Voiceless uvular affricate

Voiceless uvular affricate
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The voiceless uvular affricate is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represent this sound are q͡χ and q͜χ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is q_X. The tie bar is sometimes omitted, yielding in the IPA and qX in X-SAMPA. This is potentially problematic in case of at least some affricates, because there are languages that contrast certain affricates with stop-fricative sequences. Polish words czysta ('clean (f.)', pronounced with an affricate /t͡ʂ/) and trzysta ('three hundred', pronounced with a sequence /tʂ/) are an example of a minimal pair based on such a contrast.

There is also the voiceless pre-uvular affricate[1] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiceless uvular affricate, though not as front as the prototypical voiceless velar affricate. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as q̟͡χ̟ or q͡χ˖ (both symbols denote an advanced q͡χ) or k̠͡x̠ (retracted k͡x). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are q_+_X_+ and k_-_x_-, respectively.


Features of the voiceless uvular affricate:

  • Its manner of articulation is affricate, which means it is produced by first stopping the airflow entirely, then allowing air flow through a constricted channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.



AdygheNatukhaiкхъэ [q͡χa] 'grave'Dialectal. Corresponds to [qʰ] in other dialects.
Avarхъарахъ [q͡χʰːaˈraq͡χʰː] 'bush'Contrasts with the ejective [q͡χʼː].
EnglishScouse[2]clock[kl̥ɒq͡χ]'clock'Possible word-final realization of /k/.[2]
GermanSome Swiss dialectsSack[z̥ɑq͡χ]'bag'Velar [k͡x] in other dialects.
Kabardianкхъэ [q͡χa] 'grave'
PersianSome dialectsقفل[q͡χofl]'lock'Fortition of word-initial /q/.


Uzbek[3]quruq[q̟uɾ̪uq̟͡χ̟]'dry'Allophone of /q/ in word-final and preconsonantal positions.[3]

See also


  1. Instead of "pre-uvular", it can be called "advanced uvular", "fronted uvular", "post-velar", "retracted velar" or "backed velar". For simplicity, this article uses only the term "pre-uvular".
  2. 1 2 Wells (1982), pp. 372–373.
  3. 1 2 Sjoberg (1963), p. 11.


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