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84 votes

Why do English transliterations of Arabic names have so many Qs in them?

In Arabic, in fact, they've always been separate sounds! The sound we write "K" is spelled with the letter ك in Arabic, and is pronounced a little bit further forward in the mouth; the sound we write "...
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13 votes

Why do English transliterations of Arabic names have so many Qs in them?

I was going to propose Julius Klaproth, in his 1823 book Asia Polyglotta. He notates the difference between ك and ق as k versus q. In earlier works such as Hamer 1806 Ancient alphabets both were ...
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12 votes

Why do English transliterations of Arabic names have so many Qs in them?

The answer to this question has multiple layers. Draconis has already noted that the two sounds are distinct (phonemic) in Arabic and user6726 has added that the convention of writing one using k and ...
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8 votes

Does any living language contrast /kʷ/ and /kw/?

In theory, yes. Tashlhiyt Berber is said to have a contrast, but that does not mean that there are any minimal pairs. That article points to literature, saying that it is generally agreed that they ...
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8 votes
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Anglicisation of the voiceless velar fricative [x]

Neither [h] nor [k] is "accurate" as a replacement for [x]: but there are some linguistic issues related to how [x] in a source language word appears in English, when the word is borrowed. The velar ...
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8 votes

Is the difference between a labialized consonant [ʷ] and a consonant followed by a [w] audible?

If you are looking for a phonetic basis for thinking that you have [gw] versus [gʷ], you can listen for an effect on the preceding segment, where the end of the previous vowel is more likely to show ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Is the difference between a labialized consonant [ʷ] and a consonant followed by a [w] audible?

There are many key differences between [ʷ] and [w]. The most important is that [ʷ] is a secondary articulation on another sound, meaning it is a simultaneous modification, not a separate following ...
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5 votes
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Can the voiceless velar fricative, [x], be represented in Japanese?

I will assume that by "translate" you mean which syllables in words loaned by Japanese correspond to [x] in their source language. The answer is that words containing [x] which come directly from ...
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  • 4,279
4 votes

Does any living language contrast /kʷ/ and /kw/?

Just because a language contrasts two sounds, doesn't mean there should be minimal pairs (cf. English /h/ and /ŋ/). The IPA uses a plain w to symbolise the [w] sound (war) and a superscript ʷ for ...
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  • 1,369
4 votes

Does any living language contrast /kʷ/ and /kw/?

Thai can be what you are looking for. It has onset clusters /kw/, /kʰw/. Quite often, they are realized as labialized velar consonants /kʷ/, /kʰʷ/. However¹, final stops like /-k/ are accompanied by a ...
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  • 8,501
4 votes

Pronouncing h as /x/?

From the comments: Could a typical English speaker notice it [and] what are a few languages that do? For the first part, I would say yes from anecdotal evidence. They would probably still ...
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3 votes
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When does the voiceless velar fricative, [x], undergo voicing?

⟨ch⟩ is pronounced [x] in Polish and as many other Polish sounds, it can undergo so called "voice assimilation". Assimilation is a process during which a speech sound gets a feature from an adjacent ...
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  • 2,273
3 votes

What is the nature of the voiceless velar fricative, [x], in Polish?

I'm Polish and I can assure you that nowadays "ch" and "h" are pronounced exactly the same. Only elderly people (really few), especially in Eastern Poland, still keep the sound [h]. By the way, this ...
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3 votes
Accepted

What is the nature of the voiceless velar fricative, [x], in Polish?

In Polish, most (if not all) words containing letter ⟨h⟩ are actually loanwords as there was no [h]/[ɦ] sound in Polish (as opposed to Czech, Slovak and Ukrainian, where [ɦ] evolved from Slavic [g]). ...
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  • 2,273
2 votes

What is the nature of the voiceless velar fricative, [x], in Polish?

There is some confusion of phonetic transcription with Polish spelling here. To clear things up: The digraph "ch" and the letter "h" (when not preceded by "c") are pronounced in exactly the same way ...
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2 votes

What evidence supports labialized velars in PIE?

All these arguments are legitimate. But you could also ask whether there is any real human language (not reconstructed) that has a phonological contrast between /kʷ/ and /kw/.
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2 votes

Anglicisation of the voiceless velar fricative [x]

[I don't have sufficient reputation to comment; however, since this question is subjective, I'll dare to "answer" it instead.] I prefer to use x (since it looks exactly like the Russian equivalent), ...
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2 votes

Anglicisation of the voiceless velar fricative [x]

For one, I would pronounce most instances of /x/ as /k/, unless I'm really thinking about how to pronounce it, in which case I might say /x/. Most people I have heard do this, though some pronounce ...
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2 votes

How can the continuum s-sʲ-ç-ɕ-ʃ-ʂ be described in technical terms?

From a diachronic perspective, this is simply retraction vs advancement. The place of articulation appears as the most "important" part of such a series, and so that's how the phenomenon is ...
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1 vote

Is there a region in which velarized L is the primary (and sole) articulation? Or is it indicative of an articulation disorder?

In the third volume of his Accents of English (pp.550-1), Wells notes that, in the southern United States, dark /l/ may be realised as velar [ʟ] rather than velarised alveolar [ɫ], especially in the ...
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  • 1,069
1 vote

Anglicisation of the voiceless velar fricative [x]

On the theory that speakers ordinarily hear and aim to pronounce phonemes, if they can interpret the [x] as a /k/ phoneme of English which has been lenited to [x], then they will say /k/. Using @...
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1 vote

What evidence supports labialized velars in PIE?

There are several indications this was not just combination of *k+*w. 1) Morphology: Semi-vowels were vocalised in zero grade verbs but this does not happen for *kʷ. To the contrary, there are cases ...
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  • 2,273
1 vote

What is the difference between velar and ejective stops?

The aspirate [kʰ] is a pulmonic consonant and the ejective [k'] is a, well, ejective consonant. You might want to check another question here related to ejective consonants and their pronunciation. If ...
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  • 1,377
1 vote

What evidence supports labialized velars in PIE?

I feel like this is a common question people have when they first learn about the labiovelar series, but none of these answers are very satisfying. As said, if we can't find a direct difference in ...
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