Alveolar consonant

consonants articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge

An alveolar consonant is a consonant with the tongue close to the alveolar ridge, which is the part just behind our teeth. Alveolar consonants that are pronounced with the tip of the tongue, like in English, are called apical consonants while those pronounced using the blade of the tongue which is the flat part of the tongue behind the tip, are called laminal consonants. Alveolar consonants in English are [n], [t], [d], [s], and [l]. The alveolar consonants [n], the alveolar nasal, and [t], the voiceless alveolar plosive, are the most common sounds in human languages.

Alveolar consonants in IPA


The alveolar/coronal consonants identified by the IPA are:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning in English
  alveolar nasal English run [ɹʷʌn] run
  voiceless alveolar plosive English tap [tʰæp] tap
  voiced alveolar plosive English debt [dɛt] debt
  voiceless alveolar fricative English suit [sjuːt] suit
  voiced alveolar fricative English zoo [zuː] zoo
  voiceless alveolar affricate German Zeit [t͡saɪt] time
  voiced alveolar affricate Italian zaino d͡zaino] backpack
  voiceless alveolar lateral fricative Welsh Llwyd [ɬʊɪd] the name Lloyd or Floyd
  voiced alveolar lateral fricative Zulu dlala ɮálà] to play
t͡ɬ voiceless alveolar lateral affricate Tsez элIни [ˈʔɛ̝t͡ɬni] winter
d͡ɮ voiced alveolar lateral affricate Oowekyala
  alveolar approximant English red [ɹʷɛd] red
  alveolar lateral approximant English loop [lup] loop
  alveolar tap or flap Spanish pero [peɾo] but
  alveolar lateral flap Venda [vuɺa] to open
  alveolar trill Spanish perro [pero] dog
  alveolar ejective stop Georgian [ia] tulip
  alveolar ejective fricative Amharic [ɛɡa] grace
  voiced alveolar implosive Vietnamese đã [ɗɐː] Past tense indicator
  alveolar lateral click Nama ǁî [kǁĩĩ] discussed