Bilabial trill

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Bilabial trill
IPA number 121
Entity (decimal) ʙ
Unicode (hex) U+0299
Kirshenbaum b<trl>
Braille ⠔ (braille pattern dots-35) ⠃ (braille pattern dots-12)

The bilabial trill is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʙ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is B\.

In many of the languages where the bilabial trill occurs, it only occurs as part of a prenasalized bilabial stop with trilled release, [mbʙ]. This developed historically from a prenasalized stop before a relatively high back vowel, such as [mbu]. In such instances, these sounds are usually still limited to the environment of a following [u]. However, the trills in Mangbetu may precede any vowel and are only sometimes preceded by a nasal.

A few languages, such as Mangbetu of Congo and Ninde of Vanuatu, have both a voiced and a voiceless bilabial trill.[1][2]

There is also a very rare voiceless alveolar bilabially trilled affricate, [t̪͡ʙ̥] (occasionally written "tᵖ") reported from Pirahã and from a few words in the Chapacuran languages Wari’ and Oro Win. The sound also appears as an allophone of the labialized voiceless alveolar stop /tʷ/ of Abkhaz and Ubykh, but in those languages it is more often realised by a doubly articulated stop [t͡p]. In the Chapacuran languages, [tʙ̥] is reported almost exclusively before rounded vowels such as [o] and [y].


Features of the bilabial trill:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Kele[3] [ᵐʙulim] 'face'
Kom [ʙ̥ɨmɨ] 'to believe'
Komi-Permyak[4] [ʙuɲgag] 'dung beetle' Generally paralinguistic. This is the only

true word it is found in.

Lizu[5] [tʙ̩˥˩] 'bean' Allophone of /u/ after /pʰ p b tʰ t d/
Medumba [mʙʉ́] 'dog'
Ngwe Lebang dialect [àʙɨ́ ́] 'ash'
Nias simbi [siʙi] 'lower jaw'
Pará Arára[6] [ʙ̥uta] 'to throw away' rare, voiceless
Pirahã kaoáíbogi [kàò̯áí̯ʙòˈɡì] 'evil spirit' Allophone of /b/ before /o/
Pumi[5] [pʙ̩˥] 'to dig' Allophone of /ə/ after /pʰ p b tʰ t d/
Titan[3] [ᵐʙutukei] 'wooden plate'
Ubykh[3] [t͡ʙ̥aχəbza] 'Ubykh language' Allophone of /tʷ/. See Ubykh phonology
Unua[7] [ᵐʙue] 'pig'
Wari’ [t͡ʙ̥ot͡ʙ̥oweʔ] 'chicken'

In addition, the Knorkator song "[Buchstabe]" (the actual title is a glyph) on the 1999 album Hasenchartbreaker uses a similar sound to replace "br" in a number of German words (e.g. [ˈʙaːtkaʁˌtɔfəln] for Bratkartoffeln).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Linguist Wins Symbolic Victory for 'Labiodental Flap'. NPR (2005-12-17). Retrieved on 2010-12-08.
  2. ^ LINGUIST List 8.45: Bilabial trill. Retrieved on 2010-12-08.
  3. ^ a b c Ladefoged (2005:165)
  4. ^ Wichmann, Yrjö; Uotila, T. E. (1942). Syrjänischer Wortschatz nebst Hauptzügen der Formenlehre. Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura.
  5. ^ a b Chirkova, Katia (2012). "The Qiangic Subgroup from an Areal Perspective: A Case Study of Languages of Muli" (Archive). In Languages and Linguistics 13(1):133-170. Taipei: Academia Sinica.
  6. ^ de Souza, Isaac Costa (2010). "3". A Phonological Description of “Pet Talk” in Arara (PDF) (MA). SIL Brazil. Retrieved 2014-01-09. 
  7. ^ Dimock (2005:19)


External links[edit]