The voiced 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].
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 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|
|Danish||Older speakers||talg||[ˈtˢalˀɰ]||'tallow'||Still used by some older speakers in high register, much more commonly than a fricative [ɣ]. Depending on the environment, it corresponds to [ʊ̯], [ɪ̯] or [j] in young speakers of contemporary Standard Danish. See Danish phonology|
|Dutch||Randstad||[example needed]||A very rare pronunciation of /r/, distribution unclear. Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology|
|Southern Netherlandic||[example needed]|
|French||Belgian||ara||[aɰa]||'macaw'||Intervocalic allophone of /ʀ/ for some speakers, unless /ʀ/ is realized as a liaison consonant – then it's most often pronounced [ʀ]. See French phonology|
|Greek||Cypriot||μαγαζί||[maɰaˈzi]||'shop'||Allophone of /ɣ/|
|Guarani||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|
|Swedish||Central Standard||agronom||[äɰɾʊˈn̪oːm]||'agronomist'||Allophone of /g/ in casual speech. See Swedish phonology|
|Tagalog||igriega||[iːɡɾɪˈje̞ɰɐ]||'letter y'||See Tagalog phonology|
|Turkish||ağır||[a'ɰɯɾ]||'heavy'||Only occurs before back vowels, in careful pronunciation. Represented by the letter ğ. See Turkish 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.
- Arvaniti, Amalia (1999), "Cypriot Greek" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 29 (2): 173–178, doi:10.1017/S002510030000654X
- Basbøll, Hans (2005), The Phonology of Danish, ISBN 0-203-97876-5
- Demolin, Didier (2001), "Some phonetic and phonological observations concerning /ʀ/ in Belgian French", in Van de Velde, Hans; van Hout, Roeland, 'r-atics (PDF), Brussels: Etudes & Travaux, pp. 61–73, ISSN 0777-3692
- Engstrand, Olle (2004), Fonetikens grunder (in Swedish), Lund: Studenlitteratur, ISBN 91-44-04238-8
- Grønnum, Nina (2005), Fonetik og fonologi, Almen og Dansk (3rd ed.), Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, ISBN 87-500-3865-6
- 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
- Verstraten, Bart; Van de Velde, Hans (2001), "Socio-geographical variation of /r/ in standard Dutch", in Van de Velde, Hans; van Hout, Roeland, 'r-atics (PDF), Brussels: Etudes & Travaux, pp. 45–61, ISSN 0777-3692