Voiceless Velar Fricative
Get Voiceless Velar Fricative essential facts below. View Videos or join the Voiceless Velar Fricative discussion. Add Voiceless Velar Fricative to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Voiceless Velar Fricative
Voiceless velar fricative
IPA Number140
Entity (decimal)x
Unicode (hex)U+0078
Braille? (braille pattern dots-1346)
Audio sample

The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. It was part of the consonant inventory of Old English and can still be found in some dialects of English, most notably in Scottish English, e.g. in loch, broch or saugh (willow).

The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨x⟩, the Latin letter x. It is also used in broad transcription instead of the symbol ⟨?⟩, the Greek chi, for the voiceless uvular fricative.

There is also a voiceless post-velar fricative (also called pre-uvular) in some languages. For voiceless pre-velar fricative (also called post-palatal), see voiceless palatal fricative.


Features of the voiceless velar 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 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. 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.


IPA Description
x plain velar fricative
x? labialised
x' ejective
x?' ejective labialised
x semi-labialised
x strongly labialised
x? palatalised
x?' ejective palatalised


The voiceless velar fricative and its labialized variety are postulated to have occurred in Proto-Germanic, the ancestor of the Germanic languages, as the reflex of the Proto-Indo-European voiceless palatal and velar stops and the labialized voiceless velar stop. Thus Proto-Indo-European *?r?nom "horn" and *k?ód "what" became Proto-Germanic *hurnan and *hwat, where *h and *hw were likely [x] and [x?]. This sound change is part of Grimm's law.

In Modern Greek, the voiceless velar fricative (with its allophone the voiceless palatal fricative , occurring before front vowels) originated from the Ancient Greek voiceless aspirated stop /k?/ in a sound change that lenited Greek aspirated stops into fricatives.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abaza [x?z?] 'name'
Adyghe ?? 'six'
Albanian gjuha [?ux?] 'language' Allophone of /h/. See Albanian phonology
Aleut Atkan dialect alax [?l?x] 'two'
Arabic Modern Standard [xad?ra:?] 'green' (f.) May be velar, post-velar or uvular, depending on dialect.[1] See Arabic phonology
Assamese ?? [?x?mia] 'Assamese'
Assyrian ? ?em?a [x?m?a] 'five'
Avar ?e / ?e? [t?ex] 'belly'
Azerbaijani xo? / / [xo?] 'pleasant'
Basque Some speakers[2] jan [xän] 'to eat' Either velar or post-velar.[2] For other speakers it's [j ~ ? ~ ?].[3]
Breton hor c'hi [or xi:] 'our dog'
Bulgarian ?? / tiho 'quietly' Described as having "only slight friction" ([x?]).[4]
Catalan kharja ['x(d)] 'kharjah' Found in loanwords and interjections. See Catalan phonology
Chinese Mandarin ? / hé [x] 'river' See Standard Chinese phonology
Czech chlap [xlap] 'guy' See Czech phonology
Danish Southern Jutlandic kage ['k?æ:x] 'cake' See Sønderjysk dialect
Dutch Standard Belgian[5][6] acht [?xt] 'eight' May be post-palatal instead. In dialects spoken above the rivers Rhine, Meuse and Waal the corresponding sound is a postvelar-uvular fricative trill .[6] See Dutch phonology
Southern Netherlands accents[6][7]
English Scottish loch [x] 'loch' Younger speakers may merge this sound with .[8][9] See Scottish English phonology
Scouse[10] book [b?:x] 'book' A syllable-final allophone of /k/ (lenition).
Esperanto mona?o [monaxo] 'monk' See Esperanto phonology
Estonian jah [j?x] 'yes' Allophone of /h/. See Estonian phonology
Eyak dux? [t?x?] 'traps'
Finnish kahvi ['k?x?i] 'coffee' Allophone of /h/. See Finnish phonology
French jota [x?ta] 'jota' Occurs only in loanwords (from Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, etc.). See French phonology
Georgian[11] ?? / joxi ['dxi] 'stick'
German Buch 'book' See Standard German phonology
Greek ? / ch ['te?xni] 'art' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew Biblical ‎/micha'el [mixa?el] 'Michael' See Biblical Hebrew phonology
Hindustani Hindi /khushii/k?hush? [xi:] 'happiness' Sometimes replaced in Hindi with /k?/. See Hindustani phonology
Urdu ?‎/khushii/k?hush?
Hungarian sahhal [x:?l] 'with a shah' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic október ['?xto:up?r?] 'October' See Icelandic phonology
Indonesian khas [xas] 'typical' Occurs in Arabic loanwords. Often pronounced as [h] or [k] by some Indonesians. See Indonesian phonology
Irish deoch [d?x] 'drink' See Irish phonology
Japanese / happy? [xa?pp?o?:] 'announcement' Allophone of /h/. See Japanese phonology
Kabardian ?? 'sea'
Korean / heungjeong [xd?] 'bargaining' Allophone of /h/ before /?/. See Korean phonology
Kurdish xanî [x?:'ni:] 'house' See Kurdish phonology
Limburgish[12][13] loch [l?x] 'air' The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Lishan Didan Urmi Dialect ? / xalwa [xalw?] 'milk' Generally post-velar
Lithuanian choras ['x?r?s?] 'choir' Occurs only in loanwords (usually international words)
Lojban xatra [xatra] 'letter'
Macedonian ?? / Ohrid 'Ohrid' See Macedonian phonology
Malay ?? / akhir [axir] 'last', 'end' Occurs in Arabic loanwords. Often pronounced as [h] or [k]. See Malay phonology
Manx aashagh ['?:?ax] 'easy'
Nepali [ä?xä] 'eye' Allophone of /k?/. See Nepali phonology
Norwegian Urban East[14] hat [x?:t] 'hate' Possible allophone of /h/ near back vowels; can be voiced between two voiced sounds.[14] See Norwegian phonology
Persian ‎/dokhtar [dox'tær] 'daughter' See Persian phonology
Polish[15] chleb [xl?p] 'bread' Also (in great majority of dialects) represented orthographically by ⟨h⟩. See Polish phonology
Portuguese Fluminense arte ['axt?i] 'art' In free variation with , , and before voiceless consonants
General Brazilian[16] arrasto ['xastu] 'I drag' Some dialects, corresponds to rhotic consonant /?/. See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi Gurmukhi ?/khabar [x?b] 'news'
Shahmukhi ‎/khabar
Romanian hram [xräm] 'patronal feast of a church' Allophone of /h/. See Romanian phonology
Russian[17] ? / khoroshiy 'good' See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic[18] drochaid ['tx?t?] 'bridge' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbo-Croatian ?? / hrast [xrâ:st] 'oak' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak chlap [x?äp] 'guy'
Somali khad [xad] 'ink' Occurs in predominantly Arabic loan words. Allophone of /q/. See Somali phonology
Spanish[19] Latin American[20] ojo ['o?xo?] 'eye' May be glottal instead;[20] in northern and central Spain it is often post-velar[20][21][22] or uvular /?/.[22][23] See Spanish phonology
Southern Spain[20]
Sylheti ?/khabar [xb] 'news'
Tagalog bakit [baxit] 'why' Allophone of /k/ in intervocalic positions. See Tagalog phonology
Turkish[24] ?hlamur [?xlamu?] 'linden' Allophone of /h/.[24] See Turkish phonology
Tyap kham [xam] 1. 'calabash'; 2. 'prostitute'
Xhosa rhoxisa [x?k?i:sa] 'to cancel'
Ukrainian ? / chlope? ['xp?t?s?] 'boy' See Ukrainian phonology
Uzbek[25] [example needed] Post-velar. Occurs in environments different than word-initially and pre-consonantally, otherwise it is pre-velar.[25]
Vietnamese[26] không [x?wm?] 'no', 'not', 'zero' See Vietnamese phonology
Yaghan xan [xan] 'here'
Yi ? / he [x] 'good'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[27] mejor [m?xo?] 'better' Used primarily in loanwords from Spanish

See also


  1. ^ Watson (2002), pp. 17, 19-20, 35-36 and 38.
  2. ^ a b Hualde & Ortiz de Urbina (2003), pp. 16 and 26.
  3. ^ Hualde & Ortiz de Urbina (2003), p. 16.
  4. ^ Ternes, Elmer; Vladimirova-Buhtz, Tatjana (1999). "Bulgarian". Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge University Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-521-63751-0.
  5. ^ Verhoeven (2005:243)
  6. ^ a b c Collins & Mees (2003:191)
  7. ^ Gussenhoven (1999:74)
  8. ^ Annexe 4: Linguistic Variables
  9. ^ "University of Essex :: Department of Language and Linguistics :: Welcome". Essex.ac.uk. Retrieved .
  10. ^ Wells (1982:373)
  11. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006), p. 255.
  12. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:159)
  13. ^ Peters (2006:119)
  14. ^ a b Vanvik (1979), p. 40.
  15. ^ Jassem (2003), p. 103.
  16. ^ Barbosa & Albano (2004), pp. 5-6.
  17. ^ Padgett (2003), p. 42.
  18. ^ Oftedal, M. (1956) The Gaelic of Leurbost. Oslo. Norsk Tidskrift for Sprogvidenskap.
  19. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 255.
  20. ^ a b c d Chen (2007), p. 13.
  21. ^ Hamond (2001:?), cited in Scipione & Sayahi (2005:128)
  22. ^ a b Lyons (1981), p. 76.
  23. ^ Harris & Vincent (1988), p. 83.
  24. ^ a b Göksel & Kerslake (2005:6)
  25. ^ a b Sjoberg (1963), pp. 11-12.
  26. ^ Thompson (1959), pp. 458-461.
  27. ^ Merrill (2008), p. 109.


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