back to course outline

Approximants: j and w                       

Down to w

j is a palatal approximant. Note that Icelandic phonologists usually refer to this sound as a palatal fricative, but there is litle diference between the Icelandic and the English sounds.

In English, j is spelt

NOTE : For UNVOICING of j, see Unvoicing of l r j w after fortis plosives

For ALL GLIDES , see j w r glides


w is a bilabial approximant with secondary velar articulation. Let's consider the "bilabial" part first.

Icelanders have problems distinguishing between v and w. There is no w in Icelandic, and yet, to English ears, Icelanders always seem to have w in words like 'very', 'revolve'. Why is this?

First, recall what we said about v - here we saw that

Secondly, w has secondary velar articulation - while the lips are making the 'w' shape (rounding), the back of the tongue is making a velar approximant - vey much like the g in 'ógurlega'.

For UNVOICING of w, see Unvoicing of l r j w after fortis plosives and words spelled 'wh-'

For ALL GLIDES , see j w r glides

 

Back to j


back to course outline back to Phonetics back to Pétur Knútsson's home page

If you have any questions mail me at peturk@hi.is.