articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum)
against the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum
- English [g] (as in get or golf), [k] are velar stops
- Scots ch in loch is a velar fricative (SAMPA [x])
- English ng in ring is a velar nasal (SAMPA [N]).
Since the velar region of the roof of the mouth is relatively extensive and the movements of the dorsum
are not very precise, velars easily undergo assimilation
, shifting their articulation back or to the front
depending on the quality of adjacent vowels.
They often become automatically fronted
, that is partly or completely palatal
before a following
front vowel, and retracted
before back vowels.
Palatalised velars (like English [k] in keen or cube) are sometimes referred to as palatovelars.
Many languages also have labiovelar phonemes, including the approximant [w] and others given symbols like [kw] etc. In these the articulation is accompanied by rounding of the lips.