Voiceless alveolar fricative

A voiceless alveolar fricative is a type of fricative consonant pronounced with the tip or blade of the tongue against the alveolar ridge (gum line) just behind the teeth. This refers to a class of sounds, not a single sound. There are at least six types with significant perceptual differences:

The first three types are sibilants, meaning that they are made with the teeth closed and have a piercing, perceptually prominent sound.

Voiceless alveolar sibilants

Voiceless alveolar sibilant
IPA Number132
Entity (decimal)s
Unicode (hex)U+0073
Braille⠎ (braille pattern dots-234)
Audio sample

Voiceless laminal dentalized alveolar sibilant
Voiceless alveolar retracted sibilant
Entity (decimal)s​̺
Unicode (hex)U+0073 U+033A
Audio sample

The voiceless alveolar sibilant is a common consonant sound in vocal languages. It is the sound in English words such as sea and pass, and is represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet with ⟨s⟩. It has a characteristic high-pitched, highly perceptible hissing sound. For this reason, it is often used to get someone's attention, using a call often written as sssst! or psssst!.

The voiceless alveolar sibilant [s] is one of the most common sounds cross-linguistically. If a language has fricatives, it will most likely have [s].[2] However, some languages have a related sibilant sound, such as [ʃ], but no [s]. In addition, sibilants are absent from Australian Aboriginal languages, in which fricatives are rare; even the few indigenous Australian languages that have developed fricatives do not have sibilants.[citation needed]

The voiceless alveolar retracted sibilant (commonly termed the voiceless apico-alveolar sibilant) is a fricative that is articulated with the tongue in a hollow shape, usually with the tip of the tongue (apex) against the alveolar ridge. It is a sibilant sound and is found most notably in a number of languages in a linguistic area covering northern and central Iberia. It is most well known from its occurrence in the Spanish of this area. In the Middle Ages, it occurred in a wider area, covering Romance languages spoken throughout France, Portugal, and Spain, as well as Old High German and Middle High German.

Other Languages
walon: Son S