The voiced alveolar tap or flap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents a dental, alveolar, or postalveolar tap or flap is ⟨ɾ⟩.
The terms tap and flap are often used interchangeably. Peter Ladefoged proposed the distinction that a tap strikes its point of contact directly, as a very brief stop, and a flap strikes the point of contact tangentially: "Flaps are most typically made by retracting the tongue tip behind the alveolar ridge and moving it forward so that it strikes the ridge in passing." That distinction between the alveolar tap and flap can be written in the IPA with tap ⟨ɾ⟩ and flap ⟨ɽ⟩, the 'retroflex' symbol being used for the one that starts with the tongue tip curled back behind the alveolar ridge. The distinction is noticeable in the speech of some American English speakers in distinguishing the words "potty" (tap [ɾ]) and "party" (retroflex [ɽ]).
For linguists who make the distinction, the coronal flap (as in Spanish pero) is transcribed with ⟨ɾ⟩, and the tap (as in dd in American English ladder) is transcribed with a non-IPA symbol ⟨ᴅ⟩ (not to be confused with the IPA symbol ⟨ɒ⟩, which stands for the open back rounded vowel). Otherwise, alveolars and dentals are typically called taps and other articulations flaps. No language contrasts a tap and a flap at the same place of articulation.
The sound is often analyzed and thus interpreted by non-native English-speakers as an 'R-sound' in many foreign languages. In languages for which the segment is present but not phonemic, it is often an allophone of either an alveolar stop ([t], [d], or both) or a rhotic consonant (like the alveolar trill or the alveolar approximant).
If the alveolar flap is the only rhotic consonant in the language, it may be transcribed with ⟨r⟩ although that symbol technically represents the trill.
The voiced alveolar tapped fricative reported from some languages is actually a very brief voiced alveolar non-sibilant fricative.
|Voiced alveolar tap or flap|
Features of the voiced alveolar tap or flap:
|Arabic||Egyptian||رجل||[ɾeɡl]||'leg'||See Egyptian Arabic phonology|
|Moroccan||رم / rma||[ɾma]||'he threw'|
|South Iraqi||أريد||[aɾid]||'I want'|
|Armenian||Eastern||րոպե||[ɾopɛ] (help·info)||'minute'||Contrasts with /r/ in all positions.|
|Assyrian||ܪܝܫܐ rìsha||[ɾiʃa]||'head'||Contrasts with ‘dark’ R.|
|Basque||begiratu||[beˈɣiɾaˌtu]||'look'||Contrasts with /r/. See Basque phonology|
|Bengali||আবার||[abaɾ]||'again'||Main realisation of /r/. Corresponds to [r ~ ɹ] in others and may occur word-medially and finally against [r]. See Bengali phonology|
|Catalan||truc||[ˈtɾuk]||'trick'||Contrasts with /r/. See Catalan phonology|
|Danish||nordisk||[ˈnoɐ̯ɾisk]||'Nordic'||Possible realization of intervocalic /d/ between phonetic vowels. See Danish phonology|
|English||Cockney||better||[ˈbe̞ɾə]||'better'||Intervocalic allophone of /t/. In free variation with [ʔ ~ tʰ ~ tˢ]. See Flapping|
|Australian||[ˈbeɾə]||Intervocalic allophone of /t/ and /d/. See Australian English phonology, New Zealand English phonology and Flapping|
|Dublin||[ˈbɛɾɚ] (help·info)||Intervocalic allophone of /t/ and /d/, present in many dialects. In Local Dublin it can be [ɹ] instead, unlike New and Mainstream. See English phonology and Flapping|
|Irish||three||[θɾiː]||'three'||Conservative accents. Corresponds to [ɹ ~ ɻ ~ ʁ] in other accents.|
|Scottish||Most speakers. Others use [ɹ ~ r].|
|Older Received Pronunciation||Allophone of /ɹ/|
|South African||Broad speakers. Can be [ɹ ~ r] instead|
|Esperanto||Esperanto||[espeˈɾanto]||'one who hopes'||Usually a flap [ɾ], but can be a trilled r. See Esperanto phonology|
|Greek||μηρός / mirós||[miˈɾ̠o̞s]||'thigh'||Somewhat retracted. Most common realization of /r/. See Modern Greek phonology|
|Hindustani||मेरा / میرا||[meːɾaː]||'My'||Allophone of /r/ in intervocalic position. See Hindustani phonology.|
|Kinyarwanda||u Rwanda||[u ɾgwɑː.ndɑ]||'Rwanda'|
|Japanese[dubious ]||心 /こころ kokoro||[ko̞ko̞ɾo̞] (help·info)||'heart'|| Varies with [ɺ]. See Japanese phonology|
|Korean||여름 / yeoreum||[jʌɾɯm]||'summer'||Allophone of /l/ between vowels or between a vowel and an /h/|
|Malay||راتوس / ratus||[ɾä.tos]||'hundred'||Common realisation of /r/. May be trill [r] or postalveolar approximant [ɹ̠]. See Malay phonology|
|Nepali||तारा||[t̪äɾä]||'star'||Intervocalic allophone of /r/. See Nepali phonology|
|Norwegian||bare||[ˈbɑ̂ː.ɾə]||'only'||May be realised as a trill [r], approximant [ɹ] or uvular [ʀ~ʁ] depending on dialect. See Norwegian phonology|
|Polish||który||[ˈkt̪u.ɾɘ̟]||'which'||Can also sometimes be an approximant, a fricative, and rarely - a trill. See Polish phonology|
|Portuguese||prato||[ˈpɾatu]||'dish'||Dental to retroflex allophones, varying by dialect. Contrasts only intervocalically with /ʁ/, with its guttural allophones. See Portuguese phonology|
|Scottish Gaelic||mòr||[moːɾ]||'big'||Both the lenited and non-initial broad form of r. Often transcribed simply as /r/. The initial unlenited broad form is a trill [rˠ], while the slender form is [ɾʲ] ([ð] in some dialects). See Scottish Gaelic phonology.|
|Spanish||caro||[ˈkaɾo̞] (help·info)||'expensive'||Contrasts with /r/. See Spanish phonology|
|Tagalog||biro||[ˈbiɾɔʔ]||'joke'||See Tagalog phonology|
|Tamil||மரம்||[maɾam]||'tree'||See Tamil phonology|
|Turkish||ara||[ˈäɾä]||'interval'||Intervocalically; may not make full contact elsewhere. See Turkish phonology|
|West Coast Bajau||bara'||[ba.ɾaʔ]||'to tell'||Voiced dental flap in intervocalic position.|
|Alveolar nasal tap/flap|
|IPA Number||124 424|
Features of the alveolar nasal tap or flap:
|English||Estuary||twenty||[ˈtw̥ɛ̃ɾ̃i] (help·info)||'twenty'||Allophone of unstressed intervocalic /nt/ for some speakers, especially in rapid or casual speech. See English phonology, North American English regional phonology and tapping|
|Guarani||porã||[põˈɾ̃ã]||'good'||Nasalized allophone of /ɾ/ as a result of nasal harmony. See Guarani language § Nasal harmony|
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I østlandsk er denne lyden normalt en såkalt tapp
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