Voiceless labiodental approximant

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Voiceless labiodental approximant
IPA number 150 402A
X-SAMPA P_0 or v\_0 or f_o

The voiceless labiodental approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represent this sound are ⟨ʋ̥⟩ and ⟨⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is P_0 (or v\_0) and f_o.

The voiceless labiodental approximant is the typical realization of /f/ in the Indian South African variety of English. As the voiced /v/ is also realized as an approximant ([ʋ]), it is also an example of a language contrasting voiceless and voiced labiodental approximants.[1]


Features of the voiceless labiodental approximant:

  • Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but not enough to produce a turbulent airstream.
  • Its place of articulation is labiodental, which means it is articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English Indian South African[1] fair [ʋ̥eː] 'fair' Corresponds to a fricative [f] in other accents.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mesthrie (2004), p. 960.


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