In phonetics, labiodentals are consonants articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.
Labiodental consonant in IPA
The labiodental consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:
The IPA symbol ɧ refers to a sound occurring in Swedish, officially described as similar to the velar fricative [x], but one dialectal variant is a rounded, velarized labiodental, less ambiguously rendered as [fˠʷ].
The only common labiodental sounds to occur phonemically are the fricatives and the approximant. The labiodental flap occurs phonemically in over a dozen languages, but it is restricted geographically to central and southeastern Africa (Olson & Hajek 2003). With most other manners of articulation, the norm are bilabial consonants (which together with labiodentals, form the class of labial consonants).
[ɱ] is quite common, but in all or nearly all languages in which it occurs, it occurs only as an allophone of /m/ before labiodental consonants such as /v/ and /f/. It has been reported to occur phonemically in a dialect of Teke, but similar claims in the past have proven spurious.
The XiNkuna dialect of Tsonga features a pair of affricates as phonemes. In some other languages, such as Xhosa, affricates may occur as allophones of the fricatives. These differ from the German bilabial-labiodental affricate <pf>, which commences with a bilabial p. All these affricates are rare sounds.
The plosives are not confirmed to exist as separate phonemes in any language. They are sometimes written as ȹ ȸ (qp and db ligatures). They may also be found in children's speech or as speech impediments.
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