Voiceless uvular nasal

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Voiceless uvular nasal
IPA Number120+402A

The voiceless uvular nasal is an extremely rare type of consonantal sound, used in very few spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɴ̥, a combination of the letter for the voiced uvular nasal and a diacritic indicating voicelessness. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is N\_0.

There is also the pre-uvular voiceless nasal[1] in the Mishongnovi dialect of the Hopi language, which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiceless uvular nasal, though not as front as the prototypical voiceless velar nasal. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨ɴ̟̊⟩ (advanced ⟨ɴ̥⟩), ⟨ŋ̠̊⟩ or ⟨ŋ̊˗⟩ (both symbols denote a retracted ⟨ŋ̊⟩).


Features of the voiceless uvular nasal:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Because the consonant is also nasal, the blocked airflow is redirected through the nose.
  • 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 voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords.
  • It is a nasal consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the nose, either exclusively (nasal stops) or in addition to through the mouth.
  • 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 intercostal muscles and abdominal muscles, as in most sounds.


It is found in the Chamdo languages: Lamo (Kyilwa dialect), Larong sMar (Tangre Chaya dialect), Drag-yab sMar (Razi dialect). Contrasts with /ŋ/, /ŋ̊/, and /ɴ/.[2] There is a pre-uvular voiceless nasal /ɴ̟̊/ in the Mishongnovi dialect of the Hopi language.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Instead of "pre-uvular", it can be called "advanced uvular", "fronted uvular", "post-velar", "retracted velar" or "backed velar". For simplicity, this article uses only the term "pre-uvular".
  2. ^ Suzuki, Hiroyuki and Tashi Nyima. 2018. Historical relationship among three non-Tibetic languages in Chamdo, TAR. Proceedings of the 51st International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics (2018). Kyoto: Kyoto University.