Palatal Fricative

A palatal fricative is a type of fricative consonant that is also a palatal consonant, i.e. pronounced with the body of the tongue in contact with the hard palate. The two main types of palatal fricatives are:

  • voiceless palatal fricative (/ç/)
  • voiced palatal fricative (/ʝ/)

Palatal fricatives are rare phonemes, especially the voiced palatal fricative, but they occur somewhat more often as allophones. They may occur as allophones of velar fricatives in the vicinity of front vowels (as in German in the case of ), or as alternants (whether dialectal, emphatic, etc.) of palatal approximants (e.g. /j/ often appears as between vowels in Spanish, and /hj-/ at the beginning of words may appear as in English, as in "hue", "huge" or "Hubert").