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Voiceless bilabial approximant

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Title: Voiceless bilabial approximant  
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Subject: List of consonants, Bilabial consonants, Dental fricative, TIPA (software), International Phonetic Association
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Voiceless bilabial approximant

Voiceless bilabial approximant
IPA number 126 430
X-SAMPA p\_o

The voiceless bilabial approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɸ˕, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is p\_o.


  • Features 1
  • Occurrence 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4


Features of the voiceless bilabial approximant:

  • Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but not enough to produce a turbulent airstream.
  • Its place of articulation is bilabial, which means it is articulated with both lips.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
  • 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
Italian Tuscan[1] i capitani [iˌhäɸ˕iˈθäːni] 'the captains' Intervocalic allophone of /p/; may be a fricative [Tuscan gorgia
Spanish Standard European[2] web [(ɡ)we̞ɸ˕] 'web, internet' Allophone of /b/ before a pause.[2] See Spanish phonology


  1. ^ a b Hall (1944), p. 75.
  2. ^ a b Wetzels & Mascaró (2001), p. 224.


  • Hall, Robert A. Jr. (1944). "Italian phonemes and orthography". Italica (American Association of Teachers of Italian) 21 (2): 72–82.  
  • Wetzels, W. Leo; Mascaró, Joan (2001), "The Typology of Voicing and Devoicing" (PDF), Language 77 (2): 207–244,  
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