Labiodental consonant

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Tongue shape

In phonetics, labiodentals are consonants articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.

Labiodental consonant in IPA[edit]

The labiodental consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
voiceless labiodental stop Greek σάπφειρος [ˈsafiro̞s̠] sapphire
voiced labiodental stop Sika Allophone of /ⱱ/ in careful pronunciation.
p̪͡f voiceless labiodental affricate Tsonga N/A [tiɱp̪͡fuβu] 'hippos'
b̪͡v voiced labiodental affricate Tsonga N/A [ʃileb̪͡vu] 'chin'
ɱ labiodental nasal English symphony [ˈsɪɱfəni] 'symphony'
f voiceless labiodental fricative English fan [fæn] 'fan'
v voiced labiodental fricative English van [væn] 'van'
ʋ labiodental approximant Dutch wang [ʋɑŋ] 'cheek'
labiodental flap Mono vwa [a] 'send'
ʘ̪ labiodental click Nǁng ʘoe [ʘ̪oe] meat

The IPA chart shades out labiodental lateral consonants. This is sometimes read as indicating that such sounds are not possible. In fact, the fricatives [f] and [v] often have lateral airflow, but no language makes a distinction for centrality, and the allophony is not noticeable.

The IPA symbol ɧ refers to a sound occurring in Swedish, officially described as similar to the velar fricative [x], but one dialectal variant is a rounded, velarized labiodental, less ambiguously rendered as [fˠʷ]. The labiodental click is an allophonic variant of the (bi)labial click.

Occurrence[edit]

The only common labiodental sounds to occur phonemically are the fricatives and the approximant. The labiodental flap occurs phonemically in over a dozen languages, but it is restricted geographically to central and southeastern Africa (Olson & Hajek 2003). With most other manners of articulation, the norm are bilabial consonants (which together with labiodentals, form the class of labial consonants).

[ɱ] is quite common, but in all or nearly all languages in which it occurs, it occurs only as an allophone of /m/ before labiodental consonants such as /v/ and /f/. It has been reported to occur phonemically in a dialect of Teke, but similar claims in the past have proven spurious.

The XiNkuna dialect of Tsonga features a pair of affricates as phonemes. In some other languages, such as Xhosa, affricates may occur as allophones of the fricatives. These differ from the German bilabial-labiodental affricate <pf>, which commences with a bilabial p. All these affricates are rare sounds.

The stops are not confirmed to exist as separate phonemes in any language. They are sometimes written as ȹ ȸ (qp and db ligatures). They may also be found in children's speech or as speech impediments[citation needed].

Dentolabial consonants[edit]

Dentolabial consonants are the articulatory opposite of labiodentals: They are pronounced by contacting lower teeth against the upper lip. They are rare cross-linguistically, likely due to the prevalence of dental malocclusions (especially retrognathism) that make them difficult to produce,[original research?] though one allophone of Swedish /ɧ/ has been described as a velarized dentolabial fricative.[citation needed]

The diacritic for dentolabial in the extentions of the IPA for disordered speech is a superscript bridge,  ͆, by analogy with the subscript bridge used for labiodentals: m͆ p͆ b͆ f͆ v͆. Complex consonants such as affricates, prenasalized stops and the like are also possible.

See also[edit]

References[edit]