for example why do some sources transcribe ღ and ხ as /ɣ x/ while others transcribe it as /ʁ χ/

also ა is transcribed as /a/ by some while others transcribe it as /ɑ/

can anyone explain to me what's going here?

  • 1
    This is common across all languages. Transcribing a language (especially phonemically) is always a game of choice-making. Presumably the Georgian sounds indicated here vary in allophony or pronunciation between velar/uvular and central/back, respectively; which one to choose can sometimes be a matter of just tossing a coin. Commented Nov 28, 2021 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


These acoustic phenomenons, transcribed in the IPA, as /ɣ x/, /ʁ χ/ : Probably fall within allophone spheres for Georgian speakers, that is, there is not minimal pair between /ʁ/ or /ɣ/ in Georgian, so both are valid realisations of the letter "ღ". It might be that one or the other are more common in some dialects or in some phonetic environments. Note that even the IPA symbols are not exact enough, there's a continuum of sounds that can be produced.

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