Affricate consonant

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Affricates are consonants that begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as [t] or [d]) but release as a fricative (such as [s] or [z] or occasionally into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel.

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The English sounds spelled "ch" and "j" (transcribed [tʃ] and [dʒ] in IPA), German and Italian z [ts] and Italian z/ƶ [dz] 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 and Chinese. However, other than [dʒ], voiced affricates are relatively uncommon. For several places of articulation they are not attested at all.

Much less common are e.g. labiodental affricates, such as [p͡f] in German and Izi, or velar affricates, such as [k͡x] in Tswana (written kg) or High Alemannic Swiss German dialects. Worldwide, only a few languages have affricates in these positions, even though the corresponding stop consonants [p], [k] are virtually universal. Also less common are alveolar affricates where the fricative is lateral, such as the [tɬ] sound found in Nahuatl and Totonac. Many Athabaskan languages (such as Dene Suline and Navajo) have series of coronal affricates that may be unaspirated, aspirated, or ejective in addition to being interdental/dental, alveolar, postalveolar, or lateral, i.e., [t̪͡θ], [t̪͡θʰ], [t̪͡θʼ], [ts], [tsʰ], [tsʼ], [tʃ], [tʃʰ], [tʃʼ], [tɬ], [tɬʰ], and [tɬʼ].

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