Voiceless Uvular Plosive
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Voiceless Uvular Plosive
Voiceless uvular plosive
IPA Number111
Entity (decimal)q
Unicode (hex)U+0071
Braille? (braille pattern dots-12345)
Audio sample

The voiceless uvular plosive or stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. It is pronounced like a voiceless velar plosive [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 plosive[1] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical uvular consonant, though not as front as the prototypical velar consonant. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨q?⟩ or ⟨q?⟩ (both symbols denote an advancedq⟩) or ⟨k?⟩ (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 plosive.
  • 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 ?/kh"ats?a [qat?s'a] 'man'
Adyghe ?/ataq"? 'rooster'
Aleut[2] ? / qiighax? [qi:?a?] 'grass'
Arabic Modern Standard[3] ‎/qit't 'cat' See Arabic phonology
Hejazi /qimma [q?m:a] 'peak' Allophone of /g/. See Hejazi Arabic phonology
Gulf[4] ?‎/qadun [q?dæn] 'tomorrow' Corresponds to /?/ in other dialects.
Assyrian qa [qa] 'for' Often realized as a tense /k/ rather than uvular /q/.
Archi /kh"àl [qa:l] 'human skin'
Bashkir ? / q 'goose'
Chechen / qo' [q] 'three'
Dawsahak [qoq] 'dry'
English Australian[5] caught [o:t] 'caught' Pre-uvular; allophone of /k/ before /? o o? /.[5] See Australian English phonology
Multicultural London[6][7] cut [q?t] 'cut' Allophone of /k/ before back vowels.[7]
Non-local Dublin[8] back [bæq] 'back' Allophone of /k/ after /æ/ for some speakers.[8]
Eyak g?u.jih [qu:t?ih] 'wolf'
German Chemnitz dialect[9] Rock [q?k?] 'skirt' In free variation with , , and .[9] Does not occur in the coda.[9]
Greenlandic illoqarpoq [i?:oqp?q] 'he has a house'
Hebrew Iraqi ?‎/kol [qol] 'voice' See Biblical Hebrew phonology
Hindustani Hindi /barq [b?rq] 'lightning' Mostly in loanwords from Arabic, pronounced mainly in Urdu - Hindi speakers tend to pronounce it as a ⟨k⟩. See Hindustani phonology
Urdu ?‎/barq
Inuktitut ?"? / ihipqiuqtuq' [ihip?iuqtuq] 'explore' Represented by a ⟨?⟩. See Inuit phonology
Iraqw qeet [qe:t] 'break'
Kabardian ?/k"?b?rdey 'Kabardian'
Kabyle ? About this sound[taq?æjli?]  'Kabyle language' May be voiced .
Kavalan qaqa [qaqa] 'elder brother'
Kazakh ???/Qazaqstan [q?z?q'st?n] 'Kazakhstan' An allophone of before back vowels
Kyrgyz ?/Q?rzstan [q?rs'st?n] 'Kyrgyzstan' An allophone of before back vowels
Ket ? [qan] 'begin'
Klallam q?mt?m [q?mt?m] 'iron'
Kutenai qayki?wu [qajkit'wu] 'nine'
Lishan Didan Urmi Dialect ?/aqla [aql?] 'foot, leg'
Nez Perce ?aw?líwaa?inpqawtaca [?awlwa:?inpqawtat?sa] 'I go to scoop him up in the fire'
Nivkh ?/tyaqrh [t?aqr?] 'three'
Ossetian Iron æ?æ?/d?æud?iq"æu ['z?d?q?] 'Vladikavkaz'
Persian ?‎/q?rba?e [qu:rbe] 'frog' See Persian phonology
Quechua[10] qallu [qa?u] 'tongue'
Sahaptin qu [qu] 'heavy'
Seediq Seediq ['s?:dq] 'Seediq'
Seereer-Siin[11] [example needed] -- --
Shor ? [q?m] 'shaman'
Somali qaab [qa:b] 'shape' See Somali phonology
St'át'imcets teq [t?q] 'to touch'
Tajik ??/qo?uq [quq] 'spoon'
Tlingit ghagw [qk?] 'tree spine' Tlingit contrasts six different uvular stops
Tsimshian gwildm?a?p'a [ildmq?p'a] 'tobacco'
Turkmen ak [?:q] 'white' Allophone of /k/ next to back vowels
Ubykh [q] 'grave' One of ten distinct uvular stop phonemes. See Ubykh phonology
Uyghur ‎ / aq [?q] 'white'
Uzbek[12] qo'l [q?o?] 'arm' Pre-uvular; sometimes realized as an affricate .[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 [m?q] 'fresh water'
Yukaghir Northern ??/maarq [ma:rq] 'one'
Southern ??/ataql [ataql] 'two'
!Xóõ !qhàà [q:] '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 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Glossary". Retrieved 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

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