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IPA Number 422
Entity (decimal)ˠ
Unicode (hex)U+02E0
Velarized or pharyngealized

Velarization is a secondary articulation of consonants by which the back of the tongue is raised toward the velum during the articulation of the consonant. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, velarization is transcribed by one of four diacritics:


Although electropalatographic studies have shown that there is a continuum of possible degrees of velarization, [2] the IPA does not specify any way to indicate degrees of velarization, as the difference has not been found to be contrastive in any language. However, the IPA convention of doubling diacritics to indicate a greater degree can be used: ˠˠ.



A common example of a velarized consonant is the velarized alveolar lateral approximant (or "dark L"). In some accents of English, such as Received Pronunciation and General American English, the phoneme /l/ has "dark" and "light" allophones: the "dark", velarized allophone [ɫ] appears in syllable coda position (e.g. in full), while the "light", non-velarized allophone [l] appears in syllable onset position (e.g. in lawn). Other accents of English, such as Scottish English, Australian English, some U.S. and Canadian regional accents, have "dark L" in all positions.

Velarized /l/

For many languages, velarization is generally associated with more dental articulations of coronal consonants so that dark l tends to be dental or dentoalveolar, and clear l tends to be retracted to an alveolar position. [3]

Other velarized consonants

The palatalized/velarized contrast is known by other names, especially in language pedagogy: in Irish and Scottish Gaelic language teaching, the terms slender (for palatalized) and broad (for velarized) are often used. In Scottish Gaelic the terms are caol (for palatalized) and leathann (for velarized).

The terms light or clear (for non-velarized or palatalized) and dark (for velarized) are also widespread. The terms "softl " and "hardl " are not equivalent to "light l " and "dark l ". The former pair refers to palatalized ("soft" or iotated) and plain ("hard") Slavic consonants.

Related Research Articles

A lateral is a consonant in which the airstream proceeds along the sides of the tongue, but it is blocked by the tongue from going through the middle of the mouth. An example of a lateral consonant is the English L, as in Larry.

Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth.

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Pharyngealization Secondary articulation of consonants or vowels where the pharynx or epiglottis is constricted during articulation

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  1. Vd. Tryon (1995) Comparative Austronesian Dictionary"
  2. Recasens & Espinosa (2005 :2) citing Recasens, Fontdevila & Pallarès (1995)
  3. Recasens & Espinosa (2005 :4)
  4. Pharao, Nicolai. "Word frequency and sound change in groups and individuals" (PDF). Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  5. Jones & Ward 1969, pp. 79-80.
  6. Bauer, Michael. Blas na Gàidhlig: The Practical Guide to Gaelic Pronunciation. Glasgow: Akerbeltz, 2011.
  7. Fattah, Ismaïl Kamandâr (2000), Les dialectes Kurdes méridionaux, Acta Iranica, ISBN   9042909188
  8. McCarus, Ernest N. (1958), —A Kurdish Grammar (PDF), retrieved 11 June 2018