Does [ɣ] appear in english anywhere? I've seen [ɣ] listed as occuring in the spanish word "amigo" but I don't notice any difference between it & [g]. The Arabic equivalent is [غ].

  • 1
    Do you speak either of Spanish or Arabic, or just using them as an example? May 3, 2020 at 7:41
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    See their position in the IPA chart (and listen to the recordings). Their place of articulation is the same (velar), but [g] is a plosive and [ɣ] is a fricative.
    – Keelan
    May 3, 2020 at 8:08
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    Most Spanish speakers will swear up and down that the g sound in un gato and the one in mi gato are the same, which of course they aren’t. They’re unconscious allophones of the same morpheme in Spanish, and even in isolation they find them difficult to distinguish. May 3, 2020 at 15:29
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    Arabic [غ] is similar but not equivalent (unless we're talking about some dialect where the phonetics has changed) – that consonant is uvular, IPA [ʁ]. Compare intervocalic /g/ in Spanish or Tigrinya, which are velar [γ].
    – user6726
    May 3, 2020 at 18:42
  • I don't speak Arabic, but I took Spanish in school & it never to occured to me that un gato & mi gato where different sounds either. The 'n' in 'un' can almost sound like a 'ŋ', but I've never considered those different sounds. Spanish is also better than english about having enough letters to match the number of sounds (although 'g' can still be 'h' or 'g'). 'l' & 'll' are both seperate letters.
    – jastako
    May 6, 2020 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


For the first question: no, it does not appear in English. As for the second part, [g], as a plosive consonant, is made by interrupting the airflow by pressing your tongue against the soft palate (velum), whereas [ɣ] is almost the same thing but the air can pass through a small space between the tongue and the velum, it is what we call a fricative consonant.

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