|Voiceless retroflex nasal|
The voiceless retroflex nasal is an extremely rare type of consonantal sound, used in very few spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɳ̊⟩, a combination of the letter for the voiced retroflex nasal and a diacritic indicating voicelessness.
Features of the voiceless retroflex nasal:
- Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Because the consonant is also nasal, the blocked airflow is redirected through the nose.
- 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 subapical articulation, the tongue contact can be apical (pointed) or laminal (flat).
- Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords.
- It is a nasal consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the nose, either exclusively (nasal stops) or in addition to through the mouth.
- 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 intercostal muscles and diaphragm, as in most sounds.