ o ] ; [ ɔ ] ; [ ɑ ] approximants, other vowels but Resonant.
Most authors other than Catford consider approximants to be consonants, but see the similarity of central approximants like [j] or [w] to vowels. Because of these similarities, these approximants are therefore also referred to as half-vowels and combined with the vowels as a class of vocoids, in contrast to the accountids, the consonants with closure or noise-causing constrictions in the mouth, nose or larynx.
The approximants of Germans are the semi-vowel [ j ] as in the year and - if you count the Lateral approximants - the lateral [ l ] as in location . Even the English [ w ] as where and the English [ ɹ ] as in right is one of the approximants.
- Labialized voiced velar approximant
- Voiced alveolar approximant
- Voiced labiodental approximant
- Voiced labiopalatal approximant
- Voiced lateral alveolar approximant
- Voiced lateral palatal approximant
- Voiced lateral retroflex approximant
- Voiced lateral velar approximant
- Voiced palatal approximant
- Voiced retroflex approximant
- Voiced velar approximant
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- Bernd Pompino-Marschall: Introduction to Phonetics. 3. Edition. De Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-022480-1 , pp. 203-207.
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- Bernd Pompino-Marschall: Introduction to Phonetics. 3. Edition. De Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-022480-1 , pp. 203-204.
- Caroline Féry: Phonology of German . University of Potsdam, Potsdam 2001, p. 45f.
- Bernd Pompino-Marschall: Introduction to Phonetics. 3. Edition. De Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-022480-1 , p. 206.
- Henning Reetz, Allard Jongman: Phonetics. Transcription, Production, Acoustics, and Perception . Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford 2009, ISBN 978-0-631-23226-1 , pp. 15-16.
- Joachim MH Neppert: Elements of an acoustic phonetics . 4th edition. Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-87548-154-2 , pp. 225-226.
- Ian Catford: Fundamental Problems in Phonetics. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 1977, ISBN 0-85224-279-4 , pp. 119ff.
- Bernd Pompino-Marschall: Introduction to Phonetics. 3. Edition. De Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-022480-1 , pp. 204-207.