Top Menu

Consonant “x” (soft x)

Video courtesy of UBC Linguistics Dept., used with permission.


  • xálhroad, path
  • xá:ysemant
  • skwíxname

    Audio: Elizabeth Herrling, Elizabeth Phillips


The Halq’eméylem “x” (the ‘soft x’) sounds a lot like the “sh” sound—but “x” is made quite differently. For “x” the tongue touches the roof of the mouth towards the back, as shown in the diagrams. Like “sh”, “x” is made with heavy friction.

Illustration of tongue position for sound "x" ('soft x' sound)

Tongue position for sound “x” (‘soft x’ sound)

Illustration of tongue position for sound "sh"

Tongue position for sound “sh”


Usually you will hear the sound “y” immediately after the “x” sound, especially when the “x” is at the start of the word.

The writing system in Galloway’s dictionary does not write the “y”:  Galloway essentially uses a single “x” to represent the “xy” sound.

Many speakers do prefer to write the “y” in addition to “x”, whenever they hear it, so there is variation in the spelling of many words that start with “x”.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes