Fricative (definition)

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A fricative is a sound produced with a narrow opening in the vocal tract that allows air to pass only while causing frication. Frication is the audible, constrained rush of air characteristic of these sounds. Sibilants [s] and [ʃ] create a special subset of fricatives; they have an additional hissing quality caused by the airstream hitting the back of the teeth.

Fricatives in English include [f, v, s, z, ʒ, ʃ, θ, ð]; Gaelic fricatives include [f, v, s, ʃ, ç, ʝ, x, ɣ].

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  • Matthews, P. H. (1997) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ladefoged, D. (2010) A Course in Phonetics. 6th Edition. Wadsworth Publishing.