Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Coronal Consonants

Coronal consonants are consonants which are articulated with the tip of the tongue. In English, the coronal consonants are the alveolar plosives /d/ and /t/, the alveolar nasal /n/, the liquids /l/ and /r/, the alveolar fricatives /s/ and /z/, the interdental fricatives of "the" and "three," and the alveopalatal fricatives in "ship" and "genre."

Many rules involve coronal consonants. For example, in many Swedish and Norwegian dialects, a rules states that the coronal consonants /d/, /t/, /n/, /l/ and /s/ become retroflex consonants when they are preceded by an /r/ in the same syllable. Across syllable boundaries this does not always occur. The word svart (black) is pronounced with a retroflex alveolar plosive in the syllable coda by Norwegian and Swedish speakers who use retroflex consonants.

In many varieties of Brazilian Portuguese, the coronals /d/ and /t/ are palatalized before an /i/. For example, dia (day) and tia (aunt) are palatalized by speakers who palatalize in this position.

Most speakers of American English do not use a palatal glide in words such as duty, tuna and new. This is in contrast to British English in which most speakers use a palatalize glide in such words. However, even in British English the palatal glide is usually not applied to words such as suit and luge. However, it is common for Welsh speakers to use the palatal glide in not only those words but also words with /r/ such as rule and rumour.

One class of sounds is the coronal class, a class which includes interdentals, alveolars and alveopalatals. In many languages such as French the alveolar plosives of English are in fact dental plosives. Many languages have rules which apply only to coronal sounds.

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