Bilabial consonant

In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a labial consonant articulated with both lips.


The bilabial consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) are:

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
Xsampa-m.png bilabial nasal English man [mæn]
Xsampa-p.png voiceless bilabial stop English spin [spɪn]
Xsampa-b.png voiced bilabial stop English bed [bɛd]
Xsampa-pslash.png voiceless bilabial fricative Japanese 富士山 (fujisan) [ɸuʑisaɴ] Mount Fuji
Xsampa-B2.png voiced bilabial fricative Ewe ɛʋɛ [ɛ̀βɛ̀] Ewe
IPA-voiced bilabial approximant.png bilabial approximant Spanish lobo [loβ̞o] wolf
Xsampa-Bslash.png bilabial trill Nias simbi [siʙi] lower jaw
IPA bilabial ejective.svg bilabial ejective Adyghe пӀэ [a] meat
bilabial click release (many distinct consonants) Nǁng ʘoe [ʘoe] meat

Owere Igbo has a six-way contrast among bilabial stops: [p pʰ ɓ̥ b b̤ ɓ]. Approximately 0.7% of the world's languages lack bilabial consonants altogether, including Tlingit, Chipewyan, Oneida, and Wichita.[1]

The extensions to the IPA also define a bilabial percussive ([ʬ]) for striking the lips together (smacking the lips – see percussive consonant). A lip-smack in the non-percussive sense of the lips noisily parting would be [ʬ↓].[2]

The IPA chart shades out bilabial lateral consonants, which is sometimes read as indicating that such sounds are not possible. The fricatives [ɸ] and [β] are often lateral, but no language makes a distinction for centrality so the allophony is not noticeable.

See also



  1. ^ Maddieson, Ian. 2008. Absence of Common Consonants. In: Haspelmath, Martin & Dryer, Matthew S. & Gil, David & Comrie, Bernard (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Munich: Max Planck Digital Library, chapter 18. Available online at Accessed on 2008-09-15.
  2. ^ Heselwood (2013: 121)

General references

  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.
  • McDorman, Richard E. (1999). Labial Instability in Sound Change: Explanations for the Loss of /p/'l. H'. Chicago: Organizational Knowledge Press. ISBN 0-9672537-0-5.
Altaic languages

Altaic () is a hypothetical language family of central Eurasia and Siberia first proposed in the 18th century, but whose existence is widely discredited among comparative linguists. The Turkic, Mongolic and Tungusic groups are invariably included in the family; some authors added Koreanic and the Japonic languages. The latter expanded grouping came to be known as "Macro-Altaic", leading to the designation of the smaller former grouping as "Micro-Altaic" by retronymy. Most proponents of Altaic continue to support the inclusion of Korean. These languages are spoken in a wide arc stretching from Eastern Europe through Anatolia and eastern Caucasus through North Asia and Central Asia to the Korean Peninsula and Japanese archipelago in East Asia. The group is named after the Altai mountain range in the center of Asia.

The hypothesis of common origin for some or all of these languages—that is, the theory that they form a language family—was widespread before the 1960s, but has almost no supporters among specialists today. Opponents of the Altaic hypothesis maintain that the similarities are due to areal interaction between the language groups concerned. The inclusion of Korean and Japanese has also been criticized and disputed by other linguists. As for Turkic, Tungusic, and Mongolic, if they were related genetically, earlier forms would be closer than modern forms. This is true for all accepted linguistic families. However, an analysis of the earliest written records of Mongolic and Turkic languages shows fewer similarities rather than more, which suggests that they do not share a common ancestor but rather have become more similar through language contact and areal effects. Because of this, most modern linguists do not accept the Altaic family.

Braille pattern dots-23

The Braille pattern dots-23 ( ⠆ ) is a 6-dot braille cell with the middle and bottom left dots raised, or an 8-dot braille cell with the two middle-left dots raised. It is represented by the Unicode code point U+2806, and in Braille ASCII with the number "2".

Catalan phonology

The phonology of Catalan, a Romance language, has a certain degree of dialectal variation. Although there are two standard dialects, one based on Eastern Catalan and one based on Valencian, this article deals with features of all or most dialects, as well as regional pronunciation differences. Various studies have focused on different Catalan varieties; for example, Wheeler (1979) and Mascaró (1976) analyze Central Eastern varieties, the former focusing on the educated speech of Barcelona and the latter focusing more on the vernacular of Barcelona, and Recasens (1986) does a careful phonetic study of Central Eastern Catalan.Catalan is characterized by final-obstruent devoicing, lenition, and voicing assimilation; a set of 7 or 8 phonemic vowels, vowel assimilations (including vowel harmony), many phonetic diphthongs, and vowel reduction, whose precise details differ between dialects. Several dialects have a dark l, and all dialects have palatal l (/ʎ/) and n (/ɲ/).

Comparison of Portuguese and Spanish

Portuguese and Spanish, although closely related sister languages, differ in many details of their phonology, grammar, and lexicon. Both are part of a broader group known as West Iberian Romance, which also includes several other languages or dialects with fewer speakers, all of which are mutually intelligible to some degree.

The most obvious differences are in pronunciation. Mutual intelligibility is generally greater for the written languages than for their spoken forms. Compare, for example, the following sentences:

Al buen entendedor pocas palabras bastan (Spanish: [al ˈβ̞we̞n e̞nte̞nde̞ˈð̞o̞r ˈpo̞kas paˈlaβ̞ɾaz ˈβ̞astan])

Ao bom entendedor poucas palavras bastam (European Portuguese: [ɜw ˈβõ̞(ɰ̃) ẽ̞tẽ̞dʊ̜̆ˈðoɾ ˈpo(w)kə̻̆ɕ pə̆ˈlavɾə̆ʑ ˈβaɕtə̃w], Brazilian Portuguese: [ɐw ˈbõ̞(w̃) ĩtẽ̞de̞ˈdox ˈpo(w)kə̻̆s pɐˈlavɾə̆z ˈbaɕtə̃w])—roughly equivalent to the English proverb "A word to the wise is sufficient," or, a more literal translation, "To a good listener, a few words are enough."

There are also some significant differences between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese as there are between British and American English or Peninsular and Latin American Spanish. This article notes these differences below only where:

both Brazilian and European Portuguese differ not only from each other, but from Spanish as well;

both Peninsular (i.e. European) and Latin American Spanish differ not only from each other, but also from Portuguese; or

either Brazilian or European Portuguese differs from Spanish with syntax not possible in Spanish (while the other dialect does not).

Gothic language

Gothic is an extinct East Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable text corpus. All others, including Burgundian and Vandalic, are known, if at all, only from proper names that survived in historical accounts, and from loanwords in other languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, and French.

As a Germanic language, Gothic is a part of the Indo-European language family. It is the earliest Germanic language that is attested in any sizable texts, but it lacks any modern descendants. The oldest documents in Gothic date back to the fourth century. The language was in decline by the mid-sixth century, partly because of the military defeat of the Goths at the hands of the Franks, the elimination of the Goths in Italy, and geographic isolation (in Spain the Gothic language lost its last and probably already declining function as a church language when the Visigoths converted to Catholicism in 589).

The language survived as a domestic language in the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) as late as the eighth century. Gothic-seeming terms are found in manuscripts subsequent to this date, but these may or may not belong to the same language. In particular, a language known as Crimean Gothic survived in the lower Danube area and in isolated mountain regions in Crimea. Lacking certain sound changes characteristic of Gothic, however, Crimean Gothic cannot be a lineal descendant of Bible Gothic.The existence of such early attested texts makes it a language of considerable interest in comparative linguistics.

Labial approximant

Labial approximant is the name of a class of consonants.

Labiovelar consonant

Labiovelar consonant may refer to:

Labial–velar consonant, such as [k͡p] (a consonant made at two places of articulation, one at the lips and the other at the soft palate)

Labialized velar consonant, such as [kʷ] or [w] (a consonant with an approximant-like secondary articulation)

Velarization, bilabial consonant such as [pʷ] or [mʷ], also a consonant with an approximant-like secondary articulation

Labiovelar approximant

Linguolabial consonant

Linguolabials or apicolabials are consonants articulated by placing the tongue tip or blade against the upper lip, which is drawn downward to meet the tongue. They represent one extreme of a coronal articulatory continuum which extends from linguolabial to subapical palatal places of articulation. Cross-linguistically, linguolabial consonants are very rare, but they do not represent a particularly exotic combination of articulatory configurations, unlike click consonants or ejectives. They are found in a cluster of languages in Vanuatu, in the Kajoko dialect of Bijago in Guinea-Bissau, and in Umotína (a recently extinct Bororoan language of Brazil), and as paralinguistic sounds elsewhere. They are also relatively common in disordered speech, and the diacritic is specifically provided for in the extensions to the IPA.

Linguolabial consonants are transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet by adding the "seagull" diacritic, U+033C  ̼ COMBINING SEAGULL BELOW, to the corresponding alveolar consonant, or with the apical diacritic, U+033A  ̺ COMBINING INVERTED BRIDGE BELOW, on the corresponding bilabial consonant.

Marshallese language

The Marshallese language (Marshallese: new orthography Kajin M̧ajeļ or old orthography Kajin Majōl [kɑ͡æzʲinʲ(e͡ɤ) mˠɑɑ̯zʲɛ͡ʌɫ]), also known as Ebon, is a Micronesian language spoken in the Marshall Islands. The language is spoken by about 44,000 people in the Marshall Islands, making it the principal language of the country. There are also roughly 6,000 speakers outside of the Marshall Islands, including those in Nauru and the U.S.

There are two major dialects: Rālik (western) and Ratak (eastern).

Samaritan Hebrew

Samaritan Hebrew (Hebrew: עברית שומרונית‬) is a reading tradition used liturgically by the Samaritans for reading the Ancient Hebrew language of the Samaritan Pentateuch, in contrast to Biblical Hebrew (the language of the Masoretic Jewish Pentateuch).

For the Samaritans, Ancient Hebrew ceased to be a spoken everyday language and was succeeded by Samaritan Aramaic, which itself ceased to be a spoken language some time between the 10th and 12th centuries and was succeeded by Arabic (or more specifically Samaritan Palestinian Arabic).

The phonology of Samaritan Hebrew is very similar to that of Samaritan Arabic, and is used by the Samaritans in prayer. Today, the spoken vernacular among Samaritans is evenly split between Modern Israeli Hebrew and Palestinian Arabic, depending on whether they reside in Holon (Israel) or in Shechem (i.e. Nablus, in Palestine’s Area A).

Tarahumara language

The Tarahumara language (native name Rarámuri/Ralámuli ra'ícha "people language") is a Mexican indigenous language of the Uto-Aztecan language family spoken by around 70,000 Tarahumara (Rarámuri/Ralámuli) people in the state of Chihuahua, according to an estimate by the government of Mexico.

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