Voiced retroflex trill
IPA Number125 433 122
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɽ​͡​r
Unicode (hex)U+027D U+0361 U+0072

The voiced retroflex trill is a sound that has been reported in Toda and confirmed with laboratory measurements. Peter Ladefoged transcribes it with the IPA symbol that is normally associated with the retroflex flap, ɽ. Although the tongue starts out in a subapical retroflex position, trilling involves the tip of the tongue and causes it to move forward to the alveolar ridge. Thus, the retroflex trill gives a preceding vowel retroflex coloration, like other retroflex consonants, but the vibration itself is not much different from an alveolar trill. Thus, the narrower transcription ɽr is also appropriate.

Wahgi has a similar trilled allophone of its lateral flap, [𝼈̥r̥], but it is voiceless.

Wintu and Lardil are other languages with a reported (apico-)retroflex trill where the tongue apex "approaches" the hard palate, but it is not subapical, unlike in Toda. The trill has a retroflex flap allophone that occurs between vowels.

Variations of the retroflex trill in IPA symbols
Variations of the retroflex trill in IPA symbols

Several languages have been reported to have trilled retroflex affricates such as [ɳɖ͡ɽ̝] and [ʈ͡ɽ̝̊], including Mapudungun, Malagasy and Fijian. However, the exact articulation is seldom clear from descriptions.

In Fijian, for example, further investigation has revealed that the sound (written ⟨dr⟩) is seldom trilled but is usually realized as a postalveolar stop [n̠d̠] instead. In Mapudungun, the sound (written tr) is strongly retroflex, causing /l/ and /r/ following the subsequent vowel to become retroflex as well. The southern dialect varies between /ʈɽ/ and /ʈʂ/, but it is not clear whether the letter ɽ represents a trill or a non-sibilant fricative.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dutch North Brabant[1] riem [ɽrim] 'belt' A rare variant of /r/, which occurs almost exclusively word-initially.[2] Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology
North Holland[1]
Toda[3] [kaɽr] 'pen for calves' Subapical. Toda contrasts plain and palatalized fronted alveolar, alveolar and retroflex trills.[3]
Wintu[4] [example needed] Apical