Bilabial nasal

Bilabial nasal
IPA number 114
Entity (decimal) m
Unicode (hex) U+006D
Kirshenbaum m
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The bilabial nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in almost all spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is m, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is m. The bilabial nasal occurs in English, and it is the sound represented by "m" in map and rum.

It occurs nearly universally, and few languages (e.g. Mohawk) are known to lack this sound.


Features of the bilabial 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 bilabial, which means it is articulated with both lips.
  • 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.


ArabicStandard[1]مطابخ[maˈtˤaːbɪχ]'kitchens'See Arabic phonology
ArmenianEastern[2]մայր [mɑjɾ] 'mother'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaicmara[maːra]'owner'
Basquemaitatu[majt̪at̪u]'to love'
Bengaliমা[ma]'mother'See Bengali phonology
Catalan[3]mare[ˈmaɾə]'mother'See Catalan phonology
ChineseCantonese / māau [maːu̯˥]'cat'See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin / māo [mɑʊ̯˥]See Mandarin phonology
Czechm[mʊʃ]'man'See Czech phonology
Dutch[4]mond[mɔnt]'mouth'See Dutch phonology
Englishhim [hɪm]'him'See English phonology
Esperantotempo['tempo]'time'See Esperanto phonology
Filipinomanok[maˈnok]'rooster'See Filipino phonology
Finnishminä[ˈminæ]'I'See Finnish phonology
French[5]manger[mɑ̃ʒe]'to eat'See French phonology
GermanMaus[maʊ̯s]'mouse'See Standard German phonology
Greek[7]μάζα / maza[ˈmaza]'clump'See Modern Greek phonology
Gujaratiમો / mōr[moːɾ]'male peacock'See Gujarati phonology
Hawaiian[8]maka[maka]'eye'See Hawaiian phonology
Hindiधु[məd̪ʱuː]'honey'See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Hebrewאמא[ˈʔimäʔ]'mother'See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarianma[mɒ]'today'See Hungarian phonology
Italian[10]mamma[ˈmamma]'mommy'See Italian phonology
Japanese[11]乾杯 / kampai[kampai]'cheers'See Japanese phonology
Kagayanen[12]manang[manaŋ]'older sister'
Korean마을 / maeul[mɐɯl]'village'See Korean phonology
Macedonianмајка[ˈmajka]'mother'See Macedonian phonology
Marathi[mən]'mind'See Marathi phonology
Norwegianmamma[ˈmɑmːɑ]'mom'See Norwegian phonology
Ojibwe[ənaːˈmɪm]'accuse'See Ojibwe phonology
Persianمادر[mɒdær]'mother'See Persian phonology
Pirahãbaíxi[ˈmàí̯ʔì]'parent'allophone of /b/
Polish[14]masa [ˈmäsä] 'mass'See Polish phonology
Portuguese[15]mato[ˈmatu]'bush'See Portuguese phonology
Russian[16]муж [muʂ] 'husband'Contrasts with palatalized version. See Russian phonology
Sanskrit मातृ [maːtr̩] 'mother'
Serbo-Croatianмилина / milina[milǐnä]'enjoyment'See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Spanish[17]grumete[ɡɾuˈme̞te̞]'cabin boy'See Spanish phonology
Swedishmask[mask]'worm'See Swedish phonology
Toki Pona mani [mani] 'money'
Turkishbenim[be̞nim]'mine'See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[18]молоко[moɫoˈkɔ]'milk'See Ukrainian phonology
Urduمکان[məkaːn]'house'See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Vietnamese[19]muối[mwoj˧ˀ˥]'salt'See Vietnamese phonology
Welshmam[mam]'mother'See Welsh phonology
West Frisianmar[mar]'lake'See West Frisian phonology

See also



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  • Danyenko, Andrii; Vakulenko, Serhii (1995), Ukrainian, Lincom Europa, ISBN 9783929075083 
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  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell 
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373 
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  • Olson, Kenneth; Mielke, Jeff; Sanicas-Daguman, Josephine; Pebley, Carol Jean; Paterson, Hugh J., III (2010), "The phonetic status of the (inter)dental approximant", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 40 (2): 199–215, doi:10.1017/S0025100309990296 
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  • Padgett, Jaye (2003), "Contrast and Post-Velar Fronting in Russian", Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 21 (1): 39–87, doi:10.1023/A:1021879906505 
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  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Vakhtang, Chikovani (2006), "Standard Georgian" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 36 (2): 255–264, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002659 
  • Soderberg, Craig D.; Olson, Kenneth S. (2008), "Illustrations of the IPA:Indonesian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 38 (2): 209–213, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003320 
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