Lax sounds are produced with minimal tension in the tongue or a more retracted tongue root. They contrast with tense sounds that are characterized by the greater tension in the articulators and an advanced tongue root.
Sounds with Lax articulation are in contrast to tense sounds. Lax sounds are produced with either less tongue tenseness or with less advanced tongue root than tense sounds. English [i] (beet) is a tense sound, English [ɪ] (bit) is the equivalent. Gaelic also has the tense/lax distinction, but in the sonorant sounds -- this is sometimes also called lenis.
- Fortis (definition)
- Sounds of Gaelic
- Tense (phonetics)
- Tense in Phonetics (definition)
- Advanced Tongue Root (definition)
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- Ladefoged, D. (2010) A Course in Phonetics. 6th Edition. Wadsworth Publishing.