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Bilabial approximant

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Title: Bilabial approximant  
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Subject: Labial consonant, Labial approximant
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Bilabial approximant

The voiced bilabial fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨β⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ⟨B⟩. The symbol ⟨β⟩ is the Greek letter beta. This symbol is also sometimes used to represent the bilabial approximant, though that is more clearly written with the lowering diacritic, ⟨β̞⟩. The bilabial fricative is diachronically unstable and is likely to shift to [v].[1] In the English language, this sound is not used, but can be made by approximating the normal "v" sound between the two lips.


Features of the voiced bilabial fricative:


In the following transcriptions, the undertack diacritic may be used to indicate an approximant [β̞].

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Akei [βati] 'four'
Alekano hanuva [hɑnɯβɑ] 'nothing'
Amharic አበባ [aβəβa] 'flower'
Angor fufung [ɸuβuŋ] 'horn'
Basque[2] alaba [alaβ̞a] 'daughter' Allophone of /b/
Berta [βɑ̀lɑ̀ːziʔ] 'no'
Catalan[3] rebost [rəˈβ̞ɔst] 'larder' Allophone of /b/. See Catalan phonology
Dutch Belgian[4] wang [β̞ɑŋ] 'cheek' Some dialects.[4] Corresponds to [w] in standard Belgian Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Maastrichtian[5] Corresponds to [ʋ] in standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Dahalo [koːβo] 'to want'
Ewe[6] Eʋe [ɛβɛ] 'Ewe language' Contrasts with both [v] and [w]
German Austrian[7] aber [ˈɑːβa] 'but' Intervocallic allophone of /b/ in casual speech. See German phonology
Japanese[8] 神戸市 be-shi [koːβe ɕi] 'Kobe' Allophone of /b/. Only in fast speech between vowels. See Japanese phonology
Kabyle bri [βri] 'to cut'
Occitan Gascon la-vetz [laβ̞ets] 'then' Allophone of /b/
Portuguese[9] Some dialects uma bala [ˈumɐ ˈβaɫɐ] 'a bullet', 'a candy' Allophone of /b/, and phantom /v/, most common in European Portuguese.[10] In Brazil, [β] can also occur in some particular contexts. See Portuguese phonology
Many dialects bado [ˈsaβɐðu] 'Saturday'
Most dialects[11] abra [ˈaβɾɐ] 'open it'
Spanish[12] lava [ˈläβ̞ä] 'lava' Allophone of /b/. See Spanish phonology
Turkmen watan [βatan] 'country'
Uruguayan Portuñol brabo [ˈbɾaβ̞o] 'angry' Allophone of /b/
Zapotec Tilquiapan[13] [example needed] Allophone of /b/

See also



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