Voiceless Pharyngeal Fricative
Get Voiceless Pharyngeal Fricative essential facts below. View Videos or join the Voiceless Pharyngeal Fricative discussion. Add Voiceless Pharyngeal Fricative to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Voiceless Pharyngeal Fricative
Voiceless pharyngeal fricative
IPA Number144
Entity (decimal)ħ
Unicode (hex)U+0127
Braille? (braille pattern dots-235)? (braille pattern dots-125)
Audio sample

The voiceless pharyngeal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is an h-bar, ⟨?⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is X\. In the transcription of Arabic, Hebrew and a few other scripts, it is often written ⟨?⟩, ⟨?⟩.

Typically characterized as a fricative in the upper pharynx, it is often characterized as a whispered [h].


Features of the voiceless pharyngeal fricative:

  • Its manner of articulation is fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence.
  • Its place of articulation is pharyngeal, which means it is articulated with the tongue root against the back of the throat (the pharynx).
  • 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.


This sound is the most commonly cited realization of the Semitic letter h?th, which occurs in all dialects of Arabic, Classical Syriac, as well as Biblical and Tiberian Hebrew but only a minority of speakers of Modern Hebrew. It has also been reconstructed as appearing in Ancient Egyptian, a related Afro-Asiatic language. Modern non-Oriental Hebrew has merged the voiceless pharyngeal fricative with the voiceless velar (or uvular) fricative. However, phonetic studies have shown that the so-called voiceless pharyngeal fricatives of Semitic languages are often neither pharyngeal (but rather epiglottal) nor fricatives (but rather approximants).[1]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abaza ?I/kh'akh"vy [?aq] 'stone'
Abkhaz ?/khara [?a'ra] 'we' See Abkhaz phonology
Adyghe ??/tkh'? 'god'
Agul ?I/mukh' [mu?] 'barn'
Arabic[2] ‎/?al 'situation' See Arabic phonology
Archi ?I/kh'al [?al] 'state'
Assyrian Western ?? m?ì?a [m?i:] 'Christ' Corresponds with [x] in most other dialects.
Avar xI?I/kh'ebets' [?e'bets'] 'earwax'
Azerbaijani ?hda? [æ?d] 'instrument'
Chechen x? / ? 'plum'
English Some speakers, mostly of Received Pronunciation[3] hat [?æ?t] 'hat' Glottal for other speakers.[3] See English phonology
Galician[4] Some dialects gato ['?at?] 'cat' Corresponds to /?/ in other dialects. See gheada
Hebrew ‎/chashemal 'electricity' Oriental dialects only. See Modern Hebrew phonology
Jarawa /hw?w? [w?] 'wild boar'
Kabardian ?/kkh"ukh' 'ship'
Kabyle ??
[af:af] 'hairdresser'
Kurdish Most speakers ?ol 'environment' Corresponds to /h/ in some Kurdish dialects
Maltese Standard wie?ed [wi?:et] 'one'
Nuu-chah-nulth ?aap-?ii [?a:p'?i:] 'friendly'
Sioux Nakota haxdanahâ [ha?danahã] 'yesterday'
Somali xood 'cane' See Somali phonology
Ukrainian[5] ?/nigti ['n?i?t?i] 'fingernails' Allophone of /?/ (which may be transcribed /?/) before voiceless consonants;[5] can be fronted to in some "weak positions".[5] See Ukrainian phonology

See also



  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003) [First published 1981], The Phonetics of English and Dutch (5th ed.), Leiden: Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004103406
  • Danyenko, Andrii; Vakulenko, Serhii (1995), Ukrainian, Lincom Europa, ISBN 9783929075083
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996), The sounds of the World's Languages, Oxford: Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-19815-6
  • Regueira, Xose (1996). "Galician". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 26 (2): 119-122. doi:10.1017/s0025100300006162.
  • Watson, Janet (2002), The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic, New York: Oxford University Press

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes