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voiced pharyngeal approximant or fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ ʕ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ?\.
Although traditionally placed in the fricative row of the IPA chart, ⟨
ʕ⟩ is usually an approximant. The IPA symbol itself is ambiguous, but no language is known to have a distinct fricative and approximant at this place of articulation. The approximant is sometimes specified as ⟨ ʕ̞⟩ or as ⟨ ɑ̯⟩.
Features of the voiced pharyngeal approximant/fricative:
Pharyngeal consonants are not widespread. Sometimes, a pharyngeal approximant develops from a uvular approximant, as with the rhotic of
Danish when it precedes [ɑ]. Many languages claiming to have pharyngeal fricatives or approximants turn out on closer inspection to have epiglottal consonants instead. For example, the candidate ʕ sound in Arabic and standard Hebrew (not modern Hebrew — Israelis of eastern European background generally pronounce this as a glottal stop) has been variously described as a voiced epiglottal fricative, an epiglottal approximant, or a  pharyngealized glottal stop.
Bonafont, Door Rosa (2006), , University of Barcelona Guia de conversa universitaria amazic-catala/Tamazight-Takatalant amalal usiwel asdawan , http://books.google.com/books?id=cG4F8x62X4EC&dq
Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996), The Sounds of the World's Languages, Oxford: Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-19815-6
Thelwall, Robin (1990), "Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41