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Basque phonetics site

:: affricates ::

Basque has three affricate phonemes of sibilant nature in a reduced articulatory space:

 
Alveolar
Dorsal Apical
Palatal
 
Affricates
Graphics


The palatal phoneme is fronted and can therefore be considered prepalatal. The voiceless affricate phonemes have voiced variants that change in frequency and origin according to the dialects: thus, for example, in the Iparralde dialects, basically in Souletin, they are of external origin (French loans), whereas in Biscayan in the coastal areas, they are of internal origin (evolution of the palatal approximant (/j/).

All the Basque dialects have maintained this threefold distinction until recent times, although graphic confusions have been found since at least the XVII century in Biscayan. Nowadays, a confluence of the dorsoalveolar and the apicoalveolar phoneme is occurring. As a result the system is reduced to two voiceless affricates: one palatal and the other alveolar (preferably dorsal). In some cases, like in Biscayan, this process has come to its conclusion.
 
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