Arabic Bulgarian Chinese Croatian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Malagasy Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swedish Thai Turkish Vietnamese
Arabic Bulgarian Chinese Croatian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Malagasy Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swedish Thai Turkish Vietnamese

definition - Aspirated consonant

definition of Wikipedia

   Advertizing ▼


Aspirated consonant

Entity (decimal) ʰ
Unicode (hex) U+02B0

In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin [pʰɪn] and then bin [bɪn]. One should either feel a puff of air or see a flicker of the candle flame with pin that one does not get with bin. In most dialects of English, the initial consonant is aspirated in pin and unaspirated in bin.

The diacritic for aspiration in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a superscript "h", ⟨◌ʰ⟩. In Unicode, it is encoded at U+02B0 ʰ modifier letter small h (HTML: ʰ). Unaspirated consonants are not normally marked explicitly, but there is a diacritic for non-aspiration in the Extensions to the IPA, the superscript equal sign, ⟨◌⁼⟩.

The term "aspiration" is sometimes also used for the replacement of a (usually fricative) consonant with an [h] sound, but that process is more accurately termed debuccalization.



Voiceless consonants are produced with the vocal cords open and voiced consonants are produced when the vocal folds are fractionally closed. Voiceless aspiration occurs when the vocal cords remain open after a consonant is released. An easy way to measure this is by noting the consonant's voice onset time, as the voicing of a following vowel cannot begin until the vocal cords close.

  Usage patterns

English voiceless stops are aspirated for most native speakers when they are word-initial or begin a stressed syllable, as in pen, ten, Ken. They are unaspirated for almost all speakers when immediately following word-initial s, as in spun, stun, skunk. After an s elsewhere in a word they are normally unaspirated as well, except when the cluster is heteromorphemic and the stop belongs to an unbound morpheme; compare dis[t]end vs. dis[tʰ]aste. Word-final voiceless stops optionally aspirate.

Aspirated consonants are not always followed by vowels or other voiced sounds. For example, in Eastern Armenian, aspiration is contrastive even word-finally so that տաք [tɑkʰ] ('hot') contrasts with տակ [tɑk] ('under').

In addition to Eastern Armenian, many languages, such as Korean, Thai, Indo-Aryan languages, Dravidian languages, Icelandic, Ancient Greek, and the dialects of Chinese [p⁼ t⁼ k⁼] etc. and [pʰ tʰ kʰ] etc. are different phonemes altogether.

Alemannic German dialects have unaspirated [p⁼ t⁼ k⁼] as well as aspirated [pʰ tʰ kʰ]; the latter series are usually viewed as consonant clusters. In Danish and most southern varieties of German, the "lenis" consonants transcribed for historical reasons as ⟨b d ɡ⟩ are distinguished from their fortis counterparts ⟨p t k⟩, mainly in their lack of aspiration.

Icelandic and Faroese have preaspirated [ʰp ʰt ʰk]; some scholars interpret these as consonant clusters as well. Preaspirated stops also occur in some Sami languages; for example, in Sami, the unvoiced stop phonemes /p/, /t/, /c/, /k/ are pronounced preaspirated ([ʰp], [ʰt] [ʰc] [ʰk]) when they occur in medial or final position.

French,[1] Dutch, Italian, and Latvian are languages that do not have aspirated consonants.

There are degrees of aspiration. Armenian and Cantonese have aspiration that lasts about as long as English aspirated stops, in addition to unaspirated stops. Korean has lightly aspirated stops that fall between the Armenian and Cantonese unaspirated and aspirated stops, as well as strongly aspirated stops whose aspiration lasts longer than that of Armenian or Cantonese. (See voice onset time.) An old IPA symbol for light aspiration was [ ʻ ] (that is, like a rotated ejective symbol), but this is no longer commonly used. There is no specific symbol for strong aspiration, but [ʰ] can be iconically doubled for, say, Korean *[kʻ ] vs. *[kʰʰ]. Note however that Korean is nearly universally transcribed as [k] vs. [kʰ], with the details of voice onset time given numerically.

Aspiration also varies with place of articulation. Spanish /p t k/, for example, have voice onset times (VOTs) of about 5, 10, and 30 milliseconds, whereas English /p t k/ have VOTs of about 60, 70, and 80 ms. Korean has been measured at 20, 25, and 50 ms for /p t k/ and 90, 95, and 125 for /pʰ tʰ kʰ/[citation needed].

Although most aspirated obstruents in the world's language are stops and affricates, aspirated fricatives such as [sʰ], [fʰ] or [ɕʰ] have also been documented in a few Tibeto-Burman languages, in some Oto-Manguean languages and in the Siouan language Ofo. Some languages, such as Cone Tibetan, have up to four contrastive aspirated fricatives [sʰ] [ɕʰ], [ʂʰ] and [xʰ][2]

True aspirated voiced stops, as opposed to murmured voiced stops such as [bʱ], [dʱ], [ɡʱ] are extremely rare, but have been described in the Kelabit language.[3]

  Usage of the diacritic ⟨ʰ

The word 'aspiration' and the aspiration diacritic are sometimes used with voiced stops, such as ⟨⟩. However, such voiced aspiration, also known as breathy voice or murmur, is less ambiguously transcribed with dedicated diacritics, as ⟨⟩ or ⟨⟩.

Some linguists restrict the double-dot subscript ⟨◌̤⟩ to murmured sonorants, such as vowels and nasals, which are murmured throughout their duration, and use the superscript hook-aitch ⟨◌ʱ⟩ for the breathy-voiced release of obstruents. When murmur is included under the term aspiration, as is common in Indo-Aryan linguistics, "voiceless aspiration" is called just that to avoid ambiguity.

The diacritic may be doubled to indicate especially long aspiration, as in Navajo: ⟨kʰʰ⟩ etc.

  See also


  1. ^ Tranel, Bernard (1987). The sounds of French: an introduction (3rd ed.). Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 129–130. ISBN 0-521-31510-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=17jiE4jm-XUC. 
  2. ^ Guillaume Jacques 2011. A panchronic study of aspirated fricatives, with new evidence from Pumi, Lingua 121.9:1518-1538
  3. ^ Robert Blust, 2006, "The Origin of the Kelabit Voiced Aspirates: A Historical Hypothesis Revisited", Oceanic Linguistics 45:311


  • Cho, T., & Ladefoged, P., "Variations and universals in VOT". In Fieldwork Studies of Targeted Languages V: UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics vol. 95. 1997.


All translations of Aspirated consonant

sensagent's content

  • definitions
  • synonyms
  • antonyms
  • encyclopedia

Dictionary and translator for handheld

⇨ New : sensagent is now available on your handheld

   Advertising ▼

sensagent's office

Shortkey or widget. Free.

Windows Shortkey: sensagent. Free.

Vista Widget : sensagent. Free.

Webmaster Solution


A windows (pop-into) of information (full-content of Sensagent) triggered by double-clicking any word on your webpage. Give contextual explanation and translation from your sites !

Try here  or   get the code


With a SensagentBox, visitors to your site can access reliable information on over 5 million pages provided by Sensagent.com. Choose the design that fits your site.

Business solution

Improve your site content

Add new content to your site from Sensagent by XML.

Crawl products or adds

Get XML access to reach the best products.

Index images and define metadata

Get XML access to fix the meaning of your metadata.

Please, email us to describe your idea.


The English word games are:
○   Anagrams
○   Wildcard, crossword
○   Lettris
○   Boggle.


Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.


Boggle gives you 3 minutes to find as many words (3 letters or more) as you can in a grid of 16 letters. You can also try the grid of 16 letters. Letters must be adjacent and longer words score better. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame !

English dictionary
Main references

Most English definitions are provided by WordNet .
English thesaurus is mainly derived from The Integral Dictionary (TID).
English Encyclopedia is licensed by Wikipedia (GNU).


The wordgames anagrams, crossword, Lettris and Boggle are provided by Memodata.
The web service Alexandria is granted from Memodata for the Ebay search.
The SensagentBox are offered by sensAgent.


Change the target language to find translations.
Tips: browse the semantic fields (see From ideas to words) in two languages to learn more.

last searches on the dictionary :

2620 online visitors

computed in 0.046s

   Advertising ▼

I would like to report:
section :
a spelling or a grammatical mistake
an offensive content(racist, pornographic, injurious, etc.)
a copyright violation
an error
a missing statement
please precise:



Company informations

My account



   Advertising ▼