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

Frequency

Bilabial consonants are very common across languages. Only around 0.7% of the world's languages lack bilabial consonants altogether, including Tlingit, Chipewyan, Oneida, and Wichita.[1]

Varieties

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

IPA Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
Xsampa-m.png
voiced bilabial nasal English man [mæn] man
voiceless bilabial nasal Hmong Hmoob [m̥ɔ̃́] Hmong
Xsampa-p.png
voiceless bilabial plosive English spin [spɪn] spin
Xsampa-b.png
voiced bilabial plosive English bed [bɛd] bed
Xsampa-pslash.png
voiceless bilabial fricative Japanese 富士山 (fujisan) [ɸuʑisaɴ] Mount Fuji
Xsampa-B2.png
voiced bilabial fricative Ewe ɛʋɛ [ɛ̀βɛ̀] Ewe
IPA Unicode 0x03B2+0x031E.svg
bilabial approximant Spanish lobo [loβ̞o] wolf
Xsampa-Bslash.png
voiced bilabial trill Nias simbi [siʙi] lower jaw
ʙ̥ voiceless bilabial trill Sercquiais fritt [ʙ̥rɪt] crop
IPA bilabial ejective.svg
bilabial ejective Adyghe пӀэ [a] meat
ɓ voiced bilabial implosive Jamaican Patois beat [ɓiːt] beat
ɓ̥ voiceless bilabial implosive Serer
Xsampa-Oslash.png

k͡ʘ
ɡ͡ʘ
ŋ͡ʘ
bilabial click release (many distinct consonants) Nǁng ʘoe [k͡ʘoe] meat

Owere Igbo has a six-way contrast among bilabial stops: [p pʰ ɓ̥ b b̤ ɓ].[citation needed]

Other varieties

The extensions to the IPA also define a bilabial percussive ([ʬ]) for smacking the lips together. 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 since no language makes a distinction for centrality, the allophony is not noticeable.

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ "WALS Online - Chapter Absence of Common Consonants". wals.info. Retrieved 2022-12-31.
  2. ^ Heselwood (2013: 121)[citation not found]

Sources

General references