The voiceless velar plosive or stop is a type of consonantal sound used in almost all spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨k⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is
The [k] sound is a very common sound cross-linguistically. Most languages have at least a plain [k], and some distinguish more than one variety. Most Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindi and Bengali, have a two-way contrast between aspirated and plain [k]. Only a few languages lack a voiceless velar plosive, e.g. Tahitian.
Some languages have the voiceless pre-velar plosive, which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical velar plosive, though not as front as the prototypical palatal plosive.
Conversely, some languages have the voiceless post-velar plosive, which is articulated slightly behind the place of articulation of the prototypical velar plosive, though not as back as the prototypical uvular plosive.
Features of the voiceless velar stop:
- Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a plosive.
- 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 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.
- ^ Instead of "pre-velar", it can be called "advanced velar", "fronted velar", "front-velar", "palato-velar", "post-palatal", "retracted palatal" or "backed palatal".
- ^ Instead of "post-velar", it can be called "retracted velar", "backed velar", "pre-uvular", "advanced uvular" or "fronted uvular".
- ^ Basbøll (2005:61)
- ^ a b Gilles & Trouvain (2013:67–68)
- ^ DEX Online : 
- ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 66.
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