Voiceless labio-velar approximant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Voiceless labiovelar fricative)
Jump to: navigation, search
Voiceless labio-velar approximant
IPA number 169
Entity (decimal) ʍ
Unicode (hex) U+028D
Kirshenbaum w<vls>

The voiceless labiovelar (labialized velar) approximant (traditionally called a voiceless labiovelar fricative) is a type of consonantal sound, used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʍ (a rotated lowercase letter w) or .

[ʍ] is generally called a "fricative" for historical reasons, but in English, the language that the letter ʍ is primarily used for, it is a voiceless approximant, equivalent to [w̥] or [hw̥]. On rare occasions the symbol is appropriated for a labialized voiceless velar fricative, [xʷ], in other languages.


Features of the voiceless labial-velar approximant:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Cornish whath, hwath [ʍæːθ] 'still', 'yet' Is spelled wh and hw in the Standard Written Form, as wh in Kernowek Standard, Unified Cornish, Unified Cornish Revised and Modern Cornish, and hw in Kernewek Kemmyn.
English Canadian Maritime
[citation needed]
whine [ʍaɪ̯n] 'whine' Phonemically /hw/; contrasts with /w/. In General American[1] and New Zealand English[2][3] only some speakers maintain the distinction. Similary, in RP it's mostly people from Northern Ireland and Scotland who have a phonemic /hw/.[4] See English phonology and phonological history of wh
Cultivated South African[5]
General American[1][6]
Received Pronunciation[4]
Irish[7][8] [ʍʌɪ̯n]
Southern American[11] [ʍäːn]
New Zealand[3][12] [ʍɑe̯n]
Hupa tł'iwh [t͡ɬʼiʍ] 'snake', 'rattlesnake' Contrasts with /w/.
Nahuatl Cuauhtēmallān [kʷaʍteːmalːaːn] 'Guatemala' Allophone of /w/ before voiceless consonants.

See also[edit]



  • Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (2006), The Atlas of North American English, Berlin: Mouton-de Gruyter, ISBN 3-11-016746-8 
  • Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend, Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521791052 
  • McMahon, April (2002), An Introduction to English Phonology, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd, ISBN 0 7486 1252 1 
  • Rogers, Henry (2000), The Sounds of Language: An Introduction to Phonetics, Essex: Pearson Education Limited, ISBN 978-0-582-38182-7 
  • Wells, J.C. (1982), Accents of English, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press