Voiceless velar lateral affricate

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Voiceless velar lateral affricate
Audio sample

The voiceless velar lateral affricate is a relatively uncommon speech sound found as a phoneme in the Caucasus and as an allophone in several languages of eastern and southern Africa. In strict IPA, it needs to be transcribed with diacritics, but a proper letter exists in extIPA: ⟨k͜𝼄⟩.

Archi, a Northeast Caucasian language of Dagestan, has two such affricates, plain [k𝼄] and labialized [k𝼄ʷ], though they are further forward than velars in most languages, and might better be called prevelar. Archi also has ejective variants of its lateral affricates, several voiceless lateral fricatives, and a voiced lateral fricative at the same place of articulation, but no alveolar lateral fricatives or affricates.[1]

Zulu and Xhosa have a voiceless lateral affricate as an allophone of their voiceless velar affricate. Hadza has an ejective velar lateral affricate as an allophone of its velar ejective affricate. Indeed, in Hadza this [k͜𝼄ʼ] contrasts with a palatal lateral ejective affricate, [c͜𝼆ʼ]. ǁXegwi is reported to have contrasted velar /k͜𝼄/ from alveolar /t͜ɬ/.

Laghuu, a Loloish language of Vietnam, contrasts four velar lateral affricates, /k͡𝼄ʰ, k͡𝼄, ɡ͡ʟ̝, ᵑɡ͡ʟ̝/.


Features of the voiceless velar lateral affricate:

  • Its manner of articulation is affricate, which means it is produced by first stopping the airflow entirely, then allowing air flow through a constricted channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence.
  • 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. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a lateral consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream over the sides of the tongue, rather than down the middle.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the intercostal muscles and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Archi[1] лӀон/ƛon [k͜𝼄on] 'a flock' Pre-velar.[1]
Bezhta [example needed]


  1. ^ a b c The Archi Language Tutorial. The source uses the symbol for the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative for the fricative part of this sound (k͡ɬ), but also indicates the sound to be prevelar.