Voiceless labialized velar approximant

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Voiceless labialized velar approximant
IPA Number169
Entity (decimal)ʍ
Unicode (hex)U+028D
Braille⠖ (braille pattern dots-235)⠺ (braille pattern dots-2456)
Audio sample

The voiceless labialized velar (or labial-velar) approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʍ⟩ (a rotated lowercase letter ⟨w⟩) or ⟨⟩.

[ʍ] is generally an approximant, but in English, the language for which the letter ⟨ʍ⟩ is primarily used, it is sometimes classified as a fricative. The symbol however is rarely used for a true labial-velar fricative, [ɸ͡x],[1] as found in other languages.


Features of the voiceless labialized velar approximant:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Chinese Taiwanese Hokkien 沃花/ak-hue [ʔak̚˥ʔ ʍeː˥] '(to) water flowers'
Cornish whath/hwath [ʍæːθ] 'yet' See Cornish phonology
Danish Jutish hvor [ʍɔr] and variations 'where' Generally transcribed as [hw-] in Danish dialectology.
Old, Middle and Early Modern Danish[citation needed] Modern Danish spelling has retained the mute h in initial hv- and hj-. See Danish phonology
Dogrib[2] nahwhı̨ [nahʍĩ] 'snow-blindness' See Dogrib phonology
English Conservative Received Pronunciation[3] whine [ʍaɪ̯n] 'whine' Commonly transcribed as /hw/ for simplicity; contrasts with /w/. In General American[4] and New Zealand English[5][6] only some speakers maintain the distinction; in Europe, mostly heard in Irish and Scottish accents.[3] See English phonology and phonological history of wh.
Cultivated South African[7]
Conservative General American[4][8]
Irish[7][9][10] [ʍʌɪ̯n]
Southern American[14] [ʍäːn]
New Zealand[5][6][11][15] [ʍɑe̯n]
Hupa tł'iwh [t͡ɬʼiʍ] 'snake' Contrasts with /w/ and /xʷ/
Italian Tuscan[16] la qualifica [lä ʍäˈliːfihä] 'the qualification' Intervocalic allophone of /kw/. See Italian phonology
Kham Gamale Kham[17] ह्वा [ʍɐ] 'tooth'
Nahuatl Cuauhtēmallān [kʷaʍteːmalːaːn] 'Guatemala' Allophone of /w/ before voiceless consonants
Slovene[18][19] vse [ˈʍsɛ] 'everything' Allophone of /ʋ/ in the syllable onset before voiceless consonants, in free variation with a vowel [u]. Voiced [w] before voiced consonants.[18][19] See Slovene phonology
Washo Wáʔi [ˈw̥aʔi] 'he's the one who's doing it'
Welsh Southern Colloquial chwe [ʍeː] 'six' See Welsh phonology

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge University Press, New York, USA: Cambridge University. 2007. pp. #17 §2.9 Other symbols. ISBN 978-0-521-65236-0.
  2. ^ "A Dogrib Dictionary" (PDF). TŁĮCHǪ Government. 1996. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Received Pronunciation Phonology".
  4. ^ a b Rogers (2000), p. 120.
  5. ^ a b Rogers (2000), p. 117.
  6. ^ a b "Australian English and New Zealand English" (PDF). p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Lass (2002), p. 121.
  8. ^ "North American English: General Accents" (PDF). Universität Stuttgart - Institut für Linguistik. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.
  9. ^ Wells (1982), p. 432.
  10. ^ "Irish English and Ulster English" (PDF). pp. 4 and 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.
  11. ^ a b McMahon (2002), p. 31.
  12. ^ Wells (1982), p. 408.
  13. ^ "Scottish Standard English and Scots" (PDF). p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.
  14. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006).
  15. ^ Wells (1982), p. 610.
  16. ^ Hall (1944:75)
  17. ^ Wilde, Christopher P. (2016). "Gamale Kham phonology revisited, with Devanagari-based orthography and lexicon". Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. ISSN 1836-6821.
  18. ^ a b Šuštaršič, Komar & Petek (1999:136)
  19. ^ a b Greenberg (2006:18)


External links[edit]