Uvular ejective

The uvular ejective is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is .

Uvular ejective
IPA Number111 + 401
Entity (decimal)qʼ
Unicode (hex)U+0071U+02BC
Audio sample
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Features of the uvular ejective:

  • Its phonation 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 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.


One ejective
A single plain uvular ejective is found in almost all Northeast Caucasian languages, all South Caucasian languages, and some Athabaskan languages, as well as Itelmen, Quechua and Aymara.

  • Itelmen, where it is written ӄ': ӄ'ил'хч [qʼilˀxt͡ʃ] to depart.
  • Georgian, where it is written : ტავი [tʼqʼavi] skin, pelt. Unlike its velar counterpart, it does not contrast with voiced or voiceless uvular stops; the voiceless uvular stop of Old Georgian has merged with the voiceless velar fricative in modern Georgian. Some scholars view this Georgian phoneme as being rather an uvular ejective fricative /χʼ/.
  • Tahltan: [qʼaχaːdiː] door.

Two ejectives
Most Salishan languages, the Tlingit language, and Adyghe and Kabardian (Northwest Caucasian) demonstrate a two-way contrast between labialised and plain uvular ejectives.

  • Klallam: wəə́ [wəqʼəqʼ] frog, sq̕ʷúŋi(ʔ) [sqʷʼuɴi(ʔ)] head.
  • Lezgian, where the two are written кь and кьв: кьакьан [qʼaqʼan] tall, high, кьвех [qʷʼeχ] groin.
  • North Straits Salish, where the two are written K and in the Saanich orthography: Saanich KEYOṮEN [qʼəjat͡ɬʼənˀ] slug, snail, SEḰĆES [sqʷʼəqʷt͡ʃəs] red huckleberry.

The Akhvakh language appears to have a contrast between lax and tense uvular ejectives: [qʼaː] soup, broth (lax) vs. [qːʼama] cock's comb (tense).

Three ejectives

  • Abkhaz contrasts plain, palatalised and labialised uvular ejectives, written ҟ ҟь ҟə: аҟаҧшь [aqʼapʃ] red, -ҵəҟьа [-t͡ɕʷʼqʲʼa] really, indeed (a verbal suffix), Аҟәа [aqʷʼa] Sukhum. As with Georgian, Abkhaz has no non-ejective uvular stops; the historically present uvular aspirates have merged with their corresponding fricatives, although the aspirates are preserved in Abaza.

Five ejectives

  • The plain uvular ejective is one of the most common consonants in Ubykh, due to its presence in the past tense suffix /-qʼa/. But in addition to palatalised, labialised and plain uvular ejectives, Ubykh also possesses a pharyngealised version and a concurrently labialised and pharyngealised version, making a total of five: [qʼaqʼa] he said it, [məqʲʼ] small and round, [qʷʼa] to seize, [qˤʼaqˤʼ] to chew, [qʷˤʼa] cavern.
AdygheHakuchiкъӏэ[qʼa] 'hand'Dialectal. Corresponds to [ʕ] in other dialects.
AzeriNorth dialectsqədim[qʼæd̪i̞m]'ancient'
Tlingitk̲ʼateil[qʼʌtʰeːɬ] ‘pitcher’

See also

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