Voiced velar fricative

For consonants followed by superscript ˠ, see Velarization.
Voiced velar fricative
IPA number 141
Entity (decimal) ɣ
Unicode (hex) U+0263
Kirshenbaum Q
Braille ⠨ (braille pattern dots-46)⠛ (braille pattern dots-1245)
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The voiced velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in various spoken languages. It is not found in English today, but did exist in Old English. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɣ, a Latinized variant of the Greek letter gamma, γ, which has this sound in Modern Greek. It should not be confused with the graphically similar ɤ, the IPA symbol for a close-mid back unrounded vowel, which some writings[1] use for the voiced velar fricative.

The symbol ɣ is also sometimes used to represent the velar approximant, though that is more accurately written with the lowering diacritic: [ɣ̞] or [ɣ˕]. The IPA also provides a dedicated symbol for a velar approximant, [ɰ], though there can be stylistic reasons to not use it in phonetic transcription.

There is also a voiced post-velar fricative (also called pre-uvular) in some languages. For voiced pre-velar fricative (also called post-palatal), see voiced palatal fricative.


Features of the voiced velar fricative:


Some of the consonants listed as post-velar may actually be trill fricatives.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abaza бгъьы [bɣʲə] 'leaf'
Adyghe чъыгы  [t͡ʂəɣə]  tree
Alekano gamó [ɣɑmɤʔ] 'cucumber'
Aleut agiitalix [aɣiːtalix] 'with'
Angor ranihı [ɾɑniɣə] 'brother'
Angas γür [ɣyr] 'to pick up'
Arabic Modern Standard[2] غريب [ˈɣɑriːb] 'stranger' May be velar, post-velar or uvular, depending on dialect.[3] See Arabic phonology
Some Iraqi dialects[4] رأس [ʁ̟ɑʔs] 'head' Post-velar.[4] Corresponds to [r] in other dialects.[4] See Arabic phonology
Asturian gadañu [ɣaˈd̪ãɲʊ] 'scythe' Allophone of /ɡ/ in almost all positions
Azerbaijani ağac [ɑɣɑd͡ʒ] 'tree'
Basque[5] hego [heɣo] 'wing' Allophone of /ɡ/
Catalan[6] figuera [fiˈɣeɾə] 'fig tree' Allophone of /ɡ/. See Catalan phonology
Chechen гӀала / ġala [ɣaːla] 'town'
Czech bych byl [bɪɣ bɪl] 'I would be' Allophone of /x/. See Czech phonology
Danish Older Standard[7][8] talg [ˈtˢalˀɣ] 'tallow' More often an approximant [ɰ].[7] Depending on the environment, it corresponds to [ʊ̯], [ɪ̯] or [j] in young speakers of contemporary Standard Danish.[8] See Danish phonology
Dawsahak ? [zoɣ] 'war'
Dinka ɣo [ɣo] 'us'
Dutch Standard Belgian[9][10] gaan [ɣaːn] 'to go' May be post-palatal [ʝ̠] instead.[10] See Dutch phonology
Southern accents[10]
Georgian[11] არიბი [ɣɑribi] 'poor' May actually be post-velar or uvular
German[12][13] damalige [ˈdaːmaːlɪɣə] 'former' Intervocalic allophone of /g/ in casual speech.[12][13] See German phonology
Ghari cheghe [tʃeɣe] 'five'
Greek γάλα/gála [ˈɣɐlɐ] 'milk' See Modern Greek phonology
Gujarati વા [ʋɑ̤̈ɣəɽ̃] 'tigress' See Gujarati phonology
Gweno [ndeɣe] 'bird'
Gwich’in videeghàn [viteːɣân] 'his/her chest'
Haitian Creole diri [diɣi] 'rice'
Hän dëgëghor [təkəɣor] 'I am playing'
Hebrew Yemenite מִגְדָּל [miɣdɔl] 'tower' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi[14] ग़रीब [ɣ̄əriːb] 'poor' Post-velar.[14] See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Iranian Turkic oǧul [oɣul] 'son'
Icelandic saga [ˈsaːɣaː] 'saga' See Icelandic phonology
Irish dhorn [ɣoːɾˠn̪ˠ] 'fist' See Irish phonology
Istro-Romanian[15] gură [ɣurə] 'mouth' Corresponds to [g] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Iwaidja [mulaɣa] 'hermit crab'
Japanese[16] はげ/hage [haɣe] 'baldness' Allophone of /ɡ/, especially in fast or casual speech. See Japanese phonology
Kabardian гын  [ɣən]  'powder'
Lezgian гъел [ɣel] 'sleigh'
Limburgish[17][18][19][20] gaw [ɣɑ̟β̞] 'quick' The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Lithuanian humoras [ˈɣʊmɔrɐs̪] 'humor' Preferred over [ɦ]. See Lithuanian phonology
Luxembourgish[21] Kugel [ˈkʰuːɣəl] 'ball' Also described as uvular [ʁ].[22] Appears only in a few words.[21][22] See Luxembourgish phonology
Malay Standard Malay ghaib [ɣai̯b] 'unseen' Mostly in loanwords from Arabic. Indonesians tend to replace the sound with /g/.
Kelantan dialect ramai [ɣamaː] 'crowded (with people)' /r/ in Standard Malay is barely articulated in almost all of the Malay dialects in Malaysia. Usually it is uttered as guttural R at initial and medial position of a word. See Malay phonology
Terengganu dialect
Negeri Sembilan dialect [ɣamai̯]
Pahang dialect [ɣamɛ̃ː]
Sarawak dialect [ɣamɛː]
Macedonian Berovo accent дувна [ˈduɣna] 'it blew' Corresponds to etymological /x/ of other dialects, before sonorants. See Maleševo-Pirin dialect and Macedonian phonology
Bukovo accent глава [ˈɡɣa(v)a] 'head' Allophone of /l/ instead of usual [ɫ]. See Prilep-Bitola dialect
Navajo ’aghá [ʔaɣa] 'best'
Ngwe Mmockngie dialect [nøɣə̀] 'sun'
Northern Qiang ? [ɣnəʂ] 'February'
Norwegian Standard Eastern[23] å ha [ɔ ˈɣɑː] 'to have' Possible allophone of /h/ between two back vowels; can be voiceless [x] instead.[23] See Norwegian phonology
Occitan Gascon digoc [diˈɣuk] 'said' (3rd pers. sg.)
Pashto غاتر [ɣɑtər] 'mule'
Polish niechże [ˈɲeɣʐɛ] 'let' (imperative particle) Allophone of /x/ before voiced consonants. See Polish phonology
Portuguese European[24][25] agora [əˈɣɔɾə] 'now' Allophone of /ɡ/. See Portuguese phonology
Some Brazilian dialects[26] rmore [ˈmaɣmuɾi] 'marble', 'sill' Allophone of rhotic consonant (voiced equivalent to [x], itself allophone of /ʁ/) between voiced sounds, most often as coda before voiced consonants.
Punjabi ਗ਼ਰੀਬ [ɣəɾiːb] 'poor'
Ripuarian Colognian noch ein[en] [ˈnɔɣ‿ən] 'another one' Allophone of word-final /x/; occurs only immediately before a word that starts with a vowel. See Colognian phonology
Kerkrade dialect[27] vroage [ˈvʁoə̯ɣə] Occurs only after back vowels.[27]
Romani γoines [ɣoines] 'good'
Russian Southern дорога [dɐˈro̞ɣa] 'road' Corresponds to /ɡ/ in standard
Standard угу [uɣu] 'uh-huh' Usually nasal, /g/ is used when spoken. See Russian phonology
Sardinian Nuorese dialect ghere [ˈsuɣɛrɛ] 'to suck' Allophone of /ɡ/
Scottish Gaelic laghail [ɫ̪ɤɣal] 'lawful' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbo-Croatian[28] ових би / ovih bi [ǒ̞ʋiɣ bi] 'of these would' Allophone of /x/ before voiced consonants.[28] See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Sindhi غم [ɣəmʊ] 'sadness'
Spanish amigo [a̠ˈmiɣo̟] 'friend' Ranges from close fricative to approximant.[29] Allophone of /ɡ/, see Spanish phonology
Swahili ghali [ɣali] 'expensive'
Swedish Westrobothnian[30] jag [jɑ̝ːɣ] 'I' Allophone of /ɡ/. Occurs between vowels and in word-final positions.
Tajik ғафс [ɣafs] 'thick'
Tamazight aɣilas (aghilas) [aɣilas] 'leopard'
Turkish ağa [aɣa] 'agha' Deleted in most dialects. See Turkish phonology
Tutchone Northern ihghú [ihɣǔ] 'tooth'
Southern ghra [ɣra] 'baby'
Urdu غریب [ɣəriːb] 'poor' See Hindustani phonology
Uzbek[31] ёмғир / yomir [ʝɒ̜mˈʁ̟ɨɾ̪] 'rain' Post-velar.[31]
Vietnamese[32] ghế [ɣe˧˥] 'chair' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian drage [ˈdraːɣə] 'to carry' Never occurs in word-initial positions.
Yi /we [ɣɤ˧] 'win'

See also


  1. Such as Booij (1999) and Nowikow (2012).
  2. Watson (2002), pp. 17 and 19-20.
  3. Watson (2002), pp. 17, 19-20, 35-36 and 38.
  4. 1 2 3 Watson (2002), p. 16.
  5. Hualde (1991), pp. 99–100.
  6. Wheeler (2005), p. 10.
  7. 1 2 Grønnum (2005:123)
  8. 1 2 Basbøll (2005:211–212)
  9. Verhoeven (2005:243)
  10. 1 2 3 Collins & Mees (2003:191)
  11. Shosted & Chikovani (2006), p. 255.
  12. 1 2 Krech et al. (2009:108)
  13. 1 2 Sylvia Moosmüller (2007). "Vowels in Standard Austrian German: An Acoustic-Phonetic and Phonological Analysis" (PDF). p. 6. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  14. 1 2 Kachru (2006), p. 20.
  15. Pop (1938), p. 30.
  16. Okada (1991), p. 95.
  17. Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:159)
  18. Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998:110)
  19. Peters (2006:119)
  20. Verhoeven (2007:221)
  21. 1 2 Trouvain & Gilles (2009), p. 75.
  22. 1 2 Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 68.
  23. 1 2 Vanvik (1979), p. 40.
  24. Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 92.
  25. Mateus & d'Andrade (2000), p. 11.
  26. Barbosa & Albano (2004), p. 228.
  27. 1 2 Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997:17)
  28. 1 2 Landau et al. (1999:67)
  29. Phonetic studies such as Quilis (1981) have found that Spanish voiced stops may surface as spirants with various degrees of constriction. These allophones are not limited to regular fricative articulations, but range from articulations that involve a near complete oral closure to articulations involving a degree of aperture quite close to vocalization
  30. http://runeberg.org/nfaq/0347.html
  31. 1 2 Sjoberg (1963), p. 13.
  32. Thompson (1959), pp. 458–461.


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