An obstruent is a speech sound such as , , or that is formed
by ''obstructing'' airflow. Obstruents contrast with sonorant
s, which have no such obstruction and so resonate. All obstruents are consonant
s, but sonorants include both vowel
s and consonants.
Obstruents are subdivided into plosives
(oral stops), such as , with complete occlusion of the vocal tract, often followed by a release burst; fricative
s, such as , with limited closure, not stopping airflow but making it turbulent; and affricate
s, which begin with complete occlusion but then release into a fricative-like release, such as .
[Zsiga, Elizabeth. ''The Sounds of Language: An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology''. Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.]
Obstruents are prototypically voiceless
, but voiced obstruents are common. This contrasts with sonorants, which are prototypically voiced and only rarely voiceless.
*List of phonetics topics