Voiceless labiodental fricative

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Voiceless labiodental fricative
IPA number 128
Entity (decimal) f
Unicode (hex) U+0066
Kirshenbaum f
Braille ⠋ (braille pattern dots-124)

The voiceless labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in a number of spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is f.


Features of the voiceless labiodental fricative:

  • Its manner of articulation is fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence.
  • Its place of articulation is labiodental, which means it is articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • 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
Abkhaz фы [fə] 'lightning' See Abkhaz phonology
Adyghe тфы About this sound [tfə]  'five' Corresponds to [xʷ] in Kabardian and Proto-Circassian
Albanian faqe [facɛ] 'cheek'
Arabic Standard[1] ظرف [ðˤɑrf] 'envelope' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[2] ֆուտբոլ About this sound [fut̪bol]  'football'
Basque fin [fin] 'thin'
Catalan[3] fase [ˈfazə] 'phase' See Catalan phonology
Chechen факс / faks [faks] 'fax'
Chinese Cantonese /fat6 [fɐt˨] 'Buddha' See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin fēi [feɪ̯˥] 'to fly' See Mandarin phonology
Coptic ϥⲧⲟⲟⲩ [ftow] 'four'
Czech foukat [foʊ̯kat] 'to blow' See Czech phonology
Dutch[4] fiets [fits] 'bike' See Dutch phonology
English All dialects fill [fɪl] 'fill' See English phonology
Cockney[5] think [fɪŋk] 'think' Socially marked,[6] with speakers exhibiting some free variation with [θ] (with which it corresponds to in other dialects).[7] See th-fronting.
Many British urban dialects[8]
Some younger New Zealanders[9][10]
Broad South African[11] More common word-finally.
Ewe[12] eflen [éflé̃] 'he spit off'
French[13] fabuleuse [fabyløz] 'fabulous' See French phonology
Galician faísca [faˈiska] 'spark'
German fade [faːdə] 'insipid' See German phonology
Goemai [fat] 'to blow'
Greek φύση fysī [ˈfisi] 'nature' See Modern Greek phonology
Gujarati /faļ [fəɭ] 'fruit' See Gujarati phonology
Hebrew סופר [so̞fe̞ʁ] 'writer' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi साफ़ [sɑːf] 'clean' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian figyel [fiɟɛl] 'he/she pays attention' See Hungarian phonology
Italian fantasma [fanˈta.zma] 'ghost' See Italian phonology
Kabardian фыз [fəz] 'woman' Corresponds to [ʂʷ] in Adyghe and Proto-Circassian
Kabyle afus [afus] 'hand'
Macedonian фонетика [fɔnetika] 'phonetics' See Macedonian phonology
Malay feri [feri] 'ferry'
Maltese fenek [fenek] 'rabbit'
Norwegian filter [filtɛɾ] 'filter' See Norwegian phonology
Polish[14] futro About this sound [ˈfut̪rɔ]  'fur' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[15] fogo [ˈfoɡʊ] 'fire' See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਫ਼ੌਜੀ [fɔːd͡ʒi] 'soldier'
Romanian[16] foc [fo̞k] 'fire' See Romanian phonology
Russian[17] орфография [ɐrfɐˈɡrafʲɪjə] 'orthography' Contrasts with palatalized form. See Russian phonology
Slovak fúkať [fuːkac] 'to blow'
Somali feex [fɛħ] 'wart' See Somali phonology
Spanish[18] fantasma [fã̈n̪ˈt̪äzmä] 'ghost' See Spanish phonology
Swedish fisk [ˈfɪsk] 'fish' See Swedish phonology
Turkish saf [säf] 'pure' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian Фастів [ˈfɑ.sʲtʲiw] 'Fastiv' See Ukrainian phonology
Urdu صاف [sɑːf] 'clean' See Hindustani phonology
Vietnamese[19] pháo [faːw˧ˀ˥] 'firecracker' See Vietnamese phonology
Welsh ffon [fɔn] 'stick' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian fol [foɫ] 'full'
Yi /fu [fu˧] 'roast'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[20] cafe [kafɘ] 'coffee' Used primarily in loanwords from Spanish

See also[edit]



  • Altendorf, Ulrike; Watt, Dominik (2004), "The dialects in the South of England: phonology", in Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive, A handbook of varieties of English, 1: Phonology, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 181–196, ISBN 3-11-017532-0 
  • Bowerman, Sean (2004), "White South African English: phonology", in Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive, A handbook of varieties of English, 1: Phonology, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 931–942, ISBN 3-11-017532-0 
  • Britain, David (2005), "Innovation diffusion: "Estuary English" and local dialect differentiation: The survival of Fenland Englishes", Linguistics 43 (5): 995–1022 
  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1–2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618 
  • Clark, Lynn; Trousdale, Graeme (2010), "A cognitive approach to quantitative sociolinguistic variation: Evidence from th-fronting in Central Scotland", in Geeraerts, Dirk; Kristiansen, Gitte; Peirsman, Yves, Advances in Cognitive Linguistics, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 978-3-11-022645-4 
  • 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 
  • Gordon, Elizabeth; Maclagan, Margaret (2008), "Regional and social differences in New Zealand: Phonology", in Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd, Varieties of English, 3: The Pacific and Australasia, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 64–76, ISBN 3110208415 
  • 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 
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell 
  • 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 
  • 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 
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language 35 (3): 454–476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232 
  • Thelwall, Robin (1990), "Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004266 
  • Wells, John C. (1982), Accents of English, 2: The British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-24224-X 
  • Wood, Elizabeth (2003), "TH-fronting: The substitution of f/v for θ/ð in New Zealand English", New Zealand English Journal 17: 50–56