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 has a distinct fricative and approximant at this place of articulation.
Features of the voiced pharyngeal approximant/fricative:
Pharyngeal consonants are not widespread. 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 (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.
|Hebrew||עִבְרִית||[ʕivˈɾit]||'Hebrew language'||Sephardic pronunciation. See Hebrew phonology|
|Kabyle||ɛemmi||[ʕəmmi]||'my (paternal) uncle '|