Voiceless velar implosive

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Voiceless velar implosive

A voiceless velar implosive is a rare consonantal sound, used in some oral languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɠ̊⟩ or ⟨kʼ↓⟩. A dedicated IPA letter, ⟨ƙ⟩, was withdrawn in 1993.


Features of the voiced velar implosive:

  • 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 stop.
  • Its place of articulation is velar, which means it is articulated with the back of the tongue (the dorsum) at the soft palate.
  • 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.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.
  • The airstream mechanism is implosive (glottalic ingressive), which means it is produced by pulling air in by pumping the glottis downward. As it is voiceless, the glottis is completely closed, and there is no pulmonic airstream at all.


A phonemic /ƙ/ has not been confirmed for any language. It has been claimed for Lendu, but it is more likely to be creaky-voiced /ɠ̰/, as in Hausa. Some English speakers use a voiceless velar implosive [ƙ] to imitate the "glug-glug" sound of liquid being poured from a bottle, though others use a voiced implosive [ɠ].[1]

See also


  1. ^ Pike, Phonetics, 1943:40
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