begin as stops
(most often an alveolar,
such as [t]
but release as a fricative
(such as [s]
or occasionally into a fricative trill)
rather than directly into the following vowel.
sounds spelled "ch" and "j" (transcribed [tʃ]
are typical affricates. These sounds are fairly common
in the world's languages, as are other affricates with
similar sounds, such as those in Polish
However, other than [dʒ],
voiced affricates are relatively uncommon. For several
places of articulation they aren't attested at all.
Much less common are e.g. labiodental
affricates, such as [p͡f]
in German, or velar
affricates, such as [k͡x]
(written kg) or High Alemannic Swiss
German dialects. Worldwide, only a few languages have
affricates in these positions, even though the corresponding
consonants are virtually universal. Also less common
are alveolar affricates where the fricative is lateral,
such as the [tɬ]
sound found in Nahuatl
languages (such as Dene
Suline and Navajo)
have series of coronal affricates which may be unaspirated,
aspirated, or ejective in addition to being interdental/dental,
alveolar, postalveolar, or lateral, i.e. [t̪͡θ],
Affricates are often represented by the two sounds they
consist of (e.g. [pf],
However, single signs for the affricates may be desirable,
in order to stress that they function as unitary speech
segments (i.e. as phonemes).
In this case, the IPA recommends joining the two elements
of the affricate by a tie bar (e.g. [p͡f],
Ligatures are available in Unicode
for the six common affricates [ʦ],
Another method is to indicate the release of the affricate
with a superscript: [tˢ],
This is derived from the IPA convention of indicating
other releases with a superscript.
In other phonetic transcription systems, such as the
system, the affricates [ts],
are represented as <c>
or <¢>; <j>,
<ƶ>, or (older)
<c> or <č>;
or (older) <ǯ>;
<ƛ>; and <λ>
or <dl> respectively.
Within the IPA, [tʃ]
are sometimes transcribed as palatal stops, <c>
Affricates vs. stop-fricative
Affricates can contrast phonemically with stop-fricative
sequences. Examples include:
- Polish affricate /t
͡ʂ/ in czysta 'clean (f.)'
versus stop–fricative /tʂ/
in trzysta 'three hundred',
'look at me' versus stop–fricative /ts/
'he looks at it'.
The difference is that in the stop-fricative sequence,
the stop has a release burst before the fricative starts,
but in the affricate, the fricative element is
the release. Stop-fricative sequences may also have a
boundary between the two segments, but this is not necessary.
In English, /ts/
(as in nuts and nods) are considered to
be sequences of a stop phoneme and a fricative phoneme
even though they are phonetically affricates, because
they may have a morpheme
boundary in them (e.g. nuts is nut + s).
The English affricate phonemes /t͡ʃ/
do not require a morpheme boundary, and are sometimes
written with the unitary symbols <č>
and <ǰ>, though
this is not considered standard IPA notation). However,
English does distinguish affricates from stop–fricative
- cat shit /kæt.ʃɪt/,
- catch it /kæt͡ʃ.ɪt/,
stop before /ʃ/,
making it phonetically distinct from /t͡ʃ/.
difference between affricates and stop+fricative sequences
is rate of amplitude
increase of the frication noise, which is known as the
rise time. Affricates have a short rise time to
the peak frication amplitude while sequences of stop and
fricative have relatively longer rise time (Howell &
Rosen 1983), (Johnson 2003), (Mitani et al. 2006).
List of affricates
In the case of coronals, the symbols <t,
d> are normally used for the stop portion of
the affricate regardless of place. For example, [t͡ʂ]
is commonly seen for [ʈ͡ʂ].
For legibility, the tie bars have been removed from the
The exemplar languages are ones that these sounds have
been reported from, but in several cases they may need
alveolar affricate [ts]
alveolar affricate [dz]
(in Italian, Lombard,
postalveolar affricate [t̠ʃ]
in both cases spelled "ch")
postalveolar affricate [d̠ʒ]
(English "j" or "soft g")
alveolo-palatal affricate [t̠ɕ]
alveolo-palatal affricate [d̠ʑ]
(in Polish, Serbian
retroflex affricate [ʈʂ]
and other Northwest Caucasian languages, Mandarin)
retroflex affricate [ɖʐ]
(in Ubykh and other Northwest Caucasian languages)
The more common of the voiceless affricates are all attested
as well: [tθ’,
ts’, tɬ’, tʃ’, tɕ’, tʂ’, cʎ̥ʼ,
kx’, kʟ̝̊’]. Several Khoisan languages
such as !Xoo
are reported to have voiced ejective affricates, but these
may actually be consonant clusters: [dts’,
dtʃ’]. Affricates are also commonly aspirated:
tθʰ, tsʰ, tɬʰ, tʃʰ,
tɕʰ, tʂʰ], occasionally murmured:
d̠ʒʱ], and sometimes prenasalized:
affricates also occur. Affricates may also have phonemic
length, that is, affected by a chroneme,
as in Karelian.
While most affricates are homorganic,
Navajo and Chiricahua
Apache have a heterorganic alveolar-velar affricate
(McDonough & Ladefoged 1993, Hoijer & Opler 1938).
Other heterorganic affricates are reported for Northern
Sotho (Johnson 2003).
- Hoijer, Harry; & Opler, Morris E. (1938). Chiricahua
and Mescalero Apache texts. The University of Chicago
publications in anthropology; Linguistic series. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
- Howell Peter; & Rosen, Stuart. (1983). Production
and perception of rise time in the voiceless affricate/fricative
distinction. The Journal of the Acoustical Society
of America, 73 (3), 976–984.
- Johnson, Keith. (2003). Acoustic & auditory
phonetics (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
- Maddieson, Ian. (1984). Patterns of sounds.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN
- McDonough, Joyce; & Ladefoged, Peter. (1993).
Navajo stops. UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics,
- Mitani, Shigeki; Kitama, Toshihiro; & Sato, Yu.
(2006). Voiceless affricate/fricative distinction by
frication duration and amplitude rise slope. The
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 120