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Voiced labiodental fricative
IPA Number129
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)v
Unicode (hex)U+0076
⠧ (braille pattern dots-1236)

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.

The sound is similar to voiced alveolar fricative /z/ in that it is familiar to most European speakers, but cross-linguistically it is a fairly uncommon sound, being only a quarter as frequent as [w]. Moreover, most languages that have /z/ also have /v/ and similarly to /z/, the overwhelming majority of languages with [v] are languages of Europe, Africa, or Western Asia, although the similar labiodental approximant /ʋ/ is also common in India. 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.[citation needed] Speakers of East Asian languages that lack this sound may pronounce it as [b] (Korean and Japanese), or [f]/[w] (Cantonese and Mandarin), and thus be unable to distinguish between a number of English minimal pairs.[citation needed]

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:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz европа [evˈropʼa] 'Europe' See Abkhaz phonology
Afrikaans wees [vɪəs] 'to be' See Afrikaans phonology
Albanian valixhe [vaˈlidʒɛ] 'case'
Arabic Algerian[4] كاڥي [kavi] 'ataxy' See Arabic phonology
Hejazi ڤيروس [vajˈruːs] 'virus' Only used in loanwords, transcribed and pronounced as [f] by many speakers.
Siirt[4] ذهب [vaˈhab] 'gold' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[5] վեց [vɛtsʰ]  'six'
Assyrian ܟܬܒ̣ܐ ctava [ctaːva] 'book' Only in the Urmia dialects. [ʋ] is also predominantly used. Corresponds to [w] in the other varieties.
Bai Dali ? [ŋv˩˧] 'fish'
Bulgarian вода [voda] 'water' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan Alguerese[6] vell [ˈveʎ] 'old' See Catalan phonology
Balearic[7] [6]
Southern Catalonia[8]
Chechen вашa / vaşa [vaʃa] 'brother'
Chinese Wu [vɛ] 'cooked rice'
Sichuanese [v] 'five'
Czech voda [ˈvodä] 'water' See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[9] véd [ve̝ːˀð̠˕ˠ] 'know(s)' Most often an approximant [ʋ].[1] See Danish phonology
Dutch All dialects wraak [vraːk] 'revenge' Allophone of /ʋ/ before /r/. See Dutch phonology
Most dialects vreemd [vreːmt] 'strange' Often devoiced to [f] by speakers from the Netherlands. See Dutch phonology
English All dialects valve [væɫv] 'valve' See English phonology
African American[11] breathe [bɹiːv] 'breathe' Does not occur word-initially. See th-fronting
Cockney[12] [bɹəi̯v]
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
Georgian[15] იწრო [ˈvitsʼɾo] 'narrow'
German Wächter [ˈvɛçtɐ] 'guard' See Standard German phonology
Greek βερνίκι verníki [ve̞rˈnici] 'varnish' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew גב [ɡav] 'back' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi[16] व्र [vrət̪] 'fast' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian veszély [vɛseːj] 'danger' See Hungarian phonology
Irish bhaile [vaːlə] 'home' See Irish phonology
Italian[17] avare [aˈvare] 'miserly' (f. pl.) See Italian phonology
Judaeo-Spanish mueve [ˈmwɛvɛ] 'nine'
Kabardian вагъуэ [vaːʁʷa]  'star' Corresponds to [ʒʷ] in Adyghe
Macedonian вода [vɔda] 'water' See Macedonian phonology
Maltese iva [iva] 'yes'
Norwegian Urban East[3] venn [ve̞nː] 'friend' Allophone of /ʋ/ before a pause and in emphatic speech.[3] See Norwegian phonology
Occitan Auvergnat vol [vɔl] 'flight' See Occitan phonology
Persian Western ورزش [varzeʃ] 'sport' See Persian phonology
Polish[18] wór [vur]  'bag' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[19] vila [ˈvilɐ] 'town' See Portuguese phonology
Romanian val [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 voda [vɔ'da] 'water' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak[22] vzrast [vzräst] 'height' Appears only in syllable onset before voiced obstruents; the usual realization of /v/ is an approximant [ʋ].[22] See Slovak phonology
Slovene[23] filozof 'philosopher' Allophone of /f/ before voiced consonants.[23] See Slovene phonology
Spanish[24] afgano [ävˈɣ̞äno̞] 'Afghan' Allophone of /f/ before voiced consonants. See Spanish phonology
Swedish vägg [ˈvɛɡː] 'wall' See Swedish phonology
Turkish[25] vade [väːˈd̪ɛ] 'due date' The main allophone of /v/; realized as bilabial [β ~ β̞] in certain contexts.[25] See Turkish phonology
Tyap vak [vag] 'road'
Urdu ورزش [vəɾzɪʃ] ‘exercise’ See Hindustani phonology
Vietnamese[26] và [vaː˨˩] 'and' In southern dialects, is in free variation with [j]. See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian weevje [ˈʋeɪ̯vjə] 'to weave' Never occurs in word-initial positions. See West Frisian phonology
Welsh fi [vi] 'I' See Welsh phonology
Yi /vu [vu˧] 'intestines'

See also


  1. ^ a b Basbøll (2005:66)
  2. ^ a b c Árnason (2011:115)
  3. ^ a b c Kristoffersen (2000:74)
  4. ^ a b Watson (2002:15)
  5. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:18)
  6. ^ a b c "La /v/ labiodental" (PDF). IEC. Retrieved 13 June 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:53)
  8. ^ a b Wheeler (2002:13)
  9. ^ Basbøll (2005:62)
  10. ^ Gussenhoven (1992:45)
  11. ^ McWhorter (2001), pp. 148.
  12. ^ Wells (1982), p. 328.
  13. ^ Ladefoged (2005:156)
  14. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  15. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006:255)
  16. ^ Janet Pierrehumbert, Rami Nair, Volume Editor: Bernard Laks (1996), Implications of Hindi Prosodic Structure (Current Trends in Phonology: Models and Methods) (PDF), European Studies Research Institute, University of Salford Press, 1996, ISBN 978-1-901471-02-1, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-13, retrieved 2010-10-19 ((citation)): |author= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:117)
  18. ^ Jassem (2003:103)
  19. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  20. ^ Padgett (2003:42)
  21. ^ a b Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015:223)
  22. ^ a b Hanulíková & Hamann (2010:374)
  23. ^ a b Herrity (2000:16)
  24. ^ Archived 2012-03-07 at the Wayback Machine;
  25. ^ a b Göksel & Kerslake (2005:6))
  26. ^ Thompson (1959:458–461)