Voiceless pharyngeal fricative

Voiceless pharyngeal fricative

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 h-bar (IPA|ħ), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is X.


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 root of the tongue against the pharynx
* Its phonation type is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords.
* 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.


This sound is the most commonly cited realization of the Semitic letter hēth, which occurs in most dialects of Arabic, Classical Syriac, as well as Biblical and Tiberian Hebrew. It has also been reconstructed as appearing in Ancient Egyptian, a related Afro-Asiastic 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). [Harvcoltxt|Ladefoged|Maddieson|1996|p=167-168]

ee also

* List of phonetics topics
* Pharyngeal fricative
* Heth



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

*Harvard reference
journal=Journal of the International Phonetic Association

*Harvard reference
last = Watson
first= Janet
year= 2002
title= The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic
place=New York
publisher= Oxford University Press

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