Linguolabial consonant

consonant produced with tongue against the upper lip

Linguolabials or apicolabials[1] are consonants articulated by putting the tip of the tongue against the top-side of the lip. The lip then goes to the tongue.


Sagittal section of linguolabial stop

Linguolabial consonants are not seen very often in languages, but they are not very hard to make with your mouth, unlike click consonants or ejectives. Some languages that do have lots of linguolabial consonants are Vanuatu, Bijago, in Umotína and as paralinguistic sounds. They can be sometimes seen in disordered speech.[2][3][4]

They can be typed as U+033C  ̼ COMBINING SEAGULL BELOW to the alveolar consonant that fits it. You can also use the apical diacritic, U+033A  ̺ COMBINING INVERTED BRIDGE BELOW to the bilabial consonant that fits it.[5]

List of consonantsEdit

(two transcriptions)
Description Example
Language Orthography IPA Meaning
linguolabial nasal Araki m̈ana [n̼ana] "laugh"[6]
voiceless linguolabial plosive Tangoa p̈ep̈e [t̼et̼e] "butterfly"[7]
voiced linguolabial plosive Kajoko dialect of Bijago [nɔ̀-d̼ɔ́ːɡ] "stone"[8]
n̼d̼ m̺b̺ prenasalized voiced linguolabial plosive Vao [nan̼d̼ak] "bow"[7]
θ̼ ɸ̺ voiceless linguolabial fricative Big Nambas [ˈinɛθ̼] "he is asthmatic"
ð̼ β̺ voiced linguolabial fricative Tangoa v̈atu [ð̼atu] "stone"[7]
linguolabial lateral approximant (common in disordered speech)
ɬ̼ voiceless linguolabial lateral fricative (in disordered speech)
ɮ̼ voiced linguolabial lateral fricative (in disordered speech)
ʙ̺ linguolabial trill
(uses lower lip)
Coatlán Zapotec r̼ʔ mimesis for a child's flatulence[9]
(blowing a raspberry)
ǀ̼ or ʇ̼ ʘ̺ linguolabial click release (multiple consonants) Coatlán Zapotec kǀ̼ mimesis for eating soup or a pig drinking water[9]

Related pagesEdit


  1. The term apicolabial is older, but Ladefoged and Maddieson point out that often these sounds are not apical.
  2. Everett 1982.
  3. Maddieson 1988, p. 350.
  4. Maddieson 1988, pp. 364–367.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ladefoged and Maddieson 1996, p. 19.
  8. Olson et al. 2009, p. 523.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Rosemary Beam de Azcona, Sound Symbolism. Available at "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-23. Retrieved 2008-11-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-19815-4.
  • Maddieson, Ian (1988). "Linguo-labials". In Harlow, Ray; Hooper, Robin (eds.). 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.