Voiced labial–velar nasal

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Voiced labial–velar nasal
IPA Number119 (114)
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ŋ​͡​m
Unicode (hex)U+014B U+0361 U+006D

The voiced labial–velar nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ŋ͡m.

The labial–velar nasal is found in West and Central Africa and eastern New Guinea, as well as in certain contexts in Vietnamese.[1][2]


Features of the voiced labial–velar nasal:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Because the consonant is also nasal, the blocked airflow is redirected through the nose.
  • Its place of articulation is labial–velar, which means it is simultaneously articulated with the lips and with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate (the velum). The dorsal closure is made and released slightly before the labial closure, but they overlap for most of their duration.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is a nasal consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the nose, either exclusively (nasal stops) or in addition to through the mouth.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the intercostal muscles and abdominal muscles, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dangme[3] Dangme [daŋ͡me] 'Dangme'
Igala[4] ñm [ŋ͡mɔ̄] 'to drink' Allophone of /m/. See Igala Phonology
Vietnamese[5] đúng [ɗuŋ͡m] 'correct' Allophone of /ŋ/ after /u, o, ɔ/. See Vietnamese phonology
Yele ngmo [ŋ͡mɔ] 'breast' Contrasts /n̪, n̠, n̠ʲ, ŋ, ŋʷ, ŋʲ, n̪͡m, n̠͡m, ŋ͡m/.

Labialized variant[edit]

Some languages, especially in Vanuatu, combine this labial–velar nasal with a labial–velar approximant release, hence [ŋ͡mʷ].

In the Banks Islands languages which have it, the phoneme /ŋ͡mʷ/ is written in local orthographies, using a macron on the corresponding bilabial. In other languages of Vanuatu further south (such as South Efate, or Lenakel), the same segment is spelled with a combining tilde.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dorig[6] sar [ŋ͡mʷsar] 'poor' Realized with an approximant release.
Lakon uä [uŋ͡mʷæ] 'house'
Lenakel[7] noanəɨk [noanəŋ͡mʷɨk] 'egg yolk'
Mwesen[8] tasar [taŋ͡mʷsar] 'person'

See also[edit]


  1. ^ List of languages with [ŋm] on PHOIBLE
  2. ^ Kirby, James (2011). "Vietnamese" (PDF). Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 41 (3): 383.
  3. ^ Kropp Dakubu (1987), p. 13.
  4. ^ Idakwoji (2014), pp. 425.
  5. ^ Thompson (1959), pp. 458–461.
  6. ^ François (2010), p. 429.
  7. ^ Nehrbass (1994), p. 89.
  8. ^ François (2013), p. 200.


External links[edit]