Pronunciation: Kh in English


Senior Member

In Persian language there is a letter which is pronounced as if an animal growled or something was stuck in your throat and you try to put it out or to force a small amount of saliva come out of your throat. When we/you do this we/you produce the (kh) sound.

I want to know if there is any English word to have such a pronunciation.
Or is there any English name to have such a pronunciation in it?

I know that there are many in French and other languages but I want to know if one exists in English.

For example the french word: Merci = The (R) is pronounce (Kh) as if something is stuck in the throat.

Is there any name or noun or a word in English containing the (kh) pronunciation or not?

Thank you.
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    As far as I know, this sound does not exist in English.

    There are some Scottish words, the most common of which is probably loch, which have a similar sound.

    There are also many loan words and place names from other languages, such as the yellowish-brown color khaki or the place name Khartoum, which have similar sounds in their original languages. The sound may be written as kh, ch, h, or occasionally x. Different people pronounce this sound in different ways when they encounter one of these words in English. The same person may pronounce this sound in different ways depending on the word in which it appears.


    English - England
    The digraph <kh> I would pronounce as /k/.
    The phoneme /x/ is a marginal one, and depends on dialect (like Scottish loch). Some foreign names, like Bach, can be pronounced with /x/.


    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    For what it's forth, see here for information on guttural. The article discusses, among other things, what many English speakers take to be guttural (but which actually often is not).
    I have once seen a spoof on an Arabic speaking terrorist called Ahmed by Jeff Dunham. Among other things, he used the type of sounds that I think you're talking about to immitate Arabic pronunciation and thus create a comic effect.
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