Voiced velar stop

The voiced velar stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages.

Voiced velar stop
IPA Number110
Entity (decimal)ɡ
Unicode (hex)U+0261
Audio sample
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Some languages have the voiced pre-velar stop,[1] which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiced velar stop, though not as front as the prototypical voiced palatal stop.

Conversely, some languages have the voiced post-velar stop,[2] which is articulated slightly behind the place of articulation of the prototypical voiced velar stop, though not as back as the prototypical voiced uvular stop.

IPA symbol

The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɡ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is g. Strictly, the IPA symbol is the so-called single-storey G , but the double-storey G is considered an acceptable alternative. The Unicode character U+0067 g LATIN SMALL LETTER G renders as either a single-storey G or a double-storey G depending on font; the character U+0261 ɡ LATIN SMALL LETTER SCRIPT G is always a single-storey G, but it is generally available only in fonts with the IPA Extensions Unicode character block.


Features of the voiced velar stop:

  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • 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.


Of the six stops that would be expected from the most common pattern worldwide—that is, three places of articulation plus voicing ([p b, t d, k ɡ])—[p] and [ɡ] are the most frequently missing, being absent in about 10% of languages that otherwise have this pattern. Absent stop [p] is an areal feature (see also Voiceless bilabial stop). Missing [ɡ], on the other hand, is widely scattered around the world, for example /ɡ/ is not a native phoneme of Dutch, Czech, Finnish or Slovak and occurs only in borrowed words in those languages. A few languages, such as Modern Standard Arabic and urban Levantine dialects, are missing both, although most Modern Arabic dialects have /ɡ/ in their native phonemic systems as a reflex of ق or less commonly of ج.

It seems that [ɡ] is somewhat more difficult to articulate than the other basic stops. Ian Maddieson speculates that this may be due to a physical difficulty in voicing velars: Voicing requires that air flow into the mouth cavity, and the relatively small space allowed by the position of velar consonants means that it will fill up with air quickly, making voicing difficult to maintain in [ɡ] for as long as it is in [d] or [b]. This could have two effects: [ɡ] and [k] might become confused, and the distinction is lost, or perhaps a [ɡ] never develops when a language first starts making voicing distinctions. With uvulars, where there is even less space between the glottis and tongue for airflow, the imbalance is more extreme: Voiced [ɢ] is much rarer than voiceless [q].[3]

Many Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindustani, have a two-way contrast between aspirated and plain [ɡ].


Abkhazажыга[aˈʐəɡa]'shovel'See Abkhaz phonology
AdygheShapsugгьэгуалъэ[ɡʲaɡʷaːɬa] 'toy'Dialectal. Corresponds to [d͡ʒ] in other dialects.
Temirgoyчъыгы[t͡ʂəɡə] 'tree'Dialectal. Corresponds to [ɣ] in other dialects.
Arabic[4] Moroccan أݣادير [ʔaɡaːdiːr] 'Agadir'
Tunisian ڨفصة‎ [ɡɑfsˤɑ] 'Gafsa' ڨ is also used in Algeria
Hejaziقمر[ɡamar]'moon'Corresponds to [q] in Classical and Modern Standard Arabic.
Najdi [ɡəmar]
Sa'idi [ɡɑmɑr]
Yemeniقال[gæːl]'(he) said'Pronunciation of ق in San'ani dialect in the North and Center and Hadhrami in the East
جمل [gæmæl] 'camel' Pronunciation of ج in Ta'izzi-Adeni dialects in the South and Tihami in the West
Egyptian راجل [ˈɾɑːɡel] 'man' Standard pronunciation of ج in Egypt and corresponds to //, /ʒ/ or /ɟ/ in other pronunciations.
ArmenianEastern[5]գանձ[ɡɑndz] 'treasure'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaicɡana[ɡaːna]'self'Used predominantly in Iraqi Koine. Corresponds to [dʒ] in Urmia, some Tyari and Jilu dialects.
Bengaliগান[ɡan]'song'Contrasts with aspirated form. See Bengali phonology
Bulgarianгора[ɡora]'wood'See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan[6]gros[ɡɾɔs]'large'See Catalan phonology
ChineseSouthern Min[ɡua]'I'Only in colloquial speech.
Czechgram[ɡram]'gram'See Czech phonology
DutchAll dialectszakdoek[ˈzɑɡduk] 'handkerchief'Allophone of /k/, occurring only before voiced consonants in native words. See Dutch phonology
Many speakersgoal[ɡoːɫ] 'goal'Only in loanwords. Some speakers may realize it as [ɣ] ~ [ʝ] ~ [χ] ~ [x] (like a normal Dutch g), or as [k].
Englishgaggle[ˈɡæɡɫ̩]'gaggle'See English phonology
Esperantobongusta[bonˈgusta]'tasty'See Esperanto phonology
French[8]gain[ɡæ̃]'earnings'See French phonology
Germange[ˈlyːɡə]'lie'See Standard German phonology
Greekγκάρισμα / gkárisma[ˈɡɐɾizmɐ]'donkey's bray'See Modern Greek phonology
Gujaratiગાવું[gaːʋʊ̃]'to sing'See Gujarati phonology
Hebrewגב[ɡav]'back'See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustaniगाना / گانا[ɡɑːnɑː]'song'Contrasts with aspirated form. See Hindustani phonology
Hungarianengedély[ɛŋɡɛdeːj]'permission'See Hungarian phonology
Irishgaineamh[ˈɡanʲəw]'sand'See Irish phonology
Italian[10]gare[ˈɡäːre]'competitions'See Italian phonology
Japanese[11]外套 / gaitō[ɡaitoː]'overcoat'See Japanese phonology
KabardianBaslaneyгьанэ[ɡʲaːna] 'shirt'Dialectal. Corresponds to [dʒ] in other dialects.
Korean메기 / megi[meɡi]'catfish'See Korean phonology
Lithuaniangarai[ɡɐrɐɪ̯ˑ]'steam'See Lithuanian phonology
Luxembourgish[13]agepack[ˈɑɡəpaːk]More often voiceless [k].[13] See Luxembourgish phonology
Macedonianгром[ɡrɔm]'thunder'See Macedonian phonology
Marathiवत[ɡəʋət]'grass'See Marathi phonology
Norwegiangull[ɡʉl]'gold'See Norwegian phonology
Persian گوشت [guʃt] 'meat'
Polish[14]gmin[ɡmʲin̪] 'plebs'See Polish phonology
Portuguese[15]língua[ˈɫĩɡwɐ]'tongue'See Portuguese phonology
Romanian[16]gând[ɡɨnd]'thought'See Romanian phonology
Russian[17]голова[ɡəɫɐˈva] 'head'See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[18]гост / gost[gȏ̞ːs̪t̪]'guest'See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovakmiazga[ˈmjäzɡä]'lymph'See Slovak phonology
Somaligaabi[ɡaːbi]'to shorten'See Somali phonology
Spanish[19]gato[ˈɡät̪o̞]'cat'See Spanish phonology
Swahiligiza[ˈɡīzɑ]'darkness'See Swahili phonology
Swedishgod[ɡuːd̪]'tasty'May be an approximant in casual speech. See Swedish phonology
Turkishsalgın[säɫˈɡɯn]'epidemic'See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[20]ґанок[ˈɡɑ.n̪ok]'steps'See Ukrainian phonology
West Frisiangasp[ɡɔsp]'buckle' (n.)See West Frisian phonology
Yi / gge[ɡɤ˧]'hear'
ZapotecTilquiapan[21]gan[ɡaŋ]'will be able'Depending on speaker and carefulness of speech, [ɡ] may be lenited to [ɣ]

See also


  1. Instead of "pre-velar", it can be called "advanced velar", "fronted velar", "front-velar", "palato-velar", "post-palatal", "retracted palatal" or "backed palatal".
  2. Instead of "post-velar", it can be called "retracted velar", "backed velar", "pre-uvular", "advanced uvular" or "fronted uvular".
  3. WALS Online : Chapter 5 – Voicing and Gaps in Plosive Systems
  4. Watson (2002), pp. 16–17.
  5. Dum-Tragut (2009), p. 13.
  6. Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 53.
  7. Gussenhoven (1992), p. 45.
  8. Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 73.
  9. Shosted & Chikovani (2006), p. 255.
  10. Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004), p. 117.
  11. Okada (1999), p. 117.
  12. Olson et al. (2010), pp. 206–207.
  13. Gilles & Trouvain (2013), pp. 67–68.
  14. Jassem (2003), p. 103.
  15. Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  16. DEX Online :
  17. Padgett (2003), p. 42.
  18. Landau et al. (1999), p. 66.
  19. Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 255.
  20. Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  21. Merrill (2008), p. 108.


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