Linguolabial consonant

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Template:Use American English Template:Short description Template:Infobox IPA Template:Place of articulation

Linguolabials or apicolabials[1] are consonants articulated by placing the tongue tip or blade against the upper lip, which is drawn downward to meet the tongue. They represent one extreme of a coronal articulatory continuum which extends from linguolabial to subapical palatal places of articulation. Cross-linguistically, linguolabial consonants are very rare, but they do not represent a particularly exotic combination of articulatory configurations, unlike click consonants or ejectives. They are found in a cluster of languages in Vanuatu, in the Kajoko dialect of Bijago in Guinea-Bissau, and in Umotína (a recently extinct Bororoan language of Brazil), Hawaiian Creole English and as paralinguistic sounds elsewhere. They are also relatively common in disordered speech, and the diacritic is specifically provided for in the extensions to the IPA.

Sagittal section of linguolabial stop

Linguolabial consonants are transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet by adding the "seagull"Template:Sfn diacritic, Template:Unichar, to the corresponding alveolar consonant, or with the apical diacritic, Template:Unichar, on the corresponding bilabial consonant.[2]


Linguolabials are produced by constricting the airflow between the tongue and the upper lip. They are attested in a number of manners of articulation including stops, nasals, and fricatives, and can be produced with the tip of the tongue (apical), blade of the tongue (laminal), or the bottom of the tongue (sublaminal).Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Acoustically they are more similar to alveolars than bilabials. Linguolabials can be distinguished from bilabials and alveolars acoustically by formant transitions and nasal resonances.Template:Sfn

List of consonants

(two transcriptions)
Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
Template:IPA Template:IPA linguolabial nasal Araki m̈ana Template:IPA "laugh"[3]
Template:IPA Template:IPA voiceless linguolabial plosive Tangoa Template:IPA "butterfly"[4]
Template:IPA Template:IPA voiced linguolabial plosive Kajoko dialect of Bijago Template:IPA "stone"[5]
Template:IPA Template:IPA prenasalized voiced linguolabial plosive Vao Template:IPA "bow"[4]
Template:IPA Template:IPA voiceless linguolabial fricative Big Nambas Template:IPA "he is asthmatic"
Template:IPA Template:IPA voiced linguolabial fricative Tangoa Template:IPA "stone"[4]
Template:IPA linguolabial lateral approximant (common in disordered speech)
Template:IPA voiceless linguolabial lateral fricative (in disordered speech)
Template:IPA voiced linguolabial lateral fricative (in disordered speech)
Template:IPA Template:IPA linguolabial trill
(uses lower lip)
Coatlán Zapotec Template:IPA mimesis for a child's flatulence[6]
(blowing a raspberry)
Template:IPA or Template:IPA Template:IPA linguolabial click Coatlán Zapotec Template:IPA mimesis for a pig drinking water[6]

Sound shifts

In Vanuatu, some of the Santo–Malekula languages have shifted historically from labial to dental consonants via an intermediate linguolabial stage, which remains in other Santo and Malekula languages. In Nese, for example, labials have become linguolabial before nonrounded vowels; in Tolomako, this has gone further, so that *bebe 'butterfly' (Template:IPA in Tangoa, above) has become Template:IPA in Tolomako, and *tama 'father' (Tangoa Template:IPA) has become Template:IPA.

See also


  1. The term apicolabial is older, but Ladefoged and Maddieson point out that often these sounds are not apical.
  2. Pullum & Ladusaw, Phonetic Symbol Guide, 1996:256. They note that the apical diacritic was added to the IPA after the linguolabial diacritic, and would have made the latter unnecessary.
  3. See p.270 of François, Alexandre (2002). Araki: A disappearing language of Vanuatu. Pacific Linguistics, 522. Canberra: Australian National University. ISBN 0-85883-493-6. . See also entry m̈ana in Araki-English online dictionary.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ladefoged and Maddieson 1996, p. 19.
  5. Olson et al. 2009, p. 523.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Rosemary Beam de Azcona, Sound Symbolism. Available at Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Citation/CS1/Suggestions' not found.


  • Template:SOWL
  • Maddieson, Ian (1988). "Linguo-labials". In Harlow, Ray; Hooper, Robin. VICAL 1: Oceanic Languages: Papers from the Fifth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics: Part Two. Auckland: Linguistic Society of New Zealand. pp. 349–375. 
  • Olson, Kenneth; Reiman, D. William; Sabio, Fernando; da Silva, Filipe Alberto (2009). "The voiced linguolabial plosive in Kajoko". Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistic Society. 45 (1): 519–530.