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Voiceless velar fricative
IPA number 140
Entity (decimal) x
Unicode (hex) U+0078
Kirshenbaum x
[[File:Template:IPA audio filename| center| 150px]]

[create] Documentation

The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. It was part of the consonant inventory of Old English and can still be found in some dialects of English, most notably in Scottish English loch.

The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨x⟩.


Features of the voiceless velar fricative:

  • Its manner of articulation is fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence.


  • 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 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 lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.

Varieties of [x]

IPA Description
x plain velar fricative
xʷʼ ejective labialised
x̜ʷ semi-labialised
x̹ʷ strongly labialised
xʲʼ ejective palatalised


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans goed [xuˑt] 'well'
Aleut Atkan dialect alax [ɑlɑx] 'two'
Arabic خضراء [xadˤraːʔ] 'green (f)' See Arabic phonology
Assamese অসমীয়া [ɔxɔmija] 'Assamese'
Avar чeхь [tʃex] 'belly'
Azerbaijani x [xoʃ] 'pleasant'
Breton hor c'hi [or xiː] 'our dog'
Bulgarian тихо/tiho ['tixo] align="center"|'quietly'
Chinese Mandarin /hé [xɤ˧˥] 'river' See Standard Chinese
Czech chlap [xlap] 'guy' See Czech phonology
Dutch Belgian Dutch[1] acht [ˈɑxt] rowspan="2" align="center"| 'eight' More common in northern dialects. See Dutch phonology
Northern dialects[2]
English Scottish loch [lɔx] 'loch' See English phonology
Esperanto monaĥo [monaxo] 'monk' See Esperanto phonology
Eyak duxł [tʊxɬ] 'traps'
Finnish[3] tuhka [tuxkɑ] 'ash' Allophone of /h/. See Finnish phonology
Georgian[4] ჯო [ˈdʒɔxi] 'stick'
German Kuchen [kuːxən] 'cake' See German phonology
Greek χαρά/chará [xaˈra] 'joy' See Modern Greek phonology
Hindi ख़ुशी [xʊʃiː] 'happiness' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Hungarian sahhal [ʃɒxːɒl] 'with a shah' See Hungarian phonology
Irish deoch [dʲɔ̝̈x] 'drink' See Irish phonology
Korean 흠집/heumjip [xɯmd͡ʑip̚] 'flaw' Occurs only before /ɯ/. See Korean phonology
Lithuanian choras [xoras] 'chorus'
Lojban xatra [xatra] 'letter'
Persian خواهر [xɒːhær] 'sister' See Persian phonology
Macedonian Охрид/Ohrid [ˈɔxrit] align="center"|'Ohrid' See Macedonian phonology
Manx aashagh [ˈɛːʒax] 'easy'
Old English wealh [wæɑlx] 'foreigner', 'slave' See Old English phonology
Polish[5] chleb [xlɛp] 'bread' Also (in great majority of dialects) represented by <h>. See Polish phonology
Portuguese Brazilian rabo [ˈxabʊ] 'tail' (some dialects) See Portuguese phonology
Russian[6] хороший/khoroshiy [xɐˈroʂɨj] align="center"| 'good' See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic[7] drochaid [ˈt̪ɾɔxɪtʲ] 'bridge' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbo-Croatian храст/hrast [xrast][tone?] align="center"| 'oak' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak chlap [xlap] 'guy'
Somali khad [xad] 'ink' See Somali phonology
Spanish[8] ojo [ˈo̞xo̞] 'eye' See Spanish phonology
Xhosa rhoxisa [xɔkǁiːsa] 'to cancel'
Ukrainian хата [ˈxɑ.t̪ɑ] 'house' See Ukrainian phonology
Urdu خوشی ||align="center"| [xʊʃiː]||align="center"|'happiness'|| See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Vietnamese[9] không [xəwŋ] 'not' See Vietnamese phonology
Welsh carchar [kaɾxaɾ] 'jail' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian ch [tyx] 'dust' Allophone of /χ/, only occurring after close vowels ([i], [y] and [u]).
Yaghan xan [xan] 'here'
Yi /he [xɤ˧] 'good'
Yiddish איך/ikh [ix] 'I' See Yiddish phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[10] mejor [mɘxoɾ] 'better' Used primarily in loanwords from Spanish

See also



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