Voiced labiodental fricative

The voiced labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is v, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is v.

Voiced labiodental fricative
IPA Number129
Entity (decimal)v
Unicode (hex)U+0076
Audio sample
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The sound is similar to voiced alveolar fricative /z/ in that it is familiar to most European speakers, but cross-linguistically it is a fairly uncommon sound, being only a quarter as frequent as [w]. Moreover, Most languages that have /z/ also have /v/ and similarly to /z/, the overwhelming majority of languages with [v] are languages of Europe, Africa, or Western Asia, although the similar labiodental approximant /ʋ/ is also common in India. The presence of [v] and absence of [w], is a very distinctive areal feature of European languages and those of adjacent areas of Siberia and Central Asia. Speakers of East Asian languages that lack this sound may pronounce it as [b] (Korean and Japanese), or [f]/[w] (Cantonese and Mandarin), and thus be unable to distinguish between a number of English minimal pairs.

In certain languages, such as Danish,[1] Faroese,[2] Icelandic or Norwegian[3] the voiced labiodental fricative is in a free variation with the labiodental approximant.


Features of the voiced labiodental fricative:

  • 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.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.


Abkhazевропа[evˈropʼa]'Europe'See Abkhaz phonology
Afrikaanswees[vɪəs]'to be'See Afrikaans phonology
ArabicSiirt[4]ذهب[vaˈhab]'gold'See Arabic phonology
Algerian Arabic[4]كاڥي[kavi]'ataxy'See Arabic phonology
ArmenianEastern[5]վեց[vɛtsʰ] 'six'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaicktava[kta:va]'book'Only in the Urmia dialects. [ʋ] is also predominantly used. Corresponds to [w] in the other varieties.
Bulgarianвода[vɔda]'water'See Bulgarian phonology
CatalanBalearic[6]viu[ˈviw]'live'See Catalan phonology
Southern Catalonia[7]
Chechenвашa / vaṣa[vaʃa]'brother'
ChineseWu[vɛ]'cooked rice'
Czechvoda[ˈvodä]'water'See Czech phonology
DanishStandard[8]véd[ve̝ːˀð̠˕ˠ]'know(s)'Most often an approximant [ʋ].[1] See Danish phonology
DutchAll dialectswraak[vraːk]'revenge'Allophone of /ʋ/ before /r/. See Dutch phonology
Most dialectsvreemd[vreːmt]'strange'Often devoiced to [f] by speakers from the Netherlands. See Dutch phonology
EnglishAll dialectsvalve[væɫv]'valve'See English phonology
African American[10]breathe[bɹiːv]'breathe'Does not occur word-initially. See th-fronting
Esperanto vundo [ˈvundo]'wound'See Esperanto phonology
Ewe[12]evlo[évló]'he is evil'
Faroese[2]veður[ˈveːʋuɹ]'speech'Word-initial allophone of /v/, in free variation with an approximant [ʋ].[2] See Faroese phonology
French[13]valve[valv]'valve'See French phonology
GermanWächter[ˈvɛçtɐ]'guard'See Standard German phonology
Greekβερνίκι verníki[ve̞rˈnici]'varnish'See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrewגב[ɡav]'back'See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindi[15]व्र[vrət̪]'fast'See Hindustani phonology
Hungarianveszély[vɛseːj]'danger'See Hungarian phonology
Irishbhaile[vaːlə]'home'See Irish phonology
Italian[16]avare[aˈvare]'miserly' (f. pl.)See Italian phonology
Kabardianвагъуэ[vaːʁʷa] 'star'Corresponds to [ʒʷ] in Adyghe
Macedonianвода[vɔda]'water'See Macedonian phonology
NorwegianUrban East[3]venn[ve̞nː]'friend'Allophone of /ʋ/ before a pause and in emphatic speech.[3] See Norwegian phonology
OccitanAuvergnatvol [vɔl]'flight'See Occitan phonology
PersianWesternورزش[varzeʃ]'sport'See Persian phonology
Polish[17]wór[vur] 'bag'See Polish phonology
Portuguese[18]vila[ˈvilɐ]'town'See Portuguese phonology
Romanianval[väl]'wave'See Romanian phonology
Russian[19][20]волосы[ˈvʷo̞ɫ̪əs̪ɨ̞]'hair'Contrasts with palatalized form; may be an approximant [ʋ] instead.[20] See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatianvoda[vɔ'da]'water'See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak[21]vzrast[vzräst]'height'Appears only in syllable onset before voiced obstruents; the usual realization of /v/ is an approximant [ʋ].[21] See Slovak phonology
Slovene[22]Allophone of /f/ before voiced consonants.[22] See Slovene phonology
Spanish[23]afgano[ävˈɣ̞äno̞]'Afghan'Allophone of /f/ before voiced consonants. See Spanish phonology
Swedishvägg[ˈvɛɡː]'wall'See Swedish phonology
Turkish[24]vade[väːˈd̪ɛ]'due date'The main allophone of /v/; realized as bilabial [β ~ β̞] in certain contexts.[24] See Turkish phonology
Urdu ورزش [vəɾzɪʃ] ‘exercise’ See Hindustani phonology
Vietnamese[25]và[vaː˨˩]'and'In southern dialects, is in free variation with [j]. See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisianweevje[ˈʋeɪ̯vjə]'to weave'Never occurs in word-initial positions. See West Frisian phonology
Welshfi[vi]'I'See Welsh phonology

See also



  • Árnason, Kristján (2011). The Phonology of Icelandic and Faroese. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199229317.
  • Basbøll, Hans (2005), The Phonology of Danish, ISBN 0-203-97876-5
  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (1–2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L. (1993), "French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 23 (2): 73–76, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874
  • Göksel, Asli; Kerslake, Celia (2005), Turkish: a comprehensive grammar, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415114943
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X
  • Hanulíková, Adriana; Hamann, Silke (2010), "Slovak" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 40 (3): 373–378, doi:10.1017/S0025100310000162
  • Herrity, Peter (2000), Slovene: A Comprehensive Grammar, London: Routledge, ISBN 0415231485
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191
  • Kristoffersen, Gjert (2000), The Phonology of Norwegian, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-823765-5
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell
  • Landau, Ernestina; Lončarić, Mijo; Horga, Damir; Škarić, Ivo (1999), "Croatian", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 66–69, ISBN 0-521-65236-7
  • Padgett, Jaye (2003), "Contrast and Post-Velar Fronting in Russian", Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 21 (1): 39–87, doi:10.1023/A:1021879906505
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 117–121, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001628
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Chikovani, Vakhtang (2006), "Standard Georgian" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 36 (2): 255–264, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002659
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language, 35 (3): 454–476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232
  • Watson, Janet (2002), The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic, New York: Oxford University Press
  • Wheeler, Max W. (2005), The Phonology Of Catalan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-925814-7
  • Yanushevskaya, Irena; Bunčić, Daniel (2015), "Russian" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 45 (2): 221–228, doi:10.1017/S0025100314000395
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