Trill

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A trill is a consonant produced by a repeating vibration (or trilling) of an active articulator, emplying the Bernoulli effect. They are difficult sounds to master and a common target of speech impediments.

A trill may include any amount of contacts; a single-contact trill is similar to a tap, with the exception that taps are usually produced by active movement of articulators.

The IPA recognizes three basic trills:

A frequent feature of conlangs that are trying too hard is the inclusion of all three of these sounds.

Other trills are also possible, though not at all places of articulation:

  • Labiodental trill, [ʙ̪]: a possible though difficult-to-articulate sound.
  • Dental trill, [r̪]: a simple but rarely heard modification of the alveolar trill. UPSID reports a dental trill for e.g. Russian.
  • Retroflex trill: Not strictly possible, though Toda appears to feature a phoneme describable as such, basically an alveolar trill with a retroflex flap onset.
  • Epiglottal trill: A "purring" sound, associated with strident voice. The symbol [я] is frequently used for this sound.

Trills can occur, beyond consonants, also as syllable nucleus (ie. vocalic). Slovak and Sanskrit are examples of languages featuring syllabic alveolar trills.

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