Voiced bilabial stop

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Voiced bilabial stop
IPA number 102
Entity (decimal) b
Unicode (hex) U+0062
Kirshenbaum b
Braille ⠃ (braille pattern dots-12)

The voiced bilabial stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is b, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is b. The voiced bilabial stop occurs in English, and it is the sound denoted by the letter b in boy. Many Indian languages, such as Hindustani, have a two-way contrast between breathy voiced /bʱ/ and plain /b/.


Features of the voiced bilabial stop:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a stop.
  • Its place of articulation is bilabial, which means it is articulated with both lips.
  • 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.


IPA Description
b plain b
b̜ʷ semi-labialised
b̹ʷ strongly labialised
breathy voiced


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe бгъу About this sound [bʁʷə]  'nine'
Arabic Standard[1] كتب [ˈkatabɐ] 'he wrote' See Arabic phonology
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic baba [ba:ba] 'father'
Armenian Eastern[2] բարի About this sound [bɑˈɾi]  'kind'
Basque bero [beɾo] 'hot'
Catalan[3] bèstia [ˈbɛstiə] 'beast' See Catalan phonology
Czech bota [ˈbota] 'boot' See Czech phonology
Dutch[4] boer [buːr] 'farmer' See Dutch phonology
English aback [əˈbæk] 'aback' See English phonology
French[5] boue [bu] 'mud' See French phonology
Georgian[6] ავშვი [ˈbavʃvi] 'child'
German Bub [buːp] 'boy' See German phonology
Greek μπόχα bócha [ˈbo̞xa] 'reek' See Modern Greek phonology
Gujarati ક્રી [bəkri] 'goat' See Gujarati phonology
Hebrew בית [bajit] 'house' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi बाल [bɑːl] 'hair' Contrasts with aspirated version . See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Hungarian baba [ˈbɒbɒ] 'baby' See Hungarian phonology
Italian[7] bile [ˈbile] 'rage' See Italian phonology
Japanese[8] ban [baɴ] '(one's) turn' See Japanese phonology
Kabardian бгъуы About this sound [bʁʷə]  'nine'
Korean 차비
[t͡ɕʰɐbi] 'fare' See Korean phonology
Macedonian убав [ˈubav] 'beautiful' See Macedonian phonology
Malay baru [bäru] 'new'
Maltese għatba [aːtˈba] 'threshold'
Marathi टाटा [bəˈʈaːʈaː] 'potato' See Marathi phonology
Norwegian bål [ˈbɔːl] 'bonfire' See Norwegian phonology
Pirahã pibaóí [ˈpìbàóí̯] 'parent'
Polish[9] bas About this sound [bäs]  'bass' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[10] bato [ˈbatʊ] 'I strike' See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਬਿੱਲੀ [bɪlːi] 'cat'
Romanian[11] bou [bow] 'bull' See Romanian phonology.
Russian[12] рыба [ˈrɨbə] 'fish' Contrasts with palatalized form. See Russian phonology
Slovak b [bic] 'to be'
Spanish[13] invertir [ĩmbe̞rˈtir] 'to invest' See Spanish phonology
Swedish bra [ˈbɾɑː] 'good' May be an approximant in casual speech. See Swedish phonology
Turkish bulut [ˈbuɫut̪] 'cloud' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian брат [ˈbrɑt̪] 'brother' See Ukrainian phonology
Urdu بال [bɑːl] 'hair' Contrasts with aspirated version(بھ). See Hindi-Urdu phonology
West Frisian bak [bak] 'tray'
Yi bbo [bo˧] 'mountain'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[14] bald [bal͡d] 'few'

See also[edit]



  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), Catalan, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1–2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618 
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), European Portuguese, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223 
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company 
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), Illustrations of the IPA:French, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73–76, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874 
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), Dutch, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X 
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), Polish, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191 
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), Castilian Spanish, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373 
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), Tilquiapan Zapotec, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344 
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), Phonetic Representation:Japanese, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–97, doi:10.1017/S002510030000445X 
  • Padgett, Jaye (2003), Contrast and Post-Velar Fronting in Russian, Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 21 (1): 39–87, doi:10.1023/A:1021879906505 
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), Italian, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117–121, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001628 
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Vakhtang, Chikovani (2006), Standard Georgian, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (2): 255–264, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002659 
  • Thelwall, Robin (1990), Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004266