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Ğ (g with breve) is a Latin letter found in the Turkish and Azerbaijani alphabets, as well as the alphabet of the Laz language of Turkey. It traditionally represented the voiced velar fricative /ɣ/ in all three languages, however in Turkish, the phoneme has been reduced to a voiced velar approximant /ɰ/ or a vowel-lengthener.

Turkish use[edit]

Current use[edit]

In Turkish, the ⟨ğ⟩ /ɰ/ is known as yumuşak ge ([jumuʃak ɟe]; soft g) and is the ninth letter of the Turkish alphabet. It is very similar to the blødt g ("soft g") in Danish.

It generally represents the voiced velar approximant /ɰ/, but its exact effect is slightly different depending on its location in a word and the surrounding letters:

  • it may lengthen the preceding vowel; vowels are normally short in Turkish without the ⟨ğ⟩: for example, dağ (mountain) is pronounced similar to [daː]. It often creates a small consonantal fluctuation in sound at the end.
  • it may affect the following vowel in tie (‿) or diacritical ʲ form as sandhi. It must follow a vowel and thus cannot be the initial letter of a word nor have a consonant before it. It creates slightly different sounds for back vowels and front vowels respectively. The exact sound it makes varies both throughout Turkey and with regard to the particular vowel with which it is used:
    • it creates a /ɰ/ before an /a/ and /ı/
    • it creates a /j/ before an /e/ or /i/
    • it creates a /β/ before the rounded vowels /o/, /u/, /ö/ and /ü/.

The ⟨ğ⟩ letter serves as a transition between two vowels, since they do not occur consecutively in native Turkish words (in loanwords they are separated by a glottal stop). In rare cases, the IPA symbol ⟨ɣ⟩ or the Greek letter ⟨γ⟩ is used. Some webpages may also use ⟨Ð⟩ and ⟨ð⟩ because of improper encoding; see Turkish characters for the reasons of this.

Traditional use[edit]

The letter was once pronounced as a consonant, /ɣ/, the voiced velar fricative, until very recently in the history of Turkish, but it has undergone a sound change by which the consonant was completely lost and compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel occurred, hence its function today. The sound change is not yet complete in some Turkish dialects. The previous consonantal nature of the sound is evinced by earlier English loanwords from Turkish, such as yogurt/yoghurt (modern Turkish yoğurt) and agha (modern Turkish ağa), and the corresponding velar fricative found in cognate words in the closely related Azerbaijani language and the Turkish-influenced Crimean Tatar language. In Old Turkic (as well as earlier during Proto-Turkic times), this voiced velar fricative originated as an allophone of /g/, the voiced velar stop, when it occurred intervocalically (compare Old Turkic yogurt, a simple /g/). The expected process of lenition (weakening and eventual loss of the intervocalic Proto-Turkic consonant /g/) is thus complete in Turkish and underway in most other Common Turkic languages.

Azerbaijani and Crimean Tatar use[edit]

In Azerbaijani and Crimean Tatar, ğ represents /ɣ/, the voiced velar fricative.

Laz use[edit]

Laz is written using two alphabets: the Georgian script and an extended Turkish Latin alphabet. In the Latin alphabet, ğ represents /ɣ/, the voiced velar fricative, and corresponds to the Georgian letter Ghani.

Character encoding[edit]

Character Ğ ğ
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 286 U+011E 287 U+011F
UTF-8 196 158 C4 9E 196 159 C4 9F
Numeric character reference Ğ Ğ ğ ğ
ISO 8859-3 171 AB 187 BB
ISO 8859-9 208 D0 240 F0

See also[edit]