Velar approximant

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Velar approximant
ɰ
ɣ̞
ɯ̯
IPA number 154
Encoding
Entity (decimal) ɰ
Unicode (hex) U+0270
X-SAMPA M\
Kirshenbaum j<vel>
Braille ⠦ (braille pattern dots-236) ⠍ (braille pattern dots-134)
Sound

The voiced velar approximant or the non-syllabic close back unrounded vowel 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]

The IPA symbol ɣ, which otherwise signifies a voiced velar fricative, is more commonly used for the velar approximant than ɰ is, with a lowering diacritic ɣ̞ when specificity is required.

Features[edit]

Features of the velar approximant:

Occurrence[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Cherokee wa-tsi [ɰatsi] 'watch' Also represented by , , , , and .
Greek Cypriot[1] μαγαζί [maɣ̞aˈzi] 'shop' Allophone of /ɣ/.
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[2] pagar [päˈɰäɾ] 'to pay' Intervocalic allophone of /ɡ/. See Spanish phonology
Tagalog igriega [iːɡɾɪˈje̞ɰɐ] 'letter y' See Tagalog phonology
Tiwi ngaga [ˈŋaɰa] 'we (inclusive)'

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.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Arvaniti, Amalia (1999), "Cypriot Greek", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 29 (2): 173–178, doi:10.1017/S002510030000654X 
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373