A term used in the phonetic classification of consonant sounds on the basis of their place of articulation: it refers to a sound made by the back of the tongue against the soft palate, or velum (the ‘veil’ of the palate). Examples in English are [k] and [g], and the -ng- sound [ŋ] as in the sing. Velar fricative sounds are both found in German and Greek, for example, and are transcribed [x] and [ˠ] for the voiceless and voiced types respectively. If the velum is raised to shut off the nasal tract, a velic closure has been made.
Velar sounds are different from velaric sounds. The term ‘velaric’ refers to a quite different mode of speech production: instead of using an airstream mechanism involving the lungs, velaric sounds use air generated by a closure in velar position. The back of the tongue is raised against the velum, and articulations are made further forward by the lips or front parts of the tongue. These sounds are usually called clicks, and have a distinctive role in some languages, such as Zulu. In English, they may be heard in the ‘tut tut’ sound, and in a few other contexts.