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Labiodental flap: Wikis


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IPA – number 184
IPA – text
IPA – image {{{imagesize}}}
Entity ⱱ
Kirshenbaum n/a
About this sound Sound sample

The labiodental flap is a speech sound found primarily in languages of Central Africa, such as Kera and Mangbetu. It has also been reported in the Austronesian language Sika.[1] It is one of the few non-rhotic flaps.

The sound begins with the lower lip placed behind the upper teeth. The lower lip is then flipped outward, striking the upper teeth in passing.[2]



When described in the literature, it is often transcribed with an ad hoc use of the extra-short diacritic, [v̆].[3] The v with left loop symbol Labial flap.png has been employed for the sound in articles from the School of Oriental and African Studies and by Joseph Greenberg.[4] In 2005 the International Phonetic Association, responding to Dr. Kenneth S. Olson's request for its adoption, voted to include a symbol for this sound, and selected a v with a right hook:[5]

Labiodental flap (Gentium).svg
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This symbol is a combination of v + ɾ (the symbols for the voiced labiodental fricative and the alveolar flap). As of version 5.1.0, the Unicode character set encodes this character at U+2C71 (). If interoperability is not needed, some fonts include the "Latin small letter v with right hook" glyph as a private use character in the PUA area of Unicode used by SIL International, as U+F25F ().


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Mono[6] vwa [ѵa] 'send' Contrasts with /v/ and /w/. In free variation with bilabial flap
Sika [ѵoːtɛr] "I stand a pole in the ground" Contrasts with /v/ and /β/. May also be realized as [b̪]

The bilabial flap is a variant of the labiodental flap in several languages, including Mono. This sound involves striking the upper lip rather than the upper teeth. The two sounds are not known to contrast in any language; the term labial flap can be used as a broader description encompassing both sounds.[7]

In Sika, the flap is heard in careful pronunciation, but it may also be realized as a voiced labiodental plosive, [b̪], or an affricate. It contrasts with both a bilabial and a labiodental fricative:[8]

[ѵoːtɛr] "I stand a pole in the ground"
[βotɛːr] "I buy"
[voːtɛr] "We (inclusive) buy"

See also



  • International Phonetic Association (2005), "IPA news", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (2): 261–262  
  • Olson, Kenneth S; Hajek, John (1999), "The phonetic status of the labial flap", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 29 (2): 101–114  
  • Olson, Kenneth S; Hajek, John (2003), "Crosslinguistic insights on the labial flap", Linguistic Typology 7 (2): 157–186  
  • Olson, Kenneth S; Hajek, John (2004), "A crosslinguistic lexicon of the labial flap", Linguistic Discovery 2 (2): 21–57  
  • Olson, Kenneth (2004), "Mono", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 233–238  

Further reading

  • Olson, Kenneth; Schrag, Brian (2000), "An overview of Mono phonology", in Wolff, H.E., Proceedings from the 2nd World Congress of African Linguistics, Leipzig 1997, Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe, pp. 393–409  

External links



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