Palatal consonant phonemes /ʤ/, /ʧ/
English has two consonants that are produced in the palatal or pre-palatal regions of the mouth: the affricate pair /ʤ/, /ʧ/, in which each is a blend of a stop plus fricative consonant which together function as a single phoneme.
- The voiced affricate /ʤ/ as in judge, which is more properly written with a ligature in IPA as /d͡ʒ/ with no space between the letters; it is also written as /ǰ/, /ǧ/ /ǯ/ or /dž/ in some texts that do not strictly follow the International Phonetic Alphabet.
- The voiceless affricate /ʧ/ as in cheap, which is more properly written with a ligature in IPA as /t͡ʃ/ with no space between the letters; it is also written as /č/.
In teaching pronunciation, these are often distinguished from each other, from the English /s/ and /z/ sounds, the English post-alveoloar consonant phonemes /ʒ/, /ʃ/, and from post-alveolar or palatal consonants in the students' first language. In this article, slash marks like /ʧ/ indicate a phoneme, while angled brackets like <ch> indicate a letter or spelling.
- 1 Linguistic description
- 2 Practice activities and materials
- 3 Minimal pairs
- 4 See also
1 Linguistic description
- Manner of articulation: Both sounds are affricates, produced by first entirely stopping the air flow like a stop consonant, and then the tongue pulls back to create friction (like a fricative consonant), creating turbulence.
- In manner of articulation, both sounds are sibilant affricates, produced by stopping and then pushing the air stream along the grooved tongue surface (the tongue blade, or the front section of the tongue) creating a hissing-style high frequency noise due to air turbulence.
- Place of articulation: Both sounds are palato-alveolar, i.e., with the tongue blade touching an area ranging from behind the alveolar gum ridge to the pre-palatal area. In English, the tongue is apical, that is, the tongue blade is pointed up toward the alveolar/palatal region. The stop and friction is created between the tongue tip (apex) plus tongue blade area and the palatal-alveolar area.
- The /ʤ/ sound is voiced, i.e., produced with vibration of the vocal cords.
- The /ʧ/ sound is voiceless, i.e, produced without vibration of the vocal cords.
1.1 Cross-linguistic comparison
The voiced consonant /ʤ/ is not so common in European or other languages, except as a dialectal or allophonic variant in a few languages like Portuguese, or a fairly rare sound from loanwords, such as the German word Dschungel from the English jungle. The voiceless consonant /ʧ/ is fairly common in some European and other languages, most notably in German (e.g., Quatsch nonsense), and less often in Italian (e.g., ciao hello), Polish and Hungarian, and in a few others as allophones or dialectal variants. In German, the lips might be slightly more rounded for these sounds.
East Asian equivalents present some difficulties, as the equivalent or analogous sounds are produced differently and have different syllabic patterns. Chinese (Mandarin and other varieties), Japanese and Korean have dental-alveolar or alveolo-palatal affricates, which are produced with the front tongue blade. More importantly, while the English sounds are apical, with the tongue blade and tip pointing up toward the alveolar-palatal area, in these East Asian languages, the tongue blade is flat, and friction is created between the flat tongue blade and the alveolar-palatal area. This tongue position is termed laminal, as opposed to apical. Examples:
- The voiceless affricate /tɕ/ in Chinese, as in Beijing, and in Korean, as in 자다 jada to sleep.
- The voiceless aspirated affricate /t͡ɕʰ/ in Chinese, as in the syllable qing; in Korean, as in 차다 chada to kick; and in Japanese, as in nichi two.
- The voiced affricate /dʑ/ which occurs as variant of /tɕ/ between vowels in Korean, e.g., 이제 ijae now.
- A glottalized affricate /tɕʔ/ in Korean, produced with extra pressure from the glottis, e.g., 짜다 jjada to squeeze or salty.
For East Asians, their sibilant fricative sounds are more syllabically restricted. In English, these sounds can occur anywhere in a word in principle - word-initially as in show, medially as in vision or fission, and word-finally as in fish. East Asians may need to learn to pronounce these word-finally without inserting an extra vowel. Koreans and Japanese have particular problems, as their sibilant fricatives do not occur word-finally in their languages without an extra end vowel. This is also related to the laminal pronunciation of the Korean and Japanese fricatives. Thus, their pronunciation of fish can sound like fishy or fish-uh with a flat tongue.
Some languages have sibilant affricates that are more retroflexed, that is, with the tongue tip bent further back in the mouth and touching the central palatal area, behind where the /ʤ/ and /ʧ/ are produced. Learners will need to bend the tongue slightly forward.
- The voiceless retroflex /tʂ/ as in Chinese 中 zhong middle.
- The voiceless retroflex /tʂh/ as in Chinese chai tea.
1.2 Teaching /ʤ/ and /ʧ/ production
For those from a first language (L1) background from Europe and many other parts of the world, these sounds may not be so problematic. Some languages have /ʧ/ but no /ʤ/, so learning to hear and produce /ʤ/ is simply a matter of pronouncing /ʧ/ and then vibrating the vocal cords. Students can place their hands on their throats to feel the vibration. They can begin with the voiceless - voiced contrast between /s/ and /z/ to learn how to vocalize another unvoiced consonant.
Students whose L1 has alveolar-palatal or fully palatal sounds instead will need to learn to adjust their tongue position, bringing it more forward or more back. East Asians need to learn to pronounce these sounds with an apical tongue pointing toward the top of the oral cavity instead of the flat-tongue pronunciation. They will also need to learn to pronounce final /ʤ/ and /ʧ/ without inserting an extra vowel or extra air flow at the end.
It should be noted that the voiced consonant /ʤ/ is less common in English. It occurs mainly in words from Latin and Old French spelled with <j> and <dj> such as jury and adjure. The /ʧ/ is much more common and probably deserves more priority and attention; this occurs in words from Old French and Latin spelled with <ch>, and in Latin words with spellings like <-Ction> (consonant plus -tion in spelling) like abduction.
2 Practice activities and materials
Minimal pairs, which contrast a target sound with a sound that is a separate phoneme, are typical starting points for production and practice activities, particularly comparing the following, depending on the learners' levels and L1 backgrounds.
- /ʤ/ as badge with /ʒ/ as in beige
- /ʤ/ as badge with /z/ as in zebra
- /ʤ/ as badge with /ʧ/ as in chair
- /ʧ/ as in chair with /ʃ/ as in share
These contrasts should be shown with minimal pair contrasts in syllable-initial, consonant cluster, medial, and final position. For more on types of minimal pairs activities to train listeners to discern and produce sounds, see the following.
- Pronunciation: Listening exercises
- Pronunciation: Production exercises
- Pronunciation: Controlled activities
- Pronunciation: Interactive activities
2.1 Short narratives
The following are some short narratives that I wrote for practicing fricative and affricate (blend) consonants, namely, the sounds /s/, /z/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /ʧ/, /ʤ/.
In the zoo at night, silence fell as the zoo visitors left. Crickets chirped as church bells rang out from an adjacent district. In the cages, crocs guarded their eggs as ducks lapsed into slumber. The elks cringed as already satisfied tigers nearby loudly belched. The asps blitzed about their dens, while hedgehogs rummaged for grubs, and black bats emerged from the warmth of their crypts. A lynx triumphed over its prey and plopped it down before its mates, as wolves glimpsed at the skunks kept safe from them by a chain link cage, and loathed the four-legged morsels that they could not grasp.
Out by the oaks, ants who had waltzed amongst each other in the daytime relaxed for the night, as did ant lions that had delved into the sands. Spiders in their orbs wrapped their desiccated bugs and other victims that they had bagged in spider silk, like limbs set in casts. Under the light of the street lamps, various insects made their attempts at acts of courtship, but the less lucky dating applicants were jinxed by the heat of the light bulbs.
2.2 Word-final position
Watch out for these sounds at the end of words. There should not be an extra syllable.
3 Minimal pairs
3.1 /ʤ/ as badge with /ʒ/ as in beige
Very few word pairs exist for the /ʒ/ - /ʤ/ distinction; near-minimal pairs are in parentheses.
3.2 /ʤ/ as badge with /z/ as in zebra
Most minimal pairs involve word-final contrasts.
|mains mange |
3.3 /ʤ/ as badge with /ʧ/ as in chair
A fair number of minimal pairs exist for the /ʧ/ - /ʤ/ distinction.
|bash batch |
4 See also