I was wondering if there are any living languages without any of the following: /ɬ/ or /ɮ/, postaveolars and palatals—with the exception of /j/?

Again, a list of the excluded consonants are-

These alveolars:

/ɬ/ /ɮ/


/ʃ/ /ʒ/


/c/ /ɟ/ /ɲ/ /ç/ /ʝ/ /ʎ/

  • 2
    The UCLA Phonological Segment Inventory Database is a good place to start with for questions like this.
    – rmalouf
    Jun 14, 2016 at 19:14
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    There are many of them, especially if you limit yourself to phonemes (rather than including phonetic allophony). Without even looking outside Europe, you've got at the very least Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Estonian, and Greek. Many of these have one or more of the sounds in question as allophones, and some have them as marginal phonemes in loan words (some Danes and Finns pronounce the English loan word show with /ʃ/, for instance), but not as actual phonemes. Also, why are you specifically including palatoalveolars but not alveolopalatals? Or did you not mean to leave out /ɕ ʑ/? Jun 16, 2016 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


There are vast numbers of languages without /ɬ/ or /ɮ/: English for example. /ɮ/ doesn't exist in any Indo-European language, and exists in maybe a dozen languages. It's easier to list the languages that have these than to list the ones that don't. Khoekhoe (Nama) has no palatals of any kind (nor does it have hlaterals); nor do Pirahã, Rotokas, Hawaiian.

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