Voiced Bilabial Nasal
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Voiced Bilabial Nasal
Voiced bilabial nasal
IPA Number114
Entity (decimal)m
Unicode (hex)U+006D
Braille? (braille pattern dots-134)
Audio sample

The voiced bilabial nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in almost all spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨m⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is m. The bilabial nasal occurs in English, and it is the sound represented by "m" in map and rum.

It occurs nearly universally, and only few languages (e.g. Mohawk) are known to lack this sound.


Voiced bilabial nasal.svg

Features of the voiced bilabial nasal:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Because the consonant is also nasal, the blocked airflow is redirected through the nose.
  • Its place of articulation is bilabial, which means it is articulated with both lips.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is a nasal consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the nose, either exclusively (nasal stops) or in addition to through the mouth.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the central-lateral dichotomy does not apply.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe ?/m?z? [ma:za] 'moon'
Arabic Standard[1] /mabi? [ma't?a:b] 'kitchens' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[2] ?/mayr 'mother'
Assyrian mara [ma:ra] 'owner'
Basque maitatu [majt?at?u] 'to love'
Bengali /ma [ma] 'mother' See Bengali phonology
Bulgarian ??/m?gla [mla] 'fog'
Catalan[3] mare ['ma] 'mother' See Catalan phonology
Cherokee ??/ama [ama?] 'water'
Chinese Cantonese ? / m?au 'cat' See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin ? / m?o See Mandarin phonology
Chuvash /man?n mann 'my'
Czech mu? [m] 'man' See Czech phonology
Dutch[4] mond [m?nt] 'mouth' See Dutch phonology
English him 'him' See English phonology
Esperanto tempo ['tempo] 'time' See Esperanto phonology
Filipino manok [ma'nok] 'chicken' See Filipino phonology
Finnish minä ['minæ] 'I' See Finnish phonology
French[5] manger [me] 'to eat' See French phonology
Georgian[6] ??/sami ['s?mi] 'three'
German Maus [mas] 'mouse' See Standard German phonology
Greek[7] ? / maza ['maza] 'clump' See Modern Greek phonology
Gujarati ? / m?r [mo:?] 'male peacock' See Gujarati phonology
Hawaiian[8] maka [maka] 'eye' See Hawaiian phonology
Hindi ?/madh? [m?du:] 'honey' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Hebrew ???/ima ['?imä?] 'mother' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarian ma [m?] 'today' See Hungarian phonology
Indonesian[9] masuk ['mäs] 'enter'
Italian[10] mamma ['mamma] 'mommy' See Italian phonology
Japanese[11] / kampai [kampai] 'cheers' See Japanese phonology
Kabardian ?/mazè [ma:za] 'moon'
Kagayanen[12] manang [mana?] 'older sister'
Korean / maeul [ma] 'village' See Korean phonology
Lithuanian mama ['m?m?] 'mom'
Macedonian ??/majka ['majka] 'mother' See Macedonian phonology
Malay malam [mäläm] 'night'
Malayalam[13] /kammi [k?mmi] 'shortage'
Maltese ilma [ilma] 'water'
Marathi ??/man [m?n] 'mind' See Marathi phonology
Mutsun muru? [mu?u?] 'night'
Nepali ?/?m? [ämä] 'mother' See Nepali phonology
Norwegian mamma ['m?m:?] 'mom' See Norwegian phonology
Ojibwe ????/anaamim [?na:'m?m] 'accuse' See Ojibwe phonology
Odia /mä [mä] 'mother'
Persian ?/mâdar [m?dær] 'mother' See Persian phonology
Pirahã baíxi ['màíì] 'parent' allophone of /b/
Polish[14] masa 'mass' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[15] mato ['matu] 'bush' See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi /m?m? [m:] 'I'
Russian[16] ?/muzh 'husband' Contrasts with palatalized version. See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[17] ? / moj [m?:j] 'my' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak mu? [mu] 'man'
Slovene mi? [mí?] 'mouse'
Spanish[18] grumete [u'me?te?] 'cabin boy' See Spanish phonology
Swahili miti ['miti] 'trees'
Swedish mask [mask] 'worm' See Swedish phonology
Thai ???? / mommaem [m?:m.m?:m] 'shabby' See Thai phonology
Toki Pona mani [mani] 'money'
Tsez ?/mec [mt?s] 'tongue'
Turkish benim [be?nim] 'mine' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[19] ?/moloko [m'k?] 'milk' See Ukrainian phonology
Urdu ?‎/mak?n [m?ka:n] 'house' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Uyghur /men [mæn] 'I'
Vietnamese[20] mu?i [mwoj] 'salt' See Vietnamese phonology
Welsh mam [mam] 'mother' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian mar [mar] 'lake' See West Frisian phonology
Yi ? / ma [ma?] 'bamboo'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[21] man [ma?] 'animal'

See also


  1. ^ Thelwall (1990:37)
  2. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:19)
  3. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:53)
  4. ^ Gussenhoven (1992:45)
  5. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  6. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006:255)
  7. ^ Newton (1972:10)
  8. ^ Ladefoged (2005:139)
  9. ^ Soderberg & Olson (2008:210)
  10. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:117)
  11. ^ Okada (1999:117)
  12. ^ Olson et al. (2010:206-207)
  13. ^ Ladefoged (2005:165)
  14. ^ Jassem (2003:103)
  15. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  16. ^ Padgett (2003:42)
  17. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
  18. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:255)
  19. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  20. ^ Thompson (1959:458-461)
  21. ^ Merrill (2008:108)


  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (1-2): 53-56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 25 (2): 90-94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223
  • Danyenko, Andrii; Vakulenko, Serhii (1995), Ukrainian, Lincom Europa, ISBN 9783929075083
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "Illustrations of the IPA:French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 23 (2): 73-76, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (2): 45-47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (1): 103-107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (2): 255-259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 38 (1): 107-114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344
  • Newton, Brian (1972), The generative Interpretation of Dialect: A Study of Modern Greek Phonology, Cambridge Studies in Linguistics, 8, Cambridge University Press
  • Olson, Kenneth; Mielke, Jeff; Sanicas-Daguman, Josephine; Pebley, Carol Jean; Paterson, Hugh J., III (2010), "The phonetic status of the (inter)dental approximant", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 40 (2): 199-215, doi:10.1017/S0025100309990296
  • Okada, Hideo (1999), "Japanese", in International Phonetic Association (ed.), Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge University Press, pp. 117-119, ISBN 978-0-52163751-0
  • 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.; Vakhtang, Chikovani (2006), "Standard Georgian" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 36 (2): 255-264, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002659
  • Landau, Ernestina; Lon?ari?a, Mijo; Horga, Damir; ?kari?, 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 978-0-521-65236-0
  • Soderberg, Craig D.; Olson, Kenneth S. (2008), "Illustrations of the IPA:Indonesian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 38 (2): 209-213, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003320
  • Thelwall, Robin (1990), "Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 20 (2): 37-41, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004266
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language, 35 (3): 454-476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232

External links

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