Labial–velar nasal

The 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.

Labial–velar nasal
IPA number119 (114)
Entity (decimal)ŋ​͡​m
Unicode (hex)U+014B U+0361 U+006D
Audio sample
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Features of the 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.
  • 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 lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dangme[1] Dangme 'Dangme'
Vietnamese[2] đúng [ɗuŋ͡m] 'correct' Allophone of /ŋ/ after /u, o, ɔ/. See Vietnamese phonology

Rounded variant

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[3] sar [ŋ͡mʷsar] 'poor' Realized with an approximant release.
Lakon uä [uŋ͡mʷæ] 'house'
Lenakel[4] noanəɨk [noanəŋ͡mʷɨk] 'egg yolk'
Mwesen[5] tasar [taŋ͡mʷsar] 'person'

See also


  1. ^ Kropp Dakubu (1987), p. 13.
  2. ^ Thompson (1959), pp. 458–461.
  3. ^ François (2010), p. 430.
  4. ^ Nehrbass (2012), p. 89.
  5. ^ François (2013), p. 200.


  • François, Alexandre (2010), "Phonotactics and the prestopped velar lateral of Hiw: Resolving the ambiguity of a complex segment", Phonology, 27 (3): 393–434, doi:10.1017/s0952675710000205
  • François, Alexandre (2013), "Shadows of bygone lives: The histories of spiritual words in northern Vanuatu", in Mailhammer, Robert (ed.), Lexical and structural etymology: Beyond word histories, Studies in Language Change, 11, Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton, pp. 185–244
  • Kropp Dakubu, M. E. (1987), The Dangme Language: An Introductory Survey, London: Macmillan
  • Nehrbass, Kenneth, Kievit, Dirk; Huttar, George (eds.), A Comprehensive Comparison of Lexemes in the Major Languages of Tanna (PDF), SIL International, ISBN 978-1-55671-276-0
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language, 35 (3): 454–476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232

External links

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IPA topics

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