Voiceless Bilabial Plosive
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Voiceless Bilabial Plosive
Voiceless bilabial plosive
IPA Number101
Entity (decimal)p
Unicode (hex)U+0070
Braille? (braille pattern dots-1234)
Audio sample

The voiceless bilabial plosive or stop is a type of consonantal sound used in most spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨p⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is p.


Voiceless bilabial plosive.svg

Features of the voiceless bilabial stop:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a plosive.
  • Its place of articulation is bilabial, which means it is articulated with both lips.
  • 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 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.


IPA Description
p plain p
p? aspirated p
p? velarized p
p? palatalized p
p? labialized p
p? p with no audible release
p? voiced p
p? tense p
p' ejective p


The stop [p] is missing from about 10% of languages that have a [b]. (See voiced velar stop for another such gap.) This is an areal feature of the "circum-Saharan zone" (Africa north of the equator, including the Arabian peninsula). It is not known how old this areal feature is, and whether it might be a recent phenomenon due to Arabic as a prestige language (Arabic lost its /p/ in prehistoric times), or whether Arabic was itself affected by a more ancient areal pattern. It is found in other areas as well; for example, in Europe, Proto-Celtic and Old Basque are both reconstructed as having [b] but no [p].

Nonetheless, the [p] sound is very common cross-linguistically. Most languages have at least a plain [p], and some distinguish more than one variety. Many Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindustani, have a two-way contrast between the aspirated [p?] and the plain [p] (also transcribed as [p?] in extensions to the IPA).


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe ?/paio 'hat'
Arabic Algerian ‎/p?p [pa:pi:?] 'beautiful girls'
Hejazi ‎/p?l [po?:l] 'Paul' Only used in loanwords, transcribed and pronounced as ⟨?⟩ by many speakers.
Egyptian ‎/kab? [k?p?] 'ram' Allophone of [b] before unvoiced consonants. Also used in loanwords.
Armenian Eastern[1] ??/papik 'grandpa' Contrasts with aspirated form
Assyrian pata [pata] 'face'
Basque harrapatu [(h)arapatu] 'to catch'
Bengali Eastern /pan? [pani:] 'water' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Bengali phonology
Catalan[2] por ['p?(?)] 'fear' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Cantonese / baauja 'explosion' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin / bàozhà Contrasts with aspirated form. See Mandarin phonology
Chuvash /putene [put'n?] 'quail'
Czech pes [p?s] 'dog' See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[3] bog ['p] 'book' Usually transcribed in IPA with ⟨b?⟩ or ⟨b⟩. Contrasts with aspirated form, which is usually transcribed in IPA with ⟨p?⟩ or ⟨p⟩. See Danish phonology
Dutch[4] plicht [pl?xt] 'duty' See Dutch phonology
English pack [p?æk] 'pack' See English phonology
Esperanto tempo ['tempo] 'time' See Esperanto phonology
Filipino pato [pa'to] 'duck'
Finnish pappa ['p?p:?] 'grandpa' See Finnish phonology
French[5] pomme [p?m] 'apple' See French phonology
German Pack [p?ak] 'pile' See Standard German phonology
Greek ? / pódi ['po?ði] 'leg' See Modern Greek phonology
Gujarati ??/pag [p] 'foot' See Gujarati phonology
Hebrew ‎/pakid [pakid] 'clerk' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani Urdu ??/pal [p?l] 'moment' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Hindustani phonology
Hindi / pal
Hungarian pápa ['pa:p?] 'pope' See Hungarian phonology
Italian[6] papà [pa'pa] 'dad' See Italian phonology
Japanese[7] / posuto [pos?to] 'mailbox' See Japanese phonology
Kabardian ??/p? 'nose'
Korean ? / bit [pit?] 'light' See Korean phonology
Kurdish Northern por ['p?o:?] 'hair' See Kurdish phonology
Central /píroze [p?i:?o:zæ] 'lammergeier'
Southern /pûûnga [p:?a] 'pennyroyal'
Lakota púza ['p?za] 'dry'
Lithuanian pastatas ['pa:st?t?s] 'building' See Lithuanian phonology
Luxembourgish[8] bëlleg ['p?l] 'cheap' Less often voiced . It is usually transcribed /b/, and contrasts with voiceless aspirated form, which is usually transcribed /p/.[8] See Luxembourgish phonology
Macedonian ?/pee [p?:] 'sing' See Macedonian phonology
Malay panas [pänäs] 'hot' Often unreleased in syllable codas so /p/ is read as [p?] instead in lembap [l?mbap?] 'damp'. See Malay phonology
Maltese aptit [ap'tit] 'appetite'
Marathi ?/paa'uus/p?'?s [p?:'u:s] 'rain' See Marathi phonology
Mutsun po·?or [po:tor] 'a sore'
Nepali /pit? [pit?ä] 'father' See Nepali phonology
Norwegian pappa [p?p:?] 'dad' See Norwegian phonology
Odia ?/pathara [p?r?] 'stone' Contrasts with aspirated form.
Pashto ‎/pa'nir [p?'nir] 'cheese'
Persian /pul [pul] 'money'
Pirahã pibaóí ['pìbàóí?] 'otter'
Polish[9] pas 'belt' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[10] pai [paj] 'father' See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ?/pattaa/patt? [p?t?:ä:] 'leaf'
Romanian pas [pas] 'step' See Romanian phonology
Russian[11] ?/plod [p?ot?] 'fruit' Contrasts with palatalized form. See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[12] ? / pi?e [p?:t] 'drink' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak pes [ps] 'dog'
Spanish[13] peso ['pe?so?] 'weight' See Spanish phonology
Swahili pombe ['po?b?] 'beer'
Swedish apa ['?:?pa] 'monkey' See Swedish phonology
Thai ??/paeng [p:?] 'powder' See Thai phonology
Tsez ??/pu [p?u] 'side' Contrasts with ejective form.
Turkish kap [k?äp] 'pot' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[14] ??/pavuk [p?'uk] 'spider' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese[15] nhíp [?ip] 'tweezers' See Vietnamese phonology
Welsh siop [p] 'shop' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian panne ['p?n?] 'pan'
Yi ? / ba [pa?] 'exchange' Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms.
Central Alaskan Yup'ik panik [panik] 'daughter'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[16] pan [pa?] 'bread'

See also



  • Basbøll, Hans (2005), The Phonology of Danish, ISBN 0-203-97876-5
  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (1-2): 53-56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618
  • 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
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • 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
  • Gilles, Peter; Trouvain, Jürgen (2013), "Luxembourgish" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (1): 67-74, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000278
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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, S2CID 13470826
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 117-121, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001628
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language, 35 (3): 454-476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232
  • Landau, Ernestina; Lon?ari?, 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 0-521-65236-7

External links

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