kids encyclopedia robot

Fricative consonant facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

A fricative consonant is a consonant that is made when you squeeze air through a small hole or gap in your mouth. For example, the gaps between your teeth can make fricative consonants; when these gaps are used, the fricatives are called sibilants. Some examples of sibilants in English are [s], [z], [ʃ], and [ʒ].

English has a fairly large number of fricatives, and it has both voiced and voiceless fricatives. Its voiceless fricatives are [s], [ʃ], [f], and [θ], and its voiced fricatives are [z], [ʒ], [v], and [ð]

Sibilant fricatives

This is a list of sibilant fricatives.

  • [s] voiceless coronal sibilant, as in English sip
  • [z] voiced coronal sibilant, as in English zip
  • [ʃ] voiceless palat-alveolar sibilant (domed, partially palatalized), as in English ship
  • [ʒ] voiced palat-alveolar sibilant (domed, partially palatalized), as the s in English vision
  • [ɕ] voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant (laminal, palatalized)
  • [ʑ] voiced alveo-palatal sibilant (laminal, palatalized)
  • [ʂ] voiceless retroflex sibilant (apical or subapical)
  • [ʐ] voiced retroflex sibilant (apical or subapical)

Non-sibilant fricatives

  • [ɸ] voiceless bilabial fricative
  • [β] voiced bilabial fricative
  • [f] voiceless labiodental fricative, as in English fine
  • [v] voiced labiodental fricative, as in English vine
  • [θ], [θ̟] voiceless dental fricative, as in English thing
  • [ð], [ð̟] voiced dental fricative, as in English that
  • [r̝] voiceless trilled fricative
  • [ç] voiceless palatal fricative
  • [ʝ] voiced palatal fricative
  • [x] voiceless velar fricative
  • [ɣ] voiced velar fricative
  • [ɧ] voiceless palatal-velar fricative
  • [χ] voiceless uvular fricative
  • [ħ] voiceless pharyngeal fricative
  • [ʜ] voiceless epiglottal fricative

Lateral fricatives

  • [ɬ] voiceless coronal lateral fricative
  • [ɮ] voiced coronal lateral fricative

Pseudo-fricatives

  • [h] voiceless glottal transition, as in English hat
  • [ɦ] breathy-voiced glottal transition

In many languages, such as English, the glottal "fricatives," like the [h] in English "hat", are not really fricatives because they are just vowels that are not voiced. However, in languages such as Arabic, they are true fricatives.


kids search engine
Fricative consonant Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.