Voiceless uvular fricative

Voiceless uvular fricative
IPA number 142
Entity (decimal) χ
Unicode (hex) U+03C7
Kirshenbaum X
Braille ⠨ (braille pattern dots-46)⠯ (braille pattern dots-12346)
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The voiceless uvular fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is χ, the Greek chi, (or, more properly, , the Latin chi) or, in broad transcription, x, the Latin and English letter x, although the latter technically represents the voiceless velar fricative. The sound is represented by (ex with underdot) in Americanist phonetic notation.

For a voiceless pre-uvular fricative (also called post-velar), see voiceless velar fricative.


Features of the voiceless uvular fricative:


Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996) note that there is "a complication in the case of uvular fricatives in that the shape of the vocal tract may be such that the uvula vibrates."[1] See voiceless uvular raised non-sonorant trill for more information.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz хпа [χpa] 'three' Contrasts with labialized and palatalized forms. See Abkhaz phonology
Adyghe пхъашэ  [pχaːʃa] 'rough'
Afrikaans[2][3] goed [χut] 'good' May be a voiceless trill [ʀ̥] when word-initial. Some speakers realize it as velar [x].[2] See Afrikaans phonology
Archi хол [χol]'arm'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic khokha [χɔ:χa:] 'nectarine' May be velar [x] for some speakers.
Aleut Atkan dialect hati [hɑtiχ]'ten'
Arabic Modern Standard[4] خضراء [χadˤraːʔ] 'green' (f.) May be velar, post-velar or uvular, depending on dialect.[4] See Arabic phonology
ArmenianEastern[5] խոտ  [χot]  ‘grass’
Avar орх [orχ] 'to lift' Contrasts with a tense form
Bashkir хат [χɑt] 'letter'
Berber Kabyle axxam [aχχam] 'house'
Chilcotin ? [ʔælaχ] 'I made it'
Danish Standard[6] pres [ˈpχæs] 'pressure' Before /ʁ/, aspiration in /pʰ, tˢ, kʰ/ is realized as devoicing of /ʁ/.[7] See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard Netherlandic[8][9] acht [ɑχt] 'eight' May be post-velar, either a fricative [][8] or a trill fricative [ʀ̝̊˖].[10] See Dutch phonology
English Many speakers of White South African English[3] gogga [ˈχɒχə] 'insect' Less commonly velar [x], occurs only in loanwords from Afrikaans and Khoisian.[3] See English phonology
Scouse[11] clock [kl̥ɒχ] 'clock' Possible word-final realization of /k/.[11]
Eyak da. [daːχ] 'and'
French proche [pχɔʃ] 'nearby' Allophone of /ʁ/ before or after voiceless obstruent. See French phonology
German Chemnitz dialect[12] Rock [χɔkʰ] 'skirt' In free variation with [ʁ̞], [ʁ], [ʀ̥] and [q].[12] Doesn't occur in the coda.[12] See Chemnitz dialect phonology
Lower Rhine[13] Wirte [ˈvɪχtə] 'hosts' In free variation with [ɐ] between a vowel and a voiceless coronal consonant.
Standard[14] Dach [daχ] 'roof' Appears only after certain back vowels. See German phonology
Swiss mich [mɪχ] 'me' (acc.) Some speakers, for others it's velar [x]. Swiss German makes no distinction between /x/ and /ç/.
Haida ḵ'aláaan [qʼʌlɑ́χʌn] 'fence'
Hebrew[15] אוכל [ʔo̞χe̞l] 'food' May be a trilled fricative instead.[15] See Modern Hebrew phonology
Kabardian пхъэ  [pχa]  'wood'
Klallam saʔqʷaʔ [sχaʔqʷaʔ] 'salmon backbone'
Lakota ȟóta [ˈχota] 'gray'
Lezgian хат [χatʰ] 'bead' Contrasts with a labialized form
Limburgish Hamont dialect[16] r [jɔːχ¹] 'year' Word-final allophone of /ʀ/; can be a fricative trill [ʀ̝̊] instead.[16] See Hamont dialect phonology
Luxembourgish[17] Zuch [t͡suχ] 'train' Also described as velar [x].[18] See Luxembourgish phonology
Ongota [χibiɾi] 'bat'
Oowekyala [t͡sʼkʷʼχtʰt͡ɬʰkʰt͡sʰ] 'the invisible one here with me will be short'
Nez Perce [ˈχəχɑˑt͡s] 'grizzly bear'
Portuguese Fluminense anarquia [ɐ̃nɐ̞χˈki.ɐ] 'anarchy' In free variation with [x], [ʁ ~ ʀ], [ħ] and [h] before voiceless consonants.
General Brazilian[19] marrom [mɐ̞ˈχõː] 'brown' (noun) Some dialects, corresponds to rhotic consonant /ʁ/. See Portuguese phonology
Saanich wexes [wəχəs] 'small frogs' Contrasts with a labialized form
Seri xeecoj [χɛːkox] 'wolf' Contrasts with a labialized form
Spanish European[20][21] ojo [ˈo̞χo̞] 'eye' May be post-velar instead.[20][22][23] It's also an allophone of /x/ before back vowels and [w][24] for speakers with a velar /x/. It corresponds to [x ~ h] in southern Spain and Latin America.[22] See Spanish phonology
Ponce dialect[25] perro [ˈpe̞χo̞] 'dog' This and [ʀ̥] are the primary realizations of /r/ in this dialect.[25] See Spanish phonology
Swedish Southern sjuk [χʉːk] 'sick' Dialectal. See Swedish phonology
Tlingit tlaxh [tɬʰɐχ] 'very' Contrasts with labialized, ejective and labialized ejective form
Ubykh [χɐpɬɨ́] 'pink' One of ten distinct uvular fricative phonemes. See Ubykh phonology
Uyghur یاخشی/yaxshi [jɑχʃi] 'good'
Welsh carchar [ˈkarχar] 'jail' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian berch [bɛrχ] 'mountain' Never occurs in word-initial positions.
Yiddish בוך [bʊχ] 'book' See Yiddish phonology

See also


  1. Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 167.
  2. 1 2 "John Wells's phonetic blog: velar or uvular?". 5 December 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 Bowerman (2004:939): "White South African English is one of very few varieties to have a velar fricative phoneme /x/ (see Lass (2002:120)), but this is only in words borrowed from Afrikaans (...) and Khoisan (...). Many speakers use the Afrikaans uvular fricative [χ] rather than the velar."
  4. 1 2 Watson (2002), pp. 17, 19-20, 35-36 and 38.
  5. Dum-Tragut (2009), p. 18.
  6. Basbøll (2005:62 and 65–66)
  7. Basbøll (2005:65–66)
  8. 1 2 Gussenhoven (1999:74)
  9. Verhoeven (2005:245)
  10. Collins & Mees (2003:191). The source says that it is a fricative with a "very energetic articulation with considerable scrapiness", i.e. a trill fricative.
  11. 1 2 Wells (1982:372–373)
  12. 1 2 3 Khan & Weise (2013), p. 235.
  13. Hall (1993), p. 89.
  14. Hall (1993:100), footnote 7, citing Kohler (1990)
  15. 1 2 Laufer (1999), p. 98.
  16. 1 2 Verhoeven (2007), p. 220.
  17. Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 68.
  18. Trouvain & Gilles (2009), p. 75.
  19. Barbosa & Albano (2004), pp. 5–6.
  20. 1 2 Lyons (1981), p. 76.
  21. Harris & Vincent (1988), p. 83.
  22. 1 2 Chen (2007), p. 13.
  23. Hamond (2001:?), cited in Scipione & Sayahi (2005:128)
  24. Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 258.
  25. 1 2 "ProQuest Document View - The Spanish of Ponce, Puerto Rico: A phonetic, phonological, and intonational analysis".


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