Voiceless labiodental approximant

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 symbols are P_0 (or v\_0) and f_o.

Voiceless labiodental approximant
IPA Number150 402A
X-SAMPAP_0 or v\_0 or 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 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.


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


  1. Mesthrie (2004), p. 960.


  • Mesthrie, Rajend (2004), "Indian South African English: phonology", in Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive (eds.), A handbook of varieties of English, 1: Phonology, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 953–963, ISBN 3-11-017532-0
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