Bilabial consonant

Tongue shape
Secondary articulation
See also

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

Transcription

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

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
bilabial nasal English man [mæn]
voiceless bilabial stop English spin [spɪn]
voiced bilabial stop English bed [bɛd]
voiceless bilabial fricative Japanese 富士山 (fujisan) [ɸuʑisaɴ] Mount Fuji
voiced bilabial fricative Ewe ɛʋɛ [ɛ̀βɛ̀] Ewe
bilabial approximant Spanish lobo [loβ̞o] wolf
bilabial trill Nias simbi [siʙi] lower jaw
bilabial ejective Adyghe пӀэ [a] meat

ʘ̬
ʘ̃
ʘ̥̃ʰ
ʘ̃ˀ
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). 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

References

Notes

  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 http://wals.info/feature/18. 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.


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