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Voiceless bilabial plosive

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Voiceless bilabial plosive
IPA Number101
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)p
Unicode (hex)U+0070
Braille⠏ (braille pattern dots-1234)

The voiceless bilabial plosive or stop is a type of consonantal sound used in most spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨p⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is p.


Features of the voiceless bilabial plosive:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a plosive.
  • Its place of articulation is bilabial, which means it is articulated with both lips.
  • 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 intercostal muscles and abdominal muscles, as in most sounds.


IPA Description
p plain p
aspirated p
velarized p
palatalized p
labialized p
p with no audible release
voiced p
tense p
ejective p


Research has shown that incidental learning positively impacts the acquisition of the /p/ sound for Arabic speakers and other EFL learners.[1][2] This is particularly interesting given that the stop /p/ is missing from about 10% of languages that have a /b/. (See voiced velar stop for another such gap.) This is an areal feature of the circum-Saharan zone (Africa north of the equator plus the Arabian peninsula). It is not known how old this areal feature is, and whether it might be a recent phenomenon due to Arabic as a prestige language (Arabic shifted /p/ to /f/ but the timing of this change is not known), or whether Arabic was itself affected by a more ancient areal pattern.[2] It is found in other areas as well; for example, Fijian, Onge, and many Papuan languages have /b/ but no /p/.

Nonetheless, the /p/ sound is very common cross-linguistically. Most languages have at least a plain /p/, and some distinguish more than one variety. Many Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindustani, have a two-way contrast between the aspirated /pʰ/ and the plain /p/ (also transcribed as [p˭] in extensions to the IPA).


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe паӏо/paio [paːʔʷa] 'hat'
Arabic Algerian پاپيش/pāpīš [paːpiːʃ] 'beautiful girls'
Hejazi بول/پول/pōl [po̞ːl] 'Paul' Only used in loanwords, transcribed and pronounced as ⟨ب⟩ by many speakers.
Egyptian كبش/kabš [kɛpʃ] 'ram' Allophone of [b] before unvoiced consonants. Also used in loanwords.
Armenian Eastern[3] պապիկ/papik [pɑpik] 'grandpa' Contrasts with aspirated form
Assyrian ܦܬܐ pata [pata] 'face'
Basque harrapatu [(h)arapatu] 'to catch'
Bengali [pɔtʰ] 'road' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Bengali phonology
Catalan[4] por [ˈpɔ(ɾ)] 'fear' See Catalan phonology
Chuvash путене/putene [put̬ʲɛ'nɛ] 'quail'
Czech pes [pɛs] 'dog' See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[5] bog [ˈpɔ̽wˀ] 'book' Usually transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩ or ⟨b⟩. It may be partially voiced [b] in the intervocalic position.[6][7] It contrasts with aspirated form, which is usually transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩ or ⟨p⟩. See Danish phonology
Dutch[8] plicht [plɪxt] 'duty' See Dutch phonology
English pack [pʰæk] 'pack' See English phonology
Esperanto tempo [ˈtempo] 'time' See Esperanto phonology
Filipino pato [paˈto] 'duck'
Finnish pappa [ˈpɑpːɑ] 'grandpa' See Finnish phonology
French[9] pomme [pɔm] 'apple' See French phonology
Gan Chinese Nanchangnese 把戲 [pa˨˩ ɕi˩] 'magic' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Nanchangnese phonology
German Pack [pʰak] 'pile' See Standard German phonology
Greek πόδι / pódi [ˈpo̞ði] 'leg' See Modern Greek phonology
Gujarati /pag [pəɡ] 'foot' See Gujarati phonology
Hakka Chinese Meizhounese 河壩 / ho² ba⁴ [ho˩ pa˥] 'river' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Meizhounese phonology
Hebrew פּקיד/pakid [pakid] 'clerk' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani Urdu پل/pal [pəl] 'moment' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Hindustani phonology
Hindi पल / pal
Hungarian pápa [ˈpaːpɒ] 'pope' See Hungarian phonology
Italian[10] papà [paˈpa] 'dad' See Italian phonology
Japanese[11] ポスト / posuto [posɯto] 'mailbox' See Japanese phonology
Kabardian пэ/pė [pa] 'nose'
Khmer ពន្យល់ / pônyól [pɔnjɔl] 'to explain' See Khmer phonology
Korean / bit [pit̚] 'light' See Korean phonology
Kurdish Northern por [ˈpʰoːɾ] 'hair' See Kurdish phonology
Central پیرۆزە/píroze [pʰiːɾoːzæ] 'lammergeier'
Southern پۊنگه/pûûnga [pʰʉːŋa] 'pennyroyal'
Lakota púza [ˈpʊza] 'dry'
Lithuanian pastatas [ˈpaːstɐtɐs] 'building' See Lithuanian phonology
Luxembourgish[12] bëlleg [ˈpələɕ] 'cheap' Less often voiced [b]. It is usually transcribed /b/, and contrasts with voiceless aspirated form, which is usually transcribed /p/.[12] See Luxembourgish phonology
Macedonian пее/pee [pɛː] 'sing' See Macedonian phonology
Malay panas [pänäs] 'hot' Often unreleased in syllable codas so /p/ is read as [] instead in lembap [ləmbap̚] 'damp'. See Malay phonology
Maltese aptit [apˈtit] 'appetite'
Mandarin Dungan бонцу [pɑŋ˨˦ t͡sʰou˨˦] 'to assist' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Dungan phonology
Nanjingnese 半大子 [pɑŋ˦ tɑ˦ tsz̩] 'teenager' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Nanjingnese phonology
Sichuanese 不算事 / bu² suan⁴ si⁴ [pu˨˩ suan˨˩˧ sz̩˨˩˧] 'ineffective' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Sichuanese phonology
Standard 爆炸 / bàozhà [pɑʊ˥˩ tʂa˥˩] 'to explode' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Standard Chinese phonology
Xi'annese [pəŋ˦] 'mattock' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Xi'annese phonology
Marathi पाऊस/paa'uus/pā'ūs [pɑːˈuːs] 'rain' See Marathi phonology
Min Chinese Hokkien 咖啡 / ko-pi [ko˨ pi˦] 'coffee' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Hokkien phonology
Teochew / piah4 [pʰiaʔ˨] 'remote' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Teochew phonology
Fuzhounese 白撞 / băh-dâung [paʔ˨˩ lɑuŋ˨˦˨] 'trespasser' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Fuzhounese phonology
Mutsun po·čor [poːt͡ʃor] 'a sore'
Nepali पिता/pitā [pit̪ä] 'father' See Nepali phonology
Norwegian pappa [pɑpːɑ] 'dad' See Norwegian phonology
Odia ଥର/pathara [pɔʈʰɔrɔ] 'stone' Contrasts with aspirated form.
Pashto پانير/pa'nir [pɑˈnir] 'cheese'
Persian پول/pul [pul] 'money'
Pirahã pibaóí [ˈpìbàóí̯] 'otter'
Polish[13] pas [päs] 'belt' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[14] pai [paj] 'father' See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਪੱਤਾ/pattaa/pattā [pət̪ːäː] 'leaf'
Romanian pas [pas] 'step' See Romanian phonology
Russian[15] плод/plod [pɫot̪] 'fruit' Contrasts with palatalized form. See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[16] пиће / piće [pǐːt͡ɕě] 'drink' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak pes [pɛ̝s] 'dog'
Slovene pes [pə̂s̪] 'dog' See Slovene phonology
Spanish[17] peso [ˈpe̞so̞] 'weight' See Spanish phonology
Swahili pombe [ˈpoᵐbɛ] 'beer'
Swedish apa [ˈɑːˌpa] 'monkey' See Swedish phonology
Telugu పని [pani] 'work' Contrasts with aspirated form in old Telugu. However aspirated form is almost always pronounced as voiceless labiodental fricative in modern Telugu.
Thai ป้/paeng [pɛ̂ːŋ] 'powder' See Thai phonology
Tsez пу/pu [pʰu] 'side' Contrasts with ejective form.
Turkish kap [ˈkʰɑp] 'pot' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[18] павук/pavuk [pɐˈβ̞uk] 'spider' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese[19] nhíp [ɲip˧ˀ˥] 'tweezers' See Vietnamese phonology
Welsh siop [ʃɔp] 'shop' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian panne [ˈpɔnə] 'pan'
Wu Chinese Shanghainese 司必靈 / sy-piq-lin [sz̩˧ pi̯ɪʔ˦ lin˨] 'spring' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Shanghainese phonology
Suzhounese 標緻 / piau¹-tsyu⁵ [pi̯æ˥ tsz̩ʷ˨˩] 'pretty' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Suzhounese phonology
Wenzhounese 眼淚八汁 / nga⁴-lei⁶-po⁷-tsai⁷ [ŋa lei̯ po˥˧ tsai̯˩˨] 'tear' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Wenzhounese phonology
Yi / ba [pa˧] 'exchange' Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms.
Yue Chinese Cantonese 豬頭丙 / zyu¹ tau⁴ bing² [t͡ʃyː˥ tʰɐu̯˨˩ pɪŋ˧˥] 'blockhead' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Cantonese phonology
Taishanese [pak̚˧˩] 'white' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Taishanese phonology
Central Alaskan Yup'ik panik [panik] 'daughter'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[20] pan [paŋ] 'bread'

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Impact of Watching Cartoons on Pronunciation of a Child in an EFL Setting: A Comparative Study with Problematic Sounds of EFL Learners – AWEJ". Retrieved 2024-05-30.
  2. ^ a b Altakhaineh, Abdel Rahman Mitib; Alsaraireh, Mohammad Yousef; Alhendi, Hiba (2022-10-01). "The impact of incidental learning on the acquisition of the sound /p/ by Arabic-speaking EFL learners". ExELL. 10 (1): 51–65. doi:10.2478/exell-2022-0010.
  3. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:17)
  4. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:53)
  5. ^ Basbøll (2005:61)
  6. ^ Goblirsch (2018), pp. 134–5, citing Fischer-Jørgensen (1952) and Abrahams (1949, pp. 116–21, 228–30).
  7. ^ Puggaard-Rode, Horslund & Jørgensen (2022).
  8. ^ Gussenhoven (1992:45)
  9. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  10. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:117)
  11. ^ Okada (1999), p. 117.
  12. ^ a b Gilles & Trouvain (2013:67–68)
  13. ^ Jassem (2003:103)
  14. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  15. ^ Padgett (2003:42)
  16. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 66.
  17. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:255)
  18. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  19. ^ Thompson (1959:458–461)
  20. ^ Merrill (2008:108)


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External links[edit]