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Tongue shape

A labio-palatalized sound is one that is simultaneously labialized and palatalized. Typically the roundedness is compressed, like [y], rather than protruded like [u]. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet for this secondary articulation is , a superscript ɥ, the symbol for the labio-palatal approximant. If such sounds pattern with other, labialized, consonants, they may instead be transcribed as palatalized consonants plus labialization, ʷ, as with the [ɕʷ] = [ɕᶣ] of Abkhaz or the [ɲʷ] = [ɲᶣ] of Akan.

The labial-palatal approximant [ɥ] occurs in Mandarin Chinese and French, but is uncommon, as it is generally dependent upon the presence of front rounded vowels such as [ø] and [y], which are themselves not common.[1] However, the labial-palatal approximant and labio-palatalized consonants also appear in languages without front rounded vowels in the Caucasus and West Africa,[2] such as Abkhaz, and as allophones of labialized consonants before /i/, including the [tɕᶣ] at the beginning of the language name Twi. In Russian, /o/ and /u/ trigger labialization of any preceding consonant, including palatalized consonants, so that нёс 'he carried' is pronounced [nᶣos].

Labial–palatal consonants[edit]

Truly co-articulated labial–palatal consonants such as [c͡p, ɟ͡b, ɲ͡m] are theoretically possible.[3] However, the closest sounds attested from the world's languages are the labial–postalveolar consonants of Yélî Dnye in New Guinea, which are sometimes transcribed as labial–palatals.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maddieson, Ian; Patterns of Sounds (Cambridge Studies in Speech Science and Communication); p. 95; ISBN 0-521-26536-3
  2. ^ Maddieson, Ian; Patterns of Sounds; pp. 92 and 292
  3. ^ Segmental phonology (see pp. 7–8)