The velar approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is 〈ɰ〉. It is the semivocalic counterpart of the close back unrounded vowel [ɯ]
Features of the velar approximant:
- Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but not enough to produce a turbulent airstream.
- Its place of articulation is velar, which means it is articulated with the back of the tongue at the soft palate.
- 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.
- 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.
- The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.
|Cherokee||ᏩᏥ wa-tsi||[ɰatsi]||'watch'||Also represented by Ꮺ, Ꮻ, Ꮼ, Ꮽ, and Ꮾ.|
|Guaraní||gyresia||[ɰɨˈɾe̞sia]||'Greece'||Contrasts with [w].|
|Icelandic||saga||[ˈsaɰa]||'saga'||See Icelandic phonology|
|Irish||naoi||[n̪ˠɰiː]||'nine'||Occurs only between broad consonants and front vowels. See Irish phonology|
|Korean||의사 uisa||[ɰi.sä]||'doctor'||Occurs only before /i/. See Korean phonology|
|Spanish||pagar||[päˈɰäɾ]||'to pay'||Intervocalic allophone of /ɡ/. See Spanish phonology|
|Tagalog||igriega||[iːɡɾɪˈje̞ɰɐ]||'letter y'||See Tagalog phonology|
The sound in Japanese often denoted by 〈w〉 in IPA notation and described as unrounded is actually pronounced with lip compression and is therefore labio-velar, albeit with acoustic differences from other labio-velar consonants.