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Voiceless velar implosive

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Voiceless velar implosive
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A voiceless velar implosive is a very rare consonantal sound. The symbol for this sound in the International Phonetic Alphabet is ⟨ɠ̊⟩ or ⟨kʼ↓⟩. A dedicated IPA letter, ⟨ƙ⟩, was withdrawn in 1993.


Features of the voiceless velar implosive:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a plosive.
  • Its place of articulation is velar, which means it is articulated with the back of the tongue (the dorsum) at the soft palate.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords.
  • 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 implosive (glottalic ingressive), which means it is produced by pulling air in by pumping the glottis downward. As it is voiceless, the glottis is completely closed, and there is no pulmonic airstream at all.


A phonemic /ɠ̊/ has not been confirmed for any language. It has been claimed for Lendu, but it is more likely to be creaky-voiced /ɠ̰/, as in Hausa. Some English speakers use a voiceless velar implosive [ɠ̊] to imitate the "glug-glug" sound of liquid being poured from a bottle, though others use a voiced implosive [ɠ] or an uvular one [ʛ].[1][full citation needed]

In Uspantek, and perhaps other Mayan languages of Guatemala, [ɠ̊] is a rare allophone of /kˀ/. Of the consonants with glottalic airstream, the labial and uvular vary as [ɓ̥] ~ [pʼ] and [ʛ̥] ~ [qʼ], depending on the position in the word. In contrast, the velar is nearly always [kʼ], but speakers have been recorded using [ɠ̊].[2]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Uspantek[2] k'aam [ɠ̊aːm] 'cord/twine' Rare allophone of /kˀ/.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pike, Phonetics, 1943:40
  2. ^ a b Bennett, Ryan; Harvey, Meg; Henderson, Robert; Méndez López, Tomás Alberto (September 2022). "The phonetics and phonology of Uspanteko (Mayan)". Language and Linguistics Compass. 16 (9). doi:10.1111/lnc3.12467. ISSN 1749-818X. S2CID 252453913.

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