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These categories of speech sounds involve a transitional aspect during their articulation. In trills for example a flexible articulator vibrates repeatedly against an immobile articulator so that a somewhat rattling sound quality is obtained. In an alveolar trill the tip of the tongue vibrates against the roof of the mouth just behind the upper teeth. The actual number of vibrations is variable. Languages can have trills at various places of articulation, but the alveolar trill is the most common type. Other places of articulation are labial and uvular. In a labial trill, the lips first create a closure which is followed by 2-3 trill periods. This trill type has been attested linguistically in only few places in the world such as in Central Africa, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu (Rangelov, 2019). In a uvular trill it is the uvula which trills against the back of the tongue. All these trills can be both voiced and voiceless.

Taps or flaps consist of a single ballistic movement of a flexible articulator against an immobile articulator. Both terms are often used interchangeably, but some phoneticians make a distinction. Taps and flaps distinguish themselves from trills in that they have only one moment of contact between the articulators.

References:
Rangelov, T. (2019). The bilabial trills of Ahamb (Vanuatu): acoustic a articulatory properties. Proceedings of the ICPhS

Trill_V_Alveolar.png

Visual illustration of the alveolar trill

LABIAL •
Voiceless
Trill
Phonetic symbol for the voiced alveolar trill.
Phonetic symbol for the voiceless labial trill.
Phonetic symbol for the voiceless alveolar trill.
Phonetic symbol for the voiceless uvular trill.
Phonetic symbol for the voiceless alveolar tap.
Phonetic symbol for the voiced alveolar tap.
Phonetic symbol for the voiced labio-dental flap.

IPA symbols for the phonetic transcription of trills, taps and flaps

Phonetic symbol for the voiceless alveolar flap.
Phonetic symbol for the voiced alveolar flap.
Trill
• LABIAL
Voiced
Phonetic symbol for the voiced labial trill.
Voiceless
ALVEOLAR •
Trill
Voiced
• ALVEOLAR
Trill
Voiceless
UVULAR •
Trill
Voiced
• UVULAR
Trill
Phonetic symbol for the voiced uvular trill.
Voiceless
ALVEOLAR •
Tap
Voiced
• ALVEOLAR
Tap
Voiced
• LABIO-DENTAL
Flap
Voiceless
ALVEOLAR •
Flap
Voiced
• ALVEOLAR
Flap
LABIAL
TRILL
UVULAR
TRILL
VOICED 
LABIODENTAL
FLAP
VOICELESS •
• VOICELESS
ALVEOLAR
TRILL
ALVEOLAR
TAP
ALVEOLAR
FLAP
• VOICED
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nutshell phonetics of trills, taps and flaps