Voiced labiodental fricative

Voiced labiodental fricative
IPA number 129
Entity (decimal) v
Unicode (hex) U+0076
Kirshenbaum v
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The voiced labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is v, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is v.

Although this is a familiar sound to most European and Middle Eastern listeners, it is cross-linguistically a fairly uncommon sound, being only a quarter as frequent as [w]. The presence of [v] and absence of [w], is a very distinctive areal feature of European languages and those of adjacent areas of Siberia and Central Asia. Speakers of East Asian languages that lack this sound tend to pronounce it as [b] (Korean and Japanese), or [f]/[w] (Cantonese and Mandarin), thus failing to distinguish a number of English minimal pairs.

In certain languages, such as Danish,[1] Faroese,[2] Icelandic or Norwegian[3] the voiced labiodental fricative is in a free variation with the labiodental approximant.


Features of the voiced labiodental fricative:

  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.


Abkhazевропа[evˈropʼa]'Europe'See Abkhaz phonology
Afrikaanswees[vɪəs]'to be'See Afrikaans phonology
ArabicSiirt[4]ذهب[vaˈhab]'gold'See Arabic phonology
Algerian Arabic[5]كاڥي[kavi]'ataxy'See Arabic phonology
ArmenianEastern[6]վեց [vɛtsʰ] 'six'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaicktava[kta:va]'book'Only in the Urmia dialects. [ʋ] is also predominantly used. Corresponds to [w] in the other varieties.
Bulgarianвода[vɔda]'water'See Bulgarian phonology
CatalanBalearic[7]viu[ˈviw]'live'See Catalan phonology
Southern Catalonia[8]
Chechenвашa / vaṣa[vaʃa]'brother'
ChineseWu[vɛ]'cooked rice'
Czechvoda[ˈvodä]'water'See Czech phonology
DanishStandard[9]véd[ve̝ːˀð̠˕ˠ]'know(s)'Most often an approximant [ʋ].[1] See Danish phonology
DutchAll dialectswraak[vraːk]'revenge'Allophone of /ʋ/ before /r/. See Dutch phonology
Most dialectsvreemd[vreːmt]'strange'Often devoiced to [f] by speakers from the Netherlands. See Dutch phonology
EnglishAll dialectsvalve [væɫv]'valve'See English phonology
African American[11]breathe[bɹiːv]'breathe'Does not occur word-initially. See th-fronting
Esperanto vundo [ˈvundo]'wound'See Esperanto phonology
Ewe[13]evlo[évló]'he is evil'
Faroese[2]veður[ˈveːʋuɹ]'speech'Word-initial allophone of /v/, in free variation with an approximant [ʋ].[2] See Faroese phonology
French[14]valve[valv]'valve'See French phonology
GermanWächter[ˈvɛçtɐ]'guard'See Standard German phonology
Greekβερνίκι verníki[ve̞rˈnici]'varnish'See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrewגב[ɡav]'back'See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi[16]व्र[vrət̪]'fast'See Hindustani phonology
Hungarianveszély[vɛseːj]'danger'See Hungarian phonology
Irishbhaile[vaːlə]'home'See Irish phonology
Italian[17]avare[aˈvare]'miserly' (f. pl.)See Italian phonology
Kabardianвагъуэ [vaːʁʷa] 'star'Corresponds to [ʒʷ] in Adyghe
Macedonianвода[vɔda]'water'See Macedonian phonology
NorwegianUrban East[3]venn[ve̞nː]'friend'Allophone of /ʋ/ before a pause and in emphatic speech.[3] See Norwegian phonology
OccitanAuvergnatvol [vɔl]'flight'See Occitan phonology
PersianWesternورزش[varzeʃ]'sport'See Persian phonology
Polish[18]wór [vur] 'bag'See Polish phonology
Portuguese[19]vila[ˈvilɐ]'town'See Portuguese phonology
Romanianval[väl]'wave'See Romanian phonology
Russian[20][21]волосы[ˈvʷo̞ɫ̪əs̪ɨ̞]'hair'Contrasts with palatalized form; may be an approximant [ʋ] instead.[21] See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[22]гроф би / grof bi[ɡrô̞v bi]'the earl would'Allophone of /f/ before voiced consonants.[22] See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak[23]vzrast[vzräst]'height'Appears only in syllable onset before voiced obstruents; the usual realization of /v/ is an approximant [ʋ].[23] See Slovak phonology
Slovene[24]Allophone of /f/ before voiced consonants.[24] See Slovene phonology
Spanish[25]afgano[ävˈɣ̞äno̞]'Afghan'Allophone of /f/ before voiced consonants. See Spanish phonology
Swedishvägg[ˈvɛɡː]'wall'See Swedish phonology
Turkish[26]vade[väːˈd̪ɛ]'due date'The main allophone of /v/; realized as bilabial [β ~ β̞] in certain contexts.[26] See Turkish phonology
Vietnamese[27]và[vaː˨˩]'and'In southern dialects, is in free variation with [j]. See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisianweevje[ˈʋeɪ̯vjə]'to weave'Never occurs in word-initial positions. See West Frisian phonology
Welshfi[vi]'I'See Welsh phonology

See also



  • Árnason, Kristján (2011). The Phonology of Icelandic and Faroese. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199229317. 
  • Basbøll, Hans (2005), The Phonology of Danish, ISBN 0-203-97876-5 
  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (1–2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618 
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223 
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company 
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L. (1993), "French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 23 (2): 73–76, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874 
  • Göksel, Asli; Kerslake, Celia (2005), Turkish: a comprehensive grammar, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415114943 
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X 
  • Hanulíková, Adriana; Hamann, Silke (2010), "Slovak" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 40 (3): 373–378, doi:10.1017/S0025100310000162 
  • Herrity, Peter (2000), Slovene: A Comprehensive Grammar, London: Routledge, ISBN 0415231485 
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191 
  • Kristoffersen, Gjert (2000), The Phonology of Norwegian, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-823765-5 
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell 
  • Landau, Ernestina; Lončarić, Mijo; Horga, Damir; Škarić, Ivo (1999), "Croatian", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 66–69, ISBN 0-521-65236-7 
  • Padgett, Jaye (2003), "Contrast and Post-Velar Fronting in Russian", Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 21 (1): 39–87, doi:10.1023/A:1021879906505 
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 117–121, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001628 
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Chikovani, Vakhtang (2006), "Standard Georgian" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 36 (2): 255–264, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002659 
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language, 35 (3): 454–476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232 
  • Watson, Janet (2002), The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic, New York: Oxford University Press 
  • Wheeler, Max W. (2005), The Phonology Of Catalan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-925814-7 
  • Yanushevskaya, Irena; Bunčić, Daniel (2015), "Russian" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 45 (2): 221–228, doi:10.1017/S0025100314000395 
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