are consonants articulated
with the back of the tongue
against or near the uvula
, that is, further back in the mouth than velar consonants
. Uvulars may be stops
, or approximants
, though the IPA does not provide a separate symbol for the approximant, and the symbol for the voiced fricative is used instead. Uvular affricates
can certainly be made but are rare: they occur in some southern High-German dialects, as well as in a few African and Native American languages. (Ejective uvular affricates occur as realizations of uvular stops in Lillooet
, or as allophonic realizations of the ejective uvular fricative in Georgian
.) Uvular consonants are typically incompatible with advanced tongue root
and they often cause retraction
of neighboring vowels.
Uvular consonants in IPA
Descriptions in different languages
Uvular consonants are produced near marker 9.
has no uvular consonants (at least in most major dialects), and they are unknown in the indigenous languages of Australia and the Pacific
, though uvular consonants separate from velar consonants
are believed to have existed in the Proto-Oceanic language
and are attested in the modern Formosan languages
. Uvular consonants are however found in many African and Middle-Eastern languages, most notably Arabic
, and in Native American
languages. In parts of the Caucasus mountains
and northwestern North America, nearly every language has uvular stops and fricatives. Two uvular R
phonemes are found in various languages in north-western Europe including French, some Occitan dialects, a majority of German dialects, some Dutch dialects, and Danish.
is transcribed as [q] in both the IPA and SAMPA
. It is pronounced somewhat like the voiceless velar stop
[k], but with the middle of the tongue further back on the velum
, against or near the uvula. The most familiar use will doubtless be in the transliteration of Arabic place names such as Qatar
into English, though, since English lacks this sound, this is generally pronounced as [k], the most similar sound that occurs in English.
[qʼ], the uvular ejective
, is found in Ubykh, Tlingit, Cusco Quechua, and some others. In Georgian, the existence of this phoneme is debatable, since the general realization of the letter "ყ" is /χʼ/. This is due to /qʰ/ merging with /χ/ and therefore /qʼ/ being influenced by this merger and becoming /χʼ/.
The Enqi dialect of the Bai language
has an unusually complete series of uvular consonants consisting of the stops /q/, /qʰ/ and /ɢ/, the fricatives /χ/ and /ʁ/, and the nasal /ɴ/.
All of these contrast with a corresponding velar consonant of the same manner of articulation.
The existence of the uvular nasal is especially unusual, even more so than the existence of the voiced stop.
The Tlingit language
of the Alaskan Panhandle has ten uvular consonants, all of which are voiceless obstruents:
Uvulars in Tlingit
In featural phonology
, uvular consonants are most often considered to contrast with velar consonants
in terms of being [–high] and [+back]. Prototypical uvulars also appear to be [-ATR].
Two variants can the established. Since palatalized
consonants are [-back], the appearance of palatalized uvulars in a few languages such as Ubykh
is difficult to account for. According to Vaux (1999), they possibly hold the features [+high], [-back], [-ATR], the last being the distinguishing feature from a palatalized velar consonant.
The uvular trill
[ʀ] is used in certain dialects
(especially those associated with European capitals) of French
, as well as sometimes in Modern Hebrew
, for the rhotic
phoneme. In many of these it has a uvular fricative (either voiced
[ʁ] or voiceless
[χ]) as an allophone
when it follows one of the voicelessstops
/p/, /t/, or /k/ at the end of a word, as in the French example maître
[mɛtχ], or even a uvular approximant
As with most trills, uvular trills are often reduced to a single contact, especially between vowels.
Unlike other uvular consonants, the uvular trill is articulated without a retraction of the tongue, and therefore doesn't lower neighboring high vowels the way uvular stops commonly do.
the uvular trill is an allophone of the voiced uvular fricative before /i/.
- ^ a b Vaux, Bert (1999). "A Note on Pharyngeal Features". Harvard Working Papers in Linguistics.
- ^ Cobbinah (2013:3)
- ^ https://phoible.org/inventories/view/579
- ^ François (2005), p. 44.
- ^ Basbøll (2005:66)
- ^ a b Feng, Wang (2006). "Comparison of Languages in Contact: The Distillation Method and the Case of Bai" (PDF). Language and Linguistics Monograph Series B. Frontiers in Linguistics III.
Last edited on 14 March 2021, at 04:57
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