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Voiceless uvular stop

Voiceless uvular stop
IPA Number111
Entity (decimal)q
Unicode (hex)U+0071
Braille⠟ (braille pattern dots-12345)
Audio sample

The voiceless uvular stop or voiceless uvular plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. It is pronounced like a voiceless velar stop [k], except that the tongue makes contact not on the soft palate but on the uvula. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨q⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is q.

There is also the voiceless pre-uvular stop[1] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiceless uvular stop, though not as front as the prototypical voiceless velar stop. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨⟩ or ⟨⟩ (both symbols denote an advancedq⟩) or ⟨⟩ (retractedk⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are q_+ and k_-, respectively.


Features of the voiceless uvular stop:

  • 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 stop.
  • Its place of articulation is uvular, which means it is articulated with the back of the tongue (the dorsum) at the uvula.
  • 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.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abaza хъацӀа [qat͡sʼa] 'man'
Adyghe атакъэ About this sound[ataːqa]  'rooster'
Aleut[2] ҟи́гаҟъ / qiighax̂ [qiːɣaχ] 'grass'
Arabic Modern Standard[3] قط About this sound[qɪtˤ]  'cat' See Arabic phonology
Gulf[4] غداً [qədæn] 'tomorrow' Corresponds to /ɣ/ in other dialects.
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic ܩ [qa] 'for' Corresponds to /k/ in the Urmian and Jilu varieties.
Archi хъал [qaːl] 'human skin'
Bashkir ҡаҙ / q About this sound[qɑð]  'goose'
Chechen кхоъ / qo’ [qɔʔ] 'three'
Dawsahak [qoq] 'dry'
English Australian[5] caught [ḵʰoːt] 'caught' Pre-uvular; allophone of /k/ before /ʊ oː ɔ oɪ ʊə/.[5] See Australian English phonology
Multicultural London[6][7] cut [qʌt] 'cut' Allophone of /k/ before back vowels.[7]
Non-local Dublin[8] back [bɑq] 'back' Allophone of /k/ after /æ/ for some speakers.[8]
Eyak u.jih [quːtʃih] 'wolf'
German Chemnitz dialect[9] Rock [qɔkʰ] 'skirt' In free variation with [ʁ̞], [ʁ], [χ] and [ʀ̥].[9] Doesn't occur in the coda.[9]
Greenlandic illoqarpoq [iɬːoqɑʁpɔq] 'he has a house'
Hebrew Iraqi קול [qol] 'voice' See Biblical Hebrew phonology
Hindustani بَرق‎ / बर्क़ [bərq] 'lightning' Mostly in loanwords from Arabic. See Hindustani phonology
Inuktitut ᐃ"ᐃᑉᕆᐅᖅᑐᖅ/ihipqiuqtuq [ihipɢiuqtuq] 'explore' Represented by a ⟨ᖅ⟩. See Inuit phonology
Iraqw qeet [qeːt] 'break'
Kabardian къэбэрдей About this sound[qabardej]  'Kabardian'
Kabyle ⵜⴰⴲⴰⵢⵍⵉⵜ
About this sound[taqβæjliθ]  'Kabyle language' May be voiced [ɢ].
Kavalan qaqa [qaqa] 'elder brother'
Kazakh Qazaqstan [qɑzɑqˈstɑn] 'Kazakhstan' An allophone of /k/ before back vowels
Ket қан [qan] 'begin'
Klallam qəmtəm [qəmtəm] 'iron'
Kutenai qaykiťwu [qajkitʼwu] 'nine'
Nez Perce ʔaw̓líwaaʔinpqawtaca 'I go to scoop him up in the fire'
Nivkh тяқр̆ [tʲaqr̥] 'three'
Ossetian Iron Дзæуджыхъæу [ˈzə̹ʊ̯d͡ʒɪ̈qə̹ʊ̯] 'Vladikavkaz'
Persian قورباغه [quːrbɒɣe] 'frog' See Persian phonology
Quechua[10] qallu [qaʎu] 'tongue'
Sahaptin qu [qu] 'heavy'
Seediq Seediq [ˈsəːdʑɪq] 'Seediq'
Seereer-Siin[11] [example needed]
Somali qaab [qaːb] 'shape' See Somali phonology
St’át’imcets teq [təq] 'to touch'
Tajik қошуқ [qɔʃuq] 'spoon'
Tlingit ghagw [qɐ́kʷ] 'tree spine' Tlingit contrasts six different uvular stops
Tsimshian gwildma̱p'a [ɡʷildmqɑpʼa] 'tobacco'
Ubykh [qʰɜ] 'grave' One of ten distinct uvular stop phonemes. See Ubykh phonology
Uyghur ئاق‎ / aq [ɑq] 'white'
Uzbek[12] qo'l [q̟oɫ] 'arm' Pre-uvular; sometimes realized as an affricate [q͡χ˖].[12]
Western Neo-Aramaic Bakh'a [example needed] Pre-uvular, though in Ma'loula it is slightly more front.
Ma'loula [example needed]
Yup'ik meq [məq] 'fresh water'
Yukaghir Northern маарх [maːrq] 'one'
Southern атахл [ataql] 'two'
!Xóõ !qhàà [ǃ͡qʰɑ̀ː] 'water'

See also


  1. ^ Instead of "pre-uvular", it can be called "advanced uvular", "fronted uvular", "post-velar", "retracted velar" or "backed velar". For simplicity, this article uses only the term "pre-uvular".
  2. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 165.
  3. ^ Watson (2002), p. 13.
  4. ^ Qafisheh (1977), p. 266.
  5. ^ a b Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009).
  6. ^ Torgersen, Kerswill & Fox (2007).
  7. ^ a b "John Wells's phonetic blog: k-backing". 27 July 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Glossary". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Khan & Weise (2013), p. 235.
  10. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 149.
  11. ^ Mc Laughlin (2005), p. 203.
  12. ^ a b Sjoberg (1963), p. 11.


External links