Voiced pharyngeal fricative

Voiced pharyngeal fricative

The voiced pharyngeal approximant/fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents it is IPA|ʕ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ?.

Although traditionally placed in the fricative row of the IPA chart, IPA| [ʕ] is usually an approximant. The IPA symbol itself is ambiguous, but no language has a distinct fricative and approximant at this place of articulation.


Features of the voiced pharyngeal approximant/fricative:

* Its manner of articulation is approximant, or occasionally fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a channel at the place of articulation that is not usually narrow enough to cause turbulence.
* Its place of articulation is pharyngeal which means it is articulated with the root of the tongue against the pharynx.
* Its phonation type is voiced, which means the vocal cords are vibrating during the articulation.
* It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth.
* Because it is pronounced in the throat, without a component in the mouth, the central/lateral dichotomy does not apply.
* The airstream mechanism is pulmonic egressive, which means it is articulated by pushing air out of the lungs and through the vocal tract, rather than from the glottis or the mouth.


Pharyngeal consonants are not widespread. Many languages claiming to have pharyngeal fricatives or approximants turn out on closer inspection to have epiglottal consonants instead. For example, the candidate IPA|ʕ sound in Arabic and standard Hebrew (Israelis of eastern European background generally pronounce this as a glottal stop) has been variously described as a voiced epiglottal fricative, an epiglottal approximant, or a pharyngealized glottal stop.

Harvcoltxt|Thelwall|1990 argues that Arabic descriptions of a voiced pharyngeal fricative are incorrect and that Arabic varieties instead possess a pharyngealized glottal stop (IPA| [ʔˤ] . An epiglottal fricative has also been reported. [Harvcoltxt|Ladefoged|Maddieson|1996|p=167-168]

ee also

* List of phonetics topics



*Harvard reference
authorlink=Peter Ladefoged
authorlink2=Ian Maddieson
title=The Sounds of the World's Languages

*Harvard reference
last = Thelwall
first= Robin
year= 1990
title= Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic
journal=Journal of the International Phonetic Association

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