Voiced pharyngeal fricative

Voiced pharyngeal fricative
IPA number 145
Entity (decimal) ʕ
Unicode (hex) U+0295
Kirshenbaum H<vcd>
source · help
Voiced pharyngeal approximant

The voiced pharyngeal approximant or fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is [ʕ], and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ?\. Epiglottals and epiglotto-pharyngeals are often mistakenly taken to be pharyngeal.

Although traditionally placed in the fricative row of the IPA chart, [ʕ] is usually an approximant. The IPA symbol itself is ambiguous, but no language is known to make a phonemic distinction between fricatives and approximants at this place of articulation. The approximant is sometimes specified as [ʕ̞] or as [ɑ̯].


Features of the voiced pharyngeal approximant fricative:

  • Its manner of articulation varies between approximant and fricative, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but generally not enough to produce much turbulence in the airstream. Languages do not distinguish voiced fricatives from approximants produced in the throat.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.


Pharyngeal consonants are not widespread. Sometimes, a pharyngeal approximant develops from a uvular approximant. Many languages that have been described as having pharyngeal fricatives or approximants turn out on closer inspection to have epiglottal consonants instead. For example, the candidate /ʕ/ sound in Arabic and standard Hebrew (not modern Hebrew – Israelis generally pronounce this as a glottal stop) has been variously described as a voiced epiglottal fricative, an epiglottal approximant,[1] or a pharyngealized glottal stop.[2]

Arabicثعبان‏[θuʕbaːn]'snake'See Arabic phonology
Assyrian Neo-Aramaictara[tər'ʕɑː]'door'Only upheld in educated and religious speech. Majority of the speakers will utter the word as [tərɑː].
ChechenӀан / jan [ʕan] 'winter'
Copticϣⲁⲓ / ʕšai[əʕˈʃai]'to multiply'
DanishStandard[3]ravn[ʕ̞ɑ̈wˀn]'raven'An approximant;[3] also described as uvular [ʁ].[4] See Danish phonology
DutchLimburg[5]rad[ʕ̞ɑt]'wheel'An approximant.[5] Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology
GermanSome speakers[6]Mutter[ˈmutɔʕ̞]'mother'An approximant; occurs in East Central Germany, Southwestern Germany, parts of Switzerland and in Tyrol.[6] See Standard German phonology
Swabian dialect[7]ändard[ˈend̥aʕ̞d̥]'changes'An approximant.[7] It's an allophone of /ʁ/ in nucleus and coda positions;[7] pronounced as a uvular approximant in onsets.[7]
HebrewIraqiעברית[ʕibˈriːθ]'Hebrew language'See Modern Hebrew phonology
Yemenite [ʕivˈriːθ] 
Kabyle[8]ɛemmi[ʕəmːi]'my (paternal) uncle'
Kurdishewr[ʕæwr]'cloud'Many Sorani and some Kurmanji dialects have this sound.
Marshalleseenana[ɛ̯ɛnæ͡ɑʕnæ͡ɑʕ]'it is bad'
OccitanSouthern Auvergnatpala[ˈpaʕa]'shovel'See Occitan phonology
PortugueseFluminensearmando[ɐʕˈmɜ̃du]'arming'In free variation with [ɣ], [ʁ] and [ɦ], before voiced consonants. Does not occur in onset position. See Portuguese phonology
Somalicunto[ʕuntɔ]'food'See Somali phonology
SyriacTuroyoܐܰܪܥܳܐ[arʕo]'Earth'Tends to be absent from Eastern Syriac varieties.
Ukrainian[9]гора[ʕoˈrɑ]'mountain'Also described as [ɦ]. See Ukrainian phonology

See also


  1. Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:167–168)
  2. Thelwall (1990)
  3. 1 2 Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:323)
  4. Basbøll (2005:62)
  5. 1 2 Collins & Mees (2003:201) Note that authors do not specify the area where this sound is used and whether it is confined to Dutch or Belgian Limburg, or it is used in both areas.
  6. 1 2 Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015:51)
  7. 1 2 3 4 Markus Hiller. "Pharyngeals and "lax" vowel quality" (PDF). Mannheim: Institut für Deutsche Sprache. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  8. Bonafont (2006:9)
  9. Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995:12)


This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.