Voiceless velar fricative

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Template:Infobox IPA

The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is x. The [x] sound is rare in, but not completely absent from English. To give English speakers an example of the sound with which they might be familiar, consider the sound represented by "ch" in Scottish loch or Hebrew Chanukah.



Features of the voiceless velar fricative:

Varieties of [x]

IPA Description
plain x
voiced x
aspirated x
labialized x
palatal x

In English

Standard English does not have [x], except for a few loan words such as Scottish loch and Hebrew Chanukah . Where it occurs, it is nearly always represented by a "ch." Many speakers, especially in the United States, do not (often cannot) make this sound, and are sometimes not even aware of its existence; these speakers replace it with [h] in words such as "chutzpah" or "challah," or [k] in words such as "loch" or "leprechaun." These alternative pronunciations are considered acceptable by most authorities.

Some dialects in England, particularly London and Liverpool, may have [x] where other dialects have [k], as in cat. In London it is a younger, lower-class pronunciation.

In other languages

The [x] sound is a somewhat common sound cross-linguistically and very common in Assamese.


Georgian has an [x], spelled ხ.


In Armenian, [x] is spelled Խ.


The voiceless velar fricative Ach-Laut is an allophone of the voiceless palatal fricative, the so called ich-Laut. See German phonology. German has the voiceless velar fricative as a phoneme, and it is denoted by "ch", as in ach (the interjection Oh!). This is the sound represented by "ch" when it follows "a", "o", "u", or the diphthong "au". The sound represented by "ch" following "e", "i", "", "", "", the diphthongs "eu" or "u", or the consonants "l", "n" or "r" is a different consonant, the voiceless palatal fricative. In some areas of Germany the sound is more like a voiceless uvular fricative.


Standard Dutch has no g-sound as in "garden". They use a voiceless velar fricative or a voiced velar fricative instead. The word for "laugh" in both German and Dutch is "lachen", with ch to be pronounced as //.

See also

Sounds of the world's languages
International Phonetic Alphabet
Consonants | Vowels
Places of articulation Manners of articulation

Bilabial | Labiodental | Labial-velar | Dental | Alveolar | Postalveolar | Alveolo-palatal | Retroflex | Palatal | Velar | Uvular | Pharyngeal | Epiglottal | Glottal

Nasals | Plosives | Fricatives | Affricates | Laterals | Approximants | Flaps/Taps | Trills | Ejectives | Implosives | Clicks

de:Stimmloser velarer Frikativ

ja:無声軟口蓋摩擦音 pt:Fricativa velar surda


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