Voiced glottal fricative
IPA Number147
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɦ
Unicode (hex)U+0266
Braille⠦ (braille pattern dots-236)⠓ (braille pattern dots-125)

The voiced glottal fricative, sometimes called breathy-voiced glottal transition, is a type of sound used in some spoken languages which patterns like a fricative or approximant consonant phonologically, but often lacks the usual phonetic characteristics of a consonant. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɦ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is h\.

In many languages, [ɦ] has no place or manner of articulation. Thus, it has been described as a breathy-voiced counterpart of the following vowel from a phonetic point of view. However, its characteristics are also influenced by the preceding vowels and whatever other sounds surround it. Therefore, it can be described as a segment whose only consistent feature is its breathy voice phonation in such languages.[1] It may have real glottal constriction in a number of languages (such as Finnish[2]), making it a fricative.

Northern Wu languages such as Shanghainese contrast the voiced and voiceless glottal fricatives.[3] The two glottal fricatives pattern like plosives.[4][5]


Features of the voiced glottal fricative:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard hoekom [ɦu.kɔm] 'why'
Azeri Standard hkəm / مؤحکم [mœːɦcæm] 'solid'
Albanian Northern Tosk[7] dhe menjëherë udhëtari [ðɛ miɲɜˈɦɛɹoθˈtaɽ̞i] 'and immediately the traveller' Occasional allophone of /h/ in connected speech.
Basque Northeastern dialects[8] hemen [ɦemen] 'here' Can be voiceless [h] instead.
Czech hlava [ˈɦlava] 'head' See Czech phonology
Danish[9] Mon det har regnet? [- te̝ ɦɑ -] 'I wonder if it has rained.' Common allophone of /h/ between vowels.[9] See Danish phonology
Dutch[10] haat [ɦaːt] 'hate' See Dutch phonology
English Australian[11] behind [bəˈɦɑe̯nd] 'behind' Allophone of /h/ between voiced sounds.[11][12] See Australian English phonology and English phonology
Received Pronunciation[12] [bɪˈɦaɪ̯nd]
Broad South African hand [ˈɦɛn̪t̪] 'hand' Some speakers, only before a stressed vowel.
Estonian raha [ˈrɑɦɑ] 'money' Allophone of /h/ between voiced sounds. See Estonian phonology and Finnish phonology
French Quebec[13] manger [mãɦe] 'to eat' Limited to a minority of speakers. Can also be realized as a voiceless [h].
Hebrew מַהֵר [mäɦe̞ʁ] 'fast' Occurs as an allophone of /h/ between voiced sounds. See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani हूँ / ہوں [ɦũː] 'am' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian Some speakers tehát [tɛɦaːt] 'so' Intervocalic allophone of /h/. Occurs as voiceless /h/ for other speakers. See Hungarian phonology
Japanese Some speakers 少しして/sukoshi hanashite[14] [sɯkoɕi ɦanaɕi̥te] 'speak a little bit'
Indonesian Some speakers bahan [baˈɦan] 'ingredients'
Kalabari[15] hóín [ɦóĩ́] 'introduction'
Korean 여행 / yeohaeng [jʌɦεŋ] 'travel' Occurs as an allophone of /h/ between voiced sounds. See Korean phonology
Limburgish[16][17] hart [ɦɑ̽ʀ̝t] 'heart' The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect. See Maastrichtian dialect phonology
Lithuanian humoras [ˈɦʊmɔrɐs̪] 'humour' Often pronounced instead of [ɣ]. See Lithuanian phonology
Marathi हा [ɦaːɾ] 'garland'
Odia /haḷa [ɦɔɭɔ] 'plough'
Nepali हल [ɦʌl] 'solution' See Nepali phonology
Polish Podhale dialect hydrant [ˈɦɘ̟d̪rän̪t̪] 'fire hydrant' Contrasts with /x/. Standard Polish possesses only /x/. See Polish phonology
Kresy dialect
Portuguese Many Brazilian dialects esse rapaz [ˈesi ɦaˈpajs] 'this youth' (m.) Allophone of /ʁ/. [h, ɦ] are marginal sounds to many speakers, particularly out of Brazil. See Portuguese phonology and guttural R
Many speakers hashi [ɦɐˈʃi] 'chopsticks'
Some Brazilian[18][19] dialects mesmo [ˈmeɦmu] 'same' Corresponds to either /s/ or /ʃ/ (depending on dialect) in the syllable coda. Might also be deleted.
Cearense dialect[20] gente [ˈɦẽnt͡ʃi] 'people' Debuccalized from [ʒ], [v] or [z].
Mineiro dialect dormir [doɦˈmi(h)] 'to sleep' Before other voiced consonants, otherwise realized as [h].
Punjabi ਹਵਾ / ہوا [ɦə̀ʋä̌ː] 'air'
Riffian Berber hwa [ɦwæ] 'to go down'
Romanian Transylvanian dialects[21] haină [ˈɦajnə] 'coat' Corresponds to [h] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Silesian hangrys [ˈɦaŋɡrɨs] 'gooseberry'
Slovak hora [ˈɦɔ̝rä] 'mountain' See Slovak phonology
Slovene Littoral dialects hora [ˈɦɔra] 'mountain' This is a general feature of all Slovene dialects west of the Škofja LokaPlanina line. Corresponds to [ɡ] in other dialects. See Slovene phonology
Rovte dialects
Rosen Valley dialect
Sylheti ꠢꠥꠐꠇꠤ [ɦuʈki] 'dried fish'
Telugu హల్లు [ɦəlːu] 'Consonant'
Ukrainian голос [ˈɦɔlos] 'voice' Also described as pharyngeal [ʕ][citation needed]. See Ukrainian phonology
Wu Shanghainese 閒話/ghe-gho [ɦɛ˩ ɦo˦] 'language' See Northern Wu phonology
Suzhounese 四號/5sy-ghau6 [sz̩˥˩ ɦæ˧˩] 'fourth day of a Western month'
Zulu ihhashi [iːˈɦaːʃi] 'horse'

See also


  1. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:325–326)
  2. ^ Laufer (1991:91)
  3. ^ Qian 2003, pp.14-16.
  4. ^ Gu, Qin (2008). "最新派上海市区方言语音的研究分析" [A Study and Analysis on the Phonology of Newest Period Urban Shanghainese]. 东方语言学 (2). Shanghai Normal University.
  5. ^ Koenig, Laura L.; Shi, Lu-Feng (2014). "3aSC18: Measures of spectral tilt in Shanghainese stops and glottal fricatives". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Providence. doi:10.1121/1.4877532.
  6. ^ Ladefoged, Peter; Keith, Johnson (2011). A course in phonetics (Sixth ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Publishing. p. 149. ISBN 9781428231269. OCLC 613523782.
  7. ^ Coretta, Stefano; Riverin-Coutlée, Josiane; Kapia, Enkeleida; Nichols, Stephen (n.d.). "Northern Tosk Albanian". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 53 (3): 1122–1144. doi:10.1017/S0025100322000044. hdl:20.500.11820/ebce2ea3-f955-4fa5-9178-e1626fbae15f. ISSN 0025-1003.
  8. ^ Hualde & Ortiz de Urbina (2003:24)
  9. ^ a b Grønnum (2005:125)
  10. ^ Gussenhoven (1992:45)
  11. ^ a b Cox & Fletcher (2017:159)
  12. ^ a b Roach (2004:241)
  13. ^ April (2007)
  14. ^ Arai, Warner & Greenberg (2007), p. 47.
  15. ^ Harry (2003:113)
  16. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:155)
  17. ^ Verhoeven (2007:219)
  18. ^ (in Portuguese) Pará Federal University – The pronunciation of /s/ and its variations across Bragança municipality's Portuguese Archived 2013-07-07 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ (in Portuguese) Rio de Janeiro Federal University – The variation of post-vocallic /S/ in the speech of Petrópolis, Itaperuna and Paraty Archived 2017-12-15 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "A NEUTRALIZAÇÃO DOS FONEMAS / v – z - Z / NO FALAR DE FORTALEZA" (PDF). profala.ufc.br. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  21. ^ Pop (1938), p. 30.