[ɿ], [ʅ] (vowel)

Le Pamplemousse

Senior Member
USA, English

I've come across a symbol for a vowel in some Chinese languages that I can't find on any IPA chart. Can anyone tell me where [ɿ] is in the mouth? All I've discovered is that it's an alveolar apical.

  • Lugubert

    Senior Member
    I'll just add that it's probably borrowed by Bernhard Karlgren from the Swedish rural dialects alphabet, which he at the age of 22 used when researching Chinese dialects, leading him to the reconstruction of the actual sounds of what is now called middle Chinese and Old Chinese.


    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    When I read up on the how Mandarin is pronounced, it seemed to me that [ɿ] is not in the IPA because it's not really a vowel but [z] used as a vowel (in the sense that it counts as a syllable). Please correct me if I'm wrong, but [ɿ] is used for the vowel in syllables si, zi, and ci and if you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinyin#Pronunciation_of_finals, it gives the IPA value as [z̩] (where the dot meaning it's being used as a vowel), and it describes it as 'After "z", "c" or "s", sounds like a prolonged "zzz" sound,' although it also mentions some differences. There's a little discussion about this too on the talk page of that Wikipedia article.


    Senior Member
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]



    Lusus Naturae

    Senior Member
    [Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]

    In Mandarin Chinese, 斯 is pronounced s_ (not si), 是 is pronounced sh_ (not shi)

    What's the term for the vowel (or semivowel?) sinographs like 斯, 是, 四, 十 have in common?


    Senior Member
    [+ high, - front, - round]

    Note: 斯 has a central vowel, wheras 是 has a back vowel. What they have in common is [- front], that is, "not front".
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    IIRC, according to the phoneticist John Well:
    • the non-retroflex version /ɿ/ is realised as [z̩ᵚ];
    • the retroflex version /ʅ/ is realised as [ɻ̩ᶤ].