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Velar approximant

For the Armenian letter պ, see Armenian alphabet.
Not to be confused with Labio-velar approximant.
Velar approximant
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IPA number 154
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Kirshenbaum j<vel>
Braille 25px25px
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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.[citation needed]


Features of the velar approximant:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Cherokee wa-tsi [ɰatsi] 'watch' Also represented by , , , , and
Danish Older speakers[1] talg [ˈtˢalˀɰ] 'tallow' Still used by some older speakers in high register, much more commonly than a fricative [ɣ].[1] Depending on the environment, it corresponds to [ʊ̯], [ɪ̯] or [j] in young speakers of contemporary Standard Danish.[2] See Danish phonology
Dutch[3] Randstad[4] A very rare pronunciation of /r/,[5] distribution unclear. Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology
Southern Netherlandic[4]
French Belgian[6] ara [aɰa] 'macaw' Intervocalic allophone of /ʀ/ for some speakers,[7] unless /ʀ/ is realized as a liaison consonant - then it's most often pronounced [ʀ].[8] See French phonology
Greek Cypriot[9] μαγαζί [maɰaˈzi] 'shop' Allophone of /ɣ/
Guaraní 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[10] pagar [päˈɰäɾ] 'to pay' Intervocalic allophone of /ɡ/. See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[11] agronom [äɰɾʊˈn̪oːm] 'agronomist' Allophone of /g/ in casual speech. See Swedish phonology
Tagalog igriega [iːɡɾɪˈje̞ɰɐ] 'letter y' See Tagalog phonology
Tiwi ngaga [ˈŋaɰa] 'we (inclusive)'
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.

See also