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Ƣ ƣ
Latin letter Ƣƣ.svg
Writing systemLatin script
Language of originAzerbaijani language
Phonetic usage[ɣ]
Unicode codepointU+01A2, U+01A3
Alphabetical position8 (after G)
Time period~1900 to 1983
Descendants • (None)
Φ φ
Փ փ
Ֆ ֆ
Transliteration equivalentsğ, q, g, gh, Ғ

The letter Ƣ (minuscule: ƣ) has been used in the Latin orthographies of various, mostly Turkic languages, such as Azeri or the Jaꞑalif orthography for Tatar.[1] It is also included in Pinyin for Kazakh and Uyghur; and in the 1928 Soviet Kurdish Latin alphabet.[2] It usually represents a voiced velar fricative [ɣ] but is sometimes used for a voiced uvular fricative [ʁ]. All orthographies that used the letter have been phased out and so it is not well-supported in fonts. It can still be seen in pre-1983 books published by the People’s Republic of China.

Letters Q and q of Sütterlin script

Historically, it is derived from a handwritten form of the small Latin letter q around 1900. The majuscule is then based on the minuscule. Its use for [ɣ] stems from the linguistic tradition of representing such sounds (and similar ones) by q in Turkic languages and in transcriptions of Arabic or Persian (compare kaf and qaf).[3]

In alphabetical order, it comes between G and H.

Modern replacements[edit]


In Unicode, the majuscule Ƣ is encoded in the Latin Extended-B block at U+01A2 and the minuscule ƣ is encoded at U+01A3.[4] The assigned names, "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER OI" and "LATIN SMALL LETTER OI" respectively, are acknowledged by the Unicode Consortium to be mistakes, as gha is unrelated to the letters O and I.[5] The Unicode Consortium therefore has provided the character name aliases "LATIN CAPITAL LETTER GHA" and "LATIN SMALL LETTER GHA".[4]

In popular culture[edit]

Thomas Pynchon's novel Gravity's Rainbow features an episode purporting to be the story of a Soviet officer, Tchitcherine, dispatched to Kirghizstan to serve on a committee tasked with devising an alphabet for the Kirghiz language. Tchitcherine's particular contribution is the invention of the letter Ƣ, which is thus perhaps the only obsolete letter of a Central Asian language that may be familiar to the non-specialist, English-reading public through a widely circulated novel.