Retroflex flap

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Retroflex flap
IPA number 125
Entity (decimal) ɽ
Unicode (hex) U+027D
Kirshenbaum *.
Braille ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256) ⠗ (braille pattern dots-1235)

The retroflex flap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɽ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ⟨r`⟩.


Features of the retroflex flap:

  • Its manner of articulation is flap, which means it is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator (usually the tongue) is thrown against another.
  • Its place of articulation is retroflex, which prototypically means it is articulated subapical (with the tip of the tongue curled up), but more generally, it means that it is postalveolar without being palatalized. That is, besides the prototypical sub-apical articulation, the tongue contact can be apical (pointed) or laminal (flat).
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dutch[1][2] North Brabant[3] riem [ɽim] 'belt' A rare variant of /r/;[4][5] occurs almost exclusively word-initially.[6] Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology
Northern Netherlands[3][7]
Elfdalian luv [ɽʏːv] 'permission'
Enga la [jɑɽɑ] 'shame'
Hausa bara [bəɽa] 'servant' Represented in Arabic script with ⟨ر⟩
Hindustani बड़ा [bəɽäː] 'big' Represented by ⟨ड़⟩. Hindustani contrasts unaspirated and aspirated forms. See Hindustani phonology
Nepali[8] भाड़ा [bʱaɽa] 'rent' See Nepali phonology
Norwegian Eastern and central dialects blad [bɽɑː] 'leaf', 'blade' Allophone of /ɭ/. See Norwegian phonology
Almost the same as above bord [buːɽ] 'board', 'table' Allophone of /r/. See Norwegian phonology
Portuguese Some European speakers[9] falar [fəˈlaɽ] 'to speak' Allophone of /ɾ/. May rhotacize ("color") preceding vowel. See Portuguese phonology
Brazilian caipira speakers[10][11] madeira [mɐˈdeːɽə] 'wood', 'timber'
Some sertanejo speakers[12] gargalhar [ɡaɽɡɐˈʎaɽ] 'to chortle',
'to guffaw'
Punjabi ਘੋੜਾ [kòːɽɑ̀ː] 'horse'
Swedish Some dialects blad [bɽɑː(d)] 'leaf' Allophone of /l/. See Swedish phonology

Toda has a retroflex trill, which is transcribed with the same IPA symbol.

See also



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Heide, Eldar, 2010: «Tjukk l – Retroflektert tydeleggjering av kort kvantitet. Om kvalitetskløyvinga av det gamle kvantitetssystemet.» Maal og minne, s. 3-44.