I have a question regarding the physiological production of uvular and dorsal consonants. what are the physiological aspect of both consonants articulation? As uvular consonants articulated with the back of the tongue near the uvula and the dorsal is articulated with the back of the tongue is it a problem to distinguish between dorsal and uvular consonants?

  • 2
    Your question is not very clear. As user6726 pointed out in their answer, uvular is a subset of dorsal. Also, I get the impression that you do not necessarily understand what pulmonic or phonation means. Explaining in your own words your understanding of those terms may help clarify what you're actually asking.
    – Nardog
    Aug 22, 2019 at 8:12

1 Answer 1


Uvular consonants are a subtype of dorsal consonants (which are tongues produced with the tongue dorsum – palatals, velars and uvulars). Being pulmonic is an orthogonal property: [k,q] are pulmonic, [k',q'] are ejective and [ɠ,ʛ] are implosive (the latter two are non-pulmonic). If you are trying to "distinguish" velar and uvular consonants, there are different ways to distinguish sounds. One is transcriptionally – I've given you examples of that transcriptional distinction. You can also distinguish them in terms of some theory of representation. It is not hard to distinguish them in terms of features, but what the exact features are that you would invoke depends on the theory (e.g. in SPE it is [+hi] vs. [-hi] but in Unified Features Theory it is usually by adding [radical] to the [dorsal] node, where velars are bare dorsals). It might be hard to distinguish them perceptually, depending either on the language that has them, or the person trying to distinguish them. Speakers of English may have problems distinguishing velars and dorsals since we don't have a contrast in English. There is a phonetic velar / uvular distinction in some languages that relates to adjacent vowels (Turkic languages and also Kenyang), which I find a bit more subtle and potentially harder to perceive.

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