Voiceless bilabial fricative
IPA Number126
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɸ
Unicode (hex)U+0278
Braille⠨ (braille pattern dots-46)⠋ (braille pattern dots-124)

The voiceless 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 ⟨ɸ⟩, a Latinised form of the Greek letter Phi.


Features of the voiceless bilabial fricative:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Ainu[citation needed] フチ [ɸu̜tʃi] 'grandmother'
Angor[citation needed] fi [ɸi] 'body'
Bengali Eastern dialects [ɸɔl] 'fruit' Allophone of /f/ in some eastern dialects; regular allophone of /pʰ/ in western dialects
English Scouse [example needed] Allophone of /pʰ/. See British English phonology[1]
Southern England
(some accents)
thought [ˈɸɔːt] Conflation of /f/ and /θ/ (see th-fronting)
Ewe[2] éƒá [éɸá] 'he polished' Contrasts with /f/
Italian Tuscan[3] i capitani [iˌhäɸiˈθäːni] 'the captains' Intervocalic allophone of /p/.[3] See Italian phonology and Tuscan gorgia.
Itelmen чуфчуф [tʃuɸtʃuɸ] 'rain'
Japanese[4] 腐敗 / fuhai [ɸɯhai] 'decay' Allophone of /h/ before /ɯ/. See Japanese phonology
Kaingang fy [ɸɨ] 'seed'
Korean 후두개 / hudugae [ɸʷudugɛ] 'epiglottis' Allophone of /h/ before /u/ and /w/. See Korean phonology
Kwama[citation needed] [kòːɸɛ́] 'basket'
Māori whakapapa [ɸakapapa] 'genealogy' Now more commonly /f/ due to the influence of English. See Māori phonology.
Nepali वा [bäɸ] 'vapour' Allophone of /pʰ/. See Nepali phonology
Odoodee[citation needed] pagai [ɸɑɡɑi] 'coconut'
Okinawan fifaci [ɸiɸatɕi] 'type of spice'
Spanish Some dialects [5][6] fuera [ˈɸwe̞ɾa̠] 'outside' Non-standard variant of /f/. See Spanish phonology
Standard European[7] pub [ˈpa̠ɸ̞] 'pub' An approximant; allophone of /b/ before a pause.[7]
North-Central Peninsular[8] abdicar [a̠ɸðiˈka̠ɾ] 'abdicate' Allophone of /b/ in the coda. In this dialect, the unvoiced coda obstruents - /p, t, k/ - are realized as fricatives only if they precede a voiced consonant; otherwise, they emerge as stops.
Southern Peninsular[9] los vuestros [lɔh ˈɸːwɛhtːɾɔh] 'yours' It varies with [βː] in some accents. Allophone of /b/ after /s/.
Shompen[10] [koɸeoi] 'bench'
Sylheti ꠙꠥ [ɸua] 'boy'
Tahitian ʻōfī [ʔoːɸiː] 'snake' Allophone of /f/
Turkish Some speakers[11] ufuk [uˈɸʊk] 'horizon' Allophone of /f/ before rounded vowels and, to a lesser extent, word-finally after rounded vowels.[11] See Turkish phonology
Turkmen fabrik [ɸabrik] 'factory'
Yalë dife [diɸe] 'village'

See also


  1. ^ Watson, Kevin (2007). Illustrations of the IPA: Liverpool English (Cambridge University Press ed.). Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37. pp. 351–360.
  2. ^ Ladefoged (2005:156)
  3. ^ a b Hall (1944:75)
  4. ^ Okada (1999:118)
  5. ^ Boyd-Bowman (1953:229)
  6. ^ Cotton & Sharp (1988:15)
  7. ^ a b Wetzels & Mascaró (2001), p. 224.
  8. ^ "Microsoft Word - codaobs-roa.do" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  9. ^ Pérez, Aguilar & Jiménez (1998:225–228)
  10. ^ "The language of the Shom Pen: a language isolate in the Nicobar Islands" (PDF). Mother Tongue. 12: 179–202.
  11. ^ a b Göksel & Kerslake (2005:6)