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Voiced velar fricative


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Entity (decimal)
& # 611; (without spaces)
Unicode (hex)



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The voiced velar fricative is a type of consonantal used in several spoken languages. It does not appear in modern English, but it did exist in Old English. The symbol used by the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) that represents this sound is ɣ (known as Latin gamma, a variant of the Greek gamma (γ) which is used for this sound in Modern Greek), and its X-SAMPA equivalent is G. The symbol, ɣ is also used to represent the velar approximant, though it is more accurately written with the lowering diacritic: [ɣ̞] or [ɣ˕]. The IPA also provides a dedicated symbol for a velar approximant, [ɰ], though there may be stylistic reasons to not use it in phonetic transcription. The character used is graphically similar to ɤ, which is used to represent a close-mid back unrounded vowel.


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  • Its manner of articulation is fricative, meaning the sound is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, which causes turbulence.
  • Its place of articulation is velar, meaning it is articulated with the back of the tongue at the soft palate.
  • The phonation is voiced, meaning the vocal cords vibrate during articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, meaning that air is only allowed to escape through the mouth.
  • It is a central consonant, meaning the sound is produced by directing the airstream down the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, meaning it is articulated by pushing air only with the lungs and diaphragm, as it is with most sounds.


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Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Alekano gamó [ɣɑmɤʔ] 'cucumber'
Aleut agiitalix [aɣiːtalix] 'with'
Angor ranihı [ɾɑniɣə] 'brother'
Angas γür [ɣyr] 'to pick up'
Arabic غرفة [ˈɣurfɐ] 'room' May be post-velar or uvular depending on dialect. See Arabic phonology
Azerbaijani ağac [aɣadʒ] 'tree'
Berber aghilas [aɣilas] 'leopard'
Catalan[1] figuera [fiˈɣeɾə] 'fig tree' Allophone of /ɡ/. See Catalan phonology
Chechen гӀала/ġala [ɣaːla] 'town'
Dinka ɣo [ɣo] 'us'
Dutch gaan Nl-gaan.ogg [ɣaːn] 'to go' More common in northern dialects.[2] See Dutch phonology
English Scottish[citation needed] ghost [ɣoʊst] 'ghost' Corresponds to /ɡ/ in other dialects. See English phonology
Georgian[3] არიბი [ɣɑribi] 'poor' May actually be post-velar or uvular
Gujarati વા [ʋɑ̤̈ɣəɽ̃] 'tigress' See Gujarati phonology
Ghari cheghe [tʃeɣe] 'five'
Greek γάλα/gála [ˈɣala] 'milk' See Modern Greek phonology
Gweno [ndeɣe] 'bird'
Gwich’in videeghàn [viteːɣân] 'his/her chest'
Hän dëgëghor [təkəɣor] 'I am playing.'
Hindi ग़रीब [ɣəriːb] 'poor' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Irish dhorn [ɣoːɾˠn̪ˠ] 'fist' See Irish phonology
Iwaidja [mulaɣa] 'hermit crab'
Japanese[4] はげ [haɣe] 'baldness' Allophone of /ɡ/, especially in fast and/or casual speech. See Japanese phonology
Navajo ’aghá [ʔaɣa] 'best'
Ngwe Mmockngie dialect [nøɣə̀] 'sun'
Occitan Gascon digoc [diˈɣuk] 'said (3sg.)'
Pashto غاتر [ɣɑtər] 'mule'
Persian کاغذ [kɒɣæz] 'paper' See Persian phonology
Polish niechże [ɲeɣʐɛ] 'suppose' See Polish phonology
Portuguese European[5] agora [ɐˈɣɔɾɐ] 'now' Allophone of /ɡ/ in northern and central dialects.[6] See Portuguese phonology
Some Brazilian dialects[7] carro [ˈkaɣu] 'car' Rhotic consonant
Northern Qiang ? [ɣnəʂ] 'February'
Romani Lithuanian γoines [ɣoines] 'good'
Romanian Dobrudja vin [ɣin] 'wine' Corresponds with [v] in other dialects. See Romanian phonology
Sardinian Nuorese dialect ghere [ˈsuɣɛrɛ] 'to suck'
Sindhi غم [ɣəmʊ] 'sadness'
Swahili ghali [ɣali] 'expensive'
Tadaksahak ? [zoɣ] 'war'
Tagalog igriega [iːˈɡrɪjɛɣɑ] 'letter y' See Tagalog phonology
Tajik ғафс [ɣafs] 'thick'
Tiwi ngaga [ˈŋaɣa] 'we (inclusive)'
Turkish ağa [aɣa] 'agha' Certain dialects. See Turkish phonology
Tutchone Northern ihghú [ihɣǔ] 'tooth'
Southern ghra [ɣra] 'baby'
Urdu غریب [ɣəriːb] 'poor' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Vietnamese[8] ghế [ɣe˧ˀ˥] 'chair' See Vietnamese phonology
Yi /we [ɣɤ˧] 'win'


  • Barbosa, Plínio A. (2004), "Brazilian Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 227–232 
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94 
  • Mateus, Maria Helena; d'Andrade, Ernesto (2000), The Phonology of Portuguese, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-823581-X 
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–97 
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Vakhtang, Chikovani (2006), "Standard Georgian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (2): 255–264 
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language 35 (3): 454–476, doi:10.2307/411232, 
  • Wheeler, Max W (2005), The Phonology Of Catalan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0199258147 

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