Alveolar (definition)

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An alveolar consonant is a sound made by raising the tongue to touch or approach the alveolar ridge. The alveolar ridge is the bony ridge behind the row of upper teeth and in front of the palate. Alveolar sounds have the widest range of possible manners of articulation. Together with postalveolar consonants, they create a palatal class of consonants. The alveolar consonants of English are [t, d, s, z, l, ɹ, n]; those in Gaelic include [n, s, l, r, ɾ]. Closely related to these sounds are the postalveolar consonants, whose place of articulation is slightly behind the alveolar ridge rather than at or on it directly.

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  • Crystal, David. (1997) A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
  • Ladefoged, Peter (1993) A Course in Phonetics Third Edition. London: Harcourt Press.