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Voiced uvular fricative
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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, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is R. This consonant is one of the consonants collectively known as uvular R.
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.
- Its place of articulation is uvular which means it is articulated with the back of the tongue (the dorsum) against or near the uvula.
- Its phonation type is voiced, which means the vocal cords are vibrating during the articulation.
- It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth.
- It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by allowing the airstream to flow over the middle of the tongue, rather than the sides.
- The airstream mechanism is pulmonic egressive, which means it is articulated by pushing air out of the lungs and through the vocal tract, rather than from the glottis or the mouth.
English does not have uvular R, and most English speakers have difficulty pronouncing it. This can one of the most marked distinctions between English speakers and native German speakers, for example.
In other languages
German has the voiced uvular fricative as a phoneme, and it is represented by "r" before a vowel.
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