Voiced labial–velar approximant

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Voiced labial–velar approximant
{{Bold text{ipa symbol|}}}
IPA number170
Entity (decimal)w
Unicode (hex)U+0077


The voiced labial–velar approximant is a consonant sound, used in some spoken languages including English. It is the sound denoted by the letter ⟨w⟩ in the English alphabet.[1] Similarly, the symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨w⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is w. In most languages it is the semivocalic counterpart of the close back rounded vowel [u].

Features[change | change source]

Features of the voiced labial–velar approximant:

  • Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract enough for it to not be a vowel, but not enough to make a hissing type of noise (a fricative).
  • Its place of articulation is labialized velar, which means it is produced with the back part of the tongue raised toward the soft palate while rounding the lips.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.

Occurrence[change | change source]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz ауаҩы/auaòy [awaˈɥə] 'human' See Abkhaz phonology
Alemannic Bernese German Giel [ɡ̊iə̯w] 'boy' Allophone of [l]
Arabic Modern Standard[2] وَرْد/ward [ward] 'rose' See Arabic phonology
Assamese ৱাশ্বিংটন/washington [waʃiŋtɔn] 'Washington'
Assyrian ܟܬܒ̣ܐ ctava [ctaːwa] 'book' Most speakers. [v] and [ʋ] are used in the Urmia dialects.
Basque lau [law] 'four'
Belarusian воўк/voŭk [vɔwk] 'wolf' See Belarusian phonology
Bengali ওয়াদা/uada [wada] 'promise' Allophone of [o] and [u] when preceding a vowel word-initially. See Bengali phonology
Berber ⴰⵍ/awal [æwæl] 'speech'
Catalan[3] quart [ˈkwɑɾt] 'fourth' Post-lexically after /k/ and /ɡ/. See Catalan phonology
Chinese Cantonese /waat audio speaker icon[wɑːt̚˧] 'dig' See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin /wā audio speaker icon[wa̠˥] See Mandarin phonology
Danish hav [hɑw] 'ocean' Allophone of [v]
Dutch Colloquial kouwe [ˈkʌu̯wə] 'cold' Lenited allophone of /d/ after /ʌu̯/. See Dutch phonology
Standard Surinamese welp [wɛɫp] 'cub' May also occur in this context in some continental Dutch accents and/or dialects.[4][5] Corresponds to [ʋ] in most of the Netherlands and to [β̞] in Belgium and (southern) parts of the Netherlands. See Dutch phonology
English weep [wiːp] 'weep' See English phonology
Esperanto aŭto ['awto] 'car' See Esperanto phonology
French[6] oui [wi] 'yes' See French phonology
German Quelle [kweːlə] 'source' Some regions
Hawaiian[7] wikiwiki [wikiwiki] 'fast' May also be realized as [v]. See Hawaiian phonology
Hebrew Oriental כּוֹחַ/kowaḥ [ˈkowaħ] 'power' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani[8] Hindi विश्वा [ʋɪʃwaːs] 'believe' See Hindustani phonology
Urdu وشواس
Irish vóta [ˈwoːt̪ˠə] 'vote' See Irish phonology
Italian[9] uomo [ˈwɔːmo] 'man' See Italian phonology
Kabardian уэ/wǎ audio speaker icon[wa]  'you'
Korean 왜가리/waegari [wɛɡɐɾi] 'heron' See Korean phonology
Luxembourgish[10] zwee [t͡swe̝ː] 'two' Allophone of /v/ after /k, t͡s, ʃ/.[11] See Luxembourgish phonology
Malay wang [waŋ] 'money'
Mayan Yucatec witz [wit͡s] 'mountain'
Nepali हावा [ɦäwä] 'wind' See Nepali phonology
Odia[12] ଅଗ୍ରୱାଲ୍/agrawāl [ɔgɾɔwäl] 'Agrawal'
Pashto ﻭﺍﺭ/war [wɑr] 'one time'
Persian Dari ورزش/warzeš [wærzeʃ] 'sport'
Colloquial ون/naw [now], [næw] 'new' As a diphthong.
Polish[13] łaska audio speaker icon[ˈwäskä]  'grace' See Polish phonology. Corresponds to [ɫ] in older pronunciation and eastern dialects
Portuguese[14] Most dialects quando [ˈkwɐ̃du] 'when' Post-lexically after /k/ and /ɡ/. See Portuguese phonology
boa [ˈbow.wɐ] 'good' (f.) Epenthetic glide or allophone of /u/, following a stressed rounded vowel and preceding an unrounded one.[15]
General Brazilian qual [ˈkwaw] 'which' Allophone of /l/ in coda position for most Brazilian dialects.[14]
Romanian dulău [d̪uˈl̪əw] 'mastiff' See Romanian phonology
Serbo-Croatian Croatian[16] vuk [wûːk] 'wolf' Allophone of /ʋ/ before /u/.[16] See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Seri cmiique [ˈkw̃ĩːkːɛ] 'person' Allophone of /m/
Slovene[17][18] cerkev [ˈt͡sèːrkəw] 'church' Allophone of /ʋ/ in the syllable coda.[17][18] Voiceless [ʍ] before voiceless consonants. See Slovene phonology
Sotho sewa [ˈsewa] 'epidemic' See Sesotho phonology
Spanish[19] cuanto [ˈkwãn̪t̪o̞] 'as much' See Spanish phonology
Swahili mwanafunzi [mwɑnɑfunzi] 'student'
Swedish Central Standard[20] gå [gʷoː] 'go' Labialized approximant consonant; allophone of /ɡ/ in casual speech before the protruded vowels /ɔ, oː/. See Swedish phonology
Tagalog araw [ˈɐɾaw] 'day' See Tagalog phonology
Thai แห /waen [wɛn˩˩˦] 'ring'
Ukrainian вовк/voŭk [vɔwk] 'wolf' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese[21] tuần [t̪wən˨˩] 'week' See Vietnamese phonology
Welsh gwae [ɡwaɨ] 'woe' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian skowe [skoːwə] 'to shove'

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Guidelines for Transcription of English Consonants and Vowels (PDF); see the examples on the fifth page.
  2. Watson (2002), p. 13.
  3. Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 55.
  4. "Recording dialect from Egmond aan Zee (Bergen), North Holland)". www.meertens.knaw.nl. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  5. "Recording and video from dialect of Katwijk, South Holland". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  6. Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 75.
  7. Pukui & Elbert (1986), p. xvii.
  8. Ladefoged (2005), p. 141.
  9. Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004), p. 117.
  10. Gilles & Trouvain (2013), pp. 67, 69.
  11. Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 69.
  12. Masica (1991), p. 107.
  13. Jassem (2003), p. 103.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Barbosa & Albano (2004), p. 230.
  15. France (2004).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Landau et al. (1999), p. 68.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Šuštaršič, Komar & Petek (1999), p. 136.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Greenberg (2006), p. 18.
  19. Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 256.
  20. Engstrand (2004), p. 167.
  21. Thompson (1959), pp. 458–461.

References[change | change source]