Voiceless labialized velar approximant

The voiceless labialized velar (or labio-velar) approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʍ⟩ (a rotated lowercase letter ⟨w⟩) or ⟨⟩.

Voiceless labialized velar approximant
IPA Number169
Entity (decimal)ʍ
Unicode (hex)U+028D
Braille⠖ (braille pattern dots-235)⠺ (braille pattern dots-2456)
Audio sample

[ʍ] is generally an approximant, but in English, the language for which the letter ⟨ʍ⟩ is primarily used, it is sometimes classified as a fricative. The symbol however is rarely used for a true labialized velar fricative, [xʷ], as found in other languages.


Features of the voiceless labialized velar approximant:


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Chinese Taiwanese Hokkien 沃花/ak-hue [ʔak̚˥ʔ ʍeː˥] '(to) water flowers'
Cornish whath/hwath [ʍæːθ] 'yet' See Cornish phonology
Danish Jutish hvor [ʍɔr] and variations 'where' Generally transcribed as [hw-] in Danish dialectology.
Old, Middle and Early Modern Danish[citation needed] Modern Danish spelling has retained the mute h in initial hv- and hj-. See Danish phonology
Dogrib[1] nahwhı̨ [nahʍĩ] 'snow-blindness' See Dogrib phonology
English Conservative Received Pronunciation[2] whine [ʍaɪ̯n] 'whine' Commonly transcribed as /hw/ for simplicity; contrasts with /w/. In General American[3] and New Zealand English[4][5] only some speakers maintain the distinction; in Europe, mostly heard in Irish and Scottish accents.[2] See English phonology and phonological history of wh.
Cultivated South African[6]
Conservative General American[3][7]
Irish[6][8][9] [ʍʌɪ̯n]
Southern American[13] [ʍäːn]
New Zealand[4][5][10][14] [ʍɑe̯n]
Hupa tł'iwh [t͡ɬʼiʍ] 'snake' Contrasts with /w/ and /xʷ/
Italian Tuscan[15] la qualifica [lä ʍäˈliːfihä] 'the qualification' Intervocalic allophone of /kw/. See Italian phonology
Kham Gamale Kham[16] ह्वा [ʍɐ] 'tooth'
Nahuatl Cuauhtēmallān [kʷaʍteːmalːaːn] 'Guatemala' Allophone of /w/ before voiceless consonants
Slovene[17][18] vse [ˈʍsɛ] 'everything' Allophone of /ʋ/ in the syllable onset before voiceless consonants, in free variation with a vowel [u]. Voiced [w] before voiced consonants.[17][18] See Slovene phonology
Washo Wáʔi [ˈw̥aʔi] 'he's the one who's doing it'
Welsh Southern Colloquial chwe [ʍeː] 'six' See Welsh phonology

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "A Dogrib Dictionary" (PDF). TŁĮCHǪ Government. 1996. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Received Pronunciation Phonology".
  3. ^ a b Rogers (2000), p. 120.
  4. ^ a b Rogers (2000), p. 117.
  5. ^ a b "Australian English and New Zealand English" (PDF). p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Lass (2002), p. 121.
  7. ^ "North American English: General Accents" (PDF). Universität Stuttgart - Institut für Linguistik. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.
  8. ^ Wells (1982), p. 432.
  9. ^ "Irish English and Ulster English" (PDF). pp. 4 and 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.
  10. ^ a b McMahon (2002), p. 31.
  11. ^ Wells (1982), p. 408.
  12. ^ "Scottish Standard English and Scots" (PDF). p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.
  13. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006).
  14. ^ Wells (1982), p. 610.
  15. ^ Hall (1944:75)
  16. ^ Wilde, Christopher P. (2016). "Gamale Kham phonology revisited, with Devanagari-based orthography and lexicon". Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. ISSN 1836-6821.
  17. ^ a b Šuštaršič, Komar & Petek (1999:136)
  18. ^ a b Greenberg (2006:18)


External linksEdit