Voiced velar stop

Voiced velar stop
IPA number 110
Entity (decimal) ɡ
Unicode (hex) U+0261
Kirshenbaum g
Braille ⠛ (braille pattern dots-1245)
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The voiced velar stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɡ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is g. Strictly, the IPA symbol is the so-called single-storey G , but the double-storey G is considered an acceptable alternative. The Unicode character "LATIN SMALL LETTER G" (U+0067) renders as either a single-storey G or a double-storey G depending on font while the character "Latin small letter script G" (U+0261) is always a single-story G, but it is generally available only in fonts with the IPA Extensions Unicode character block.

Some languages have the voiced pre-velar stop,[1] which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiced velar stop, though not as front as the prototypical voiced palatal stop - see that article for more information.

Conversely, some languages have the voiced post-velar stop,[2] which is articulated slightly behind the place of articulation of the prototypical voiced velar stop, though not as back as the prototypical voiced uvular stop - see that article for more information.


Features of the voiced velar stop:

Occurrence [3]

Of the six stops that would be expected from the most common pattern world-wide—that is, three places of articulation plus voicing ([p b, t d, k ɡ])—[p] and [ɡ] are the most frequently missing, being absent in about 10% of languages that otherwise have this pattern. Absent stop [p] is an areal feature (see also Voiceless bilabial stop). Missing [ɡ], on the other hand, is widely scattered around the world. (A few languages, such as Modern Standard Arabic, are missing both.) It seems that [ɡ] is somewhat more difficult to articulate than the other basic stops. Ian Maddieson speculates that this may be due to a physical difficulty in voicing velars: Voicing requires that air flow into the mouth cavity, and the relatively small space allowed by the position of velar consonants means that it will fill up with air quickly, making voicing difficult to maintain in [ɡ] for as long as it is in [d] or [b]. This could have two effects: [ɡ] and [k] might become confused, and the distinction is lost, or perhaps a [ɡ] never develops when a language first starts making voicing distinctions. With uvulars, where there is even less space between the glottis and tongue for airflow, the imbalance is more extreme: Voiced [b] is much rarer than voiceless [q].

Many Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindustani, have a two-way contrast between aspirated and plain [ɡ].


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz ажыга [aˈʐəɡa] 'shovel' See Abkhaz phonology
Adyghe Shapsug гьэгуалъэ  [ɡʲaɡʷaːɬa]  'toy' Dialectal. Corresponds to [d͡ʒ] in other dialects.
Temirgoy чъыгы  [t͡ʂəɡə]  'tree' Dialectal. Corresponds to [ɣ] in other dialects.
Albanian gomar [ˈɡomaɾ] 'donkey'
Arabic[4] Egyptian راجل [ˈɾɑːɡel] 'man' Standard in Egypt and corresponds to //, /ʒ/ or /ɟ/ in other pronunciations. See Arabic phonology
Gulf شقردي [ʃɪˈɡɑrdi] 'reliable (person)'
Yemeni قال [ɡɑːl] '(he) said' Some dialects.
Armenian Eastern[5] գանձ  [ɡɑndz]  'treasure'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic ɡana [ɡaːna] 'self' Used predominantly in Iraqi Koine. Corresponds to [dʒ] in Urmia, some Tyari and Jilu dialects.
Azerbaijani qara [ɡɑɾɑ] 'black'
Basque galdu [ɡaldu] 'lose'
Bengali গান [ɡan] 'song' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Bengali phonology
Bulgarian гора [ɡora] 'wood' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan[6] gros [ɡɾɔs] 'large' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Southern Min [ɡua] 'I' Only in colloquial speech.
Wu [ɡuɑ̃] 'crazy'
Xiang [ɡoŋ] 'together'
Chechen говр [ɡovr] 'horse'
Czech gram [ɡram] 'gram' See Czech phonology
Dutch All dialects zakdoek  [ˈzɑɡduk]  'handkerchief' Allophone of /k/, occurring only before voiced consonants in native words. See Dutch phonology
Many speakers goal  [ɡoːɫ]  'goal' Only in loanwords. Some speakers may realize it as [ɣ] ~ [ʝ] ~ [χ] ~ [x] (like a normal Dutch g), or as [k].
Amelands goëd [ɡuə̯t] 'good'
English gaggle [ˈɡæɡɫ̩] 'gaggle' See English phonology
French[8] gain [ɡæ̃] 'earnings' See French phonology
Georgian[9] ული [ˈɡuli] 'heart'
German ge [ˈlyːɡə] 'lie' See Standard German phonology
Greek γκάρισμα/gkárisma [ˈɡɐɾizmɐ] 'donkey's bray' See Modern Greek phonology
Gujarati ગાવું/vu 'to sing' See Gujarati phonology
Hebrew גב [ɡav] 'back' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hejazi Arabic قَمَر [ˈɡamar] 'moon' Corresponds to /q/ in Classical and Modern Standard Arabic.
Hindustani गाना / گانا [ɡɑːnɑː] 'song' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian engedély [ɛŋɡɛdeːj] 'permission' See Hungarian phonology
Irish gaineamh [ˈɡanʲəw] 'sand' See Irish phonology
Italian[10] gare [ˈɡäːre] 'competitions' See Italian phonology
Japanese[11] がん•癌/gan [ɡãɴ] 'cancer' See Japanese phonology
Kabardian Baslaney гьанэ  [ɡʲaːna]  'shirt' Dialectal. Corresponds to [dʒ] in other dialects.
Kagayanen[12] ? [kað̞aɡ] 'spirit'
Korean 메기/megi [meɡi] 'catfish' See Korean phonology
Luxembourgish[13] agepack [ˈɑɡəpaːk] More often voiceless [k].[13] See Luxembourgish phonology
Macedonian гром [ɡrɔm] 'thunder' See Macedonian phonology
Malay guni [ɡuni] 'sack'
Marathi वत [ɡəʋət] 'grass' See Marathi phonology
Norwegian gull [ɡʉl] 'gold' See Norwegian phonology
Polish[14] gmin  [ɡmʲin̪]  'plebs' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[15] língua [ˈɫĩɡwɐ] 'tongue' See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਗਾਂ[ɡɑ̃ː]'cow'
Romanian[16] gând [ɡɨnd] 'thought' See Romanian phonology
Russian[17] голова  [ɡəlɐˈva]  'head' See Russian phonology
Slovak miazga [mjazɡa] 'lymph' See Slovak phonology
Somali gaabi[ɡaːbi] 'to shorten' See Somali phonology
Spanish[18] gato [ˈɡät̪o̞] 'cat' See Spanish phonology
Swedish god [ɡuːd̪] 'tasty' May be an approximant in casual speech. See Swedish phonology
Turkish salgın [säɫˈɡɯn] 'epidemic' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian ґанок [ˈɡɑ.n̪ok] 'steps' See Ukrainian phonology
West Frisian gasp [ɡɔsp] 'buckle' (n.) See West Frisian phonology
Yi /gge [ɡɤ˧] 'hear'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[19] gan [ɡaŋ] 'will be able' Depending on speaker and carefulness of speech, [ɡ] may be lenited to [ɣ]

See also


  1. Instead of "pre-velar", it can be called "advanced velar", "fronted velar", "front-velar", "palato-velar", "post-palatal", "retracted palatal" or "backed palatal".
  2. Instead of "post-velar", it can be called "retracted velar", "backed velar", "pre-uvular", "advanced uvular" or "fronted uvular".
  3. WALS Online : Chapter 5 – Voicing and Gaps in Plosive Systems
  4. Watson (2002), pp. 16–17.
  5. Dum-Tragut (2009), p. 13.
  6. Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 53.
  7. Gussenhoven (1992), p. 45.
  8. Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 73.
  9. Shosted & Chikovani (2006), p. 255.
  10. Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004), p. 117.
  11. Okada (1991), p. 94.
  12. Olson et al. (2010), pp. 206–207.
  13. 1 2 Gilles & Trouvain (2013), pp. 67–68.
  14. Jassem (2003), p. 103.
  15. Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  16. DEX Online :
  17. Padgett (2003), p. 42.
  18. Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 255.
  19. Merrill (2008), p. 108.


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