Labiodental approximant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Labiodental approximant
IPA number 150
Entity (decimal) ʋ
Unicode (hex) U+028B
X-SAMPA P or v\
Kirshenbaum r<lbd>
Braille ⠦ (braille pattern dots-236) ⠧ (braille pattern dots-1236)

The labiodental approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. It is similar to an English w pronounced with the teeth and lips held in the position used to articulate the letter vee. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʋ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is P or v\.


Features of the labiodental approximant:

  • Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but not enough to produce a turbulent airstream.
  • Its place of articulation is labiodental, which means it is articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation. However, in some languages, such as Swiss German, it can just mean that this consonant is pronounced shorter and weaker than its voiceless counterpart, while its voicedness or lack thereof is not relevant. In such cases it's more accurate to call such sounds lenis or lax.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Armenian Eastern[1] ոսկի [ʋɔski] 'gold'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic hawa [ha:ʋa] 'wind' Predominant in the Urmia dialects. For some speakers, [v] is used. Corresponds to [w] in the other varieties.
Danish véd [ʋeːˀð] 'know(s)' See Danish phonology
Dutch Netherlandic wang [ʋɑŋ] 'cheek' In southern dialects of the Netherlands realised as [β̞]. See Dutch phonology
English red [ʋe̞d̥] 'red' Mostly idiosyncratic but somewhat dialectal[2] (especially in London and South East England). See English phonology and R-labialization
Finnish vauva [ˈʋɑuʋːɑ] 'baby' See Finnish phonology
German was [ʋas] 'what' Some speakers, especially in the South. See German phonology
Guaraní avañe'ẽ [ʔãʋ̃ãɲẽˈʔẽ] 'Guaraní language' Contrasts with /w/ and /ɰ/
Hawaiian wikiwiki [ʋikiʋiki] 'fast' May also be realized as [w] or [v]. See Hawaiian phonology
Hindi रुण [ʋəruɳ] 'Varuna' See Hindustani phonology
Marathi जन [ʋəɟən] 'weight' See Marathi phonology
Norwegian venn [ʋɛn] 'friend' See Norwegian phonology
Nsenga ŵanthu [ʋaⁿtʰu] 'people'
Portuguese Some speakers (European?)[3] louvo [ˈloːʋu] 'I praise' Very rare intervocalic allophone of /v/ in unstressed syllables. See Portuguese phonology
Miyako [ʋ̩tɑ] 'thick' In this language sonorant (including [ʋ]) and fricatives can be syllabic[4]
Punjabi ਵਾਲ [ʋäːl] 'hair'
Serbo-Croatian цврчак / cvrčak [t͡sʋř̩ːt͡ʃak] 'cricket' May also be realized as [v], depending on dialect. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Swedish vän [ʋɛn] 'friend' Some speakers. See Swedish phonology
Tamil வாய் [ʋɑj] 'mouth' See Tamil phonology
Turkish ev [e̞ʋ] 'house' See Turkish phonology
West Frisian wêr [ʋɛːr] 'where'

See also[edit]



  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company 
  • Foulkes, Paul; Docherty, Gerard J., eds. (1999), Urban Voices, Arnold