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Velar approximant

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Title: Velar approximant  
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Subject: List of consonants, Voiced velar fricative, Fraser alphabet, Velar consonant, Approximant consonant
Collection: Velar Consonants
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Velar approximant

Velar approximant
IPA number 154
Entity (decimal) ɰ
Unicode (hex) U+0270
Kirshenbaum j
Braille ⠦ (braille pattern dots-236) ⠍ (braille pattern dots-134)

The voiced velar approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɰ. It is the semivocalic counterpart of the close back unrounded vowel [ɯ].

The IPA symbol ɣ, which otherwise signifies a voiced velar fricative, is more commonly used for the velar approximant than ɰ is, with a lowering diacritic ɣ̞ when specificity is required.


  • Features 1
  • Occurrence 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5


Features of the velar approximant:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Cherokee wa-tsi [ɰatsi] 'watch' Also represented by , , , , and
Danish Older speakers[1] talg [ˈtˢalˀɰ] 'tallow' Still used by some older speakers in high register, much more commonly than a fricative [ɣ].[1] Depending on the environment, it corresponds to [ʊ̯], [ɪ̯] or [j] in young speakers of contemporary Standard Danish.[2] See Danish phonology
Dutch Randstad[3] A very rare pronunciation of /r/,[4] distribution unclear. Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology
Southern Netherlandic[3]
French Belgian[5] ara [aɰa] 'macaw' Intervocalic allophone of /ʀ/ for some speakers,[6] unless /ʀ/ is realized as a liaison consonant – then it's most often pronounced [ʀ].[7] See French phonology
Greek Cypriot[8] μαγαζί [maɰaˈzi] 'shop' Allophone of /ɣ/
Guarani Gyresia [ɰɨˈɾe̞sia] 'Greece' Contrasts with [w]
Ibibio[9] [úfʌ̟̀ɰɔ̞] Intervocalic allophone of /k/; may be a uvular tap [ɢ̆] instead.[9]
Icelandic saga [ˈsaɰa] 'saga' See Icelandic phonology
Irish naoi [n̪ˠɰiː] 'nine' Occurs only between broad consonants and front vowels. See Irish phonology
Korean 의사/uisa [ɰi.sä] 'doctor' Occurs only before /i/. See Korean phonology
Ripuarian Colognian wing [ɰɪŋ] 'wine' Allophone of syllable-initial /v/ for some speakers; can be [β ~ ʋ ~ w] instead. See Colognian phonology
Spanish[10] pagar [päˈɰäɾ] 'to pay' Intervocalic allophone of /ɡ/. See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[11] agronom [äɰɾʊˈn̪oːm] 'agronomist' Allophone of /g/ in casual speech. See Swedish phonology
Tagalog igriega [iːɡɾɪˈje̞ɰɐ] 'letter y' See Tagalog phonology
Tiwi ngaga [ˈŋaɰa] 'we (inclusive)'
Turkish ağır [a'ɰɯɾ] 'heavy' Only occurs before back vowels, in careful pronunciation. Represented by the letter ğ. See Turkish phonology

The sound in Japanese often denoted by w in IPA notation and described as unrounded is actually pronounced with lip compression and is therefore labio-velar, albeit with acoustic differences from other labio-velar consonants.

See also


  1. ^ a b Grønnum (2005:123)
  2. ^ Basbøll (2005:211–212)
  3. ^ a b Verstraten & van de Velde (2001:54)
  4. ^ Verstraten & van de Velde (2001:50–51 and 54)
  5. ^ Demolin (2001:65 and 71)
  6. ^ Demolin (2001:65)
  7. ^ Demolin (2001:71)
  8. ^ Arvaniti (1999:174)
  9. ^ a b Urua (2004:106)
  10. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:257)
  11. ^ Engstrand (2004:167)


  • Arvaniti, Amalia (1999), "Cypriot Greek" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 29 (2): 173–178,  
  • Demolin, Didier (2001), "Some phonetic and phonological observations concerning /ʀ/ in Belgian French", in van de Velde, Hans; van Hout, Roeland, 'r-atics, Brussels: Etudes & Travaux, pp. 61–73,  
  • Engstrand, Olle (2004), Fonetikens grunder (in Swedish), Lund: Studenlitteratur,  
  • Grønnum, Nina (2005), Fonetik og fonologi, Almen og Dansk (3rd ed.), Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag,  
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259,  
  • Urua, Eno-Abasi E. (2004), "Ibibio", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 105–109,  
  • Verstraten, Bart; van de Velde, Hans (2001), "Socio-geographical variation of /r/ in standard Dutch", in van de Velde, Hans; van Hout, Roeland, 'r-atics, Brussels: Etudes & Travaux, pp. 45–61,  
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