Voiceless labial–velar plosive

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Voiceless labial–velar plosive
IPA Number109 (101)
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)k​͡​p
Unicode (hex)U+006B U+0361 U+0070

The voiceless labial–velar plosive or stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. It is a [k] and [p] pronounced simultaneously. To make this sound, one can say Coe but with the lips closed as if one were saying Poe; the lips are to be released at the same time as or a fraction of a second after the C of Coe. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is k͡p.

The voiceless labial–velar plosive is found in Vietnamese and various languages in West and Central Africa. In Yoruba it is written with a simple ⟨p⟩.


Features of the voiceless labial–velar stop:

  • 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 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 voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • 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[1] kpà [k͡pà] 'to roam'
Ega[2] [k͡pá] 'build a hedge to enclose a field'
Ibibio[3] kpa [k͡pɐ́] 'to die'
Igbo[4] kpọ́ [k͡pɔ́] 'call'
Kalabari[5] àkpà [àk͡pà] 'bag'
Mono[6] kpa [k͡pa] 'flee'
Nigerian Pidgin[7] [example needed] Phonemic. Found in substrate words and later loanwords from native Nigerian languages. See Languages of Nigeria.
Saramaccan[8] akpó [ak͡pó] 'arrow type' Possibly allophonic with /kʷ/, but possibly phonemic as well
Vietnamese[9] c [luk͡p˧˥] 'time' Allophone of /k/ after /u, o, ɔ/. See Vietnamese phonology
Tyap kpa [k͡pa] 'pestle'
Yoruba pápá [k͡pák͡pá] 'field'

Rounded variant[edit]

Voiceless labialized labial–velar plosive

Some languages, especially in Papua New Guinea and in Vanuatu, combine this voiceless labial–velar stop with a labial–velar approximant release, hence [k͡pʷ]. Thus Mwotlap (Banks Islands, north Vanuatu) has [k͡pʷɪlɣɛk] ('my father-in-law').[10]

In the Banks Islands languages which have it, the phoneme /k͡pʷ/ is written q in local orthographies. In other languages of Vanuatu further south (such as South Efate, or Lenakel), the same segment is spelled .

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kropp Dakubu (1987:13)
  2. ^ Connell, Ahoua & Gibbon (2002:100)
  3. ^ Urua (2004:106)
  4. ^ Eme & Uba (2016:71)
  5. ^ Harry (2003:113)
  6. ^ Olson (2004:233)
  7. ^ Faraclas (1996), pp. 248–249.
  8. ^ H., McWhorter, John (2012). A grammar of Saramaccan Creole. Good, Jeff. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. ISBN 9783110278262. OCLC 823841958.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Thompson (1959:458–461)
  10. ^ François (2005:117)


External links[edit]