Voiced uvular fricative

Voiced uvular fricative
IPA Number143
Entity (decimal)ʁ
Unicode (hex)U+0281
Braille⠔ (braille pattern dots-35)⠼ (braille pattern dots-3456)
Audio sample
Voiced uvular approximant
IPA Number144
Audio sample

The voiced uvular fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʁ⟩, an inverted small uppercase letter ⟨ʀ⟩, or in broad transcriptionr⟩ if rhotic. This consonant is one of several collectively called guttural R when found in European languages.

The voiced uvular approximant is also found interchangeably with the fricative, and may also be transcribed as ⟨ʁ⟩. Because the IPA symbol stands for the uvular fricative, the approximant may be specified by adding the downtack: ⟨ʁ̞⟩, though some writings[1] use a superscript ⟨ʶ⟩, which is not an official IPA practice.

For a voiced pre-uvular fricative (also called post-velar), see voiced velar fricative.


Features of the voiced uvular fricative:

  • Its manner of articulation is fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence. In many languages it is closer to an approximant, however, and no language distinguishes the two at the uvular articulation.
  • 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 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.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


In Western Europe, a uvular trill pronunciation of rhotic consonants spread from northern French[citation needed] to several dialects and registers of Basque,[2] Catalan,[citation needed] Danish,[citation needed] Dutch,[citation needed] German,[citation needed] Judaeo-Spanish,[citation needed] Norwegian,[citation needed] Occitan,[citation needed] Portuguese,[citation needed] Swedish,[citation needed] in some variants of Low Saxon[3] and Yiddish.[citation needed] However, not all of them remain a uvular trill today. In Brazilian Portuguese, it is usually a velar fricative ([x], [ɣ]), voiceless uvular fricative [χ], or glottal transition ([h], [ɦ]), except in southern Brazil, where alveolar, velar and uvular trills as well as the voiced uvular fricative predominate. Because such uvular rhotics often do not contrast with alveolar ones, IPA transcriptions may often use ⟨r⟩ to represent them for ease of typesetting. For more information, see guttural R.

Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996) note, "There is... a complication in the case of uvular fricatives in that the shape of the vocal tract may be such that the uvula vibrates."[4]

It is also present on most Turkic languages, except for Turkish and Turkmen, and Caucasian languages. It could also come in ɣ.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz цыҕ cëğ [tsəʁ] 'marten' See Abkhaz phonology
Adyghe тыгъэ ğa About this sound[təʁa]  'sun'
Afrikaans Parts of the former Cape Province[5] rooi [ʁoːi̯] 'red' May be a trill [ʀ] instead.[5] See Afrikaans phonology
Albanian Arbëresh

Some Moresian accents

vëlla [vʁa] 'brother' May be pronounced as a normal double l. Sometimes, the gutteral r is present in words starting with g in some dialects.
Aleut Atkan dialect chamĝul [tʃɑmʁul] 'to wash'
Arabic Modern Standard[6] غرفةġurfa [ˈʁʊrfɐ] 'room' Mostly transcribed as /ɣ/, may be velar, post-velar or uvular, depending on dialect.[7] See Arabic phonology
Archi гъӀабос ġabos [ʁˤabos][8] 'croak'
Armenian Eastern[9] ղեկ łek About this sound[ʁɛk]  'rudder'
Avar тIагъур thaġur [tʼaˈʁur] 'cap'
Bashkir туғыҙ tuğïð About this sound[tuˈʁɤð]  'nine'
Basque Northern dialects urre [uʁe] 'gold'
Chilcotin relkɨsh [ʁəlkɪʃ] 'he walks'
Danish Standard[10] rød [ʁ̞œ̠ð̠] 'red' Most often an approximant when initial.[11] In other positions, it can be either a fricative (also described as voiceless [χ]) or an approximant.[10] Also described as pharyngeal [ʕ̞].[12] It can be a fricative trill in word-initial positions when emphasizing a word.[13] See Danish phonology
Dutch[14][15][16][17] Belgian Limburg[18][19] rad [ʁɑt] 'wheel' Either a fricative or an approximant.[16][18][17][15][20] Realization of /r/ varies considerably among dialects. See Dutch phonology
Central Netherlands[21]
East Flanders[19]
Northern Netherlands[21]
Southern Netherlands[21]
English Dyfed[22] red [ʁɛd] 'red' Not all speakers.[22] Alveolar in other Welsh accents.
North-east Leinster[23] Corresponds to [ɹ ~ ɾ ~ ɻ] in other dialects of English in Ireland.
Northumbrian[24][25] Described both as a fricative[24] and an approximant.[25] More rarely it is a trill [ʀ].[24] Mostly found in rural areas of Northumberland and northern County Durham, declining. See English phonology and Northumbrian Burr.
Sierra Leonean[24] More rarely a trill [ʀ].[24]
French rester [ʁɛste] 'to stay' See French phonology
German Standard[26] Rost [ʁɔst] 'rust' Either a fricative or, more often, an approximant. In free variation with a uvular trill. See Standard German phonology
Lower Rhine[26]
Swabian[27] [ʁ̞oʃt] An approximant.[27] It is the realization of /ʁ/ in onsets,[27] otherwise it is an epiglottal approximant.[27]
Hebrew Biblical עוֹרֵב [ʁoˈreβ] 'raven' See Biblical Hebrew phonology.
Modern עוֹרֵב [oˈʁ̞ev] See Modern Hebrew phonology.[28]
Inuktitut East Inuktitut dialect marruuk [mɑʁʁuuk] 'two'
Italian Some speakers[29] raro [ˈʁäːʁo] 'rare' Rendition alternative to the standard Italian alveolar trill [r], due to individual orthoepic defects and/or regional variations that make the alternative sound more prevalent, notably in Alto Adige (bordering with German-speaking Austria), Val d'Aosta (bordering with France) and in parts of the Parma province, more markedly around Fidenza. Other alternative sounds may be a uvular trill [ʀ] or a labiodental approximant [ʋ].[29] See Italian phonology.
Kabardian бгъэ bğa About this sound[bʁa]  'eagle'
Kabyle ⴱⴻ
[bːəʁ] 'to dive'
Kazakh саған, saǵan [sɑˈʁɑn] 'you' (dat. sing.)
Kyrgyz жамгыр camğır' [dʒɑmˈʁɯr] 'rain'
Lakota aǧúyapi [aʁʊjapɪ] 'bread'
Limburgish Maastrichtian[30] drei [dʀ̝ɛi̯] 'three' Fricative trill; the fricative component varies between uvular and post-velar.[30][31]
Weert dialect[31] drej [dʀ̝æj]
Luxembourgish[32] Parmesan [ˈpʰɑʁməzaːn] 'parmesan' Appears as an allophone of /ʀ/ between a vowel and a voiced consonant and as an allophone of /ʁ/ between a back vowel and another vowel (back or otherwise). A minority of speakers use it as the only consonantal variety of /ʀ/ (in a complementary distribution with [χ]), also where it is trilled in the standard language.[32] See Luxembourgish phonology
Malay Perak dialect Perak [peʁɑk̚] 'Perak' See Malay phonology
Norwegian Southern dialects rar [ʁ̞ɑːʁ̞] 'strange' Either an approximant or a fricative. See Norwegian phonology
Southwestern dialects
Ossetic Iron æгъгъæд æğğæd [ˈəʁːəd] 'enough'
Portuguese European[33] carro [ˈkaʁu] 'car' Word-initial /ʁ/ is commonly realized as a fricative trill in Lisbon.[13] See Portuguese phonology
Setubalense[34] ruralizar [ʁuʁəɫiˈzaʁ] 'to ruralize' Often trilled. Due to a merger, corresponds to both /ɾ/ and /ʁ/ in other dialects.
Fluminense[34][35] ardência [ɐʁˈdẽsjə] 'burning feeling' Due to 19th century Portuguese influence, Rio de Janeiro's dialect merged coda /ɾ/ into /ʁ/.[36] Often trilled. In free variation with [ɣ], [ʕ] and [ɦ] before voiced sounds, [x], [χ], [ħ] and [h] before voiceless consonants
Sulista arroz [ɐˈʁos] 'rice'
Spanish Puerto Rican carro [ˈkaʁo] or [ˈkaχo] 'car' Word-initial, and inter-vocallic double r ('rr') /ʁ/ are commonly realized as a fricative trill in rural sectors and generally (but not exclusively) lower socioeconomic strata among Puerto Ricans. [ʁ].[37]
Swedish Southern dialects rör [ʁɶʁ] 'pipe(s)' See Swedish phonology
Tatar яңгыр, yañğır [jɒŋˈʁɯr] 'rain'
Tsez агъи aɣi [ˈʔaʁi] 'bird'
Ubykh [ʁa] 'his' Ubykh has ten different uvular fricatives. See Ubykh phonology
Uyghur ئۇيغۇر [ʊjʁʊr] 'Uyghur'
Uzbek oir [ɒˈʁɨr] 'heavy'
West Flemish Bruges dialect[38] onder [ˈuŋəʀ̝] 'under' A fricative trill with little friction. An alveolar [r] is used in the neighbouring rural area.[38]
Yakut тоҕус toğus [toʁus] 'nine'
Zhuang roek [ʁɔ̌k] 'six'

See also


  1. ^ Such as Krech et al. (2009).
  2. ^ Grammar of Basque, page 30, José Ignacio Hualde, Jon Ortiz De Urbina, Walter de Gruyter, 2003
  3. ^ Ph Bloemhoff-de Bruijn, Anderhalve Eeuw Zwols Vocaalveranderingsprocessen in de periode 1838-1972. IJsselacademie (2012). ISBN 978-90-6697-228-5
  4. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:167)
  5. ^ a b Donaldson (1993), p. 15.
  6. ^ Watson (2002), pp. 17.
  7. ^ Watson (2002), pp. 17, 19-20, 35-36 and 38.
  8. ^ http://www.smg.surrey.ac.uk/Archi/Linguists/links/3r/raibos/raibos_inf.mp3
  9. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:13)
  10. ^ a b Basbøll (2005:62)
  11. ^ Basbøll (2005:66)
  12. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:323)
  13. ^ a b Grønnum (2005), p. 157.
  14. ^ Booij (1999:8)
  15. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003:39, 54, 179, 196, 199–201, 291)
  16. ^ a b Goeman & van de Velde (2001:91–92, 94–95, 97, 99, 101–104, 107–108)
  17. ^ a b Verstraten & van de Velde (2001:51–55)
  18. ^ a b Verhoeven (2005:245)
  19. ^ a b Verstraten & van de Velde (2001:52)
  20. ^ Goeman & van de Velde (2001:91–92, 94–95, 97, 102)
  21. ^ a b c d Verstraten & van de Velde (2001:54)
  22. ^ a b c Wells (1982:390)
  23. ^ Hickey (2007:?)[page needed]
  24. ^ a b c d e Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:236)
  25. ^ a b Ogden (2009:93)
  26. ^ a b Hall (1993:89)
  27. ^ a b c d Markus Hiller. "Pharyngeals and "lax" vowel quality" (PDF). Mannheim: Institut für Deutsche Sprache. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  28. ^ The pronunciation of the Modern Hebrew consonant ר resh has been described as a unique uvular approximant ʁ, specifically [ʁ̞], which also exists in Yiddish, see Ghil'ad Zuckermann (2003), Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 261-262.
  29. ^ a b Canepari (1999), pp. 98–101.
  30. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 156.
  31. ^ a b Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998), p. 108.
  32. ^ a b Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 68.
  33. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:92)
  34. ^ a b (in Portuguese) Rhotic consonants in the speech of three municipalities of Rio de Janeiro: Petrópolis, Itaperuna and Paraty. Page 11.
  35. ^ (in Portuguese) The process of Norm change for the good pronunciation of the Portuguese language in chant and dramatics in Brazil during 1938, 1858 and 2007 Archived 2016-02-06 at the Wayback Machine Page 36.
  36. ^ (in Portuguese) The acoustic-articulatory path of the lateral palatal consonant's allophony. Pages 229 and 230.
  37. ^ Lipski (1994:333)
  38. ^ a b Hinskens & Taeldeman (2013), p. 167.


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