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Voiceless velar lateral fricative
Audio sample
Voiceless velar lateral approximant
IPA Number158 402A

The voiceless velar lateral fricative is a rare speech sound. As one element of an affricate, it is found for example in Zulu and Xhosa (see velar lateral ejective affricate). However, a simple fricative has only been reported from a few languages in the Caucasus and New Guinea.

Archi, a Northeast Caucasian language of Dagestan, has four voiceless velar lateral fricatives: plain [𝼄], labialized [𝼄ʷ], fortis [𝼄ː], and labialized fortis [𝼄ːʷ]. Although clearly fricatives, these are further forward than velars in most languages, and might better be called prevelar. Archi also has a voiced fricative, as well as a voiceless and several ejective lateral velar affricates, but no alveolar lateral fricatives or affricates.[1]

In New Guinea, some of the Chimbu–Wahgi languages such as Melpa, Middle Wahgi, and Nii, have a voiceless velar lateral fricative, which they write with a double-bar el (Ⱡ, ⱡ). This sound also appears in syllable coda position as an allophone of the voiced velar lateral fricative in Kuman.[2]

The extIPA has the letter 𝼄 for this sound. It was added to Unicode in 2021.

Some scholars also posit a voiceless velar lateral approximant distinct from the fricative. The approximant may be represented in the IPA as ʟ̥.


Features of the voiceless velar lateral fricative:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Archi[1] лъат [𝼄̟at] 'sea' Pre-velar.[1]
English Western American[3] clear [kʟ̥iɚ̯] 'clear' Possible allophone of /l/ after /k/.[3] See English phonology
German Austrian[4] klar [kʟ̥ɑː] 'clear' Possible allophone of /l/ after the aspirated allophone of /k/.[4] See Standard German phonology
Wahgi[5] [no𝼄˩] 'water'


  1. ^ a b c "the Archi language tutorial" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-04. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
  2. ^ Steed, W., & Hardie, P. (2004). Acoustic Properties of the Kuman Voiceless Velar Lateral Fricative. Proceedings of the 10th Australian International Conference on Speech Science & Technology, Sydney. [1]
  3. ^ a b Grønnum (2005), p. 154.
  4. ^ a b Grønnum (2005), pp. 153–154.
  5. ^ Donald J. Phillips (1976). Wahgi Phonology and Morphology (PDF). B-36. Pacific Linguistics. p. 18.