Voiceless uvular affricate

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Voiceless uvular affricate
Audio sample

The voiceless uvular affricate is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represent this sound are ⟨q͡χ⟩ and ⟨q͜χ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is q_X. The tie bar may be omitted, yielding ⟨⟩ in the IPA and qX in X-SAMPA.

There is also the voiceless pre-uvular affricate[1] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiceless uvular affricate, though not as front as the prototypical voiceless velar affricate. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨q̟͡χ̟⟩ or ⟨q͡χ˖⟩ (both symbols denote an advancedq͡χ⟩) or ⟨k̠͡x̠⟩ (retractedk͡x⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are q_+_X_+ and k_-_x_-, respectively.


Features of the voiceless uvular affricate:

  • Its manner of articulation is affricate, which means it is produced by first stopping the airflow entirely, then allowing air flow through a constricted channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence.
  • Its place of articulation is uvular, which means it is articulated with the back of the tongue (the dorsum) at the uvula.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • 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.



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe Natukhai кхъэ About this sound[q͡χa]  'grave' Dialectal. Corresponds to [qʰ] in other dialects.
Avar хъарахъ About this sound[q͡χʰːaˈraq͡χʰː]  'bush' Contrasts with the ejective [q͡χʼː].
English Scouse[2] clock [kl̥ɒq͡χ] 'clock' Possible word-final realization of /k/.[2]
German Some Swiss dialects Gschänk [ˈkʃæŋq͡χ] 'present' Velar [k͡x] in other dialects.
Kabardian кхъэ About this sound[q͡χa]  'grave'
Persian Some dialects ﻔل [q͡χofl] 'lock' Fortition of word-initial /q/.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Uzbek[3] quruq [q̟uɾ̪uq̟͡χ̟] 'dry' Allophone of /q/ in word-final and preconsonantal positions.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Instead of "pre-uvular", it can be called "advanced uvular", "fronted uvular", "post-velar", "retracted velar" or "backed velar". For simplicity, this article uses only the term "pre-uvular".
  2. ^ a b Wells (1982), pp. 372–373.
  3. ^ a b Sjoberg (1963), p. 11.


  • Sjoberg, Andrée F. (1963), Uzbek Structural Grammar, Uralic and Altaic Series, 18, Bloomington: Indiana University
  • Wells, John C. (1982), Accents of English 2: The British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-24224-X

External links[edit]